You have completed the tour of your facility with a prospective member, and now it's time to explain the membership costs and ask for a commitment — and money. So you invite the prospect to join you in a more private area of the club set aside to discuss these details. When you ask for that sale, the answer you get may have as much to do with the environment and design of that sales area as it has to do with your tour, club offerings and pitch.
Can this space really have such an impact? Won't the club and its programs “sell” the membership? When people make a decision to purchase something, it is often an emotional decision rather than an objective one. They will feel an emotion about what they are being asked to purchase. So, when it's time for the prospect to make that decision about joining your club, don't you want what they are looking at to give them a warm and welcoming feeling rather than a cold and trapped feeling?
If your sales area looks like the following, it will lower your chances of a sale:
The area is dirty. Walls are scuffed, the floor is worn and the furniture is old and scratched. As an owner, you may not see these issues because you are used to them, but these items speak loudly to someone new.
The area is cluttered. Stuff is everywhere, papers are pinned to the wall, junk is on the desk and floor, and the back of a computer and wires are facing the guest.
The area is closed in. Bringing people into an office with no windows and then closing the door is not a good idea. It is clearly old school and intimidating.
The area has no aesthetics. The furniture doesn't match, a meaningless or intimidating picture of an overly fit person hangs on the wall, and a half-dead plant sits on the desk.
The designated sales area is one of the first things people see when entering the club.
Instead, you want your club's environment to inspire individuals to want to be at your club. To do so, your sales area should be more like the following:
The area should be spotless. Clean these areas daily.
The area should be uncluttered. The sales area should include only the essential items you need to get the job done. Everything should have its place with storage units for everything.
The sales desk should be round so that everyone sits together around the desk rather than the salesperson sitting on one side and the guests on the other with a barrier between them.
The area should have a view. Consider a three-sided sales office, which has one open wall that looks out to an area of the club where the potential member can see something pleasant and exciting. Another option is to have an office but with full-length windows on one or more walls, making sure that whatever is visible is positive.
To make your area a powerful closing tool, do the following:
Get contemporary, matching furniture. Make sure the flooring is up to date — carpet, tile or stained concrete.
Hang motivational pictures of the outdoors or a lifestyle activity. The standard motivational picture with something about success or leadership is outdated. Try some beautiful wall art.
Locate the sales area near a point of excitement off your lobby. The newly renovated Weymouth Club in Weymouth, MA, added a water wall surrounded by natural stone to its lobby. This sits right outside the three glassed-wall sales offices. People sitting in these offices see and hear a beautiful wall of water. Beautiful pictures of natural scenes hang on the wall, and people sit in clean, upscale furniture. Green bamboo plants sit on the desk.
Use bright, energetic colors in the area, but not too bright, as that can be overwhelming.
Use a stimulating wall covering for one or more walls.
Sales are such an important aspect of the club industry. Why sell someone on your club during a tour, only to have them sit in a less-than-motivating space for the close? Make the last stop be one of the most inspiring experiences a guest has to increase the chances of a sale.
Bruce Carter is the president of Optimal Fitness Design Systems International, a club design firm that has created about $650 million worth of clubs in 45 states and 26 countries.