By Alison Bellais, Student Academic Performance Chair and APTES faculty member.
In the fitness program we are constantly challenged by how to give our students practical experience in the online environment. Not only do our students need to know how to safely and effectively train clients, but they also need to know how to market and sell themselves once they graduate. Most students feel that once they gain knowledge of the human body and how to write exercise programs, finding clients will be the next natural progression. In reality, a large number of people who go into the fitness business fail because they are afraid to sell themselves or ask for the business.
In designing the sales class I wanted to be able to create a scenario where students confront an objection to a sale and have to react on the spot. When we role play in class, most students are like deer in the headlights. I wanted to give them tools for overcoming objections, have them practice utilizing them and then evaluate their progress. Utilizing the YouSeeU software that we have, Joy Springer and I came up with an assignment where we role played on camera as a trainer and a prospective client. We gave them the first part of the interview but when the client presented the objection, the “trainer” looks at the camera and says “how would you respond to this objection?”
At that point, the student has 15 seconds to think of a response. In YouSeeYou, the clock counts down 15 seconds and then starts recording the student’s response. I know not everybody has access to the YouSeeU technology but you could easily do this as an “on the spot” activity in class. At first, the students were scared to death! But, as we started playing around with the drill in class, they loved it!
Watching the recorded responses was great fun. I could tell the students were really into it. As a matter of fact, I had almost one hundred percent submission. Many of them froze on camera but said they were glad they experienced that “deer in the headlights” moment on camera rather than in front of a potential customer. Attached to the video assignment was a reflection paper based on their experience. The students knew ahead of time that I was not grading them on how well they responded to the objections, but rather on the paper describing their experience. When we discussed the experience in class, the students expressed that they loved having a “real world” activity and were amazed how much they learned about themselves.