If you’re looking to improve your gym sales process, the first thing to establish loud and clear is this: success will come not from the flair of your membership sales manager or your sales team. It will not come from gimmicks nor gift of the gab. It will come from discipline and rigidity in the membership sales process – from meticulously adhering to carefully mapped-out strategies and procedures.
The question is, what should your gym sales process look like? What are the critical aspects that must be addressed if you want to improve the process and sell more gym memberships?
The following are 10 important refinements you can make to your processes to increase gym sales.
#1 – Automatically capture all available leads
If you don’t have a process in place to automatically capture all leads, it will take serious discipline to avoid losing some along the way – those walk-in conversations at reception, the emails, the website enquiries, all coming in through different channels that don’t talk to each other.
What’s needed is a fool-proof mechanism to record every opportunity, both on- and offline. An iPad form for walk-ins, for example, which either the prospect can fill out or the gym sales team can complete on their behalf. A bit of code dropped onto your Facebook page or website that channels behavioural information – whether an enquiry or simply a click on your price list – into your gym sales software engine.
This is the first thing you must do if you want to improve gym sales: avoid drop-off by automating lead capture into one centralised hub, removing manual intervention as far as possible.
This consistency of capture will also allow for timely action.
#2 – Create a seamless membership sales playbook
From here, you must clearly define every step of the process. You must flesh out a playbook that tells your gym membership sales team everything they should do to move a prospect through the process, from the moment of contact to closing the sale – and beyond. Because in fact the member journey doesn’t start at the point of joining. It starts upstream, with invaluable data gathered during the gym sales process. Every step must be documented.
You might specify that all leads be contacted within 24 hours, for example, with action requested, a show-around booked and confirmed, an automated follow-up email sent after the tour if they didn’t sign up while they were there… Spell out every step of the process and ensure everyone in the business knows the action they have to take.
Then make sure you’re measuring every step of the process so you know what’s working, what isn’t, if you need more staff or more advertising…
Going back to our previous point about flair vs process, we aren’t saying the personality of your sales team manager doesn’t matter. What we’re saying is that the process comes first. Even the best personality won’t deliver the numbers you want if they aren’t following a structured gym sales process.
#3 – Know that not all gym sales leads are equal
All leads are not equal. An enquiry from someone aged under 16, for example, is not the same as an enquiry from a 25-year-old professional with the salary to match.
You therefore have to develop a scoring system for your leads – a system that allows you to prioritise the high-value opportunities, i.e. those with the strongest probability of becoming a member and the highest potential lifetime value. (As an aside, Keepme’s lead scoring takes both of these factors into account, showing you which leads to focus your efforts on.)
You then need a defined process to deal with each different priority level, all the while appreciating that time kills deals; every lead should be contacted quickly to avoid losing them.
If your lead volume is high, automation can play a useful role here. While you might pick up the phone to prospects who fall in your sweet spot of high likelihood-high potential LTV, automation allows you to make initial contact with lower priority (lower potential LTV) leads digitally – and therefore at greater scale.
This automated contact can include a suggested first action – e.g. book a trial – as a call to action. This provides further insight as to their intent; a positive response could change the lead score of a prospect and move them further up your priority list.
#4 – Automatically allocate your leads
Set lead allocation rules in your gym sales software. These are important not only to ensure all leads are automatically allocated to those responsible for converting them to sales, but also that a lead is re-allocated if not actioned within a set period – e.g. 24 hours.
Ensure your gym sales software allows you to track performance, too. You need accurate reporting of real-time sales figures to track the performance of individual salespeople and teams. You also want to be able to quickly identify where the failures are human, allowing you to intervene, and where they are down to other factors such as lead quality – which brings us to point #5.
#5 – Confirm lead sources to improve gym sales
Every lead source has its associated cost, whether that’s running a website, rewarding member referrals or paying for Facebook advertising. To maximise ROI, it’s therefore vital that you not only capture every single lead, but that you know precisely where each lead comes from.
Identifying lead source throws a spotlight on which channels are performing well – e.g. Facebook ads vs Google PPC. Subsequent calculations of cost per lead and cost per converted lead then provide insight into the comparative performance of each source.
