Open House

Does it seem possible that a club can run an open house, draw around 5,000 guests and not sell any memberships?  Not likely, does it?


Not long ago two very beautiful and successful clubs, at opposite ends of the country, advertised their grand opening party to their respective communities.  Everyone was welcomed to join in the festivities. There would be all sorts of exhibitions, contests, special events, and refreshments.  It had all the makings of an incredible day for each of the club and their communities.  Each club had a truly incredible day.  Around 5,000 people showed up to toast the new facilities, watch the exhibitions and eat the food.  There was something wrong however…NOBODY JOINED!!!!!?!


When the managers were asked why people did not join, they did not have an answer.


This is a common but regretful occurrence.  The lesson is learned quite fast and at a high cost.  The reason no memberships were sold on those two days was because:


  1. The clubs were not set up or prepared to sell memberships that day.
  2. The guests were not properly guided into buying.  They were not asked to join that day, therefore assumed it was not the proper time.
  3. The clubs were set up to display their wares, not to sell memberships.


The MAIN OBJECTIVE of an Open House is

to sell memberships that very day.

To reach this end

the club must be set up to do so

in a most efficient way.


Selling at the Open House…


By taking the open house guest through the following guided tour and selling steps you will assure your club of a successful open house.  Remember:  Each open house guest is a high profile prospect.


  1. Each guest should be greeted by a receptionist.
  2. Each guest, member or non-member, is given a nametag to wear during the day.  Color code members and non-members differently.
  3. Each guest is asked to register for the open house drawing.  Information you should get includes name, address, phone numbers, email address and whether they are a member or not.
  4. The guest is then turned over to a tour guide.
  5. The tour guide is actually a sales person who tours, qualifies, makes the sales presentation, and attempts to sell the guest a membership.
  6. Tour guide gets application filled out and check signed.
  7. Upon completion of this last step, the tour guide turns the guest over to the processing table where now the new member receives a receipt, membership rules, membership card and anything else required in processing the new member.
  8. The new member is now presented to the appointment person who books an appointment for the new member’s first workout, fitness evaluation and program or whatever else they wish.  This is done in order to get them started on the right track.
  9. Tour guide goes back to reception area to start another tour.
  10. The new member is invited over to the refreshment area and is set loose to wander on his own.


If the tour guide is unable to close the membership sale, he or she simply invites the person over to the refreshment area and excuses himself to give another tour.


Staffing the Open House


This process seems to take a lot of people and it does.  But for one day – it is worth the expense and time involved.  Don’t skimp on the people.  The following crew will be necessary on the day of the open house:


  1. At least one receptionist (maybe two) to greet people as they come in.  Choose someone who has a charming personality and knows a lot of members.
  2. Plenty of tour guides.  Use staff, member volunteers, even hires some professional sales types for the day.  Be sure to train them to sell your product.
  3. Membership processors.  Choose someone who is familiar with your procedures and rates.  They must be trusted with your register or cash for the day.
  4. Appointment makers.  Only one is needed, but they too must have a pleasant personality.
  5. Food & Beverage person to take charge of the refreshment area.
  6. A program director to take care of all contest, exhibitions and special activities that day.
  7. Clean up crew to stay after the place.  It needs to be kept clean all day even when there are large numbers of people in the club.
  8. A GO-FER.  Probably the most important person of the day.  You need someone to be running around doing odds and ends.


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