Episode 326

How to Sell to Any Avatar with Pete Dupuis

In this episode, Pete Dupuis joins me to talk about how to sell to any avatar.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friends on today’s episode. I’m speaking with the one and only Pete Dupuis. And we’re talking about how to design a sales process that allows you to sell to any avatar. Many of you sell to youth athletes or sometimes their parents or adults of all shapes and sizes and ages. And so if you have multiple avatars that you’re selling to in this episode, we’re going to help you design your sales process that you can sell to anyone at any time.

So keep on listening.

Welcome to the business for unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Keeler. Join me each week for actionable advice, expert insights, and the inside scoop on what it really takes to level up your gym. Get ready to unlock your potential and become a real unicorn in the fitness industry.

Let’s begin.[00:01:00]

Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the Business Unicorns podcast. I’m back with Pete. Happy spring, my friend. How the hell are you? Awesome. I’m standing in front of daylight. As we record, which is nice. And it’s making me realize that this light on my face, uh, the beard’s looking really white.

That’s the one thing that good lighting, um, doesn’t help with is exposing our gray facial hair. Very true. Yeah. I’m glad we’re getting here in the Northeast, our first real sunshiny, maybe it’s really spring day and I’m living for it. Take it all in. Uh, before we jump into today’s episode, um, I want to just give a quick shout out to a free tool we have on our website.

One of the most common questions we get when we first start working with gym owners is how much should I be making as a gym owner? And maybe that question is sometimes phrased, how much can I expect to make over time as a gym owner? Is it worth it for me to, uh, build and develop my own gym? And what can I expect to [00:02:00] take home?

And we get this question so much, we actually made a mini training and playbook for it. And it’s free to all of you on our website. It’s literally called, how much should a Gym Owner make ? It’s pretty obvious title. You can click down, link down below in the show notes, click that link and get the free.

Download the free training or go to our website, click on free stuff, and also click How much should a Gym Owner make? It’s a free training that breaks down for you exactly what you can expect to make as a gym owner. We hope you find that useful and it’s free, so go do it. Let’s switch to today’s topic, which is focused on sports performance.

But as we do these episodes that are about sports performance, I always like to remind everyone, there’s always a lesson in it for non sports performance gyms as well. So for all you listeners out there, or like you saw on the title, or you hear in my intro that we’re talking about a sports performance topic.

Keep listening because there’s going to be nuggets in here for you as well. But the topic I want to cover is specifically how to adjust your sales process when you are selling both to youth or teenage athletes in many cases, and to [00:03:00] adults, and the fact that you’re selling both to youth and their parents.

It’s a complication that a lot of gen pop gyms who just sell to adults don’t handle. We talked about a little bit before on this podcast, but I thought we’d dive back in because I know that your thoughts on this Pete, as well as mine are always evolving and changing. And first, can you just frame up the challenge of selling to youth athletes and their parents?

I’ll echo what you just said, which is that this isn’t necessarily sports per performance specific. It might just be insight coming from somebody who’s only got a sports performance lens, but this is upwards of two decades of experience talking here. And it’s easy to make this sound very complex because I have to have a sales pitch prepared.

For lack of a better term for totally different entities in every single scenario, I might be selling to mom. I might be selling to dad. I might be selling [00:04:00] to the athlete. I might be selling to a professional athlete. I might be selling to that athlete’s advisor or agent. I might be selling to a professional organization.

I might be selling to a college or university. There are a lot of different sales pitches here. and usually different people influencing the buying process. So first things first, I need to do a fairly thorough job of vetting the individual or individuals I’m going to be pitching our services to in a given conversation so that when I do come in, I understand which angle I’m going to play.

Now the angles aren’t dramatically different from one to the next, but. It all comes down to these emotional levers that you need to pull. And that’s why I say this doesn’t just apply to my gym at all. Just because I say I’m selling to mom versus selling to dad, you might say I’m selling to the potential user or the user’s spouse.

And these rules [00:05:00] apply in each scenario. But the point is a single canned sales pitch or an SOP for selling is pretty limiting. If you ask me, if I give a brand new coach, The keys to the SOP, here is the sales pitch and they go out and they robotically deliver it. Like, I guess I could figure out what the most common selling scenario is and hope that it’s one of them, but it’s not so common that it’s in excess of 50 percent of the pitches we give.

