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Six Keys to Enrolling a Quarter of Members into Personal Training

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The fitness industry continues to evolve. The current trend, and one that will likely continue for several years, is to charge folks a premium and deliver them results by having them with a coach on a regular basis. This could be one-on-one, but a lot of it is in small group or team training.

Mainstream gyms continue to struggle with selling personal training to more than a small percentage of their members. But some have figured out how to get as many as 40 percent of their members to pay for more than a simple access (rent a treadmill) membership.

I have been in the fitness industry since 1995. Until about 2010, I spent most of my time studying the art and science of membership sales. And while I still teach gyms how to increase their membership sales skills, I spend most of my time nowadays working with them on increasing their personal training sales.

So after all of these years studying personal training sales, and helping gyms implement solid systems, I have discovered six keys to getting 25 percent or more of your members to purchase coaching:

1. Offer more than one-on-one training. Less than 5 percent of members in most markets can afford traditional one-on-one personal training. You know, two sessions per week, $50 per session, collect about $400 per month. Small group and team training need to be on your menu so you can get over the 5 percent mark.

2. Sell 12-month training memberships. This is easier than it sounds. You can, and should, offer a month-to-month option, but price it 20 percent higher than the 12 month. Fitness coaching should not be viewed as temporary. It needs to be year round.

3. No point-of-membership sale efforts at personal training sales. The membership salesperson sells only simple access or trial memberships. He or she then sells the new member on the appointment with the personal training salesperson. If you allow membership salespeople to sell personal training, the best you are likely to get is 20 percent. This means that 80 percent have already said no. It is hard to get folks who have already turned something down to change their mind. I explain more in key five.

4. Only one personal training salesperson. Trainers, for the most part, are lousy at sales. They didn’t venture into this career to be salespeople. They chose it to help change lives. But with some effort and some trial and error, you can find one seasoned veteran with sales skills. And sales skills really comes down to two things: 1) Willingness to try. 2) Not afraid to ask for money. When you move to selling small group for $169 per month, asking for money becomes much easier than asking for a $1,200 package. Find a trainer who can sell, and funnel all potential clients through this person.

5. Put these people through an actual intense strength training session. People need to drive the Ferrari before they buy the Ferrari. These prospective clients may need to swing kettlebells and use some TRX before realizing the benefits of coaching.

6. Use a communication tool to increase closing percentage. Something that is becoming much more popular in the fitness industry is the use of communication/personality tools to better understand members’ wants and needs. I know of personal training salespeople who has went from 20 percent to 80 percent closing by using a personality assessment tool that takes 5 minutes.

Get your members to a personal training salesperson, have them go through a workout, offer several training membership options and watch your personal training revenue grow!

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. Contact him at jason@jasonlinse.com or 612-310-1319 for resources on scheduling more tours and personality assessments, or 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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2 Comments

  1. Paul Brown April 24, 2015

    A thorough article that does indeed tell you how to get more people onto PT, no question. Nothing personal but I wish to counter the proposition as the title could also read, “How to alienate 75% of your new members by focusing on upselling them onto help they probably thought they’d get with being a valued member and turning what they expect to be a personalised help session into a slick sales pitch.” A longer title but no less true. The fitness industry is addicted to selling PT to new members but the majority of new clients are not walking in looking for that, they come expecting some help to get started and then manage their exercise schedule mostly themselves, Most are ill prepared for that but the answer is NOT to hit them up for the Ferrari when they usually take the bus.

    Here’s a simple test. Get your sales people to actually tell new members what the Trainer hopes to achieve in their first consultation, “to sell you a Personal Training Package”. Then let’s check the show rates. In the old days a bait and switch used to be frowned upon, these days it’s the holy grail and the fact a tiny budget club can start to affect the EBITDA of a big box is proof that members who don’t want to hire a regular Trainer, the VAST majority, would rather pay less to be ignored elsewhere than they used pay the big guys to be ignored. If you want to sell PT to 25% or more of your members on the first date, open a PT Studio and call it that. If you promise results for your members then at least get them off to a good start to achieve that as part of their membership, then you may just earn the right to offer more!

    Reply
    1. Jason Linse April 24, 2015

      Paul, thanks for the comment. I predict that you are making the assumption that the system I lay out requires high pressure sales tactics. It does not. Sales, by the way, is not a dirty word. There is nothing wrong with asking someone if they want to buy something. People have the ability to say no. I filmed a short video response so you could better understand my point of view, hopefully. Thanks again for reading and for commenting. Keep changing lives.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s7WVjhqIb0

      Reply

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