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The fitness industry closed out 2014 with positive momentum, setting the stage for continued growth. The new year should bring exciting enhancements to existing facilities and new clubs opening their doors, putting industry veterans alongside new brands, new concepts and new entrepreneurs looking to put their spin on an already competitive fitness landscape.
With all of this expected growth, the biggest trends for manufacturers might have nothing to do with equipment.
In 2015, it’s all about the sales representatives that are more consultants than salesman in today’s “solutions” based environment.
Sales tactics from the past will not suffice anymore. In 2015, a sales rep will need to be a fitness consultant, offering value far beyond the specs of a treadmill. They need to be a true partner who is invested in the long-term success of their customers.
In 2015, buyers and facility operators will look to their fitness sales representatives for industry-wide knowledge and an understanding of where their product line fits into the complete landscape of the competition, industry trends and equipment already in a facility.
While certifications from accredited health and fitness organizations or a degree in a related field have significant merit, the value of industry knowledge, both within the manufacturer world and in fitness facility operations is vital. The key is that a supplier representative is a student of the industry; understands the basics of facility operations, member acquisition, member retention and best practices.
The ideal sales representative in 2015 is collaborative. A strong representative can intelligently collaborate with an owner/operator, they can speak the basic language of exercise with a trainer, group exercise director or fitness director, and they can demonstrate the serviceability and reliability of their products with any fitness equipment service technician.
While many fitness companies provide a complete line of products to outfit an entire facility, it’s not mandatory to buy all products from one company. The solutions-driven sales representative knows how to package their offering with other industry leading solutions such as creative financing or equipment trade-in specials in order to create the best possible fitness experience tailored to any business model or member need.
In 2015, a fitness sales representative should focus on building strong, long-term relationships, not transactional ones. Each relationship should be based on a comprehensive understanding of the facilities’ business strategy and goals. They will help determine the short-term trends and opportunities that will grow the business as well as the long-term practices that will sustain an owner’s business plan year over year.
The relationship-driven sales rep values open communication and checks in after the sale to make sure that the solution is delivering the intended results. They work with a facility operator to ensure continued success, even when there is no sale “on the line.”
A truly consultative fitness sales rep provides business insight, outstanding products, programs that bring their products to life, marketing support and business planning, outstanding communication and creative financing, all pulled into a smart package that fits each customer’s unique business need.
And in 2015, that will equal success for everyone.
Mike Kelly is the vice president of North America Sales for Star Trac. For more information, visit startrac.com.