Guest Writer | Nic DeCaire | Guest Columnist

When it comes to professions that suffer from a lack of trust from consumers, the fitness industry has to rank near the top – next to car salesmen of course.

This probably is attributed to high-pressure sales tactics and hard closing techniques used over the years by these industries. I am sure that most of you are familiar with, “If you buy now I can give you a great deal, but tomorrow I can’t.”

These tactics make no sense to me as a business owner. Most customers recognize when they are being played — they know the price really isn’t going to change in 24 hours.

If a customer comes into your business, the last thing they want is a high-pressured salesperson trying to hard sell them something. Using these sales tactics usually runs customers right out the door.

Only, the loss of a sale isn’t the end of it – these days, social media gives unhappy customers a platform to shout their displeasure to anyone who will listen. We all have seen it and “liked” it.

Back when I had a little more free time before the birth of my two children, I was a member of the Newark Morning Rotary Club. I met lots of great community members and also heard some amazing speakers.

Rotary clubs have what is called the “Four Way Test.” It’s a moral code applicable to all of us. And I believe it’s a great way to make business decisions. It challenges you to make a decision looking at more than what’s at stake in the moment. It offers the potential to help guide your business in the day-to-day and long-term.

The Four Way Test goes something like this:

1. Is it the truth?

2. Is it fair to all concerned?

3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Truth – When making a sale, did you tell the consumer the truth or did you tell them what they wanted to hear? Like your mother told you, never tell a lie.

Fair – Did you sell the customer more than what they needed? Did you honor the warranty? Did they feel good about the purchase? No matter what business you are in, you want to make sure you are fair with prices and services. Happy customers are repeat customers.

Goodwill – If your business is anything like mine, referrals go a long way. Is the way you run your business going to build long-lasting relationships? I can honestly say some of my best friends now are current and former members of Fusion. They are also my best referrals.

Beneficial – Do all practices of your business help the consumer as well as your business? We are in business to make a profit, but also to help others. Make sure your product and practices are beneficial to both parties involved.

Next time you are in a situation when you are looking to make a quick sale because numbers are down for the month, remember the Four Way Test. It might save your job, reputation and your business.

It is extremely hard to build a good reputation but incredibly easy to destroy it.

Remember: unsatisfied customers tell all their friends about their experience. Satisfied members usually do not tell anyone.

Nic DeCaire is the owner of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark and a member of the DBT40 Class of 2014.

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