Today's health club sales environment is different than it was in the past. The days of selling your facility to everyone based on price or equipment is gone. Other health clubs offer the same brand name equipment that you have, and some of these businesses offer it at even cheaper rates than you.
So how should your staff sell your facility to potential members? They need to sell based on your facility's uniqueness and how that uniqueness benefits your target demographic. But does your staff know what makes your facility different, unique and special, and do they understand your target market? If they do not, then they cannot be successful.
Start by reminding your staff of who should belong to your facility. You have built your amenities and programming around those people. Does the staff know who they are? Can they recognize a good prospect from a bad one?
People who are not a part of your targeted market will not be happy in your club, will not continue as members and will not refer friends. Their membership could do your club more harm than good if they share their dissatisfaction about your club with others. Focusing only on prospects in your targeted market allows you to draw in members who can be successful in your culture and who will help you build a mighty clientele that will refer other people who fit your culture.
Once your sales staff understands your target market, they must understand what makes your facility stand out from your competitors for your targeted prospects. To understand this, you have to know what the other clubs in your neighborhood offer. So, require all members of your sales team to visit your competitors. Give them a list of questions to answer about these other facilities, and ask them to list the features and benefits of the other places.
The list should at a minimum include the following questions:
After your staff visits these clubs, ask them to answer the same questions for your facility as if they are looking at your club with a fresh pair of eyes. Answering these questions will help highlight how you differ from your competitors and how their members differ from your desired members.
After these visits are made and questions are answered, hold a brainstorming session in which everyone shares what they found. You should make a list comparing the answers for each facility.
A few differences should begin to emerge as you do this process. Discuss how those differences are important for the market you are targeting. Those differences should be reviewed every week by every representative in all of your departments, so everyone at your facility can share with prospects and members what makes your company shine above competitors. Make sure staff is able to articulate why those differences are important to the members you want at your club.
You did not create your business to be like any other. You strive to be unique, so never lose that focus. You must work hard to ensure that your members get a great experience, great value, super engagement and the results that exceed what they desired on day one of their membership.
By helping your staff better understand the uniqueness of your facility and how that benefits your market, you help them become better at defining the right prospects for your club. They can then begin selling the facility to those prospects and present all sides of the value equation to help prospects make a choice that will be in their best interest.
When you embrace the new sales environment and encourage your team to be experts, consultants and lifestyle changers, then the benefits will overflow in your net member growth. Keep focused on the big picture. Dare to try new things. Be the best that you can be in your community and for your members.
Editor's note: For more about how health club sales has changed, purchase this Health Club Sales Strategies 2012 report.