8 Ways to Boost Membership Sales

The following 8 steps provide a guiding strategy for you to implement in your club to optimize sales performance.

1 . Strike while the iron is hot

A club visitor who doesn’t sign up on the spot is still a hot lead. Unfortunately, your sales team has a limited window of opportunity to convert that hot lead into a member - typically between 48-72 crucial hours.  Past that point, they're likely to either lose interest, engage with other clubs or forget they ever wanted to join a club. In this situation, time is of the essence in capturing their interest.

Integrating a sales CRM system designed for the health and fitness industry into your club’s member lifecycle management strategy is a great way to automatically capture  and follow up with leads from a variety of sources. Moreover, this system can also track prior communication attempts from your team providing essential information on all interactions with leads. Above all, implementing this strategy will ensure that every club lead is nurtured and can produce tangible insights into which communication methods are most effective for driving sales.

2 . Have plenty of documentation on-hand

Some leads decide on the spot that they want to become members. Others wait and make the important decision on their own time, outside of the gym. To make sure every lead remembers your club’s name, you should always have a full stock of brochures and pamphlets on-hand for them to peruse later.  A well-stocked literature rack also makes a club look more professional and well-maintained, whereas one that’s half-full of dog-eared, old documents implies a lack of care and attention.

You should also make sure your website contains links to the above materials as some leads will prefer to read online.  If you really want to push the boat out (and have some marketing dollars to spend) consider investing in branded USB sticks or SD cards which are fully stocked with literature and videos promoting your club.  Everyone loves free stuff and they speak volumes about how serious you are about investing in your gym's success. 

3 . Focus on your leads' desires

“Boilerplate" scripted speeches are fast becoming a sales technique of the past.  Today's buyers are a savvy bunch and expect a much more personalized sales approach.  If they feel like they're hearing a tired, old speech which has already been recited a dozen times that day, they'll almost certainly tune out and get turned off.

Instead of a sales pitch, make it a conversation. Train your recruiters to really listen to what leads are saying, and focus their pitches to match each lead's individual fitness goals.  Do they want muscles, or agility?  Do they want to improve their personal health, or something else? Sales teams should look to find their button and push it.  Moreover, your best sales reps are almost inevitably going to be those who can quickly ascertain why a person has walked into their club, and focuses on those underlying motivations in every conversation with that lead.

4. Know your most enthusiastic members

An endorsement from an enthusiastic member can carry a lot of weight, if you’ll pardon the pun. In fact, some gyms attest that their best salespeople are regular gym goers.  You should know all your best club members by name, and introduce them to potential leads.  Their recommendation will often create a stronger impression than that of the official salesperson.

You might even consider organizing an informal 'ambassadors' program, specifically for members who love your club and are enthusiastic about evangelizing it.  Another potential tactic is offering rewards or discounts for member referrals when they lead to sustained memberships.  However you do it, your most enthusiastic members are a terrific resource to leverage.

If you have a customer database, you can make notes on their own preferences and favorite aspects of the club to make these efforts easier. 

5. Recognize poor leads quickly

Some leads are just plain bad. Rather than waste valuable sales resources on fickle leads, you should make sure to optimize your salespeople's time and effort for best results. If leads don't respond to outreach, and ignore follow-up attempts, encourage your sales staff to move onto the next prospect.  

Much of the time, you can learn to spot a bad lead quickly.  When asked why they've come to the gym, you might get responses involving a spouse or "the boss" wanting them to join.  If fishing for motivation along those lines makes it clear they're only there because someone else is pushing them, it's unlikely they'll be easy to convert - and unlikely to return in the future.

6. Engage on social media

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are not just a one-stop-shop for pictures of puppies. They are also free marketing tools for your club. For your page to be effective, you should make sure to encourage both leads and existing members to join you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc and interact with it.  Your social media page is an all-in-one resource for legitimate testimonials and encouragement along with pictures of your best success stories. Some leads are likely to even contact you via your social media page with questions and requests for more information.

While no replacement for an enthusiastic salesperson, such efforts are a great way to increase the numbers in your lead database and ensure your sales staff always have new leads to pursue.  Plus, when a lead is proactive in reaching out to you, even if it's just with a Facebook comment, they're already much better-qualified than a lot of leads you'll get.

7. Track your successes

You should make sure to not take easy sales for granted. Remember to dig into how/why a particular sales pitch worked, and learn how to apply it to other leads.  Just like with a fitness program, tracking sales success is as important as tracking failures.

The use of accurate  fitness club reporting software is critical here - the ability to analyze reams of data instantly is not something your sales team can reasonably do by hand.  Computer systems, however, can easily crunch huge databases of information while finding actionable insights into what methods do and don't work.

8. Utilize software automation systems

Integrating the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software into your club’s member lifecycle management strategy is a highly effective way to streamline the sales process and free up your’s and your sales team’s time. Products like InTouch can automate many aspects of marketing, such as lead capture, followup emails/texts and reporting, while also providing a central database of member/lead information.

In terms of overall productivity and optimization, CRM solutions are a godsend for any growing business. They streamline virtually every aspect of your sales process, provide deep reporting, as well as tracking your members and their own preferences.