We see this frequently in health clubs. No real systems for sales. No real accountability. We see sales reps that do their own thing… and make it up on the fly. Of course, as a manager, you’re now trying to manage individuals and not a system, which drives most managers’ nuts (and leads to retention issues). Plus, when the sales rep quits, you’re starting all over again.
The best health club reps intuitively know the sales techniques that work best and when to use them to create conditions that excite prospects to join your health club. Unfortunately, these kinds of membership reps are few and far between. And, without a proven system or set of rules to engage members and prospects, most health club membership reps are likely to make up their own rules or randomly leverage a wide variety of sales techniques and behaviors. I’m sure everyone can tell stories of questionable techniques and behavior.
The problem with not having and using a proven system for health club sales is you will unknowingly default to the prospects system. This means you will give up key steps of the sales process and giving more information rather than gathering information.
As a result, the membership rep is not in control. It makes no difference whether you run a large athletic club or small fitness center… you are at a disadvantage if your membership reps aren’t following a proven system for health club sales. Here are some reasons why you need your membership sales department to follow a proven selling system:
1. Membership closing ratios improve and you will have more control over your pipeline of membership opportunities. At the end of each day you want to know that you gave 100% on each opportunity presented.
2. Forecasting accuracy improves. Accountability improves. The ability to properly train your sales staff improves.
3. Health Club guests and prospects will be more focused on your unique value proposition and why they should join your club. You will be more successful in finding out the real reason they are visiting your health club and avoid giving a feature-based tour that is price motivated.
4. Your membership sales team will focus on the best quality opportunities. If you follow the system every time and do it with a good attitude…you will have success.
5. As a manager, you will be able to effectively manage a system and not each individual. Plus when you hire new reps, they can step right in to your system and in many cases start to have success right away.
6. By implementing and training a proven health club sales system, you will improve your membership sales rep retention.
There are many selling systems to choose from – all emphasizing different aspects of the selling cycle and prospect interaction. The benefits of a health club sales system increase if it is based on experience and proven methods, tailored to your health club and selling environment, but even the most basic sales system will add to the membership sales effort.
The most important thing is not which system you decide to use. The most important thing is you have a system that you are accountable to.
So what about your membership sales team? Is their hard work and effort leading to new membership sales? Are they making a system up on the fly? Are each membership sales marching to the beat of their own drum creating different impressions in the market place depending on the day and their mood? Make sure you are leveraging a proven health club sales system and are in control.
It all starts with you!
Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomsondemand.com