A telephone call with my sister the other day lead into a conversation about the over load of sales in the service industries.

My sister purchased a year of personal training with a gym membership and although she’s only part of the way through her year she has had several personal trainers.  The gym can’t seem to keep them for very long because they’re not meeting sales targets.

This is not surprising to me.  The gym hires skilled trainers who’ve studied their trade and then expects them to become sales people.  I’m all for the up-sell, because it usually denotes a win win, like when we were in San Antonio and ordered a small margarita but the waiter informed us that a large margarita is bigger than two small and cheaper… up-sell!

This of course is an isolated experience.  I haven’t purchased a years worth of tacos at this restaurant and I’m not being up-sold to a 5 course meal every time I go in.  And I think that is the difference when purchasing a service such as a personal trainer.  You’ve budgeted for your service and the gym probably under sold and is hoping to secure more revenue from you throughout the year.  We all know it is cheaper to sell to a current customer than to find a new one.

For my sister this is frustrating because it boils down to finding someone who fits her schedule instead of someone that fits her needs.  The customer service fails and she becomes unhappy with the service regardless of who her personal trainer is.

So where is the balance?

Should business’s focus on hiring a dedicated sales staff or should service providers learn the art of sales?  That later is certainly something independent service providers must learn.  Will we be able to trust our service providers if we always feel like we are being sold something?

I’m interested to know your thoughts.

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