Common Mistakes Made By Inexperienced Health Club Sales Staff

December 28, 2012

By: Jim Thomas
Fitness Management & Consulting

In working with health clubs across the country, we have found many facilities with new or inexperienced salespeople. Or front desk staff doing the selling. Health club owners continually ask how to get these new sales people to be more effective in selling memberships. They often ask, “Why is it that I can sell and they struggle?”

We recently completed an assignment with a health club that was struggling with their new hire membership reps and here is what we told them. How does your team stack up?

1. Lack of preparation. There is an old saying: “Success happens when opportunity meets preparedness!” We find that too many health owners are just throwing new sales reps in the fire with little or no training. I asked one sales rep to see her price presentation sheet and she informed me that she just writes the membership prices on a back of a piece of paper. Not a prepared recipe for success.

2. Not listening. 90% of salespeople never listen, and are doomed to ineffectiveness. Is this one ever a biggie… particularly when we’re rushed or feeling pressured. When your new sales reps do nothing but talk, talk, talk… they most certainly will never find out much about the health club guest. Talking features will only encourage the guest to check out other clubs.

3. Failing to ask for the order. Here’s what I’ve found to be true… about 70% of all health club sales folks NEVER ask for the membership sale. Do yours? Such phrases as… how does that sound… what do you think… do you have any questions, don’t count. This isn’t asking for the sale. Asking for the sale requires decent boldness. Let’s get you started today, Mr. Smith. (Then be quiet).

4. Poor or no follow up. Follow up and follow through is where all great sales people are made. It is the ongoing responsibility of the health club owner to continually come up with new reason for the sales rep to call back previous club guest and inquiries. The club needs to have a plan to continually reintroduce the sales rep with the non-member.

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5. Small thinking. Want bigger sales? You must think bigger. Ask these questions: “How high is high? What is my maximum potential?” Over and over I see the new or inexperienced only selling the lowest price membership the club has to offer.

6. Failing to establish and/or maintain rapport. All too often the new sales reps just start fishing for the sale. The key here is to be respectful, talk about something you may have in common, do some fact-finding on goals and why they are important… and then the sales message.

7. Failing to really commit and establish themselves as experts in their field.

 Ask yourself how you fare on each of these areas. Would you give yourself a passing mark? Which ones would need a little work? How will you change to make sure you give your customers the most professional service possible?

Give your team a chance to win by reminding them of these success tactics. Remind them to keep focused and keep working toward their goals of helping the client make a decision that is good for the client and profitable for the company. How can you help them make the changes they need to become a professional sales person and provide value-added service?

Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting