I recently purchased a new car for my wife. The process of purchasing a new car always makes me cringe. I am constantly aware of the overwhelming feeling that I am about to be manipulated and overcharged. I feel like there must be a way to outsmart the salesperson, but I do not have time to play those games when buying a car. I want to walk into the dealership and tell the salesperson exactly what I am looking for, and then I want them to tell me how they can help me. Games, upcharges and the inevitable surprises at the end of the transaction just before the papers are signed are infuriating. It should be a simple process—period.
Whomever the first salesperson was in the fitness industry must have come from a car salesman background. People are terrified to walk into a fitness center for the first time. They hear horror stories about long contracts with a no cancel clause and the proverbial high pressure tactics. You know the drill: buy it today because tomorrow the price goes up. Late charges, upcharges, cancellation charges, fine print—I could go on. It gives our industry a bad name.
Most fitness centers still have it backwards. They are selling memberships rather than solutions. People who walk into a fitness center and need to lose 20 pounds often are sold a 24-month membership, and then the salesperson hands them a 1980s circuit training card and wishes them the best. That is not what new members need. After two weeks, they will see no results and will quit. Then, for the next 22 months, they will open their credit card statement and curse about having to pay for a membership that serves no purpose. What those new members needed was a coach, not a salesperson. They needed someone to help them achieve their goals and keep them accountable. Those members never should have been sold memberships. They should have received a solution. That solution would be monthly coaching sessions with some nutrition counseling and fitness advice. Sell them the solution and give them the membership for free.
So which is it? If you are in the business of selling memberships for $10 per month, go ahead and sell memberships all day. You will have lots of members, but how many will you actually help? If you are in the business of trying to change the world, affect people’s lives and actually help them, then sell them the solution and give them a membership.
Four simple steps to selling the solution are:
- Ask the potential client what their fitness goals are. Do not make assumptions.
- Give them a road map detailing how they can achieve their goals in a realistic time frame.
- Include everything that they need in this plan: membership, training, nutrition, etc.
- Deliver 100 percent on everything you promised them.
Nic DeCaire is the owner and founder of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, DE. He is a graduate of Wilmington University. DeCaire has 14 years of experience in the industry. He started working the front counter at a local fitness center at age 14, and his success and passion for fitness have grown since then. A former competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter, DeCaire has won many awards in the sport. He is the chairman of the Main Street Mile, which benefits the Newark K-9 Fund, and serves on the board of Kids with Confidence. DeCaire can be contacted at 302-738-4580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: For more tips on the latest in health club sales strategies, purchase this Health Club Sales Strategies 2012 report.