Often sales reps just go to work every day and forget why they started selling memberships to begin with. At the beginning of the job everyone is always enthusiastic, but over time that enthusiasm dwindles. It’s a normal emotional curve that most people experience in any occupation. Often professionals need to be reminded of the things that were important. Our job as sales leaders is to inspire our sales consultants by knowing what’s important to them and how to inspire them through their own convictions.
I will bet that the first 100 tours a new rep gives are almost textbook. They were great in the introduction phase, they did a super Q&A session, they asked what the customer was seeking, they put on a show during the tour, they asked trial closing questions, they took time to understand the needs of the prospects and their closing ratio was very high. Over time all the things that lead to great success start to get passed over, and a now seasoned rep relies on the knowledge of past experience as opposed to the enthusiasm of a new salesman. They begin to do just what was required as opposed to doing what is expected to perform on a high level. Often this change is undetected — to the raw eye it all looks the same, to the seasoned veteran it becomes obvious — your new sales rep has started to fit in, has become comfortable and has forgotten that it’s all about the prospect and their needs.
Three out of 10 people who come into a fitness center will join regardless of the presentation. They live close by, the price is right, they have been wanting to join, etc. We have sales people to inspire four out of 10 — it’s acceptable to close seven out of 10 prospects. Every encounter with a prospect is an opportunity to change someone’s life, to inspire a whole new person, to be part of an exciting chapter in someone’s life. Every three months you need to have a meeting just to ask each sales person why they like selling memberships. Money is an acceptable answer but I want you to dig much deeper.
Here are some examples of why sales people love being sales people in the fitness industry.
The first love was to simply share the gift of fitness. Every new prospect comes in because they are looking for a facility that matches their needs. Most are not members of other clubs, most don’t have equipment at home and most don’t work out at all. Sales reps love sharing the benefits of exercise and what great results exercise can do for the average person. We have to assume that all fitness sales people work out themselves, so just to share their personal testimonials is exciting to the undereducated prospect.
You can make a difference for someone struggling with a health concern. Many prospects come to the gym with blood pressure challenges, cholesterol challenges, diabetes challenges, stress, cardio disease, sometimes their doctors sent them and simply said “you need to start exercising.” Sales people love having the opportunity to be difference makers. They can share the benefits of exercise, they can talk about health risk and how exercise can reduce those risks. They can give testimonials of other members who have benefitted from exercise who had the same conditions. It becomes exciting to meet someone who is struggling and wants to change because you know that your gym can make a difference. I can see sales reps jumping out of their seat to be difference makers.
Sales reps sell for self-satisfaction. They actually get to do and represent something that they like — to be able to exercise personally everyday, then get paid to introduce exercise to others. The general rule for success has always been to find what it is that you love to do, then figure out a way to make money in it. The thought of making money showing someone how to start an exercise program is exciting. It’s an adrenaline rush to talk about your hobby and your job all at the same time. People who love fitness and love to sell have found a better opportunity than most.
Sales people sell for a paycheck, but it’s so much more that simply that. We always focus on how many people we can help versus on how many new sales. Often sales reps need to be motivated by money and bonus opportunities, but they mostly need to be reminded about changing lives, being difference makers — reminding them that they get to do what they love. Fitness sales reps are the lucky ones and they should never forget how good things are for them.
There are intrinsic rewards as well. I do believe people should always reward themselves. If you work hard for an entire month and you hit your numbers and the team hits their numbers then there should be celebration by the team, and celebration by the individual. Let’s say you want a new pair of running shoes — set that as a goal for hitting your bonus. Maybe there is a trendy restaurant in the area — set that as a team goal for hitting the team bonus. There are many opportunities to celebrate and that also leads to a reason as to why to sell membership’s in fitness clubs.
Just don’t ever forget that we are there to make a difference — each prospect brings a unique opportunity to be a difference maker. Sometimes it’s for health reasons, sometimes it’s for social reason, sometimes it’s a combination of both, but that new sale has five friends who think the same way and if you do a great job, you will continue to be given opportunities to save and change lives.
Chuck Hall is the executive director at Big Vanilla Athletic Clubs.