The Importance of Nurturing Sales Leads
Marketing campaigns, word of mouth and referrals can all drive new members to your club. But your sales team’s ability to convert leads into new memberships through a consistent process could take your club’s performance to the next level.
“A lead needs to be nourished,” explained Michael Kennedy, the vice president of sales and fitness at EOS Fitness. “You don’t do it by simply thinking, ‘I’ve got this lead and I’m trying to convert it into a membership.’ There’s a process involved. And by getting ahead of yourself, you’ll miss several steps in that sales process you’ll want to do.”
Maximizing the number of leads converted to memberships requires commitment to the needs of prospects, attention to detail and patience from your salespeople. But according to Kennedy, the process of turning a lead into a membership always starts with two simple, yet crucial, steps.
“Number one, when you have a lead, the main goal and objective should be to contact that lead, and have some sort of communication with them — text, email or verbal,” said Kennedy.
After the first contact, the objective is to get the prospect in your facility, according to Kennedy. “The next step, of course, is to get them an appointment so you can get in front of that lead,” he said.
These first two objectives are critical to the success of the entire sales process, and they can be achieved through consistent and timely communication with a prospect. The remainder of the process is meeting prospects where they are, determining their specific needs and goals, and sharing why your club’s offerings will help them reach those goals.
And throughout the process — from first contact to signing the contract — continuous follow-up and an open dialogue is critical. It’s important for salespeople to remember they’re interacting with a person with a busy schedule, not just a name from a list, so time is of the essence.
“In this day and age, it’s difficult to keep people’s attention for too long, and if we’re contacting them later, they’re likely on to the next thing in their complicated and jam-packed lives,” said Kennedy. “Whoever is touching base with those leads needs to understand how time-sensitive they actually are. Sitting and waiting on them is literally the worst thing you could do.”
Understanding the importance of the sales process is critical to the success of your sales team. Following the steps of the process will help them improve their communication with prospects, understanding of how to meet their needs, and ultimately, convert more leads into memberships.
Doing the opposite can have an adverse effect. “If you’re trying to skip the process and go directly to the sale, you devalue your product, and you have a much greater chance of losing your opportunity to sell them your product,” said Kennedy.