As we discussed here last month, the key to competitiveness for gyms and studios in the fitness industry is flexibility. To survive, your business needs to be able to quickly adapt to seasonal demands, increased competition and changing market demographics (like income, age or employment status). Those businesses that can move quickly to match their resources to these changes are the business that will thrive.
At the heart of flexibility are smart processes and systems that support them which l outlined in my last post. To recap these are:
- Marketing System
- Selling System
- Delivery System
- Payment System
- Retention System
As a follow-up to last month’s article, we are are going to dive into defining and developing your selling system. So, what is a selling system? In its most basic form, your Selling System is the process of converting a lead or inquiry into a paying member or client.
As described by Wendy Maynard, a selling system “warms up your leads over time by showcasing your company’s unique differentiation and the value you can provide to them. The strategy here is to nurture your leads throughout their decision making process, so that by the time they are serious about making a purchase, they’ve have basically sold themselves.”
The key word here is process. Many fitness businesses we deal with have not previously had a defined selling system. If your process looks like this: Step 1 – Prospect calls, Step 2 – We tell them the price & details of our gym and Step 3 – They either become a member or not, you are doing yourself and your business a disservice.
So, what are the key things you need to consider when developing your selling system:
- Documented Process – Your process can simply be a flowchart that describes the steps you will take your prospects through to become a member. Sure, some people sign up on the spot, but your business will ultimately be much more successful if you can convert those prospects who need a little more time in making their decision. Here are some ideas on what your process might look like
- Day 0: Prospect makes contact
- Day 0-1: Book in for a membership consultation and center tour (capture key contact information and motivation)
- Day 1: Email details of consultation and reinforce key messages aligned with motivations from membership consultation
- Day 3: Follow-up call (Scripted)
- Day 5: Email recent success stories
- Day 8: Invite to a center event
- Day 10: Add to Newsletter / Blog mailing list
- Day 15: Follow-up call
Obviously at any step the prospect may become a member. You need to work your process and understand when people are most likely to sign up and tweak things over time to give yourself the best chance of converting your leads. Which leads us to the next point.
- Tracking Leads – While we strongly advocate using club management software like Clubworx, you can track leads in a spreadsheet or word processor. What should you be tracking as part of your lead management process? While the list below is not exhaustive, it is a good start for developing your process:
- Where the lead came from (for example – letterbox drop or referral or Instagram)
- How they contacted you (for example – phone, email or walkin). This information becomes really important when you are looking at the effectiveness of your sales channels. For example, if you observe you are converting more phone call inquiries than walkins, you can start hypothesizing why that might be. Is it a staff training issue? Is it a scripting issue? The point is, you can identify weaknesses and correct them to improve your selling process.
- What was their motivation for contacting you – this information can be used to further refine your marketing process.
- What stage is the prospect at? This is really important. In step 1 above, we outlined a process, you need to track where the prospect is so you can follow the next step. If you are not following a process consistently, you cannot identify its strengths and weaknesses. Your process needs to be repeatable, if you are relying on one gun salesperson, your business has a key person risk should that employee move on.
- Inquiry date and conversion date – you need baselines to understand the average length of your sales cycle
- Why didn’t you sign up question – this is really valuable for refining your process. If you start seeing common issues arising for missed opportunities, you can take corrective action.
- Demonstrating Value – Everyone in your organization from your front office admin staff, to your PTs on the floor, to your managers should know and be able to communicate your key value proposition. All of your communications including; emails, phone scripts, website and face to face appointments should be about reinforcing your value proposition. When your messages are aligned and reinforced through your selling process, you are more likely to convert your ideal customers.
- Onboarding Members – Your selling system is also the first major step in your retention process (which we will go into over the next couple of months). Onboarding is the process of making your prospect a member. This is more than just giving them a membership card and sending them on their way. Truly great fitness centers (and companies in general) take this opportunity to really wow their customers. Why not book your members in for a strength or body composition test within the first week. Give them a cookbook as part for their welcome pack. Provide some gym branded merchandise. Book a follow-up call in a month. Send them an email asking for feedback at 3 months. If they are still a financial member after 6 months, give them a free PT session.Obviously you need to work within your budget but remember, the job is not finished when they sign the membership form!
- Feedback from your Selling Team – Your front office and sales staff are key to driving your selling process. They need buy-in and they need a voice to refine the process. Run regular sales workshops where everyone reviews the conversion rates, reasons for lost opportunities and ideas for what can be improved. The beauty of tracking your leads is that you have some hard data to base these discussions around your meeting can be much more constructive. You can clearly see what is working and reinforce those activities and you can also identify what is not working and have your sales team buy into some alternative activity to turn that poor activity into a positive one.
Ok – I understand what a selling system is, what should I do next?
Work your way through the five dot point above. Document, track, communicate value, onboard with WOW and create a feedback loop. When your selling system is firing, you can bring new or temporary staff into your organization during peak inquiry times and not miss a beat. As your process becomes more refined over time, (and it will if you follow these steps) you will find the cost of acquiring new members will drop significantly. These funds can be reinvested into expanding your gym to cater for more members or on other great member retention activities.
Clubworx is a powerful online software designed to help gyms, clubs, studios and PTs get new members and retain the members they already have to achieve maximum growth potential. For more information visit www.clubworx.com.