The A-B-Cs of Prospects – Membership and Membership Retention

August 13, 2012

By: Customer Won

Contrary to popular belief, some changes don’t have to be painful! As an example, the conversion from paper based sales systems to electronic systems is one of the strongest trends in club management today because it works! Electronic information provides easier prospect tracking, better sales structure and accountability, and long term better member management. From prospecting to member retention, it is all about communications for a club and those critical components of the business best handled in one integrated package that is integrated in real-time with your billing and member management provider.

John Custard, an ABC Financial client with three clubs in Northern VA, is enjoying the advantages of switching from a paper to electronic sales system.

“The [prospect management] software has increased our gross profit by 10% and has allowed us to directly relate the success of the club to the effort of our sales team. We have realized an increase in their closing ratio of nearly 15%. Additionally, it lets me keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in all of our clubs – real-time – even when I’m away from the club. I know up-to-the-minute, how many calls and appointments have been made and the status of every lead.”

Spread Some Happiness at the Club
When the electronic entry screens look and feel like the paper forms your sales team and staff has been familiar with, the transition is simple and adoption is quick! A big plus for you and your staff is the elimination of unnecessary paper forms which should make everyone a bit happier. One of the truly great features of electronic entry and tracking is the need to only enter prospects into the system once. The elimination of double entry drives significant time savings and minimizes errors.

New Features, But Prospects Still Need to be “Closed”
It is important to note that electronic sales systems are not a silver bullet; it is only a facilitator to better processes in the club. Prospect to member conversion still relies on having a sales approach that leads to closing the deal.

Out With the Old
Traditional sales systems have focused on a model where the end goal was simply driving the sales process to signing up a new member. Using the ‘close at all cost’ model, clubs see as high as a 45% loss of new members. Try a better way. The cost effective goal, and today’s new sales solution, is to manage new members and ease them into a club community insuring that they keep the club top of mind. With this model, the sales cycle is expanded to a total member’s life cycle. The Club becomes part of the member’s community.

Keeping the Club Top of Mind is the way to Retain Members
It is just as important now to reach out to a new member the week after they join, as it was the week before they joined the club. Fitness is a passion and the club must fuel it. From prospect through membership, the club must continue to market club services and products. The good news is that today there are integrated programs, like Customer Won, designed to support both sales and member satisfaction. You don’t have to pay three vendors to do the work of one software package. You can now better target the marketing for better return on marketing efforts.

What’s Working; What’s Not?
Don’t scratch your head and guess, now you can know. Now with what is called a cloud-based system, you can access your business critical information in near real time and not after hours of someone building a spreadsheet. The information is available in a few clicks of a mouse. With electronic sales systems, your business information is delivered to your inbox as you need it; be that daily, weekly, or monthly.

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Now as you start the day you can know the leads and prospects (which before might have been lost in a paper system) that your team is working. You track and understand which direct mail or marketing programs are causing your phone to ring and creating guest traffic at the club. Most importantly on a daily basis you can know your clubs sales success and the sales effort required to reach that level.

Stop asking questions, KNOW the answer. Are leads being worked? Know your staff’s activity level. With the click of the mouse, you can see total sales activity – leads called, prospect appointments, shows/no shows, guest passes and of course, new members. Now you can know the answer BEFORE you ask the questions of your staff.

GAIN More Sales Per Week From the Current Lead Pool
We all know that with a better system and structure in place, membership sales will increase. Electronic sales system help your staff exceed their goals by providing tools to better schedule the next steps with a prospect or member. Additionally, owners and managers get reports and insight into the daily activity in the clubs improving their ability to drive staff behavior. Now you have a rainmaker in your electronic friend that will help close a minimum of one to two more prospects a week.

In the end, it’s not a secret and we’re not talking rocket science. You know you must acquire more new members from the prospect streams you already have. One of the keys to future growth comes in finding new possible revenue streams in the business model you now have. A sale is no longer just the advertising you use to bring a prospect in the door. Today, it is a total picture that changes by the hour. The model for club growth today is open and fluid based on accurate and real-time information and data. In the end the most important topic is to keep the club on the minds of prospects and members.

Customer Won is an integrated, real-time partner with ABC Financial; by employing Customer Won’s electronic sales system, a club owner can do everything and more in acquiring, engaging, and retaining members. For more information on Customer Won’s products and services, please call us at 703-621-4624.