Casey Conrad is president of Communications Consultants, a Wakefield, RI-based company that provides sales and communications seminars and is a 16-year veteran of the health club industry. She can be reached at (800) 725-6147.

With January upon us both club owners and sales people are breathing a sigh of relief; January means membership sales! What many managers and owners fail to see, however, is that January can often mean lost sales due to sloppy skills and disorganization. So, to maximize your best sales quarter, perform the following check-up before the chaos begins.

1. Information call technique. The incoming call is perhaps one of the most important skills to master because the caller is highly qualified and motivated.

  • Does each phone where sales people sit have a phone script?
  • Is each sales person totally comfortable with the script so as to not sound as though they are reading? Role-playing is a must.
  • Does each sales person know how to handle the “I just want prices” objection?
  • Have you had someone mystery phone shop the club lately and record it for training purposes?

2. Closing skills. Because of the high volume of prospects walking through the doors, January sales numbers can be deceiving. Specifically, the outcome may be good, but the closing percentage could be low. With a small increase in closing skills, many more sales could be made.

  • Do all sales people know the six steps to overcoming any objection (Be quiet, align, question nicely, isolate, discover solution and re-close)?
  • Do all sales people know the most common objections heard at your club?
  • Do sales people use qualifying questions to uncover and pre-handle those common objections?
  • Have your sales people memorized scripts for point-of-sales situations when pre-handling doesn’t succeed?
  • Is management role-playing objections weekly with all sales people?

3. Lead management/follow-up systems. Of course, with increased sales traffic, even a strong sales person will have quite a few prospects to follow up with. These could be easy sales if someone simply persists with professional contact.

  • Do all sales people use a universal lead-tracking system so that management can inspect?
  • Is management spot-checking follow-up regularly to ensure that it is being done?
  • Does the club use e-mail systems to increase contact rates?
  • Is the club doing mailings to non-joining tours each month as a safety net follow-up system?

The first quarter of the New Year should be strong for all club operators. By taking the time to tune-up sales and organizational skills, your club can perform even better.