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Podcast Episode #02: Alan Leach on the Secrets to Selling Fitness

membership sales

In today’s increasingly competitive fitness landscape, club operators need to ensure the tools they’re using to sell their product are efficient and effective.

In episode #02 of the Club Solutions Magazine podcast, host Rachel Zabonick-Chonko spoke with Alan Leach, the CEO and director of marketing and sales at West Wood Clubs Ireland, about strategies clubs can use to move the needle in a positive direction when it comes to membership sales.

Show Notes:

  • According to Leach, one of the biggest challenges facing club operators today is lead generation.
  • Clubs can never reach zero attrition. As a result, they need to be focused on marketing and sales to remain successful.
  • Importance of building a strong sales culture: To make sales successful, you need the support of the people at the top and extensive membership sales training that’s consistent.
  • Leach is a big advocate for having a sales manager who came up through the ranks at your club — versus hiring an outside “sales all-star.” They’ll knows the ins and outs of your club much better.
  • Database management: You need to be thinking of how you can build your database. West Wood has a database of 200,000 leads. Even if prospects don’t buy right away, you can target them down the road.
  • Lead generation has changed drastically throughout the last five to 10 years. Via websites and social media, it’s now so easy if it’s done right: “Lead generation on autopilot.”
  • Alan has seen increases of 60 percent or more by taking the same product and applying a professional sales system to increase sales.
  • Fifteen years ago, West Wood put in a professional membership sales system. Three years in, Ireland’s economy went into the worst recession in the country’s history. A lot of competitors went out of business, but West Wood was able to grow in the recession and it came down to having a professional sales system.
  • Leach recommends finding a sales system that’s specific to the fitness industry, versus one that can apply to any industry.
  • With any training, make sure training manuals are provided and reinforce it. You can’t just do a one-week membership sales training and then be done with it.
  • How long does it take to get good at sales? “I’ve been doing it for 30 years and in another 15 years I think I’ll get the hang of it,” said Leach.  
  • Should you try and close the sale the day of? Yes. The chances of closing a “be back” (or an “I’ll be back” prospect), are slim. “Be backs do not come back,” said Leach.
  • Should you compete on price? Leach says no, that price is rarely the issue you think it is when it comes to buying decisions.
  • The customer has to feel like you really want to help them. The best salespeople are very unassuming, low-key and soft-spoken — not necessarily your high-fivers. You have to make people feel like you really care about them.

Be sure to subscribe to the Club Solutions Magazine podcast on SoundCloud, iTunes and Spotify.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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