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Supplier Voice

163 Fitness Professionals Weigh in on Prospecting Best Practices


In 2017, IHRSA estimated the fitness industry earned $87.2 billion globally. Year-over-year, the industry continues to boom, yet reliable fitness data remains scarce and often inaccessible to fitness professionals. So, we turned to the wisdom of the crowd.

We sent a five-question prospecting survey to our current clients to crowdsource reliable data on prospecting habits. This survey was voluntarily completed by 163 fitness professionals.

Q1: When reaching out to a new prospect which method of communication typically receives the highest response rate?

Why We Asked

While each of the major prospecting methods (text, email and phone call) offer unique advantages, we wanted to know if one is a cut above for securing a response.

What We Found

While no communication method can guarantee a response, text messaging is the clear leader according to our respondents. This tracks with cultural trends, as texting increasingly replaces phone calls in our everyday life. Not to mention, the eye-popping 98% open rate text messages enjoy, compared to email’s 22%.

Q2: When a new prospect submits a lead form online, how many days on average pass before you reach out?

Why We Asked

Web leads present a unique challenge as they’ve never physically visited your club and they’ve had zero contact with club staff. So, what works best for securing a club tour, contacting web leads quickly or waiting for the right moment?

What We Found

You probably aren’t surprised the same-day model is the preferred strategy for contacting new web leads. Same-day contact demonstrates a club’s efficiency, shows the lead they are valued, and mitigates the risk of a web lead making contact with a competitor or losing interest.

Q3: Which method of communication do you typically use for the first reach out to a new prospect?

Why We Asked

First impressions matter. We were curious to see if there was a clear preferred communication method fitness professionals trusted to make that all-important first outreach.

What We Found

You can’t discount interpersonal communication. Almost half our respondents indicated they choose phone calls for the first reach out. How better to pitch your club and its value than in your own words?

Q4: How many unanswered reach outs will you attempt with a prospect before you consider it a “dead lead”?

Why We Asked

There’s a delicate balance between being persistent and annoying. How do you know when to keep pressing, or when to call it quits on a dead lead and pursue greener pastures?

What We Found

Persistence over caution. Only 18% of respondents reported giving up on a lead after one to three unanswered reach outs. In fact, the largest group of respondents indicated they continue following up with a prospect indefinitely until they receive an answer or the prospect opts out of communication.

Q5: On average, how many times do you contact a prospect before they purchase a membership?

Why We Asked

This questions builds off of the previous question. If you can identify the average amount of reach outs it takes to sign a new member, you can better understand how many follow-ups past this amount are worth performing.

What We Found

The short game is king. A combined 72% of respondents reported contacting a prospect four or fewer times from initial contact to signing a membership. Keep in mind, these numbers are likely skewed by leads who contact a club already committed to purchasing a membership.

We took what we learned and put it into an e-book. For a more in-depth look at prospecting (including 20-plus reach out scripts) download the Prospect Handbook.


Kevin Talley is the digital content coordinator for Club OS. Contact Club OS at hello@club-os.com or 888.812.2158.


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