There’s a lot of variety here. Yeah, 100%. I think it’s a great place to start is to think about all the variety of people that you’re going to have to be selling to as a gym owner and think through who are the key decision makers. Cause the person you’re talking to may not always be the sole decision maker.

Even in gem pop gym, we get people all the time who say, one of the most common objections is I need to ask my spouse. Yeah. It’s one of the ones we practice all the time in sales conversations, because it’s so common that they can’t, they don’t feel like they’re able to make this decision without talking to a spouse.

Or in some cases in New York, we have 20 something year olds whose [00:06:00] parents are still paying for a lot of their expenses and gym memberships. Right. And so even though MFF is a gen pop gym, we still have people in the sales conversation be like, I got to go ask my mom, I got to go ask my dad. And so knowing who are the key decision makers, who We’ll help you have these kinds of varied sales pitches, so you can really meet each person where they’re at.

So give me some examples, Pete, of like, how do you switch up your sales pitch to meet the different needs of all these avatars? Oh, good question. Okay. I think first is accumulating enough reps to appreciate the fact that they’re going to, each avatar is going to react differently to certain triggers. So for example, an athlete who metaphorically comes through my doors, looking at our services generally wants to be.

considerably more explosive and athletic. And in our case, they want to hit a baseball harder or farther and they want to throw harder than they did. Whereas that athlete’s mom, as much as she knows that her son throwing harder is going to be in his best interest as he competes for roster [00:07:00] spots, she wants to know what the consequences are associated with throwing harder, AKA, how are we going to keep him from getting hurt as he pursues these initiatives?

Those are very different sales pitches. Those are very different differentiators that I need to lean into during this discussion process. And there’s a slightly modified iteration with dad, and so on down the road. Understanding how most moms receive our information and the keywords that I need to use in that, say, injury prevention or corrective exercise realm, things that make them feel comfortable, safe with that buying process are key.

The other thing that comes to mind as I discuss this is that we need to stop thinking about the sales process as a singular conversation, because I have countless scenarios where I have someone reach out. Let’s say it’s a parent. Let’s say it’s for a college summer program. It’s a big spend thousands of dollars that you’re investing.

What happens most [00:08:00] commonly is a dad will reach out and he’ll say, this seems awesome for my son. I want to put it on his radar, but I want to understand it before I do. And then I’m not doing so much selling on price point as I am explaining the components of the program and educating the dad to go back and give the pitch on my behalf.

Because then he goes to his son and he says, Hey, you said your coach still hasn’t given you a summer ball assignment. I found this thing. I heard it on a podcast by Eric Cressy or wherever I’ve stumbled upon it. And it actually sounds cool. I called to ask him about it. Would you have any interest? And I need to make sure that dad is good to go because what inevitably happens is they come back to me and they say, All right.

Cool. Michael jr is open to a conversation, but he really has some questions for you. Can the three of us hop on a call? And then it’s sales pitch number two. And I don’t like to force people to commit to a 3000 plus dollar program without saying, Hey, why don’t you guys have a conversation off camera, off of this zoom call, [00:09:00] off of this telephone and make note of your questions and come back to me.

I’m happy to have this conversation with you in a day or two. I can circle back with an email tomorrow. I don’t want you to feel like you’re forced to make a decision on this before the two of you can debrief. And that might introduce a third scenario. But the point is there are layers to the selling process and I can’t go into every single lead scenario thinking I’m either going to close or I’m not going to close, let’s roll out the can pitch.

Yep. Listen, I think that’s such a great description of what it looks like inside your head as you’re preparing if there’s like a formula here that like is emerging for me as you talk about it. It really is. The formula starts with determining what does this person care about and then finding a way to reframe your value.

In that frame of what they care about, right? And if they care about price point, you frame price point, they care about safety, you frame to safety. If they care about what makes you different from the other options, you reframe to unique value, right? But you being nimble enough to both get what they care about [00:10:00] quickly, over time, learn the patterns to what say moms care about versus dads versus athletes.

