Everyone has either heard about it or experienced it themselves. The dreaded gym sale hard close. Usually the product of an overzealous sales person who’s thinking about a commission check rather than the results you want to get – this process has plagued the industry for years. At it’s worst, it will make you never want to step foot in a gym again.
So what is it supposed to be like? Why is a sales process needed at all for fitness?
Selling a fitness membership shouldn’t be an intense process. It’s supposed to be an opportunity for both salesperson and customer to discover more about what the customer is looking for and ultimately to match up their needs with the type of memberships, programs and services that will allow them to be successful. This why we refer to fitness sales people as Fitness Consultants.
To properly achieve this, let’s look at what the fitness sales process is supposed to be like:
1. Needs Analysis
– If you’ve ever checked out a gym, the Fitness Consultant you met with likely started by asking you a number of questions about your goals, your fitness history and why it is important for you to reach them. The goal of this is NOT interrogation. It’s to find out more about your knowledge level and needs so that we can properly attend to them.
– Once your goals and knowledge level are understood, the staff member should then take the opportunity to show you around the facilities. They’ll highlight the areas of the gym or programs which should be of most interest to you given what you had previously provided them about yourself. Often times, they try to introduce you to multiple staff members along the way – personal trainers, fitness managers even receptionists – so you feel comfortable approaching those people for help when the time is right.
3. Price Presentation
– After showing you the value you get with various memberships during the tour, the staff member usually then will show you the different membership options and the prices associated with each. Here’s where things can get dicey. Bad sales people throw prices out quickly and then use pressure to help push you towards a membership. Great Fitness Consultants make sure you understand each of the prices and what you get with them. They encourage you to ask questions because their goal is education and creating the best fit. This should be a great two-way conversation about what your options are and ultimately about which combination of membership, programs and services is right for you.
– After making the buying decision, the final job of the Fitness Consultant should be to get you registered and signed up for all your onboarding activities. This might include fitness and nutrition consultations, a complimentary group fitness class and/or seminars or welcome nights that the club might be hosting for new members. Sometimes people are in a rush to get out of there or salespeople are in a hurry to finish the sale. We can not stress enough that this part of the sales process is by far the most important. Getting people started properly is where most gyms fall short. Take the time to understand the onboarding process – ask lots of questions about what to bring and what to expect and make sure you show up for all the recommended activities. Your results may depend on it.
In the end, high pressure in the sales process comes from when the sales person hasn’t done a good job of understanding your needs and/or establishing the value for you in the Tour. They then try to “Close” you by finding out what your objections are and talking you through why they shouldn’t exist. We think this is wrong.
The reality is, if a Fitness Consultant is doing their job, the selling process for fitness memberships should be an exercise in exploration and education. They should be there to help you make the decision that is right for meeting your goals. Making the commitment to embark on this journey isn’t easy. It requires education, support and encouragement from the Fitness Consultant and ultimately, an open mind from you!