Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fitness Together - Palatine SUCKS!

I just had the worst sales related experience of my life! I can't believe how little I feel right now.

I just had a free personal training session with Fitness Together-Paltine trainer Andy (not sure of her last name). She was an amazing trainer, very inspirational and motivating!

To back up, I had a coupon for a free session that I received via email yesterday. The cheapskate I am and someone who is very motivated as of late to become healthy (just lost 20 pounds since January as of today thankyouverymuch) I thought, hey what a great idea! Check out this personal training company that's literally around the corner of my apartment.

Once again, my workout went great, I felt like a million bucks and because of my recent weight loss milestone I felt like a million bucks, I felt untouchable. Hell, I even had a brand new pair of socks on all day to boot. But this session turned GARBAGE in an instant!

I am brought in to the office of the trainer where I'm immediate sent into a sales pitch. The guy has no enthusiasm for his product, just shows me his diet journal/nutrition plan three ring binder, his heart rate monitor and explains their approach. No dice dude. Their approach as I learned from a phone call I made yesterday is to have people come in at least 3 times a week. When he told me this I thought to myself "who can afford that" at 60-78 bucks a pop! I whipped out my calculator and found that this total turns out to be a third of my annual income. So on the phone at this point he tells me that people come in 2 times a week claiming they'll work out on their own another 2 times a week and in his words "they don't lose weight and they get frustrated and we get frustrated". This was very VERY annoying coming from someone who has lost weight ON THEIR OWN since January with a little help from Weight Watchers which I quit in May. So yeah, props to WW but bigger props to ME for keeping it off without counting points! (not to mean that WW is bad or anything, just not for me, if you're having success with it AWESOME!!!)

So yeah, I'm brought into his office where he is trying to sell me on their product but doesn't show any personal interest in my story, doesn't ask me about my goals, just goes by what I wrote down on the sheet as to what my goals were blah blah blah. I used to be in sales and I KNOW that you should get to know your client before you just try to sell them on something. You need an angle. And to kind of rip on me and my personality, I'm the type that could get suckered into a thousand dollar personal training package... believe me it happened before when I worked out at Bally's.

He asks me what my budget is and I respond that I haven't really thought of my budget, not quite sure what he means by that question. How much do I want to spend a year? A session? I honestly don't know. All I knew was the coupon I received via email said "FREE SESSION". His response is that he can’t believe that people haven’t thought about their budget before they come in there. I didn’t realize that was a prerequisite to having a personal training session.

At this point I understand that he's frustrated with me. So he then asks me “what I expected to get out of my session today”. I came in to check them out and according to him essentially wasted their time... sort of, he didn't give me a reason to buy (see the above part about how I'm a sucker). He asks me what I hoped to get out of this session and I'll tell you what I wanted. A free session with a personal trainer! $78 value! WOOT. Now I can't speak for all gyms but I know with Bally's and with HealthQuest I was offered a free personal training session when I signed up for the gym. I figured it was the same kind of thing. I figured I'd learn an exercise or two and I'd feel good and sore the next day from a nice workout! He tells me that his time is valuable at this point! I couldn't believe it! I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT! This guy sends out coupons for free sessions just expecting that people will buy with a weak ass sales pitch like that! A personal trainer is a HUGE COMMITMENT! I'm talking thousands of dollars type of committment and coming from someone who would rather get married naked than wear a dress that costs more than $500 that is a lot of money. (don't worry, I'll at least wear a towel, we're going to be in CHURCH for Pete's sake!)

So yeah, I came for the freebie.

This guy talks down to me as if I was an elementary kid who slapped someone on the playground and he's the principal and I'm getting reprimanded. I was belittled and made to feel as if all I was worth was the package that I failed to sign up for. He said it's frustrating because his time is valuable. He didn't even train me! He wasn't training anyone! I didn't take him out of his busy day as far as I could tell. He's an owner of a business trying to build up his clientele well let me tell you, he pissed off the wrong girl because I WALKED OUT during his spiel.

I felt like a little kid, enough said. I threw my towel down and all I could muster out of my mouth was "I'm going to go" and as I walked out of the door I wispered, "this is GARBAGE!"

So yeah, I'm piping mad as I write this... and as I wrote the below letter to Fitness Together Palatine
I have never been more offended in my life during a sales consultation than I was with you and your unprofessional sales technique. I can't honestly convey to you how little I felt and how it felt when I realized you only saw me as money down the drain. Well I'm sorry that you felt that I was such a waste of your time which is why I just stormed out!!! I can't believe how much of a contrast you were to Andy, who by the way was an amazing trainer and if you had a better sales pitch you could have sold me on her as my trainer.

My interpretation of the free personal training session was “come try us out”, not “come try us out and if you don’t buy we’re going to make you feel like a jerk for wasting our time”.

I understand your frustration as a business owner being upset that someone like me would come in with the intention of trying you out without much intent for purchase. But here's the thing you didn't know. For the past day and a half since you and I set up my appointment I was emailing with my family back and forth about how great it would be to have a personal trainer and what a great place your company seems like. Now I don't even know what to think. I honestly have never felt like I wasted my time more than spending any amount of time discussing the fitness together product with you.

In the future, don't assume that someone that comes in to try you out is only there with the intention to purchase. You know what they say about those that assume and it's especially true in this case.

Believe me, I will YELP this CITY SEARCH this and contact whomever may be in charge of your franchise to let the people know how you treat potential clients.

Bottom line, you need to treat everyone that walks through your doors with respect and I didn't feel that when I was in that office with you!

So yeah, I’m blogging about this, Yelping, City Searching and whatever else I can find. Oh yeah, I called the Fitness Together headquarters and left a voicemail. I will not rest until everyone knows!

For the record, I’m aware this very heated note is probably not conveying the actual event, it’s just that the fire in my stomach is just too hot to write clearly, please expect updates to this note in the next day or two.