In most cases, sales revenue remains the single most vital statistic for any health club operator. However, many tried-and-true sales strategies are often overlooked or ineffectively implemented. In the following interview, Karen Woodard, president of Premium Performance Training, offers insights into the Sales track at this year's Club Industry Show (of which she is chair), to be held Oct. 4-6 at the Hilton Chicago.
Q: What new sales trends have you watched develop in the fitness industry over the last year?
A: This is not new in the last year but an important mission to accomplish: Too many sales teams only sell memberships and do not engage new members in any non-dues revenue programs at the time of joining. By not doing so, we lose engagement with this new member. It is critical that sales teams own the full package of what the club offers to achieve member results and to engage members with the services, programs and professionals that can help them.
Q: What will make this year’s Sales track programming different than in previous years?
A: We're placing a heavy emphasis on how we can graciously incorporate selling non-dues revenue into the sales process to impact results, retention and revenue.
Q: What is a common sales-related misstep you see from club operators?
A: Too many club operators make the mistake of not training salespeople professionally in the beginning and then do not continue with any ongoing professional development.
Q: With rapidly developing technology and competition, should all health clubs today have a rock-hard sales strategy in place, and why?
A: Absolutely. Any business needs to have their sales and marketing strategy in place, implemented and to be tracking the results to achieve growth in the business. Too many businesses open their doors without a plan and rely on luck. Luck is not a strategic planning element.
Q: How much have recent technological advancements changed the sales process? In general, should club owners be looking at technology as a sales tool rather than a sales obstacle?
A: Technology provides a simple way to track progress and manage prospects. Too many club operators do not use their sales software programs to the extent that they could and are missing opportunities. Sales teams often look at software as a burden rather than a booster to their business.