Closeout — many clubs have different standards to how they run their sales programs, but most clubs have one time period where everyone is on the same page. Typically the last three days of a month are a closeout. To some the last three days may result in as much as 25 percent of the entire month’s sales numbers. I have always been amazed at closeouts and wondered why there was so much energy at the end. Why not express an even amount of energy throughout the month?
Here is why — if you close out hard, you empty the popcorn machine. Yes that’s right, associate sales are like fresh batches of popcorn — there has to be kernels and there has to be heat. If you keep both of those two ingredients you will pop new popcorn. At the end of the month sales people are closing everybody left into the popcorn machine, but they are not putting new kernels (leads) into the machine, so typically everyone closes hard, but starts soft because they have depleted the lead list. Many sales reps are incentivized with bonuses, so it makes sense to pour on as many sales because the bonus system will enhance their overall paycheck. The other challenge is that the beginning of the month starts out slow, because all leads were exhausted and no time was set aside for marketing.
It would make more sense to produce consistently throughout the month, right?. It would make more sense to have kernels going into the machine every day and produce results, right?. The stress factor alone would be reduced dramatically if everybody produced all month instead of the last three days. To do that it takes focus in many areas, not only consistently making appointments everyday, but changing the way you create incentives. Your role is to monitor activity daily — make sure minimum number of appointments, referrals, corporate letters and ambassador programs are done daily. Numbers don’t lie, they always tell a story. Focus on your five new appointment’s per day — that’s 110 appointments per month based on 22 working days. Each number will average out to minimum production. The numbers don’t lie — the challenge in the process is the failure of the sale manager to demand the numbers. Remember, if you don’t keep the team on course you will be letting each individual down. You must take responsibility for the success of your team and each individual. I am not saying you do it for them, but by letting them get away with hitting their daily numbers, you will create a snowball effect of failure and no one will be happy.
Get everyone on board, talk about hitting your numbers by the end of the third week of the month, use the last week to maximize income and build for the next month, start with approach and over time you will see a better work environment that will be conducive for success.
Chuck Hall is the executive director at Big Vanilla Athletic Clubs.