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Focus On Sales/Marketing

Winning With Sales Incentives

Health clubs are constantly looking for the right formula to build and maintain a successful sales force. At the Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center (MAC), we use several different incentive programs to motivate our membership team to maintain an exceptional level of productivity.

The membership team is responsible for generating their own leads and working by appointment. They have three jobs each day. The first job is to set five appointments. The second job is to make at least two sales. And the third job is to generate three referrals.

MAC membership representatives are urged to maintain a closing rate of 50 percent or better. If the membership representatives are touring five prospects a day, they are just about guaranteed two sales a day.

Besides the three daily jobs, the membership team has a weekly revenue goal. There is a bonus for achieving the weekly goals. There is also a mid-month bonus, as well as an end-of-month bonus.

These revenue goals are set collectively for the team by the representatives and the membership director. Each membership representative's bonus is based on the percentage that he contributes to the goal. So if a representative produces 34 percent of the team's weekly revenue, that is what his corresponding percentage of the weekly and monthly bonus is based on. Trust me, this system motivates the reps!

We have come up with other bonus incentives to encourage reps to sell. To complement some of our marketing programs, we have contests amongst the membership reps. For example, MAC is doing a marketing campaign targeting former members. According to IHRSA, former members are 300 percent more likely to join than a prospect with no health club experience. So the membership rep who can contact the most former members and make ap-pointments with them in a week receives a cash bonus!

Membership reps aren't the only employees who are rewarded for working to bring in new members. Any of the MAC staff who refers a new member gets a $10 cash bonus.

None of these concepts is rocket science, but these incentives are an extremely effective way to keep membership sales at a profitable level. And they also help maximize your club's marketing dollars.

Member Referrals

At the MAC, members also receive incentives to provide referrals for membership; specifically, referrals give them an opportunity to reduce their own monthly membership fees. The members reduce their monthly membership dues by $5 for any referral that becomes a member, with no limit on how much they can reduce their dues! They come running to the membership reps with referrals!

Marketing Vehicles: Minivans vs. S.U.V.s

Pop quiz. You are distributing flyers in a parking lot, putting them under the windshield wipers of cars. When you get down to your last flyer, there are two vehicles left in the lot: a minivan and S.U.V. Do you:

a) Leave the flyer with the minivan

b) Leave the flyer with the S.U.V.

If you picked the S.U.V., congratulations. You chose wisely. In a survey of 5,400 minivan and S.U.V. buyers, Strategic Vision found that S.U.V. buyers are more likely to exercise than minivan buyers. Specifically, 32 percent of S.U.V. buyers work out, compared to 24 percent of minivan buyers.

2000's Top Fitness Trends

According to IDEA's Trendwatch 2000, the fitness programs expected to grow the most over the next year are: yoga, group strength training, flexibility/ stretching classes, Pilates, ab classes, martial arts-based classes, and classes for special populations (e.g., seniors). Keep that in mind when deciding which programs to market.

Battle of the Sexes

Here's more proof that men and women need different things from a health club - and, therefore, require different marketing to draw them in.

According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men and women report different health risks and behaviors. And in some cases, their responses may surprise you.

For example, stereotypes indicate that women worry about their weight more than men. However, the study reported that 60 percent of men considered themselves overweight, compared to 44 percent of women.

On the other hand, more women than men reported inactivity. According to the study, one-third of women and one-fourth of men said that they didn't engage in regular exercise.

This study suggests that men may be more in need of a weight-management program, whereas women may require a program that emphasizes exercise instead of diet.

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