In an economy that has led to lower membership sales, peripheral sales are becoming more important to a club’s financial success. Most clubs employ two types of people: those who live to serve and those who live to sell. Occasionally, the perfect blend of the two comes along, but in many cases you must motivate and teach the best service providers how to sell. Those who live to serve have a lot to offer members. They may be excellent personal trainers, massage therapists and youth programmers, but they often struggle with sales.
Keep these five points in mind when trying to motivate your service providers to actively sell:
Even the most altruistic of service providers will not work for free. These staff members enjoy helping people, but they still have bills to pay. Show them how boosting their sales performance can help them achieve their personal financial goals. Ask them to determine how much they need to earn annually in order to cover their cost of living, plus any trips, education or home improvements they have planned. Use that figure as their new target. Setting a goal this way can be far more motivating than an arbitrary number.
The best way to help people is by selling them their services. Massage therapists, personal trainers and programmers know that just one session with them will not give clients the results they want. Yet after offering a free introductory service, service providers often do not ask clients to buy a package for fear of sounding pushy. Help your service staff recognize that by not encouraging clients to buy more of a service, be it a weekly massage or a monthly training session, they are not maximizing the benefits of the service and are letting their clients down. If they do that, they are more likely to be comfortable asking clients to purchase more sessions. Even if they get a no, they can feel good that they offered what was best for that client.
Service providers offer value to clients. Some service providers do not believe their service is worth what a client pays. Remind your service providers of the value of their education and the effort that went into passing their course work. Service providers need to feel that their training and expertise is worth every penny of their fee. They need to be reminded that far beyond the value of the session they deliver, their service has made their clients’ membership experience better. Massage clients move better and with less pain. Personal training clients lose weight or perform better. Programming clients renew their motivation and determination.
Help service providers define what makes them unique. Everyone wants to feel that they have something that makes them stand out from the crowd. Novice service providers may not know what that is, but over time, their experience will help them discover their area of expertise. That area may be a specialty service that only they offer, or it could be something more subtle like being really good at working with new members. Either way, if they can identify their niche and start seeking their natural market, sales will start to feel easy and not forced.
Recognize service providers for adding to your club’s bottom line. Service providers may say they are not in their career for the money, but they never turn down recognition. Find ways to reward these people. Praise them in an all-club e-mail, with an achievement award or with a cash bonus. Be sure they are not left out when your club has had a great month. Always focus on membership sales. It’s a club’s lifeblood. But great service providers are the heart. They keep members engaged and renewing year after year. It’s worth giving them what they need to feel successful and part of the club’s overall success.
Training great service people to sell as well as they serve has always been a challenge. Because they are not motivated by the thrill of the hunt as many sales people are, it can seem like sales training is ineffective-but it is nevertheless crucial. If they are the heart of your business, then training them to be great at sales will help your organization live longer and thrive.
Amanda Harris is vice president of fitness and wellness at ACAC Fitness Centers in Charlottesville, VA. She also is a management development specialist with more than 15 years of industry experience, including 13 years as a personal trainer.