The more competitive nature of the health and fitness business these days means that everyone must constantly reassess how competitive they are. In doing so, enhancements need to be made in structure, policies, training and offerings to the market. And every staff person, regardless of position, must be more effective, especially sales employees.

In order to be effective, you must assess the following professional sales standards and how well your organization executes them. If you are not currently using these tools, then you must consider how their implementation would change the performance of your sales department.

1. Full accountability for the fact that the sales department is there to get and keep business. Great (not good) salespeople focus on getting and keeping business, not simply one or the other. Regarding getting business, is the sales staff responsible for creating, not waiting for, business? Do they have their five-point lead generation plan that they execute every month to create an additional 50 leads each per month? (Follow-up on current leads is not business creation.) Regarding keeping business, do they each have their VIP club of members that they invite to club functions monthly, which creates opportunities to host their VIP members’ guests?

2. How enthusiastic is the sales staff to embrace all sales opportunities that management creates for them? Staff should have an inarguable enthusiasm to maximize all opportunities. If the opportunities do not seem clear, is there discussion about how to maximize them? Sales managers must make sure staff members understand the potential in every opportunity and exactly how to create success. If they do not understand that, then the sales manager needs to do some training.

3. Is there an expectation and accountability for a certain percentage of leads to be self-generated each month by each salesperson? A terrific way to create accountability for this is to tie this element into month-end bonus eligibility.

4. Does the club practice a 30-day maximum sales cycle whereby if the leads have not been converted into membership within 30 days, then those leads go to another salesperson? Consider how this would encourage your staff to do a more professional and gracious job of wrapping up business sooner, rather than simply letting prospects join when they are ready.

5. Does the club have a policy in which the credit and commission go to the person who writes the business with no split policy whatsoever? This would encourage sales staff to be more complete with the selling conversation, become better with getting the follow-up steps nailed down if the person does not join on the first visit and create more productive time management due to less follow-up work.

6. Is there an expectation and accountability for each and every staff person to bring an energy, enthusiasm and charisma to the club every day so that every prospect, guest or member they speak with remembers them and asks for them by name? What is the memorable energy that each of your sales staff possesses as their sales style? What defining trademark element is it that they leave with each prospect, guest or member that makes that person want to come back specifically to them? This is a good discussion and initiative for your next sales meeting.

7. Does each salesperson look at what they do as their profession or simply as a job? If they look at it as a profession, then they will be willing to do anything it takes to be better. If they look at it as a job, they will offer excuses and mediocre performance, which again, in a competitive market, is a liability.

These standards are designed to support the success, effectiveness and professionalism of your sales staff. If your sales staff has become complacent, they will see these standards as restrictive and even punitive. If you implement these standards, your staff will have a short learning curve. However, once implemented and accountable, your membership advisors will increase their sales performance.

Karen Woodard-Chavez is president of Premium Performance Training in Boulder, CO, and Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico. She has owned and operated clubs since 1985 and now consults with and trains club staff throughout the world.