A Simple Approach to Membership Sales Training

June 6, 2016

By: Jim Thomas

The biggest mistake we see over and over with sales training is that it’s done just every so often like every 30 days or longer.  Gym owners get so busy putting out fires and handling operational issues that sales training gets pushed down the priority list until it becomes an emergency.

Any sales training that is done… is many times done in a half day or whole day format and typically not specific to the fitness industry. When done in this fashion, sales training is not the focal point of the sales team and becomes ineffective.

What would you tell a member that wanted to get in the best shape of their life?

If you don’t work out on a regular basis you’ll be out of shape, and won’t accomplish your goals or get your desired results, right? You’d want your member to attend the gym 4 – 7 times a week if they want to get in the best shape of their life, right?

Well, sales training needs to be just like a successful workout program – it needs have frequency, it needs to be varied, and the length of it should be based on your goals.

For your member to get fit, they need to plan to do it and be in the gym.  The same is true in order to train your membership sales team for top performance.  Here are some simple tips to help get you started;

  1. Create a training plan and stick with it.

You can’t wing-it and expect to get results.  It simply won’t happen. Your plan should include training as a group, individual training, all departments and role-playing. Put the training times on everyone’s schedule so nothing else interferes. Same days/same times, without fail; it needs to become a habit.  Yes, it’s that simple, but it starts with you.

  1. Get everyone onboard and involved.

Don’t just tell your staff what you plan to do, get them involved and help create the plan. In part, they need to own this.  A good way to start would be to have each person train on something they are good at.  I always start meetings by asking “what’s working” and “what not working” or where do they need help in the sales process;  I want to get everyone involved and participating.

  1. Train daily.

Just like your workout program, you need frequency. The way we sell in the modern world is always changing and adjusting.  You want your staff to be fresh and crisp. You can listen to call tracking on phone inquiries, have role-playing sessions, cover how to build value and what to say on a follow up call(s). There will be shortage of topics, but do it daily.  It will never be important to your staff until it’s important to you.

  1. Do sales training a little at a time

Yes, have your weekly sales meeting that may take an hour, but daily training sessions should be short, 15 – 20 minutes will work. Give your staff the freedom to train at their own pace. Short videos and audio files can be great training tools as well.

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  1. Have a script.

OK.  This is pretty straight forward.  If you don’t have a script, get one.  And memorize it. As they say in the theatre, you need to memorize your script so you are now free to be yourself.  There is no acting.

  1. Follow up. 

Now, you held training, that’s great, but don’t just assume it will be done.  You must follow up.  It will never be important to your staff until it’s important to you.

The only thing worse than training your people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.

Now, go make 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. Learn more here: Jim Thomas On Demand