Free Trials - Miracle or Menace?
trials… I am not really sure why we offer them. You certainly don’t get
to try out a new pair of running shoes before you buy them. Perhaps you
are signing up for a new phone contract, or
TV. None of these product
suppliers will offer you a free trial. So what if you don’t like it …
unfortunately you have to pay for your contracted period …
made more sense to me to offer a ‘cool down’ period. You know … get the
person to join … if they are not entirely happy with everything then they
can cancel their membership within 7 days and get a refund (minus an
administration fee of course).
it has become a well accepted part of fitness centres that many will offer
a free trial if you wish to ‘try before you buy'.
other day in fact I rang a club … (with absolutely no intention of
joining) and asked for a free trial. It was duly granted one without
question. The gym was new and I wanted to check it out. I thought to
why are they giving me a free trial?
At least they should check
that I am a genuine prospect first.
month I thought that I would discuss free trials … their purpose, and a
couple of suggestions if in fact you are offering free trials.
me wrong … I actually do think that in certain circumstances free trials
are a good idea. The following are a range of situations in which you
might offer free trials… to try to encourage a member of the public to
join your club.
clubs offer a couple of free 7 day passes to all new members of the gym
as a benefit of their membership. The gym will then proceed to contact
these leads and arrange for them to begin their trial. Often an
incentive is given on the first day of the trial to encourage them to
gyms operate lead boxes … where some sort of competition is run and
interested individuals enter their details to win - say a gym
membership. The unsuccessful applicants are often offered a free 7day
trial of the facility as a consolation prize, again with some sort of
incentive to join on the first day.
offer a free 1 day trial to previous enquirers of your centre who have
not subsequently joined. This may be a chance to get them back to the
gym using your second follow up call following their visit.
other situations too where a free trial may be a good idea. But remember
it is not an excuse to give someone a free visit to your club! It is a
chance to try to convert a prospect into a member of your club. Always
bare in mind the following …
trials are by appointment only. If someone just turns up with their
friend and wants to take advantage of a free trial, chances are that
they have no intention of joining.
Also, members will believe that
person for a
free trial is a right not a
privilege. You can kiss your
guest fee goodbye if word gets out that you give out trials willy nilly!
trials should have an expiry date. For example – if someone wishes to
refer a friend for their 7 day pass … make them aware that it must be
done at POS, or perhaps within one week of joining (give them a call 7
days after joining if they have not given details at POS). If there is
no expiry date people will just turn up 3 months into their membership
long lost cousin Judy who is over on holiday and wants some free
training … certainly not a prospect of the gym!
all referrals for free trials on a tracking sheet. This way you can
keep tabs on who has been in … and you will not get chancers sneaking
through the net. Also, it will show you your free trial conversion rate.
letter to free trial nominees. Whether it is via referral, or
competition boxes etc … when you receive the details of your free
trialists send them a letter to outline their nomination. Then follow
up with a phone call a few days later to book them in to start their
a confirmation call on the morning of their trial appointment. This
will increase you show rate exponentially
many people will forget
the trial as an ordinary enquiry. Complete a needs analysis with the
prospect, tour the facility, uncover objections, present the price etc
(see our business database
for the 8 steps involved
in your sales process) … and you may also wish to offer some sort of
incentive to join on the first day of their trial (get them joined
Introduce the trialist to a gym instructor. Have the instructor show
them how the equipment works and perhaps a few exercises to complete
during their visit. Ensure that the instructor notifies you when the
person has completed their workout.
prospect does not join on the first day of their trial, give them a
follow up call midway through their trial
and attempt to book them in for a chat with you on the last day.
Finally, if the prospect still doesn’t join … chances are they were
never that interested anyway … however you should still complete your
follow up procedure.
If you keep in mind these
steps when anyone trials your facility you will find that you convert a
substantially higher number to members. Think of the difference this
could mean to your bottom line!