How to Convince Older Clients to Purchase Your Training Services

“If you’re selling the best, most Boomers want it.” – Steve Howard, author of Boomer Selling.

BentleyBecause Boomers are the wealthiest and most educated generation in history they can afford to buy premium products and services. In fact, many want the best productions and solutions and aren’t afraid to pay for them. They know value and understand its importance so just because something has a higher price tag does not make it premium.

The sales process can be complicated. According to Boomer Selling by Steve Howard the Boomer Selling process has five critical steps:

Step One: Create Confidence. Get us to trust you and believe that you have the knowledge and skill to help us get the perfect solution. The most important thing Boomers shop for are people we can trust. Trust is absolute confidence in the honesty and reliability of another person. Too often we focus on getting other people to understand our services (all about us) rather than trying to understand their problems or concerns (all about them) which is what Boomers are looking for. Be transparent. Keep it simple. And show them how much you care.
One of the keys to creating confidence is to be a “specialist” (like maybe a Functional Aging Specialist for example). Boomers aren’t just buying your program or service they are buying your expertise. They know that specialists justify their higher price by doing the job right and giving their customers confidence that they will get 100% of the benefits and value they’re paying for. Be sure to let them know how your expertise is going to benefit them and how choosing you will help them avoid costly mistakes by going somewhere else.

Step Two: Determine Desires. Find out what desires (such as security or social standing) are driving our decision to shop in the first place, then find ways to satisfy our desires. Boomers don’t buy what they need, they buy what they desire and if they desire it enough nothing will turn them aside. It is paramount that you figure out why they really want? Is it weight loss or confidence in themselves? Is it really to be “healthier” or is that they are embarrassed that they can’t get the golf ball out of the cup after a putt? Is it to “tone up” or is it that they are starting to get worried that they won’t live long enough to see their grandkids grow up?

Step Three: Customize Solutions. Boomers don’t want the same product or solution as everyone else. Design a package of products, services and extras to come as close as possible to solving each particular problem. “Like snowflakes no two Boomers are the same.” Boomers crave and sometimes require customization. When you only offer 2 or 3 program options some Boomers are going to resist. When they ask things like: “Why can’t I train with the morning group on Mondays and Thursdays; the afternoon group on Wednesdays; and instead of Fridays (I’m just too busy on Fridays) train every other Saturday?” they aren’t just trying to be difficult. They are telling you that they have “special” needs and are looking for a customized solution.
Many trainers don’t want to deal with these people because it messes up their tidy schedules. They view these as exceptions and if they do it for one person then they will have to do it for everyone. Listen, if they want to purchase long-term training with you then figure out how to create a custom solution. Haven’t you ever had those situations where the service person says they “can’t” do something when they really can? “I’m sorry sir but I can’t replace your French fries with green beans”. YES YOU CAN.

Step Four: Reduce Risk. Use the right information and Boomer friendly tools to reduce our risks both real and imagined. There are many types of risks that Boomers face and that you must reduce in their minds. They are: physical risk, psychological risk, financial risk, functional risk and social risk. Each one of these has the potential to kill the sale. And here is the really tough part – many times they don’t tell you what risks are important to them. Oh, it is rolling around in their brain for sure and it is up to you to proactively address as many of these as possible in your conversation and in your sales materials.
For example, one of the easiest things you can do to reduce financial risk is to offer an unconditional, money-back guarantee. If they don’t like the program then they can cancel for a full refund at any time within the first 30 days. You have just removed financial risk IF they already trust you. We had a personal training facility in our town that closed up overnight without warning. The owner left town with everyone’s “paid in full” membership money. The clients that came to our place afterwards were obviously concerned that we would do the same. It was up to us to instill as much trust as possible AND to reduce their financial risk as much as possible in order to close the sale.

Step Five: Elevate Emotions. Create excitement and provide us with the emotional stimulation we need to buy the things we desire. Let’s face it. We are all emotional buyers. We just like to rationalize our decisions afterwards to make us feel good about them. Boomers are no different and even more so but the emotional connection isn’t with the product it is with the benefits the product or service provides. Why buy a $1,000 faucet when a $50 faucet will do the exact same job? Because the stylish design and unique hand-rubbed finish of the $1,000 faucet will impress my friends and make me feel like I’ve finally made it.
Boomers must not only want what you are selling but the perceived value of it must exceed its price – realistically, without a lot of fluff. Most trainers think their service is the best (you do don’t you). Saying you are the best can be a double-edge sword with Boomers though. They do not respond well to that terminology (unless it is a recommendation coming from a trusted peer or friend). If you really think your program is the best then you must be able to communicate how and why without putting down any other program or trainer in town (although making direct comparisons are okay). To demonstrate that high perceived value that Boomers are looking for communicate the tangible benefits that your training provides to the individual rather than its features.

Following these five steps will help you to attract and serve more mature clients. The book Boomer Selling is a great resource for anyone wanting to grow their business with Boomers.

Come to the 2017 Functional Aging Summit for hands-on teaching to improve your marketing and sales.


Cody Sipe, PhD


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