Why We Don't List Our Prices On the Internet

This past Sunday, as I was listening to the Patriots pre-game show in my car, Bill Belichick discussed the preparation habits of NFL teams. He explained that there are two categories into which teams can be slotted:

  1. The teams that significantly modify their approach from week-to-week to capitalize on perceived shortcomings in the opposing team’s skill-set or strategy. We’ll call these “Game-Planners”
  2. The teams that have a specific identity that they rarely stray away from. These are the organizations that say: “We’re going to line ‘em up and do what we do best…let’s see if you can stop us.” We’ll call these the “Do-What-We-Doers.”

A look at the Patriots box scores for the last two weeks will illustrate that they currently fall into the Game-Planner category: Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tom Brady threw the ball 35 times, accounting for roughly 85% of the Patriots offensive output on the day “through the air.” Just a week later, the Patriots came out running against the Pittsburgh Steelers, handing the ball off more than 50% of the time and accumulating just a shade under 40% of their yardage “on the ground.”

They’re all but guaranteed to identify an opportunity to exploit deficiencies in your game plan and put it in to action each week. If your team has a “best player,” the Patriots are going to find a way to remove him from the equation when Sunday rolls around. In short, they’re the ultimate “Game-Planners” in today’s NFL.

When selling, I’d rather be a Game-Planner

When it comes to executing a sales pitch here at CSP, I like to think of the potential client as an opponent who could possess any one of many “best players” in their arsenal of counter-arguments against my pitch. Some are price-sensitive, others are skeptical of our skill-set and abilities relating to their unique training needs, and some just want to be made to feel like their son or daughter is our country’s next star Olympian.

By getting someone on the phone, asking a series of relevant exploratory questions, and gauging the content and tone of each response, I am able to adjust my selling strategy on the fly. This flexible and reactive selling method would fall under the category of game-plan-specific as opposed to first rolling out my list of prices and assuming they’ll convert leads on their own.

When you list all of your prices on the Internet, you are embracing the “Do-What-We-Do” approach, and missing an opportunity to effectively articulate the differentiators that your business possesses. As far as your website visitor experience goes, you are essentially declaring these are our prices and you can take it or leave it. You simply aren’t putting yourself in a position to counter any concerns of a potential client.

Many gym owners make the mistake of assuming the people they are trying to attract have done their homework on all training options. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. If everyone in our area were aware that personal training at the local Boston Sports Club is actually more expensive than our semi-private model that features 100% individualized program design, they’d be far easier for me to pitch. Instead, they get hung up on the idea that Planet Fitness just ran an ad offering a no-commitment contract for $0 down and just $10 per month.

How are you going to counter hesitation due to price-sensitivity without actually engaging with a potential client? Our services are not cheap, but they are reasonable and differentiated by the attention to detail we apply during the assessment and training process. The people that reach out to CSP possess a broad range of training needs, differing levels of expendable income, and varying levels of understanding of our training model. Some are best fit for one-on-one personal training or semi-private group training, while others are the perfect candidates for our morning strength camps. Each of these services comes at a different cost, and it is up to me to identify the best option for the person in question and then communicate the pricing structure effectively.

I can’t afford to let leads disappear due to generic sales copy or perceived high prices; I’d likely lose many leads before successfully converting them to clients if I didn’t first have the opportunity to explain what our pricing represents and why our offering is well worth the price. With this in mind, it doesn’t bother me when a caller says “I couldn’t find pricing information anywhere on your website.”

Getting them on the phone is half the battle, and they’ve called me.

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