This allows you to fine-tune your gym membership sales strategies, focusing your spend on the sources that deliver the highest numbers of high-quality, high-conversion leads.
And this is critical, because sales performance isn’t only down to your membership sales manager and their team. In fact, the same sales team might enjoy success in converting Google leads, for example, but struggle with leads that come through Facebook.
You need a process in place that understands the relative value of each source, so you can focus your marketing to bring in the right leads in the first place. This brings us to point #6.
#6 – Increase gym sales by really knowing your audience
Know who you’re targeting, and we don’t mean a broad brushstroke description of ‘fitness enthusiasts aged 25–45’. Really know them.
From your database of existing members, use your AI to build up a picture of your ideal customer: the customer who stays with you the longest, with the highest lifetime value.
Underpinning this, your AI will know the precise factors that characterise your ideal customer – everything from their age, to the classes they do, to the source through which they first came to you. It can then use this insight to create an avatar of that perfect customer. A ‘lookalike’ that can be used to improve gym sales.
Let’s take Facebook advertising as an example. Your AI will use the avatar it’s developed to create what Facebook calls a custom audience. In turn, this ensures your ad is served only to those who look very similar to your best customers, helping you attract high potential LTV prospects.
Your cost of acquisition will be reduced, because you only pay Facebook for a very specific type of person; in our experience, you might get fewer clicks, but your conversion rate will be higher and your conversion cost lower. In other words, you’ll sell more gym memberships per dollar invested.
It’s important, in such a targeted campaign, that your ads are pitch perfect for your audience: at a very minimum, you should tailor ads by age and gender. Regularly AB test your creative, too, tweaking spend behind the different ads as needed.
And build re-marketing into your gym membership sales strategies, installing Facebook’s pixel on key web pages – membership prices, for example – to continue serving your targeted ads to those who match your avatar, even outside of the domain of Facebook itself.
#7 – Encourage dialogue
Install a Facebook Messenger plug-in, or other chat tool such as Intercom, on your website. You want to provide your prospects with an immediate opportunity to ask questions.
Set a ‘can I help you?’ trigger for anyone who remains on your website for more than two minutes.
#8 – Harness NPS to sell more gym memberships
Use NPS surveys to drive referral leads.
If a member gives you a score of 9 or 10, automatically send them a specially crafted email. This should include a mouth-watering special offer should they refer a friend who goes on to become a new member.
You can also set up a rule whereby any responses are immediately routed to sales and, returning to point #4, automatically allocated.
#9 – Understand the potential in unconverted leads
Just because a lead doesn’t convert immediately, don’t see it as dead; this is a mistake we see a lot.
Old leads have life. Yes, you have to treat them softly, but they’re still valuable. Indeed, just like members, gym sales leads have lifecycles.
If a sales lead doesn’t progress to close, if possible try and understand why that was, then put a plan in place to re-engage that individual at appropriate moments in their lifecycle. You might set up automated communications for six weeks, nine months and 11 months, for example.
At six weeks, you could still catch those who have been mulling over their options. Don’t come on too strong, though: they should already have received several pieces of communication from you over recent weeks, and thus far have chosen not to act, so you don’t want to alienate them with a hard sell.
And even if they’ve gone on to join another gym, consider for a moment the typical attrition rates across the sector. By the time nine or 11 months roll around, they may well be thinking about changing club. A friendly catch-up could be all it takes to snatch this low-hanging fruit.
#10 – Sell the right product to the right prospect
This final point is of particular relevance to studio operators, where models are based not on the one-off sale but rather on the continual selling of classes or class packages.
Say you offer classes for purchase as individual sessions, or in packs of five or 10. AI can first identify the people in your existing database who are most likely to buy from you. These individuals can then be targeted directly, as well as being used as the basis of avatars for social media sales campaigns.
Better still, your AI can segment them further into those most likely to purchase each of the particular packs, meaning your communications can serve them with the perfect offer – not putting single class purchasers off by trying to push a pack on them, nor leaving potential revenue on the table by proposing a five-pack to an audience who would happily go for the 10.
We hope this has provided some interesting food for thought. To find out how Keepme can help you perfect your gym sales process, book a free demo.