Getting Ready for the Peak Selling Season

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Anyone in the fitness industry knows that with New Year’s right around the corner, it will soon be the busiest time of the year for sales traffic. On one hand, more traffic simply means more membership sales and more revenue. On the other hand, a potential problem lurks; high prospect traffic often results in a drop in closing rates.

During busy times salespeople have a tendency to cut corners with the selling process. Perhaps they are trying to rush because another guest is waiting, but often the reason stems simply from the fact that they can cut corners without “feeling” the effects of a weaker sales presentation. That is, their closing percentage may go down (and I am shocked at the number of salespeople who do not track their own closing percentage) but because they are seeing more prospects, their numbers still look good. Hence, they are not “feeling” the pain of the decrease in overall success.

As a quick review, remember there are 8 steps to the professional fitness sales presentation;
1. Find a prospect
2. The meet and greet (which is the pre-qualification)
3. Qualify
4. Tour
5. Membership presentation
6. Overcome objections
7. Point of sale referral process
8. Establish a clear course of contact

Although every step of the sales process is important, and requires specific skills, tools and techniques to properly complete, the two areas of the sales presentation where salespeople have a tendency to first cut corners are on the qualifying stage and the tour.

The Qualifying Stage

Mistake #1: Trying to qualify while standing at the front desk.

This is a huge mistake for number of reasons. First, with many prospects there is a level of DIS-comfort at being inside a club. Therefore, making sure the prospect is at ease is very important. As a result, the qualifying process should happen in a quiet and private area of the club as possible, if you use an office, keep the door open so the prospect doesn’t feel “locked in.” In addition, if the salesperson will be sitting with the prospect in an area where guest traffic walks by, try and position the prospect so their peripheral vision has the LEAST number of distractions. Finally, when choosing desk space, know that round tables are the most inviting for rapport building and if a desk must be used, sit caddy-corner with a prospect NOT across from them

Mistake # 2: Not using a printed Needs Analysis Sheet or Guest Profile

Using a printed, professionally looking needs analysis form is imperative for a number of reasons. First, it ensures a consistent, effective and PROVEN sales presentation with every prospect no matter which salesperson is on the job. Second, it looks professional; let’s face it, when you go to your doctor they have forms they use! Third, when a salesperson asks questions AND writes down the answers, it conveys a feeling of caring to the prospect, and therefore creates a greater level of rapport. And fourth, using a form to capture the prospects information allows for effective follow up.

Think abut it, if a salesperson works with five prospects a day, it will be almost impossible for them to remember details about someone one or two weeks later. So, for all these reasons, and many more, it is imperative that salespeople use a needs analysis form.

The Tour

Tour Mistake #1: Touring the prospect before qualifying

Yes, I know some of you are saying, “Wait a minute, if qualifying is step #3 and touring is step #4, then how (or why) would a salesperson reverse the order?” That is a great question and one that has NO logical answer. What salespeople will often say is that because the prospects say, “I’m here to see the facility,” they feel obligated to show them the club so as not to “upset” them. To ensure that a full understanding of why one tours ONLY AFTER qualifying, think of this scenario. You go to the doctors because you don’t feel well. You are sitting in the examining room and the doctor comes in and says, “So, I hear you don’t feel well.” After simply saying, “No, I don’t.”” the doctor turns around, grabs a syringe, fills it up with something and comes over to give you a shot in the arm. What is going through your mind right now? Yea, “This guy is a whacko – he’s trying to give me treatment without even knowing what is wrong with me.”

Well, the same analogy applies to selling health club memberships. How can you give a prospect a customized, personal tour without first knowing what the prospect wants and why that it is important to them? You can’t, so always make sure your sales team is ALWAYS QUALIFYING BEFORE TOURING. Not only will it result in greater success, but the prospect will feel better about the process as well.

Tour Mistake #2: Giving the “Museum” Tour

The museum tour refers to the situation when a salesperson walks through the club and simply “feature-dumps” information to the prospect. “Over here we have 55 cardiovascular pieces of equipment and we have 112 different classes per week, and we have only certified trainers, “ blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. WHO CARES! People don’t buy features – they buy what those features are going to give them in terms of benefits.

Therefore, salespeople need to stop blabbing about a ton of features and, instead, focus on the key things that the prospect indicated were important to them (Super Objective) during the qualifying stage. Then once the salesperson has explained the benefits of a particular club feature, they need to get the prospect to verbally give feedback as to the importance of that feature.

Take the time and tune-up the qualifying and touring aspects of your clubs sales presentation and it will result in a higher level of sales success.

 

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