Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products.

The quality of your staff’s club tour and membership sales presentation will often determine whether a guest joins your health club or one of your competitors down the street. Unfortunately, most membership presentations lack pizzazz and are seldom compelling enough to motivate the club guest to join your club the day of the visit. The following steps, however, can help you develop a membership presentation for your sales staff that will differentiate your club from other health clubs.

1. Make the membership presentation relevant to club guests. One of the more common mistakes health club sales reps make during a club tour is to be generic. They say the same thing in every tour and membership presentation and hope that something will appeal to the potential new member. A canned, robotic presentation isn’t typically relevant to guests. That doesn’t mean your salespeople shouldn’t have a set presentation or system. It simply means they should interject the needs of each guest within that presentation. Your reps should always do a needs analysis and take notes. By doing so, they’ll be better able to determine the guests’ goals and reasons for those goals before beginning the tour.

2. Create a connection between your health club and your guest. In a membership presentation, your reps should offer guests a sample exercise program that would help them achieve their goals. If they don’t have set goals, your reps should measure guests and help them set goals. They should introduce guests to personal trainers that might specialize in the areas in which they would like to improve. They should introduce guests to you, the club owner, and to other club staff. In the tour and presentation, your staff should discuss the benefits of your health club rather than the features of the club. Guests need to hear how the club will help them. Simply showing features is the quickest way to invite comparison to other health clubs.

3. Get to the point quickly. Everyone is busy. Your salespeople should know what they need to accomplish on the tour and use the needs analysis to get there. At the beginning of a tour, I like for reps to say something like this: “Mr. Smith, as I am showing you the club today, I’d like you to think about how we can help you long term in getting the results you are seeking. If you feel like we can help you get these results, I would like to sit down and invite you to become a member. Fair enough?”

4. Show enthusiasm. The majority of membership sales presentations are unimaginative and lacking in genuine enthusiasm and energy. This is often reflected in the salesperson speaking in a monotone voice, perhaps because they have given the presentation so many times. However, this tone causes guests to quickly lose interest in the tour and membership presentation. The key is to give each tour and membership presentation like it was the first time. After all, for the guest, it is. Your reps need to remember that they are on stage during the presentation, much like a musician or actor, so they must give a performance worthy of a paid admission.

5. Show a little flair. Rather than just focusing on the tour, your salespeople should get guests thinking about the future. How will their lives change? What were their lives like before they gained the weight? Your reps should ask questions that get guests to think about this, such as: “Mary, what is the first thing you plan on doing when you drop the 20 pounds?” The impact of this question is much greater than the typical statement of, “We can show you how to lose weight.”

6. Do an equipment demonstration. This is the easiest and simplest of all steps to implement, yet I rarely see it done. Your salespeople should let guests try some equipment so they can experience how easy they are to use. Let them see that, yes, they can do this—and let them feel their muscles at work. This approach never fails to help the guest make a decision.

7. Believe in what you represent. Hands down, this is the most important component of any membership sales presentation. When your reps discuss results and benefits, do they become more animated and energetic? Do their voices show excitement? Does their body language show their enthusiasm? If not, they need to change how they do things. After all, if they can’t get excited about the club and all the benefits that can be achieved, how can you expect guests to become motivated enough to join?