The best sales and marketing campaigns should include a foundation (to build sales), follow-up (with prospects and members) and retention strategy (to keep members after they are sold).

Foundation

Club operators need to lay out a sales/marketing plan that takes the following into account:

  • An educated sales team must understand that behind every sale is a person. Our industry's focus is to help members meet their fitness and health goals. The concept “sales through service” needs to be examined more carefully.

  • People do not buy our services. They buy how they imagine our services will make them feel.

  • If a new member achieves his goal through our services, then he is certain to share his success with a friend. Eventually, the friend becomes a referral. Clubs increase the greatest amount of new members through existing ones.

  • Follow-Up

    A successful system works to allow you to follow up with prospects and members. Creative member contests and referral programs will encourage prospects to become members. Combine the programs with strong sales incentives to increase sales traffic. The goal is to turn phone calls into appointments, appointments into confirmations and confirmations into the “close.”

    Retention

    Clubs need to build relationships with the membership base. Communicate to members with email, direct mail newsletters, internal referral programs, games and education.

    You can also improve retention by rewarding employees. Give your staff incentives. Create a supportive financial system that rewards employees for meeting — and recognizes them for exceeding — goals. Strong employee relationships build loyal staff, and loyal employees lead to happy customers, who lead to more happy customers.

    Jill Oppenheimer and Richard Marshel are certified CMS club consultants. They can be reached at (516) 295-7300 or clubinfo@cms-newyork.com.