And then being nimble enough to be able to pivot the framing from one call to the next. Yeah. I think that’s like the kind of the pattern that’s emerging. Would you add anything to that? Yeah. So one of the things I do every time we onboard a new unicorn society coaching client, yeah, they’re, they’re past the onboarding, like the basics of the calls.

I’m just getting to know someone. I say, Hey, what’s it going to take in the first 90 days of this relationship for you to say that was a total success. I need this box checked. And that’s just a move I use with parents or athletes every time I give the pitch. So if it’s mom, I say, Hey, has your son or has your daughter trained in a facility of this nature in the past?

No, she hasn’t done any strength training. I’d say, okay, then I imagine this might be something that is a little uncomfortable for you. It might be a scary environment to plug her into. What’s your biggest fear as it relates to this? Yep. If we do sign her up, what’s the one thing that you want to make sure that we check that box?

Yeah. In the next [00:11:00] month or two of training and I let them tell me exactly what they need. And then I explain how we can deliver on it rather than guessing and hoping that I pulled out the mom pitch and I just smashed it at her and just said, no, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye. Yeah. I’d rather they tell me what pitch they want me to give.

Yup. And nobody in the history of sales calls has said to me, You’re asking too many questions, you know, and I’m not interested too many questions. Let’s they want to talk about themselves, right? It feels good. People remember conversations as being more valuable if they talked about themselves more, right?

Those are the facts. And so the fact that your first step here is really often actually in unicorns. I do have a playbook for sales, of course. And in the sales script, we call this section of the conversation. One of the first sections, peeling the onion. Which is just like pulling back all the layers.

What are your biggest fears? What do you care about? And once you have all that information, you can use that as fuel to drive you to the right sales [00:12:00] pitch. And I think the thing that obviously you make sound so easy, Pete, is asking those really great questions. Which comes with a lot of experience and then being nimble enough to pivot in seconds to addressing those things.

And that doesn’t happen overnight. So walk me through like for our listeners who are like, yeah, you make it sound so easy, Pete, but how do I change my pitch for every person I’m talking to? What’s the roadmap for them to getting good at that? That might be as simple as budgeting a little bit more time.

And thinking about how you want to chunk up your conversation. And so if you say it’s going to take, instead of trying to give someone a five minute pitch, you budget 15 minutes for a conversation and you say, I’m not going to do anything but ask questions for the first five minutes. And oftentimes, the questions I get into are, are relating more to where we have some middle ground, and it does not need to be all driven exactly towards me running a list of bullet points eventually.

I [00:13:00] had a great conversation with a New York Unicorn Society member today, where I realized just looking at their location on a map that I used to work a block and a half away from where they are. Yep. And I knew for a fact that we were going to have a better rapport if I could demonstrate for five minutes that I fully understood their neighborhood.

Yeah. Then if I dove in and I was like, all right, let’s go to your action items. Yeah. Done or not done. Let’s do this. I don’t need to be a robot like that. So we talked about our favorite restaurants in their general vicinity for a handful of minutes. And you know what? Every call I have from here on out is going to be a little bit more personal because they feel like I get them on that level.

And I applied that rule to selling. So that might be my best piece of advice. Peel the onion in a way that you might make a personal connection. It might be someone you mutually know. It might be a restaurant near their house that you went to recently. I think it’s about making sales calls, feel less salesy, making it feel like a real conversation where you’re just genuinely [00:14:00] curious about learning more about the person, what they want, what they’re afraid of, what they like, how their life is, how they’re feeling today, right?

That kind of small talk paired with what I’ll call Big talk, right? Big asking, big hard questions can be, can help balance out the conversation. So it’s not just all driven towards, I’m going to get you ready to buy something, but it’s also genuine connection and curiosity. The other thing I would add to the answer to my own question, which is it goes without saying you’ve got in a lot of reps here, You’ve been the main salesperson for how many years now, right?

Coming up on 18. Yeah. A lot of years. So I want to say to our listeners, listen, no matter who you’re selling to, you got to get good at asking good questions to peel the onion, making that connection, building rapport, and then being nimble enough to describe the value you offer to people who need different things from you.

