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Column Marketing & Sales

Looking for More Sales? Think Like a Marketer


Successful salespeople are prepared for their next person or prospect to come in the door. At the same time, if a person doesn’t come in for a few hours, merely waiting can become frustrating. So this article will help you take your leads into your own hands.

Marketers determine who their buyers are and how they can reach them. To determine who their customers are, they do market research to learn where they live, how much they spend, what types of cars they drive, where they dine and what activities they do. For example, at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado, our customers may drive SUVs and join health clubs to stay in shape for ski season or to cycle or hike in the mountains during the summer. Working out is very important to them.

Salespeople typically determine these details in the needs analysis when they are first meeting a new customer. They may learn where their clients live, where they work and if they have a family. Day by day they may start seeing trends. Once trends start amassing, they can create sample “Buyer Personas” of their prospects, a semi-fictional representation of a typical customer based on market research on your existing clients. Like the young professional who comes in at lunchtime or after work and plays basketball, racquetball and swims; or the person who comes in before work to take classes and workout. There could be a mother who lives nearby and drops off her kids around 9:00 am while she works out with her friends.  Fitness is essential to her, and family is equally as important. She wears Lululemon clothing and she and her husband eat out at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse once a month. These are samples of Buyer Personas.

Then, the next step is to make a daily outreach strategy to reach out to these groupings of customers. The beginning of the month is the best time to ramp-up and reach out for new customers. Early in the month may be slower as you may have just closed out the month and you are currently waiting for marketing efforts to ramp up.

Influencers can be found online, but they can also be found in local businesses. At first glance, a nearby restaurant or salon may or may not be the right place to find your customers, but it could be the right place to find local influencers. Influencers may spend time with people who may become potential customers. Even if this group may not be the ones to ultimately join your club, either because they workout near their homes or they may not use the gym, it is still worth the time to extend passes or even hold an open house for them. The reason is the personas we mentioned earlier, the Young Professionals and the Workout Mom, may frequent these businesses and ask the salon or restaurant staff what health club they suggest. These employees are now your local “influencers.” The type of open house you would put on is similar to how a real estate agent would present a showing to other realtors — tour them through your facility, have some food and drinks and make it social. You can make it fun and intimate for them and maybe hold it on an early evening when they may be off or on a slower night.

Reaching out to local companies is another great way of reaching a large group of buyers who match your Buyer Personas. The most obvious approach is to reach out to all the companies near your business. After you have reached out to the closest companies and start expanding your search, it can get a bit overwhelming to just randomly cold call. Reaching out in a more niche-based approach can make it more fun for the salesperson and successful in closing deals faster.

For example, our club in Greenwood Village is also in the Denver Tech Center, a home to many of the oil, gas, mining and technology companies prevalent in our area. We find many of our members work in those industries. So our sales team has actively reached out to those companies. Another way to do this is to pull a report from your member database which shows you what companies you have the most employees from and target those companies and industries. An excellent approach is to have a salesperson reach out to a member who could help facilitate a meeting with the right contact at their business.

Another idea is to find the right business culture match. We have some entertainment companies nearby and all the executives are members here. They all workout together and take Boot Camp; it really is a part of their corporate culture to work out and have fun. These are high-value options to target because of the parallel brand connection due to their lifestyle choices. The key here is to look for the employee club match.

For example, during the time I worked for Equinox Fitness in New York City, I personally shopped at Kiehl’s, which at the time was a small family-owned skin-care company in the East Village. I also walked past it on my way to work. As I got to know some of the staff, I also saw a few of them at the Equinox location where I worked. So I reached out to them, gave them guest passes and they all came to the club and loved it. The team enjoyed the club so much I sent a corporate proposal to their owner and the staff shared their experiences with the owner. They felt providing memberships to the staff would be a great idea and a great high-value benefit to them, and the club and company proved to be the right brand match.

While at Crunch in NYC, I reached out to Betsy Johnson, a hip and very funky apparel company. Their culture was fun and a great match for Crunch. After contacting them and setting up visits for their staff, we developed a corporate relationship soon after. Crunch was the right fit for their fun staff.  Another good brand connection was Diesel Clothing, a cool, uptown clothing company that was hip and trendy, and Crunch was the right gym fit for Diesel employees. Knowing the culture, style and employees that worked for these brands made it very easy to get a corporate relationship started; it made sense because of the similar brand culture.

In summary, at the beginning of the month, start your corporate outreach with the following strategies: 1) find businesses with local influencers and make a fun happy hour open house for them at your business, tour them around and get to know them, 2) pull a report of member’s employers and find common industries or companies that are already at your club and reach out to them, then find similar industries and duplicate the process, 3) find employers that have similar brand culture matches with your club and start corporates that have a common connection.

Happy Hunting!


Tiffany Slitkin Levine is the director of marketing and public relations at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado.


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