Club Insider

Driving Summer Membership Sales

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Casey ConradCasey Conrad

For many health and fitness clubs, the summer represents a slow time in regular membership sales. There is no denying that walk-in club traffic suffers when nice weather drives people outdoors, and the kids who are at home from school interrupts typical schedules. But, A does not always equal B, and this does not mean that membership sales "have to" slow to a crawl. What slower "natural" club traffic means is simply that salespeople need to be more proactive at driving prospects into the club! When making statements like this, the question that many owners and operators pose is, "Okay, so how do I get my salespeople to generate more leads during times of slower club traffic?" Well, it takes effort, but below is a 7-step plan for achieving summer membership sales success at your facility.

1. Set clear expectations for lead generation year-round. Producing a sales team that sells memberships year-round is a product of your expectations. I know that sounds overly simple, but it all starts here. When salespeople begin working in non-summer months, they often enjoy a regular flow of prospects, which makes their job much easier. If they are not expected to self-generate a certain amount of leads from the day they are hired, that becomes their habit, and a bad one at that. Then, when the summer months hit, they start moaning about a bad paycheck. Instead of knowing what to do and how to do it, they give up.

By establishing with new hires that lead generation is a daily part of their job, this creates a positive, empowering habit that puts them in control of their paycheck. They understand that it is up to them to create sales, and that the walk-ins are considered "freebies" that they enjoy because they earned the privilege of receiving them. The bottom line is to make self-generating leads part of the new hire expectations!

2. Establish a clear plan. Once expectations have been set, it is necessary to establish a clear and specific plan. This is "101" stuff, so we don't need to say too much about this one. Determine how many sales you expect the rep to make with self-generated leads and calculate the average show and closing ratio. Then, back-into the number of actual leads that need to be obtained each month in order to hit the sales target. Of course, this will depend upon the quality of the lead (i.e. is it a referral, a lead box, a joint marketing lead, etc?), but this should all be taken into consideration in the coaching process. From there, take the monthly goal and break it down into weekly and daily goals. Finally, set a specific agenda for exact times when the salesperson will go out and prospect.

3. Don't buy into limiting beliefs and excuses. While performing a recent sales and marketing audit, the club owner gave me this story about how the businesses in their area weren't open to lead boxes, how the ordinances didn't allow the reps to do this or that and how they had tried so many things with no success. That is why they don't focus on it anymore. Bull!

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