And so if I was going to make maybe a really tactical suggestion, I’ll ask you for some of yours too, Pete, I would just make a list of all the things that you already [00:15:00] know your clients tend to want from you. You can group them. So here are the things that dads can do. Here are things moms tend to want.

Here are things youth athletes tend to want. Here are the things that gen pop folks want to want, depending on your facility and make a list because then you have a checklist to go practice against to say, okay, I’m really good about talking about the technical coaching part. That sets us apart from our competition.

I’m not so good about talking about like injury prevention. I’m not so good about talking college readiness. I’m not so good about talk, whatever it is. So I think that for me, if I’m in, in those shoes where I have to be a sales person to multiple avatars and pivot to multiple things they might care about, I want to start by at least making a list of those things so I can start to.

Genuinely and efficiently like practice and the get in the reps to get good at all of those. Yeah. What else could they do? Practically speaking to like, really get the ball moving and get good at this. Yeah. So to build off of your kind of tactical advice, I’d say take this one step further. Very few of our gym owners [00:16:00] are swimming in so many leads that they can just forget the last pitch and move on to the next one immediately.

I’d get into a habit of auditing every pitch immediately after you finished it. Yes. What worked didn’t work. Where do we find middle ground? What questions did they ask? And then once you start to accumulate these post sales audits, you’re going to start to realize that you not only understand and anticipate the questions are coming, but you can document where they came.

You can find commonalities. You can realize that mom’s more likely to ask these questions. Dad’s more likely to ask these questions. Kids are afraid to ask this question. I have had many scenarios and still continue to where people ask a question where it’s, I find more value in saying, I don’t know the answer to that, but I know exactly who I’m going to ask when we get off the phone and I’m going to circle back with some feedback.

And if I didn’t close a sale during that time, it’s the perfect excuse to step back into someone’s inbox and say, Hey, awesome [00:17:00] conversation. The other day, you prompted me to do a little more research with this great question, and I found this resource. My business partner, Eric said, you should look at this or John told me he listened to this awesome podcast, thought I’d put it on your radar and see if there are any followup questions that you maybe had coming out of this.

And the point is the note taking coming out of these calls is where those ideas are born and how we craft the next pitch and the next pitch. So make a habit, build an SOP around evaluating your performance coming out of these calls. And I think that. It’s going to feel less like you are following someone else’s system and more like you’re building your own kind of beautiful reactive sales protocol.

Yeah. I love that suggestion so much, Pete. I think people would be so surprised how valuable one to two minutes of focus self reflection can benefit their practice. Just let it put her specificity though. Michael. Yeah, not [00:18:00] just. What questions did I ask? I’m talking, how long was the phone call? What time was the phone call initiated?

Was this a cold call inbound? Was this outreach where someone asked for it? There’s no such thing as too much detail in this Yeah, because we need to start looking at more trends than just what did I say? We need to look at trends. How often are people picking up the phone at that time? Yeah, how are they likely to be more available to talk for an extended period during a certain time?

Am I getting more questions out of parents when I speak with them after traditional business hours all of these things these details Accumulate over time and you have this beautiful picture to build your pitch against You Yeah, 100%. I think that idea just so resonates with me that if you just create a list of questions like that, when did they answer the call?

What time was it? How long was it? Uh, what were they, what was their primary concern? What did I say? How did they respond to that concern? All of those things, it will not take you more than one to two minutes after each call [00:19:00] and the amount of data you’ll gather will be amazing. And the trends you’ll be able to look at over time to inform your practice will be so valuable that you can’t help but get better.

If you do something like that on a consistent basis. Yeah. And my last piece of advice to make this even further tactical, more tactical, I got to learn to talk. It would be to take these findings over time, right into your staff meetings. And talk about the most frequently asked questions. All right, my friends, we’re going to wrap up the conversation right here.

We actually had a technical difficulty and lost Pete at the end of the conversation, but I’ll just wrap this up by saying, regardless of who you’re selling to, I think the tips in today’s podcast are really valuable. Whether you’re selling to youth athletes, their parents or general population audience, I think the formula and techniques that Pete and I talked about here today are so, so important.

Critical to your success and go give them a try. And don’t forget, we have that free lead magnet, how much Jim owner should make click the link down below in the show notes, and thanks for listening. See you on the [00:20:00] next one.