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

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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.

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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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