Successful salespeople possess a love and belief for what they sell. If they do not possess these at their core, then the sales process becomes empty and meaningless. Passion sells. Customers love a strong balance of motivation, excitement and a feeling that their wants and needs are heard and met.
All of your salespeople should possess the following five “D” elements:
Draw. They must be able to draw others to the club. They need to be able to convey your club’s message and make it attractive to prospects so that they are drawn in.
Determine. They must be able to get prospects to reveal their desires. Then, they must be able to translate to prospects how your club can help them achieve those desires.
Differentiate. Salespeople must be able to define for prospects why they should join your club. Prospects need to want to join, to want what you have to offer, and this comes from seeing your club as being different from the alternatives.
Deliver. Your salespeople must be able to show prospects the value of a membership at your club and that your club can give them what they need and want.
Dedicate. Your salespeople must be able to follow through on the title of membership representative. They should be able to build trust with members, meaning that they want to build relationships and solve issues that may arise.
When you hire new salespeople, you must ensure that they possess these five abilities, but you likely still have one big question: Should you hire a salesperson with a fitness background or one with a sales background?
Candidates with a fitness background presumably have the knowledge to be in tune with selling the vision and the dream of fitness. Candidates with no fitness experience may have the sales tools, but they may need to be educated in your product line—fitness.
You could hire a third type of candidate, which is one with no experience in sales or fitness. With the right personality traits, these blank slates could be fully trained in your system. However, I typically prefer to hire candidates with some experience in sales and/or fitness.
Hiring a salesperson with a fitness background is a great plus, but be careful that they are not overly passionate in one area and have opinions in other areas that may not be conducive to the holistic approach needed in the sales process. Today’s prospects have a greater range of needs than in the past, and salespeople with a seasoned fitness background may be deaf to prospects’ real needs, offering them opinions rather than options. Additionally, the “fit” salesperson may not be able to relate to prospects because they may speak above the heads of some prospects. More than 80 percent of all prospects have a limited knowledge of fitness and wellness, so salespeople must not alienate them during the tour process.
Additionally, the “fit” salesperson may not be able to relate to prospects because they may speak above the heads of some prospects. More than 80 percent of all prospects have a limited knowledge of fitness and wellness, so salespeople must not alienate them during the tour process.
As you consider these factors, keep in mind the type of members you attract and hire appropriately for those members. If you have a specialty club or one designed for experienced exercisers, then you should hire salespeople with that specialty background. The learning curve for others will be too steep, requiring too much time for them to build the necessary knowledge base. If you are a group fitness club, tennis club or MMA club, then hire an expert in those areas and teach them your sales systems. If you are a multipurpose club, hire a person that best “looks” like your 80 percent.
With all this said, remember that you need salespeople who can speak to prospects in a language that they fully understand.
Thomas Kulp, formerly the chief motivational offi cer at Universal Athletic Club, Lancaster, PA, is the director of Solution Consultants. He can be reached at 717-799-5155.