How to use Story Book Selling in Boutique Fitness. The 5 key elements to effective story telling!


When archaeologists discover caves inhabited by our distant ancestors, what do they find?

Communication via stories even pre-dates verbal language as we know it. It is so deeply ingrained into our collective evolutionary psyche that we can’t help but take notice when someone communicates something via a story or an analogy.

As mentioned in previous blogs, if someone is resistant to your message or to changing their behaviour, they will translate any facts or information that you give them into a format the reinforces the way that they currently view things - not very helpful when it comes to Sales in Boutique Fitness or helping someone to begin that new fitness programme or nutrition regime!

But give them that information as a story or as an analogy and you immediately bypass those walls that they have put up. You go around the information-processing logical part of the brain and you get them to engage with you and with what you are saying on a more emotive level.

I’m sure you can think of many examples of how information in the form of a story draws you in, and it is how every TV series, every movie, and even every clickbait ad you see online these days, is structured.

So what makes for an effective story?

You begin by setting the scene, the people involved, the environment they are in. Then you set up the premise with some form of question - you may have noticed that clickbait asks the question for you: “you won’t believe what was in the second box, “number 6 blew my mind” etc.

Then you set up some suspense or delay - effectively this is the ‘leaning in’ moment - the very nature of any article or sales story is not to give you all the information right up top - you see so many things that are “the top 5” of something (cough check the title here) but they are almost certainly not going to be a list of 5 succinct points: instead it is always likely to meander a little!

You can then give a slight clue, a bit of content that lets the reader or listener think they are following along, then you give the true answer or main content or solution, a little bit more of the mechanics of the detail and then attach the emotional response to it!

And so, to translate this into a Sales approach in Boutique Fitness - I will actually get straight to the point on this and put it into a list:

  1. Set up the story - I was speaking to one of our Members here last week, just right where you are sitting now

  2. Set up the question (most likely in response to an objection that your prospect raised) - and we were talking about when they first came to the Studio for the very first time - they weren’t sure if they could get enough value out of training here, because of their hectic work/life schedule, but they said there was one thing that really made a massive difference for them.

  3. Delay and slight clue - and he is in all the time now, I see him after a session most days having a smoothie after his workout and he always has his diary with him.

  4. Give the solution - and he said to me it was simply a shift in his mindset that meant he was able to get into this new routine, he would schedule his visits here in his diary or on his phone just like as if they were meetings at work he had to go to, and because we have such a flexible cancellation policy here, he was able to move things around when he absolutely had to but having those sessions pencilled in, is what made that switch really easy for him.

  5. Mechanics and emotion - and so I think it would really work for you too, to have that mindset of taking action, and knowing that you can change it later if you absolutely have to, rather than staying at zero and trying to fit things in when you can - I know he says that it has really changed his life having us here as a way to de-stress and he said people around him even say how much more positive he is, in the office and socially! So what do you say?

Story book selling is an under practised skill, but it is one that is so fundamental to how we learn and communicate. Don’t run cross the road as you might get hit by a car, or : I know someone who ran across the road once and got hit by a card … / You should open your own gym and make lots of money, or: you should open your own gym, I know a guy who did it and he made lots of money… a small difference but with a massive impact.

Selling via stories also has the added benefit of leading you and your team to take more of an interest into the stories and experiences of your current Clients or Members, which will help you to serve them better and improve your renewals, retention, word of mouth and referrals! It is so far away from traditional selling and the negative view of being ‘salesy’ as long as your stories are authentic and genuine, you are simply helping someone to see things from another perspective, they will still decide for themselves, but by using effective story telling, you can help them to see what’s possible so that they are able to give themselves permission to make a change and to make a positive purchase decision!