The Prejudging Predicament for Health Clubs in January

THERE’S A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN health club experience and prejudging the membership sale in a health club. The more health club sales and prospecting experience you have the greater the tendency to prejudge your members and club prospects. January is just around the corner, and it will soon be the busiest time of the year for health club sales traffic. This could mean more membership sales for your health club but it could also mean a lost opportunity…if you start to prejudge your club guests.

Workouts will be up, guest traffic will be up, phones will be ringing and there will be lot’s of activity. It’s that time of year, but success is guaranteed to no one. Years ago, when I was first learning the health club business, I remember sitting in a manager’s meeting and being told “to only work with those who are interested.” I remember immediately saying, “That’s prejudging.” And it is. Here are the rules to follow:

1. Have a winning attitude.
2. Work hard.
3. Follow a proven system.

Just because it’s January… Just because you’re busy… Don’t start to cut corners, don’t prejudge and don’t put labels on prospects. This means thinking things like “Most people don’t have the money . . .” Also, it’s important not to assume your members and guests all have similar needs, i.e. to save money and time. In fact, it’s best not to assume you know anything about your guest if you haven’t asked any questions!

Here’s the pure definition of prejudging: thinking you know what the outcome will be before you even start. From a member’s or guest’s perspective, imagine how they feel when you jump to conclusions about their fitness objectives, personal challenges, and concerns. Instead of assuming all health club members and prospects are similar, find out what makes them different. Asking questions uncovers more than basic needs, it reveals what is unique about the different people you meet each day in your health club. Once you know what’s unique you can zero in on what’s best for them based on what they said, not what you assumed. Get the picture?

Avoid prejudging – Goals, desires, budgets, priorities, problems, challenges, decision criteria and decision process all count. Making assumptions can make you look and sound pathetic, but asking provocative questions makes you look and sound professional. If you’re asking really good questions – you should hear your members and prospects say “That’s a good question.” If you’re not hearing that compliment often it means you’re not asking really good questions. No matter how busy your health club is in January, remember the key steps to a successful health club presentation:

  • Get your guest to register in (you’ll have plenty of follow up in January).
  • When it comes to pre-qualification, don’t find yourself rushed and trying to do this at the front desk. Find an area of the club that is quiet, comfortable and where you can sit down with your guest.
  • Use a Needs Analysis Sheet or Lifestyle Fitness Questionnaire to qualify your guest. No matter how busy you might become, this will allow you to stay on course and be sure you are asking the right questions. It’s the professional thing to do, and it works.
  • Tour. Don’t just go on auto pilot during the tour. I know you’ll be busy, but be sure and treat each guest like it’s the only one you’ll have that day. Don’t simply point out the machines and facilities… tie it all back in to their goals, what they want to accomplish and the benefits they can receive.
  • When it comes to membership presentation, don’t just show prices. It might be tempting, but instead take the time to offer a professional presentation. Do a review, show your standard membership rates and give them a reason to get started today (other than simply a price discount). Show your rates with the savings and, with plenty of decent boldness… ask them to buy!
  • Overcome objections. Most prospects won’t say yes right away, so be prepared to answer their questions and concerns. Continually go back to the benefits and results they can receive by getting started now.
  • Point of sale referral process. Don’t use the excuse that you were too busy to get referrals. This is where your next sale will come from.

Most importantly, remember that when you prejudge, you misjudge. Now, go have a record breaking January!

JIM THOMAS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF FITNESS MANAGEMENT USA, A MANAGEMENT CONSULTING AND TURNAROUND FIRM SPECIALIZING IN THE FITNESS AND HEALTH CLUB INDUSTRY. HE CAN BE CONTACTED VIA EMAIL AT PRESIDENT@FMCONSULTING.NET .

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