When your sales representatives give prospects tours of your facility, their goal is for the prospects to commit to join your club that day, since the best way to close a sale is to do so before prospects leave the tour. However, prospects often express a concern about committing to a membership right away. Your reps’ goal is to effectively handle that concern so prospects join that day.
Closing on the day of the tour is not always possible, but by having an action plan before the prospect leaves the club, your reps can still be successful in closing the sale. Your sales representatives must get a commitment from prospects to return. One way to do so is to invite the prospects to be their guest to do something that they said they wanted to do during the pre-tour discussion. By scheduling the next meeting before prospects leave the club, your reps will maximize their follow-up efforts to get them back into the club and shorten the sales cycle.
If they cannot get something scheduled then, all hope is not lost. Here are some tips to share with your sales staff for how to follow up with prospects who do not commit during a tour:
• Begin follow-up efforts within 24 hours of the tour.
• The purpose of a phone call, text or email is to schedule an appointment to get the prospect into the club, not sell the club over the phone.
• Call all numbers they have given you.
• With phone calls, maximize your efforts with the three-round call system. Prioritize the calls by hot, warm and cold. Make calls in the morning, afternoon and evening. By making multiple calls throughout the day, you will get in touch faster.
• Do not leave a message on the first call. You may feel you are being efficient by leaving messages, but instead, you want to be effective by actually contacting them.
• When you do leave a message, leave the “something interesting” message:
“Hello, Bob. This is Karen with the X club. The reason for my message is that I was thinking about something you said on Tuesday, and I have been able to arrange a service for you at the club that I think you will really like. It is important that we speak by 6 p.m. tomorrow. Please call me at (phone number). Looking forward to hearing from you.”
Notice how the call starts positively, avoids mentioning anything about their objection while offering mystery and intrigue. Think about all of the follow-up prospects you have and make a “something interesting” list before you call them. Remember: It has to be specific to their needs, offer value and you cannot leave exactly what it is in your message.
• Reinforce all of your phone efforts by applying all of these points in a follow-up email. (All voicemail messages should be followed by an email that reflects the voicemail.)
• Continue following up until you reach them or until they say they are not interested. Do not make an assumption that they are not interested. People lead busy lives, and we may not be their top priority. Do not take their lack of response personally and give up. If you are gracious and offer value in your calls, you have nothing to lose by being persistent. If you are calling to simply hound them to join, you will be perceived as a pest, but if you are inviting them to club activities and events as your guest, then that has a completely different and gracious tone. Your persistence will make them want to contact you when they are ready to make a decision.
• Set the appointment with the prospect. Never suggest that they stop by. That sets you up for potentially terrible service, a missed opportunity and horrible time management. You can create distinction between “stopping by” and a request for a guest pass by saying, “If you would like for me to arrange a guest pass for you, I am happy to do so. Our guest pass fee is $25. However, if you would like to be my guest, that is by appointment only, and there is no fee for that. Which do you prefer?”
When your staff is following up with prospects, they must make every effort count. Their time is money, so they should not simply think about being efficient and leaving messages. Instead, they should keep track of each prospect to ensure they have made all their calls for the day. The goal is to be effective and get all their prospects back into the club to join.
Karen Woodard-Chavez is president of Premium Performance Training in Boulder, CO, and Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico. She has owned and operated clubs since 1985 and now consults with and trains club staff throughout the world.