How to Create a Sales Culture in Your Health Club

When health club owners commit to creating a sales culture at their facilities, they are trying to increase sales and profits. Although the bottom line may be simple, club owners still must follow some fundamental rules.

All staff must be involved. Any successful sales culture needs to include each and every employee. Everyone from the owner to the minimum wage employee must be involved. Staff at some health clubs think that the idea of a sales culture is a membership sales department function that doesn’t affect other departments. However, a true sales culture occurs when everyone takes responsibility for increasing sales by adopting a member and guest satisfaction-centered attitude.

All staff must have a real stake in the company. No matter how much your staff hears about a health club sales culture, they won’t be committed to taking daily sales-enhancing actions if they don’t feel that they will be rewarded. Incentives and profit participating programs are indispensable to any successful health club sales culture. When you let your staffers know what the goals are and what they will receive when the goals are achieved, they will put forth their best efforts.

Club owners must provide staff with tools and training. No matter how much commitment you might get from employees, if they don’t have specific tools and training to put the sales culture into action, your efforts will be fruitless. The following tools are helpful when training staff: product training sessions, sales training workshops, guest information (such as brochures and marketing information), scripts for up-selling and role playing sessions. These tools, combined with departmental profit bonuses and frequent sales updates, will put a positive charge in your health club workforce.

The member is king. One of the primary misnomers concerning health club sales cultures is that they are built upon increasing sales at any cost—even to the detriment of long relationships. A true health club sales culture is focused on nurturing members and guests by delivering solutions each and every day. The sales manager’s most trusted tool is the lifetime member value equation, which shows the returns a loyal member has over time. Every question related to members should be answered in the context of what impact it will have on the overall lifetime of the membership.

Cultural change starts with you. Only a complete commitment from the health club owner and top management will initiate a transformation to a sales culture. Not only should these people be verbally committed to the change, but they must lead the change. Seeing health club leaders driving the cultural change will have a big impact on others in the club. Everyone should hear the owner pledge to serve the members and provide staffers with the tools and training to institute the sales culture.

Increased marketplace competition, shrinking margins, increased regulation and other economic factors make creating a sales culture in every health club a priority for profits. By following these basic rules, any health club, fitness center or gym can begin the process of building a successful sales culture.

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 on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products.


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