We spoke with Steve Jensen of Impact Training about his pioneering sales method, where interaction and inspiration towers above everything else.
We sat down to talk with Steve Jensen from Impact Training Corporation about the fitness industry, “entertraining” and how sales is really just a chance to tell someone how you can genuinely make their life better.
Hi Steve, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the fitness world?
I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Australia in 1969. I’m of English, Welsh and Danish heritage. As a kid, that background coupled with my naturally shy demeanour left me an easy target for bullies. Part of my coping mechanism with the move to Oz and all the changes that came with that was to immerse myself in sport. I’m naturally driven, ambitious and highly competitive so I always did well in whatever I pursued. Sports taught me discipline and resourcefulness, and it helped me develop my “never give up” and “do whatever it takes” attitude.
I started my career in computers and then moved on to banking… the main thing that taught me was how not to treat people. At this point in time, my personal and professional training was becoming more important to me. I met with David Simmons and he inspired me to enter the fitness industry. He also introduced me to the world of sales and together we had a lot of success with the first fitness clubs in Australia. Sales comes naturally to me – it shouldn’t be about anything more than having a genuine conversation with someone about how you can help them make their life better.
I really enjoyed it, so I started learning more about the psychology of selling. I started to study and attend courses exploring neuro-psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Along the way I met and connected with the best leaders in their fields.
Using the unique methodology, sequences and tools that I’d applied to those successful health clubs I mentioned earlier, I designed and created a sales and communication system that I then implemented at other health clubs and fitness businesses. I knew I had found my purpose.
Traditional sales techniques, such as coercing, bullying or bamboozling simply don’t work to inspire anyone, despite still being used the world over.
I suppose this is why, in a business sense, I’ve been so successful in helping operators double, triple or even quadruple their turnover in a matter of months. Everything I’ve learned from my own experiences has helped me transform businesses of all sizes and from all industries. I’m proud that I can take a $60k per month business and turn it into a $1.3 million per month success. I’m also really honoured to have collected some awesome and prestigious awards from all over the globe as a result. At the same time, I’ve worked really hard to stay grounded. I’m proud that people see me as kind and caring and honest in the work that I do.
To date, I’ve opened, sold, closed and assisted many businesses and I truly believe this has helped me in my ability to enhance the performance of other businesses. I really do love helping people, I love connecting people with others, and I never, ever, ever give up.
How did you come to launch Impact Training Corporation?
Impact Training Corporation (ITC) came about after being constantly asked by health club owners, managers and salespeople how to increase their sales. There was no formal sales training available, especially not specific to businesses within the fitness industry. I was constantly consulting with health clubs and other types of businesses that were failing, simply because they weren’t making enough sales.
In my clubs, we were making a stack of sales with minimal effort so I decided to help a few of my friends, and in a very short period of time – months, in most cases – we doubled or even tripled their sales, simply by implementing the system I had created.
I really loved helping people reduce their stress and worry: just seeing the relief it created was incredibly rewarding. Interestingly, the tools and communication techniques I created are designed to inspire people to take action, so it never feels like you’re actually selling! Over the years these techniques and tools have evolved… now I call it “entertraining”, which reflects the fun and engaging experience that I like to deliver to my students.
The fact is, one-off sales training is ineffective. My clients would achieve huge increases in sales but then after a while they would fall back into their old ways of doing things. I realised repetition – coupled with consistent and continual implementation – is the key to success so I integrated a regular training frequency as part of my success formula.
What were some of the challenges you faced in getting started?
As is always the case when you pioneer something new, there was nothing for me to use for comparison. But this forced me to be resourceful and to take the time to create something new and unique.
I used my experiences and started creating sales processes that would be easy to learn and, most importantly, simple to implement. A constant challenge during this process was to teach people in a way that ensured they’d remember the skills in order to implement them.
Another challenge was letting people know what I was doing and explaining there was a need for my services. Because there were no sales and communications consultants around back then, it was fortunate that I fast-earned a reputation for being successful in what I was doing.
Inspiring people is the key to sales success. Self-awareness is critical, and learning to create awesome positive relationships is one of the most powerful strategies in the sales industry today.
Another challenge was knowing what to charge… But I just tried to make it affordable. I could hear the frustration and pain and see the hurt and struggle in the people asking me for help.
How did you manage to overcome these challenges?
