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How Do You Sell?

Whether you are selling memberships, toasters, or luxury yachts, everyone has their own style of selling, their own individual type of approach.  However, when selling memberships there are a few simple guidelines that will ensure that your bottom line is catered for most effectively.

On a recent overseas jaunt, I attended a few gyms to ensure my level of fitness did not decrease exponentially while I was away.

In Prague, Czech Republic, I was surprised that the facility I attended made me pay on my way out, purely for the time I used the gym.  The longer I stayed the more I paid.  The same was true for their membership set up .... it was designed based on the amount of time you might use the gym per week.  Strange?

Moving on to Slovakia, I attended a very impressive fitness and leisure facility called Aqua City.  Here you paid for the different areas that you wished to access but also taking into account the amount of time you used them for.  There were five levels of entry, depending on whether you wanted access to the gym, pools, hydroslides, beauty therapy etc.  Entry was controlled to every section by proximity cards.  The membership set up was similar in that the monthly price rose depending on which areas you preferred to access.

While some of these were novel ideas, and handy for me as I was a casual visitor, it seems that perhaps they are not designed to ensure the optimal performance of the centre.

The following are my recommendations of selling memberships at your centre.

1.  Sell long term memberships
If someone walks into your facility today, do you wish to sell them a casual pass, a membership worth $100 or a membership worth $500.  The answer is simple to me. 

2.  Present the one that you wish to sell first
If you have three or four long term memberships ... make sure that you present the one that you prefer to sell first.  If you are unable to close the sale on this, then you can fall back to a lesser, or cheaper membership as a back up.

3.  Don't offer short term memberships
Remove the short term memberships from you options and people will almost certainly go for one of the longer memberships.  If they do not, then ask yourself... how serious were they really about achieving their fitness goals?

4.  Sell ongoing memberships
Make sure that you sell ongoing memberships i.e. ones that continue automatically following the minimum term.  This means that members have to choose to quit rather than choose to stay.  Many will continue to be a member long past their minimum term. 

High Risk Retention

Attracting members is not a problem?  Are they busting the door down to get in at the start of summer and again in the New Year?  However, the problem is you can't seem to keep them longer than the initial term of their membership.

Are you giving them all the same 'great' treatment, but still a large number seem to drop out.  Perhaps this is where you have gone wrong.

Different individuals have different retention requirements.  The guy who trains religiously 4 times per week at the same time every day and only joined a new gym because he moved location, probably does not require as intensive a retention strategy as the girl who is new to exercise, or the one who has joined more gyms than you have had hot dinners and has never trained at any of them!

As a manager you need to tailor your retention to the individual member.  But firstly we need to identify those that are at a low risk, medium risk, and high risk of dropping out or ceasing training. Then we can design the retention strategy accordingly.

How do we do this?

1.  Develop a retention programme for low, medium and high risk individuals.  For example, high risk individuals may have 6 points of contact within the first 3 weeks, whether via phone call, letter, email or personal consultation and training session.  They then may have monthly contact to ensure that their training is ongoing.  On the other hand, the low risk individual may require fewer interventions, perhaps just the odd courtesy call, or reassessment call etc.

2.  Categorise new and existing members of your gym.  Determine by the initial consultation whether they are high, medium or low risk of dropping out.  Note this within your database in one of the search fields.

3.  Implement the retention strategies for new and existing members.  You will surely retain more members as a result.  Good luck.