When it comes to operating your club, having a guest with one foot in the door isn’t enough. As a health club professional, it is imperative to your business to capitalize on leads. Go M.A.D. Fitness owner Jason Reinhardt said that goal can be accomplished in a lot of different ways.
Reinhardt explained most clubs focus on club referrals only when people join, but the guests that don’t join should be given the opportunity to refer someone as well. “For example, if your staff is at a 50 percent conversion rate of guests that come in to join, and they only ask those that join to give a referral, that means you’re leaving referrals on the table,” he explained.
The moral of the story, Reinhardt said, is to ask everyone for a referral, even those that don’t join.
Reinhardt said fellow club owners should also direct staff members to chase the “no” instead of expecting the “yes” when pursuing leads. He warned that if staff members approach people with high expectations, they run the risk of leaving the interaction feeling disappointed and discouraged. “Make it a game and have fun when getting leads,” he suggested. “Ask [staff] to go out and get 50 no’s. By the time they get their 50th no they will have received over 100 yes’s.”
Reinhardt also urged club owners to avoid pressuring individuals to join their gyms with tactics like “free” entry for an allotted amount of time. “If the experience and process is not geared toward the guests’ experience, then you won’t create the culture of referrals or the amount of new members you’d hope to,” he said. “That’s why people don’t use free passes — there’s no value to them.”
Reinhardt said the staff at Go M.A.D. Fitness are trained to stay fresh in their tactics and approaches, strategies that are stressed greatly during the onboarding process for new sales staff.
“I believe you have two weeks to create the culture and club atmosphere you want to have with your new staff and then their true personalities and habits will come out,” said Reinhardt. “I also believe that cross training is critical to the overall culture of your club and that it creates an appreciation of what each department does.”
Chuze Fitness CEO Cory Brightwell added that while the pursuit of leads in 2017 is largely reliant on technology and software that helps ease the often-strenuous task, his club still depends very much so on word-of-mouth referrals. In fact, he said over 65 percent of Chuze’s sign-ups come through referrals.
“With our company, we’re engaged in digital, but the biggest focus for us to help generate leads is through referrals,” said Brightwell. “That means we need to provide a really, really good member experience for our existing members so that they are happy and willing to tell their friends and family about how great we are.”
Plus, Brightwell added the importance of gathering information about prospective members as soon as they walk through the doors of the club. For that, he said Chuze Fitness uses software to help keep information organized.
“When members walk into our club, we have a system called Club OS that helps us capture their information and then they go into an email drip campaign depending on the status of their membership,” explained Brightwell. “If they’re a prospect, or still just a guest, they’ll go into a different bucket than those who actually end up signing up with us.”
Organization is crucial for a company like Chuze, which does not have a traditional sales team. Brightwell said everyone from the general manager to part-time employees carries the responsibility of giving tours of the club and signing people up, and they have an obligation to do so without overselling the facility.
“It’s part of making members feel welcome and comfortable, removing any intimidation factors, and making the buying decision pretty simple,” said Brightwell. “Because they’re truly making the decision on their own, not because we forced them into it or pressured them into it.”