Big Box Gyms Still Work

I read it all the time and I’m sure you do as well, big box gyms are a thing of the past. Do you think this is true? Not based on what I see.  Let me explain why.

Yes, when you read the survey’s and talk to owners, you hear tales of struggle, but when you dig deeper, you see something completely different.  The survey and the story of a struggle are, many times, just the end result of many things that have been missed.

We work with many big box gyms that flourish and the opportunity is available for any club owner to get the results they are seeking if they will integrate the following;

  1. Overcome the issue of obscurity. This is the biggest problem faced by gyms, no one knows you’re out there and those that do aren’t thinking about you. Too many gym owners significantly underestimate what it will take to gain attention.  It requires a massive, determined effort and not just doing a few things to accomplish this.
  2. Get a club app and actually use it. You are literally in the palm of the hand of your club members and prospects.  No club should be without one.
  3. Become a digital media company.  I don’t see many really taking advantage of this incredible opportunity. Blogs, Video, podcast, email, social media and salesperson resource center.  This is significantly underutilized or even truly understood.
  4. Turning cost centers into profit centers. The days are long past whereby the monthly dues can underwrite every area of your club.  Your front desk, nursery and group x must product (at minimum) enough to cover their cost.  In the end, this means training and development of staff.
  5. Sales Process.  These are the proven steps of the sales process.  Every guest, no matter what  the circumstances, must receive a membership presentation.
  6. Sales fundamentals.  The two biggest areas of improvement are being agreeable  with the customer and asking for the sale.
  7. Learn how to follow up on existing leads.  So much time and effort is placed on getting the phone to ring and people to call and then the ball is dropped in follow up.  Salespeople need training on how to properly do this.
  8. Keeping the club as new and as trendy today as it was the day it opened.  Much like the restaurant and nightclub business, your gym must stay on top of the recent trends in order to stay relative in the marketplace.
  9. Install a strategy to grow and develop member loyalty.  This is the foundation of your member retention success and it can’t be simply “we provide good service, it must be quantifiable.
  10. Actually define a unique selling position.  Most gyms we go into cannot answer this question.  Quite simply; what makes you different, why should I join your gym?  And you can’t say because you’re friendly, have great service and have the best equipment – everyone says that.

Now, go make your big box gym a success!

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net.

 

Would you like to double your health club membership sales?

This is a story about three very different types of clubs.  All in three different parts of the county, but they have a few things in common. They were all struggling in membership sales production as a result of a poor sales process and poor sales fundamentals.

In 30 days each club had doubled their membership sales production plus they doubled their contact value (by selling a 24 month agreement instead of a 12 month agreement.)  Of course, this kind of success sets the stages for others successes to come.

Here’s how they did it.

Process

  1.  They gained immediate control over the non member traffic coming into their club and now required each guest to register in.
  2. Each guest is now completing a Needs Analysis to help determine goals and what they want to accomplish.
  3. The membership rep is now giving a tour based on the Super Objective (emotional reason the guest wants to accomplish their goals).
  4. The membership rep is now sitting down with each guest and giving a membership price presentation based on benefits with a strong reason to buy today (that is not price related).

Fundamentals

  1. All sales staff is learning how to be agreeable.  For example, if the guest says “that’s a lot of money or that’s a long commitment,” the sales rep now says, “yes, I agree, that is a lot of money, a lot of our members say that, but you should see the smile on their face when they lose that 20 pounds and have that waist line down.”  This works much better than simply defending your position.
  2. The sales staff is now selling desired outcomes (Super Objective) instead of giving a tour the only points out the features and equipment in the club.
  3. With decent boldness, the sales staff is now asking for the sale.  They have learned that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

There is still more work to be done, but each club is well on their way to success.

Now, go double your sales! 

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net.

 

 

How to Spot a Potential Star Health Club Salesperson

After having interviewed thousands of potential salespeople over the years on behalf of client clubs…and after having hired and helped to supervise many of them…and after having trained them and worked beside them, I have found there are certain qualities that every star health club salesperson possesses.

One of the secrets is…don’t be tricked by what they know relative to fitness or the health club industry, and don’t be blinded by how they look. Instead, concentrate on who they are.  Here you go:

1.  Will they do the right thing when no one is watching?  Do they have integrity?

Members and guests appreciate and want to deal with honest people.  Fast talkers will come and go. Hard closers will get some sales, but will create some ill will… experts in fitness will help us understand, but the thing that draws us to do business with a person, more than anything else, is that person’s integrity. We know that we will be dealt with fairly and honestly.

2.  Do they have a high energy level?  Are they a self starter? What kind of work ethic do they have?

Whether we like it or not, it is still true, to a large degree, sales, in the health club business, is a numbers game. Every health club sales person must talk to a certain number of people in order to sell one.

So, the element of volume is very important to a successful health club sales person. Given two salespeople of equal skills, experience, intelligence, product knowledge, etc., the one who works the hardest will be more successful.

There is no substitute for hard work. Sometimes, the difference between one sales person being successful and another being unsuccessful comes down to quantity of sales efforts.

3.  Are they coachable? Do they have the ability to learn?

I’m not talking about the kind of knowledge that you get in school. For the successful health club salesperson, the ability to learn means the ability to evaluate a situation, and then to modify or make adjustments in the way they do things as a result.  Can they think quickly on their feet?

In today’s health club environment, there are a number of areas in which a good salesperson must continually be inquiring, learning, and changing their behavior.

The first of these…are their personal sales skills. Health Club sales is an area of endeavor where a person is never as good as they could be. There is always some skill that can be learned or improved upon. The successful health club salesperson never considers themselves to have arrived, but is constantly looking for ways to refine and improve their sales skills. It’s a continuous learning process.

The health club salesperson must learn how to change their behavior to meet the needs, drives, and personalities of the club guests and members. The successful health club salesperson is a chameleon. They change their behavior and, to some extent, their personality, to meet the ways in which different guests and members need for them to behave.

4. Do they have the ability to build positive relationships? Do they have a winning attitude?

The successful health club salesperson is the individual who can quickly build trusting relationships with all sorts of people in the community and inside the club. That requires empathy, the ability to listen, perceptiveness, and the ability to mold themselves into the kind of person the prospect and club member needs.

Those are relationship-building skills. And the most successful health club salespeople are relationship builders.

5.  Do they have a self-image of success?  Do they see themselves capturing every sale?

People tend to live up to their image of themselves. We all understand that.

Every one of us can think of people in our own lives who have lots of ability and potential, but who never live up to that potential because of their poor self-image.

Somewhere, they developed a poor self-image, and began to think of themselves as incompetent, unable, or unworthy.

6.  Do they really want to be in sales?  What is their personal motivation?

The best health club salespeople all have within them a drive to excel, to be the best.  They have a desire to persuade others.  They have a desire… to get you to see their way of thinking.

It’s that internal motivation that drives all the other qualities of the superstar salesperson. And that drive to succeed is far more powerful than any of the other qualities. Given a strong internal motivation, sooner or later the health club salesperson that is driven to success will succeed. It’s only a matter of time.

Now, add that internal drive, with an ability to learn, an image of success and achievement, a high energy level, personal integrity, and add the ability to create strong business relationships, and you have the ingredients of a superstar health club salesperson.

And should you find a salesperson like this, get ready, because they will make your health club the most interesting it has been in a long time…and, oh by the way, profitable.

Now, go find that health club superstar.

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net.

 

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