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Marketing & Sales

The Power of the Follow Up


Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 5.04.07 PMMany years ago I went through some intense sales training. A consultant came to my gym and worked with us for three days in a row, every month, for six months. This sales training laid the foundation for all of my success in this industry, up to and especially including what I do now, which is basically the same thing that this consultant did with our gym all of those years ago.

“It seems that you get two types of membership salespeople: Those who are good at first visit closing, and those that are good at following up.”

The consultant said those words based on her experiences in the 90s and the early 2000s. It is my opinion, with the many changes in the industry over the past several years, combined with the increased competition, that a gym is better off with a good follow-upper than a strong first-visit closer.

Hard selling is a turn off. It’s hard to train on and hard to keep staff to stay if forced to consistently go beyond their comfort zone. Trial memberships can be very effective, and I always recommend a 30-day paid trial. Most mainstream clubs should charge 30 days for $19.00, that typically charge $40.00 to $50.00 for a single simple access membership.

So, measure your closing percentage, NOT on first visit, but within 30 days of the first visit. Your benchmark is 65 percent within 30 days — 30 percent to 40 percent will be on the first visit, and the remaining 25 percent to 35 percent will be within 30 days. But in order to get the highest number possible to continue past their trial membership, you will need consistent and proper follow up.

I recommend an eight-step follow-up process. The eight steps involve a series of phone calls, emails and letters. Simple, easy and very necessary.

Okay, so you have your trial membership follow-up system implemented and working well. What happens after 30 days, for the prospects who don’t join? How often do you follow up with them? What do you say?

Email and call each prospect twice per month for two months. For example, let’s say Joe completed his 30 day trial on January 30th, and even though you performed the eight step trial follow up, he has not committed. Email him around January 31st and then call him the next day. Repeat every couple of weeks for two months until he says yes or no. These emails are personal, and not a group email. Exceptions: Joe responds to an email and says he is interested but not for three months because of travel.

After the first two months, email one time per month indefinitely. This is a generic group email. Now, on these emails, the goal is to maintain contact, but also to motivate the prospect to make a decision to become healthier by joining your gym. You don’t want to simply pump out an email with an offer. Remember, most of these folks tried your gym for 30 days, so they know the prices for longer term memberships. Use these emails to inspire. This does require someone on staff with the ability to write a few encouraging words.

Focus on salespeople who will put the time into proper follow up, use a system, stay consistent, and you will start to see prospects come back from months ago. Oh, and be sure to ask for email addresses from telephone inquiries. “Joe, can I get your email address to recap this phone call and to send you some information about our club?”

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 jason@jasonlinse.com or at 612-310-1319. Visit www.jasonlinse.com.

Jason Linse

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. Contact him at jason@jasonlinse.com or 612-310-1319 for resources on scheduling more tours and personality assessments, or visit www.jasonlinse.com.

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  1. Debra January 26, 2015

    Statistically most people who visit a club are about 60% + ready to join. They’ve done their homework online and/or placed a call for ‘prices’ as it’s generally the only question they know to ask. The motivation required to actually drive to the location, find a parking spot and enter..they are looking to be led to a decision they feel they need to make for a variety of reasons that brought them to act that day. A good sales person will find out what that is by doing an effective needs assessment, touring the club or sharing programs specific to their interest..really listening to their needs, goals and providing a solution. Sure, some will not make that decision that day..but we also know it is much much harder to get those who did not join that first day to come back in 30 days or longer. Why? Generally because the pressing motivation that brought them that day, lost out to ‘ life’. I train my team to join members on the first visit for that reason because it’s in the prospect’s best interest to fullfil their goals, based on human nature. The art is leading them to that decision on that first visit..but the member walks away pleased it is their decision…they were not ‘sold’ and definitely ‘hard sold’.

  2. Jason Linse March 25, 2015

    Debra, sorry for the delay in responding. Thanks for the comment. I won’t necessarily disagree with your 60% stat, but I a curious as to where you got it from. Regardless, it is simply easier to hire and train staff to be assertive without focusing too much on first visit closes. I filmed a short video that may do a better job of explaining what I mean.


    Jason Linse


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