I made sure to deliver my training sessions in a fun and interactive way – it was the only way I could ensure people could retain the information I was teaching them. People are much more likely to remember something if they’re enjoying it. I also developed what I call the “6+3 processes”, which is designed specifically to help people retain at least 70% of the skills they learn. Obviously, my key goal has always been to make sure everyone learns the skills that will successfully create more sales for them, but I also want them to be able to apply their new mindset and skillsets to enhance their personal lives as well. In order to do this, of course, they need to remember what they’ve learned. The 6+3 process helps them with this as it cements the information into their subconscious.
I have a 100% success rate of increasing my clients’ income so long as they follow my systems and processes. Once people started to hear what I was doing and the results my systems were generating, I began to receive requests for help from businesses outside the fitness industry. I found the systems transferred very well, and in very short periods of time, some of my out-of-industry clients tripled or even quadrupled their sales figures. One education company actually went from generating $65k per month to turning over $500+k per month in just six months. Another client skyrocketed their income to $1.2mil per month! Achieving these results was so rewarding for me, and served as confirmation that I had definitely found my purpose.
What sets Impact Training Corporation aside from other training organisations?
First of all, our training focuses on creating an “I can do that” mindset in our students. Secondly our training combines life skills with selling skills, so the techniques learned are fun and can be used in everyday life – not just in business!
Self-awareness and how we adapt to effectively communicate with people is critical, because the foundation of our teaching is to learn how to inspire people to take action.
At Impact Training Corporation, we have combined many types of communication skills and have “chunked” them down so they are easy to learn and implement. Our teaching system is designed to focus on the subconscious, so the new skills easily become a habit. In many instances, the results are immediate.
We also only train people and teams on an ongoing basis, as we realise that a one-day training day is a waste of money because success lies in repetition.
We deliver our training programs in a unique way: “entertraining”. Our delivery is engaging, fun, empowering and extremely memorable.
When implemented and by following our processes and training plans, the skills, methodology and techniques that we teach are proven to work – in businesses of any size and from any industry. Success breeds success and I wholeheartedly believe that there is not much in business that more sales won’t fix.
Can you tell us about the different services you can provide a business?
We have sales training and communication skills training sessions that are designed to help people enhance their performance and achieve greater results in both work and in life. Our portfolio of programs includes:
- Sales training and implementation – in house, online and tailored to your workplace;
- Sales management training and mentoring;
- Sales and business consulting;
- Keynote public speaking, presenting and training;
- Accountability, sales, management systemisation;
- Self-discovery and team-building;
- Creating and designing sales sequences and selling tools;
- CEO and management recruitment interviews;
- Professional communication skills – DISC behaviour analysis;
- Conflict resolution;
- Business boot camp for start-ups
And many more!
What – in a nutshell – is the best way to accelerate sales in a new business?
My tips for accelerating sales in a new business are:
- Attract and hire the right people. Hire based on attitude, values and the behaviour that suits your product. Opt for people with a “can do” attitude and ensure that the people you hire know their stuff. People want to work with people who are perceived as experts in their fields. Train your team in communication skills that they can use everyday.
- Use detailed job descriptions which clearly set out required tasks, duties, KPIs. Team members want to know how they’ll be judged on their performance and how they will know if they are doing a good job.
- Find out what is personally important to each individual team member. Knowing this will help you drive KPIs and ensure you can help them achieve their own goals and dreams. Use KPIs to teach, acknowledge and help people grow. You must ensure they know and treat their KPIs as their personal scorecard and they should feel proud of their KPIs.
- Learn and follow a proven and up-to-date sales process, take ownership of it within your business and make it your own. The new generation of sales techniques inspires people to take action (to buy) so focus on this type of method for best results.
- Ensure your induction process is highly motivating. This brings people into an inspiring and supportive sales culture and sets the scene for successful ongoing training and good performances.
- Have systems to deliver rewards and ramifications.
Why do you believe good communication is the most important tool a salesperson can have?
Traditional sales techniques, such as coercing, bullying, persuading, offer closing, pressuring or bamboozling simply don’t work to make a feel-good sale, or inspire anyone, despite still being used the world over!
Ultimately, sales is all about helping people make good decisions and in order to do this, we need to learn how to effectively communicate with people, and understand that everyone is not the same as us. In order to be able to help people make good decisions we must learn how to listen more, ask great questions and adjust our behaviour to communicate in a way that makes the other person feel comfortable. These days, inspiring people is the key to sales success and proving you are well-informed and a perceived expert in your field. For this to work though, self-awareness in a salesperson is critical, and learning how to communicate and create awesome positive relationships is one of the most powerful strategies in the sales industry today.