My Top Sales Tips
If you work in a fitness center you are either a salesperson or a sales support person. As a membership advisor, I have sold thousands of memberships. As a gym owner, I have supported the sale of a few thousand more. When I was the director of franchisee training for a several-hundred-chain franchisor, I taught hundreds of gym owners how to sell. Now, as a fitness business coach, I focus on teaching my clients membership sales but also personal training sales. Throughout the two decades I have learned more than I have taught. Here are the top 5 sales tips I have learned since 1995.
1. Talk less than the prospect. This one came from a now-retired sales training coach, whose name I cannot recall. Once I moved away from a museum tour, where I pointed and talked about how awesome our gym was, and started asking open-ended questions, I made more sales. Truth is, my closing percentage didn’t go up a whole lot. It was noticeable, but not huge. But my b-back percentage went up a ton. And I was handed so many more referrals. This is because I took the time to learn about each prospect, and people buy from people they like, and folks like people who listen to their needs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “questions” in the subject line and I will shoot you back a document with a bunch of open-ended questions.
2. Find out the why. I don’t remember who I learned this from, but if I had to guess I would say Jeffrey Gitomer. Asking many open-ended questions is essential, and one of them has to be: “Why are those goals important to you?” To get salespeople to consistently ask this question requires practice and role play. As a manager, be a prospect, a different one each time with different goals. Have your salespeople ask you what your goals are. Answer. Then have them ask you why those goals are important. Getting this question answered gets you to the core of why the prospect is standing in front of you.
3. Stay late. This was from an old sales manager. Back in the day, when I was in my twenties, I liked staying up late and sleeping in. Boy, things have changed. But being a night owl was one of the keys to my success in membership sales. At this one big box, all the other salespeople (five total) preferred a more 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. type of shift. So I traded for all noon to 9 p.m. shifts. After 7 p.m., it was just me, and I always had a few walk-ins before my shift ended. And I had greater flexibility when booking appointments, not having to steer the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. corporate crowd away from an 8 p.m. appointment.
4. Appointments matter. Life Time Fitness taught me this one. One of the best things you can do as a manager or owner is to require your sales staff to book a certain number of appointments per day. In most gyms, three to four is probably a good number. Since 50 percent of appointments show, on average, you can count on two tours ever day if you have four appointments. Appointment equals commitment, so penciling in a prospect for a tour at a later date, and confirming with them a few hours before the appointment, really increases your amount of tours, and therefore sales.
5. Doing is better than thinking. This one is all Thomas Plummer. After listing the above four sales tips, let me finish by saying this: Don’t overthink the sales process. Practice, role play and then just do it. Don’t pre-judge, or try to give a perfect tour. Just hustle. The more you “do,” the more sales you will make.
Keep changing lives.