Most health clubs already have a membership sales manager or someone who is in charge of membership sales production in some capacity, so why hire a sales coach for the membership department? Many sales managers are not trained in the subtleties of effective gym sales training nor have they developed the necessary skills and tools to be effective sales leaders. The most common way to hire a gym sales manager is to simply promote your best sales person in the membership department. This logic suggests this person is the most qualified to lead the membership sales team based on their past membership sales achievements. This type of promotion by necessity is common, but not commonly successful. In the process you may even lose your top membership sales performer when their leadership abilities fail to match their sales ability.
The key reason being: Great gym sales people don’t often make great gym sales managers.
Why? This is largely due to the behaviors inherent to traditional individual gym salesmanship. At the risk of generalizing, these individuals can be highly competitive by nature and many can often be found running by their own set of rules when comes to making a membership sale. Many sales superstars can be described as egocentric, disorganized, manipulating, persuasive and let’s not forget charming. Often embodying the true entrepreneurial spirit, the sales superstar by nature will just get out there and make things happen. And yes of course, they may even cut a corner or two in the process. This poses an interesting but challenging dilemma for their gym sales managers or club General Manager.
To promote such individuals to a gym sales manager is to promote the same individual behaviors. More often than not, these behaviors are challenging to replicate successfully without ramification. The decision to do so will play a huge role in developing your gym sales culture. This is why so many gym sales teams operate by the 80/20 principle, with 80% of the membership sales being generated by 20% of the membership sales team and the rest merely making up the numbers. Usually the successful few are doing things very differently based on what they know or have learned in the role through their own positive and negative experiences in sales or in the gym industry. The normally enthusiastic but struggling majority is left to make up the numbers. Gym sales models that demonstrate this type of unbalanced success are clearly lacking the right leadership, sales support and sales coaching structure in their gym.
A gym sales coach’s role in the above scenario would be to coach the membership sales manager and membership sales team members to demonstrate common habitual behaviors and skills across the entire team for optimum membership sales team performance in the health club membership sales department.
Now, go close a sale!
Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, an Outsourced CEO, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomasondemand.com.