Sales: How to Book Appointments From Telephone Inquiries
I have probably said the following more than 10,000 times in my life: “The purpose of marketing is to get the phone to ring, the door to swing and inbox to ding.”
A dinging inbox is in reference to incoming e-mails, just in case you weren’t sure.
E-mails come in on a regular basis in most gyms and walk-ins are hopefully fairly frequent as well. Learning how to handle e-mail inquiries is important, and knowing how to give a proper tour is critical. I have written about tours recently, and in the near future, I will likely cover e-mail inquiries. But for this blog post, let me help you increase your sales by helping your sales staff be good on the telephone.
- Only friendly, smiling and enthusiastic people are allowed to answer the phone. It is often the caller’s first impression of your business. Never take that lightly. As a result, you should train and inspect. Your employees may think they are great on the phone, but they’ll only know for sure if they record calls and listen to them. Have them look in the mirror, smile and practice.
- Use the same greeting every time. If you have one person answering the phones, or multiple, all should use the same greeting each and every time. What type of greeting? Try, “It’s a great day to get in shape at Main Street Fitness. This is Jason, how can I help you?” Too cheesy for you? Fine, then go with, “Thank you for calling Main Street Fitness, how can I help you?” Choose your greeting, say it every time and inspect that all are friendly and enthusiastic.
- Understand that the goal of a telephone inquiry is to make an appointment. That is it. It is not to sell a membership. The goal is to make an appointment to tour.
- Use a script. Yes, I have a recommended script. Contact me at email@example.com if you need one or want a new one. The key on scripts is to keep it short, without sounding scripted. The one I have is designed to allow you to keep on task with the right questions, but to ask them in your own way. There are five important questions:
1. Is this membership for you, or for you and someone else?
2. What are you looking for in a gym membership?
3. Do you live and/or work in the area?
4. Are you exercising somewhere currently?
5. How did you hear about us?
- Have your sales employees give two choices twice in a row. This is the most important part of the call. After they’ve asked the five questions listed above, or used whatever script you have, they need to get the appointment. “What I would like to do is invite you in for a 10-minute tour. What works best for you — afternoons or evenings?” Prospect reply: “Um…..evenings are best for me.” “Great, tomorrow I have a 6:15 p.m. or a 6:45 p.m. Which one works best for you?” Prospect reply: “Um, 6:45 works.”
- Tell them they can wear workout clothes, make sure they know how to get to the gym, inform them they can bring a friend, remind them of who to ask for, and get off the phone. Your employee just made an appointment!
Show ratio can be 60 percent or more if your employees confirm their appointments, and they should confirm their appointments. If you are confirming, you can’t do much else to control show ratio. It is what it is. But part of your script should include asking for a name and a phone number. For no shows, you can call with the goal of rescheduling.
Benchmarks for appointments are more important to worry about than show ratios. These are more controllable and need to be inspected — 70 percent or higher is the goal. This means that for every 10 phone calls from people who are not members, and looking for membership info, your employees need to book an appointment to tour with seven of them. If any salesperson is less than that, coach them up. If they are unable to maintain 70 percent or more, terminate them and find somebody else.
Take telephone inquiries seriously, be enthusiastic, use a script and track your percentages.
Keep changing lives.
Jason Linse is president and founder of The Business of Fitness, a consulting company. He also owns a personality assessment company called People Plus+ Fitness. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 612-310-1319. Visit www.jasonlinse.com.