Ben Ludwig, the COO of Traction Group LLC, an F45 Training company, shares four ways to sell full-price programs when traffic is slow.
Pressure can get the best of us as business owners and managers. We know we have goals to hit, responsibilities to the bank, payroll to match and bills to pay. Going into historically slow times can be stressful and often when consulting gym owners and managers, “just getting by” is a win for most. Well I have never been one to be okay with being average, and over my years in the fitness industry, I have found there are ways to hold your value and still offer a great product without having to deeply discount dues, or just being fine with getting by.
Let’s look at four ways to sell full-price programs when traffic is slow:
1. Review your Year to Date Lead Base
If you’re really honest with yourself, when is the last time you called an unconverted lead from the beginning of the year? You may believe all your leads are dead and you’ve done all you can to convert them, but you’re missing out on an opportunity. Remember, most people join a fitness program when they have an emotional switch go off telling them it’s time to make a change. You never know when that switch is going to be flipped, so contacting “old leads” is a great way to see who may be willing to come give you a try even though it has been months since they contacted you. When reaching out to old leads, don’t just offer them another trial, invite them to a member social, special event or a change in programming for your location. This changes up the cadence to be sure you don’t get lost in the noise of all the other introductory offers out there and also increases the chances of them buying full-price programs.
2. Lean into Your Customer Base
You likely think you’re doing everything you can to get referrals, and most businesses do have a good amount of customers that heard about you through word of mouth, but during slower times your customers need you to lean into retention activity now more than ever. Running bring a friend programs and even allowing members to bring a friend as an accountability buddy is a great way to make asking for referrals not so “salesy.” Have an offer specifically for referrals that allows them an extended trial, waves the cost of your trial or gives the member an incentive to bring them allowing ease of use for the referred guest, and also allows you to have a reason to gather the referrals info to plug into your database.
On points one and two, remember that having a healthy lead base is imperative to ensure you don’t get desperate and begin discounting because of a lack of leads. Old leads, although they may have been contacted multiple times, can always show value when treated as not just another drip campaign, and new referrals convert at over twice the rate of traditional digital leads in the fitness industry, so gathering 10 referrals this month is just as good as over 20 digital leads.
3. Have Flexible Options Available
When you’re selling fitness programs, the best way to sell is by “prescriptive selling” which is simply learning about your prospect enough to be able to tell them their story and then offer two options for them to choose that provide a solution to their problem. When considering slower times in the industry, this usually aligns with travel plans, vacations, kids home from school and every other excuse to not start a full-blown fitness program. The beauty of fitness programming is we’re not here to convince them working out is more important than vacation or travel. We’re here to help them understand how to live a healthy lifestyle while they travel, vacation, have kids home in summer and more. With this in mind, having limited usage options available, allowing for flexible start dates, having pause options available while they are away, and having tools they can use at home such as an app you can assist them in using are all great ways to be able to sell programs.
4. Mitigate Risk and Tie in Rewards
When you’re selling a fitness program, what makes a cheap all access membership more enticing than a customized program that cost a few thousand dollars? If I don’t get results from the cheap gym membership, all I lost was ten dollars right? In slow times, you can’t afford allowing prospects in front of you to not buy. We all know when someone walks out the door without buying after their trial, the percentage of purchase likelihood drops drastically. The best way to get your prospects to say yes is by offering ways for the risk to be put back on you instead of on the customer. Have an introductory no contract option available, a money back guarantee for a short period of time, or a no hassle upgrade or downgrade option. These are great ways to mitigate risk but the best way to sell is to tie in rewards to their programming. Allowing a portion of a members sign up dues to go to a great cause you are partnered with allowing access to the next challenge as a part of the sign up are fantastic ways to provide additional value to the member and also gives the prospect a vision of the future to get excited about instead of leaving them wondering if they made the right decision with starting a new program.
Selling full price memberships can be hard during slow times, but remember, you can only control what you can control in your life, in your business and with your clients. Follow these four steps during your next slow season and the results will speak for themselves.