Pat Rigsby is the co-owner of several businesses in the fitness industry, including the Fitness Consulting Group. He also serves as an industry consultant focusing on the development of profitable personal training departments. To learn how you can improve your club’s retention, referrals and profitability, sign up for his free newsletter at www.fitnessconsultinggroup.com. Pat can be reached at pat@fitnessconsultingroup.com.

To maximize your personal training department’s revenues, you need a systematic approach to sales. To be as successful as possible, your system should have these five components:

1. Lead-generation system

2. Consistent sales process

3. Immediate systematic up-sell

4. Systematic back-end sales approach

5. Systematic referral and retention system

Let’s go into greater detail about each of these components so that you can better understand how to integrate and maximize them in your club.

1. Lead generation. By having access to your new and current members, your personal training department has a steady stream of qualified prospects at its disposal on a daily basis. To capitalize on this, you should provide each member with a complimentary goal assessment and personal training session, frequent seminars and free quarterly meetings with trainers to assess their progress.

2. Consistent sales process. Aside from introducing the new member to your facility, the goal assessment and personal training session can serve as your trainers’ sales opportunity. The trainer discovers the prospective client’s troubles and then helps the prospect understand how utilizing your club’s personal training services will alleviate that pain. The session concludes with a sales presentation. If you do offer seminars and quarterly meetings with trainers, then each of these should build value in how your personal training services can help your members more easily achieve their goals. Then close the meeting with a compelling offer of your club’s services.

3. Immediate systematic up-sell. When’s the best time to get a client to make a purchase? When they are already making a purchase. Therefore, you should have standard up-sells depending on the purchase that they make. If they purchase personal training, you might offer them a discounted rate on your weight-management program. If they purchase weight management, you might offer them a pre-designed package of supplements at a discount.

4. Systematic back-end sales approach. The real money is in maximizing the lifetime value of each client, so, after the initial sale, you might enroll your clients in a supplement auto-shipment program, as well as make them some sort of special offer each month. These offers should only be available to your clients and should not be advertised.

5. Systematic referral and retention system. If you’re providing a quality service, then you should ask for referrals on a regular basis (point of sale, assessment, re-sign, etc.) and reward your clients for referrals by giving them a gift of some sort. It sounds simple, but the key to a referral program is to always ask and always reward.

As far as retention goes, the foundation of your retention strategy should be to get results for your clients and to over-deliver on everything you promise. However, one often overlooked retention strategy is to require people to make long-term commitments from the beginning. If you typically sell 12- to 24-month memberships, then there is no reason that you can’t sell 6- to 12-month personal training programs.

These are just five of many sales strategies that you can use to make your personal training department more profitable. Go back through them and think of ways that you can implement at least a couple of these strategies into your club. Remember, if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.