Monday, March 24, 2008

Free Protein Shake = Telemarketing Sales Lead?

I’m a workout-a-holic – I hit the gym at least three-times or more per week. And I really go to workout. A lot of people sign up at a gym thinking it will be the instant answer to dropping a few pounds. Some go as a form of social networking to meet people. Others – like me – go to really pump weights, get our heart rates up, and watch as our muscles get bulgier and bulgier.

For the past couple of weeks, there have been posters promoting all the latest events at the gym. They are having this open house at the end of the month, with draws and prizes, a live disc jockey and other things.

Today, being Easter Monday, they had the whole place decked out in the spirit of Easter. There were baskets everywhere, cardboard eggs and other decorations hanging on all the walls, and the receptionists were walking around, offering free protein shakes.

I enjoy a good protein shake as much as any other muscle-building person does. Protein is the fundamental basic ingredient needed to build muscle. Within two-hours of working out, your body is starving for protein.

So, when I was offered a free protein shake, I took it. I politely said thank you and the two receptionists started talking about the big event at the end of the month. I said it sounds great – which it did. Then they started to ask me for names and numbers of people I’d bring to the open house.

“For every guest you bring, you get another chance to win in the draw for a free year-long membership,” they told me repeatedly.

I told them that’s a great prize, but I don’t know who I can bring, or even if I’ll bring anyone. I really felt pressure to bring a guest.

I know they want us paying members to bring guests so that they can sign more people up. And it’s not a completely bad idea, because if I bring in people I know to my gym, it makes it more of a social thing for me.

But, asking for names and numbers of people that I haven’t even asked to this event yet, is pestering and pushy salespersonship.

Sure, I was enjoying my free protein shake, but they didn’t have a sign up saying you had to give names and numbers of your friends, family, neighbours and anyone else you can think of, to have one. They were offering them free – to open up a dialogue with members and talk about the event.

It is one thing to talk about an event, it is more than another thing to force someone to go, and to list those they are bringing. It is like sending out wedding invitations, only to call everyone up and force them to go, and bring lots and lots of people.

I’ll still hit the gym as often as I can. I love to workout, the equipment is well maintained, and the atmosphere is up-beat and friendly. But from now on, when someone offers me a free protein shake, I’ll politely decline.

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