By simply changing the attitude, process and fundamentals of membership sales, club operators can start to change their sales volume immediately. Here are some things to consider:

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas, Fitness Management USA Inc.

Use telephone inquires and a log sheet. Be sure every inquiry is logged in. First, this will tell you exactly what kind of phone response you are getting. Do not leave this to guesswork. Second, monitor the salespeople’s effectiveness on setting the appointments and show percentages. We find that clubs are getting more phone response than they realize. This one step alone will improve your performance.

Always, always agree. You want to eliminate from your vocabulary such words as no, not, never, can’t, won’t and don’t. It’s nearly impossible to get agreement when you have disagreement, and so many gym salespeople sell from a standpoint of disagreement. This does not commit you to anything; it simply means you have the same opinion. You should say, “Mary, I understand, I have said the same thing myself from time to time. Now, let’s get you started.” Be agreeable at all levels of communication, and watch the difference it makes.

Related: Jim Thomas: Do You Have Sales Discipline?

Show membership options to every prospect. Regardless of circumstances, be sure and present membership options to every prospect that enters your club. If you start to prejudge, you will lose sales. A good rule to follow is to treat all prospects like buyers.

Give the prospect what they came in for. We see this one a lot. The club offers a free week trial or a paid trial through Groupon or a similar service. The key here is to give the prospect what they came in for right when they come in. Do not give it to them after they decide they do not want to join. This will help put the prospect at ease and simplify the sales process.

The second sale. This will be one of the easiest sales you will ever make. Once the new member has joined, be sure you are offering such things as personal training, apparel, nutrition, etc. Additional purchases also will help solidify the membership sale.

Volunteer to handle all complaints. Successfully handling a member complaint is the highest level of service you can provide and a great opportunity to make another sale. Offer upgrades, add-ons, personal training or whatever your club has in store. There are sales to be made every day from this valuable source.

Now, go close a sale!

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 website at or