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Three Keys to Selling Memberships as You Reopen


If you are a club owner, general manager, sales manager or even head trainer, you might be thinking about how you’re going to sell memberships once you reopen. What do we need to change about our sales process in order to increase new members, as well as retain our old ones?

The answer is simple: nothing. Of course, that’s the answer if your sales process focuses on your customer experience.

I always think about the first time you check out a gym and the “membership advisor” approaches you. It is at that moment that a sale is either gained or lost.  Most of the time you proceed to go on a “museum tour,” when the advisor just walks you around, and shows you everything about your facility and what they have to offer.

I always found this interesting since the average person only uses two to three areas of any gym. So the question is what is your customer experience like and do you make it personalized for each member?

Regardless of a global pandemic, what we know is people around the world can’t wait to start getting fit again. Of course, the at-home live streaming is great and some companies have done a great job engaging members through those platforms — but nothing beats an in-studio experience.

If you truly are worried or wondering how you are going to continue to sell memberships post-COVID-19, the answer is to make sure you focus on your customer experience. There is a reason I go to Starbucks two times a day to get coffee, even though it isn’t my favorite coffee. Yet I still go two times per day. 

The reason is the experience I get. I can work while sitting at a table in Starbucks, I speak different languages when I order — ”Venti Machiatta” —  and I don’t even call employees at Starbucks “employees.” At Starbucks, they’re “baristas.” 

Make no mistake, a powerful customer experience can have a big effect on sales.  With that in mind, as gyms everywhere are reopening, here are a few keys to keep in mind when trying to sell gym memberships:

  1. Keep goals in mind. No matter what anyone says, it is not about a great promotion you are running or a drop in price.  The reason someone buys a gym membership is to reach a goal.  Make sure every customer interaction covers what a person’s goal is, as well as why they are trying to reach it in the first place. If a member does not believe they can reach their goal at your facility, it does not matter what price you are offering.
  2. Personalize a tour. Gone are the days when you just show a customer everything you offer. I’m not saying you should purposely not show them everything — rather, empower a customer to tell you what they want to see. I very often would ask a customer, “What is the first area you want to see today? Strength, cardio, etc.?”
  3. Don’t devalue your brand. The problem in the fitness industry is that companies are constantly devaluing their brands by running promotions. Great brands have two key qualities — first, they believe in their brand and secondly, they charge a premium price. That is the difference between a great brand and everybody else. If you believe in your product, make sure the price reflects that belief. It serves you no purpose to try and diminish what you offer by running a discount every other month.

There is no doubt the fitness industry will see success again, and the public is yearning to come back. By creating that great customer experience, you will not only build trust with them, but will increase your chances of them becoming a member.

Kory Angelin

Kory Angelin is a twice published author, award-winning trainer, sales strategist and host of the Rep It Up Podcast. NY Wire News recognized him as “Top 20 people to follow on Instagram.” Follow Kory @koryfit or www.koryangelin.com to listen to his podcast.

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