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For any high-priced fitness club it’s impossible to talk about profitable marketing without talking about the impact a professional sales system can have. Having a professional sales system and committing 100 percent to getting it ingrained into your company culture will be one of the most profitable marketing strategies you will ever implement.
It can be difficult for many fitness business managers to fully appreciate the need to sell their product. But fitness clubs need to fully understand we are a sales and marketing business. The product we offer may be fitness, but most of the time, fitness needs to be sold. We are trying to convince people to give up their leisure time to do something they don’t like doing, and worse, pay for it.
Yes, the fitness product needs to be great. And you need to do everything to ensure your product is differentiated from competitors. For every club looking for new members, there is probably 10 more clubs within a 15-minute radius trying to take your business.
West Wood Clubs are high-priced clubs. Our competitors charge $25 a month. We charge $104 a month. Budget clubs can get away without professional selling, but it takes professional selling to be able to outsell budget clubs when you are charging such a high fee.
Over 30 years I have learned that selling fitness is a very competitive game. Mostly, you get one chance to sell a prospect. You either win or you lose. It’s that simple.
In late 2008, Ireland entered the worst economic recession in its history. Many of the main players in Ireland quickly went out of business. However, because of the sales and marketing systems and culture we had built at West Wood Clubs, we were not only able to survive the next seven years of recession, we were able to continue to increase new member sales every year and to continue to grow.
Today, the culture at West Wood Clubs is 100 percent sales and marketing. We have 35,000 members in six clubs in Dublin.
Alan Leach is the group general manager and director of sales and marketing at West Wood Clubs.