One of the most distinctive features of a high producing club vs. a low producing club is the level of enthusiasm that the staff emits. I can go into a club where the gym is in first place in the company and see an active staff.
At these gyms I see sales people smiling and talking to members, making promotional announcements over the intercom, handing out guest passes to members leaving the gym and standing up when they're on the phone making appointments.
When I go into a low producing gym, I rarely see the staff anywhere but in their offices or at the front desk where they're socializing with one another. If they're not hanging out they're half-heartedly making telephone calls or offering excuses as to why their numbers are so low.
When you develop and maintain a team of sales people for your gym, remember that even one unenthusiastic person can be a detriment to your entire team. Usually, this person has become disgruntled over his or her lack of success and wishes to consciously or unconsciously communicate this attitude to other sales staff.
While I'm sure sales managers understand this theme across many industries, the impact of an unenthusiastic team member can be devastating in the fitness industry. When you sell health and wellness, you must have a high level of enthusiasm and energy in overcoming many of the commitment problems that people have in becoming members of gyms.
The 65 percent of Americans who are overweight or obese are examples of individuals who need to see and hear the enthusiasm and energy in order for them to sign up at your facility. If your sales people can't get the person excited about exercise, you're going to be giving out guest passes more than memberships.
One of the strategies that I have developed in assisting sales people to convey more enthusiasm, is promoting a theme that in itself is enthusiastic. The theme should have a motivating health and wellness message like, “Commit to be Fit Month” or “We have a solution for your resolution month.” Sales people can use the motivational base of the theme to bolster their presentation.
The theme that I have been employing aggressively at our gyms is “Healthier US,” the national directive set up by President Bush. This is a perfect platform for your sales people to sell health and wellness. When a person comes into your location, you are a national sponsor of Healthier US. Because of this, you are capable of offering a number of different promotional incentives to get them excited about exercise. Getting people excited about exercise is the key to getting your gym to sell memberships on the first visit.
Another important part of getting people excited about exercise is that you do more than talk the talk. Don't do a fly-by-night tour and shuttle them into the office for a used car sales pitch. After you have evaluated their health and wellness profile, put them through a real workout. Beginners and intermediate individuals are going to be the bulk of your business. You must put these people on the equipment (six to 10 pieces for beginners) for them to feel more comfortable about the experience and to get them excited about it. Selling the value of exercise is an important element to effectively getting them excited about exercise.
When you develop a team of enthusiastic health and wellness advocates, not only will your mood go up, but your numbers will too.
Mathew Fahey is the vice president of sales/marketing for Gold's Gym of the Triangle in North Carolina. E-mail: [email protected].