Critical Factors for Sales Success

  1. Sales Opportunity Pay attention.  Really look and listen.  There are literally hundreds of sales opportunities currently occurring in your club right now. These include upgrades, add-ons, renewals, member questions, prospect questions, and random phone calls.  You can’t be on “auto pilot” while working in a club.  It’s a fluid and ever changing environment.  When at work, spend some time every day, every hour, getting out of the office and watch, look and listen to the minute-to-minute interaction between your members/customers and your staff.  Then figure out how to start acting on what you find. 
  1. The Need for Accurate Records. If your records are not accurate then you are leaking money.  Are your records “close enough” or are they exact?  Poor standards of recordkeeping account for thousands of dollars lost in your club each month.  Are your member records up-to-date?  Is there a photo identifying every member in every record?  If not, how do you know it’s the bona fide member?  Does every phone inquiry get recorded, and is there a result with each call?  Can you look at your guest register and determine at a glance who didn’t join and why not?  Do you reconcile these important records every day?  If not, revenues are slipping through your fingers every day. 
  1. Having a “production mentality.” Many sales people in the clubs are simply “order takers”, and unfortunately, their clubs sanctions this.  Sales staffs sit around waiting for the next walk in or telephone inquiry and that’s the extent of their efforts.  Too often, sales people expect management to generate all the new customers.  Even worse, often sales people believe that’s why management is there.  The sales people should be generating the business.  The club-generated leads should be extra. 

It’s a sales person’s job to produce leads and to sell memberships that don’t sell themselves.  If you’re not getting that, then reevaluate.  Your people should arrive at work with a “plan” and have business of their own lined up for the day when they walk in.  They shouldn’t just be waiting for it after they get there.  In simple terms, sales people should understand they are expected to produce…with everyday diligence and effort. 

  1. You need a “bias for action.” That’s a Harvard term for “make things happen”, “sell something, anything, now!”  Some of the best advice I ever received came from a little old lady who ran a small country convenience store.  She said, “I have three principles of business, First, get the money.  Second, get the money, and third, get the money.”  Tempered with attention to prospects’ needs and feelings, do your salespeople embrace this outlook? 
  1. Train and Practice. If your staff is not thoroughly and properly trained in the first place, you may be losing more potential members than you are acquiring.  If your staff members don’t continually work on sharpening their skills, then sales results will fall short.  Create a sales staff culture of a constant practice of observation, analysis and communication.  It can be challenging and fun.  Not only will the sales people become more skilled, but energies and job satisfaction will be higher.
  2. Get Quantifiable Information on Every Prospect. Look at your guest registers and phone sheets.  Do you see first names only?  Are there phone numbers?  Are there any informational notes or any follow up needs?  Inspire your staff to get all the information and to record an outcome for each call. 

Casual efforts and incomplete business records, along with the absence of management’s attention to these shortcomings, lead to a do nothing culture.  

  1. Have an “Organized” Work Effort. Your staff can work together in an organized, systematic effort in order to produce consistent, “generated” revenues. A laissez-faire attitude and a fly-by-the-seat-of your-pants effort are not only ineffective, but they are often counter productive.  Motivate the people you are paying.  Inspire them to come out of their offices.  Seek them out and ask them, “What have you done in the last 15 minutes to help produce revenues?” 

Keep in mind, if they are not legitimately busy and doing something productive, then it’s most likely your fault.  If they don’t know how to work in a productive and organized fashion as a team, then replace them.  After this, don’t be afraid to replace those who often are not prepared or “have nothing going on.” 

  1. Teach them to sell for the benefits of our great product, not like it’s a commodity. If they are selling on “price” then they might as well be selling soy beans, wheat, coffee or orange juice.  Selling a membership like it’s just leasing a space in your facility is degrading to the club members and customers.  We change lives everyday. There is no “price” that can be measured against this.  People are joining our clubs for many reasons, but very few of them are joining because it’s cheap.”  Teach your staff to search for and find what prospects are emotionally attached to (super objective).  Sell to satisfy their emotional needs and you will never have a sales problem. 
  1. Sell tomorrow, today. Too often, sales staff focus is only on the sales that are right in front of them at that moment.  This is shortsighted, not giving credence to the fact that over 50% of new members come from referrals.  If you don’t understand and use this concept, then you’re falling short of optimal membership sales.  Every new member is a potential link to your next new member.  Teach your staff to ask for referrals and to nurture new member relationships.  Their appointments books will be full tomorrow and the next day. 
  1. Know how to “work” at your job. Many sales people could be far more productive than they presently are.  However, I’ve found out that many have minimal know-how as to what to do to produce new business.  Often they are not taught and coached on the “what and how” to produce revenue.  In any training program, how to produce new business should be the first thing they are taught.  If they can get the prospecting part, their business generating skills will be successful.  Those you can just “tour and close” always come and go.  Business generators end up making a career out of the industry.
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