If you’ve been in this business for a while you’ve probably heard the old adage: “The be-back bus doesn’t come back” or some other variation. The clichés are based on the fact that most times if a sale isn’t made on the first day, the missed guest seldom returns.
Consumers are too smart these days to fall for strong-arm tactics or smarmy sales pitches. So, there are many times, no matter how good you are, that you will miss sales. Combine that with the fact that there are a dozen other fitness options awaiting your missed guest, and you might just want to give up. However, I urge you not to give up.
Too many salespeople are focused on the next sale, rarely taking the time to effectively follow-up with any missed guests, simply because they believe the be-back bus doesn’t come back. Well, the be-back bus DOES come back if you follow a few simple rules to get them to know you, like you and trust you.
- Send a handwritten note or thank you card, expressing your appreciation for them taking the time out of their day to come see you. If you didn’t provide a trial membership pass or gift card before they left your facility, make sure you provide one inside the envelope. If you did provide them a trial pass or gift card, include an extra one for them to give to a friend.
- Send an e-mail or text message the same day they visit your facility, thanking them for their time and reminding them of their fitness goals they shared with you.
- Call them within 48 hours. I would just say, “Hi John, its Frank from _______ Gym I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was meeting you the other day and to see if there were any other questions about how we can help you with ________ (fitness goals).”
If you get their voicemail, leave the same message but bait the hook with some type of mystery reason to call you back: “Call me back because I just found out about an incentive that could save you a few bucks.”
The calls can continue frequently for a few weeks, and more sporadically over time. You only remove them from your call list if they have asked you to stop calling. Remember, you don’t know what is going on in their life right now and you might just call at a moment of need.
Invite them to any event you are hosting. A member appreciation event, a month end closeout, a seminar, etc. You can also always call to extend their trial pass that has expired. Or you can call and let them know that the club is going to pay for them to meet with a personal trainer.
If you follow this system diligently, you will find that there are more people than you thought who are willing to get on the be-back bus. A missed opportunity to sell on a first visit doesn’t necessarily mean the sale is lost forever.
The decision to join a gym is a big decision and there are some people who just need more time to think. Get these people to know you, like you, and trust that you have their best interests in mind, and you will be surprised at how many make their way back through your doors.
Curtis Mock is the host of www.FitnessBusinessTelevision.com the TV show for fitness entrepreneurs. He is also the executive director of gymsuccess.com. Curtis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.