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 over 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: http://www.fmconsulting.net.

There are two kinds of sales people in health clubs: those who are in a slump and those who will be in a slump. It’s happened to most sales people at one time or another. You might find that you can’t get your club guests to join, your pipeline has emptied and no one seems to return your phone calls. This may weaken your confidence, and your entire outlook may be shaken. Does any of this sound familiar? It happens in health clubs every day.

Over the years and while working with many different kinds of clubs, I have seen many top sales people fall into a sales slump. Some sales slumps last longer than others, but none last forever.

The next time you find yourself in a sales slump, try some of these ideas to pull yourself back up:

  1. Accept responsibility. It’s up to you to accept responsibility for getting yourself out of the slump. You certainly should ask for and expect support from your manager, department head or owner, but no one else can get you out of your slump. You have to do it yourself. It will take some time and effort. Don’t point fingers.
  1. Stop making excuses. I forget who said this, but it rings true: “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t…either way you’re right.” If you tell yourself that the weather, time of year, poor prospects, the weekend, etc., is the reason for your slump, you’ll believe it before you know it. The key here is choosing to be accountable.
  1. Follow a proven system. This is a business of basics. Be sure you are following the same fundamentals that made you a success. In evaluating a sales slump, one of the first questions to ask is, “What’s different?” It’s always interesting how, over time, sales people will start to cut corners and get off course on what works. Usually, what’s wrong with a sales person’s slump is not complicated.
  1. Go for little wins. Go for some achievable small goals—little successes. Sometimes big goals can be too overwhelming when you’re in a slump. Little goals will help you regain your footing. The key to this is for you to take control of the situation.
  1. Be sure you continue learning. One of the bad habits of successful sales people is to think we now know how to do this, and there is nothing else to learn. By making a habit of always learning, your enthusiasm stays at a high level and your presentation remains fresh.
  1. Failure to plan. Revisit previous success plans, or create a new plan of action. Don’t wing it. By properly planning, you will feel a better sense of control and empowerment.
  1. Role play. You can do this with a co-worker, a spouse or in front of a mirror with yourself. Don’t practice on the paying customer. After trying out your pitches, reverse the role play and have another successful salesperson role play with you. Listen to how they do it and learn.
  1. No stinkin’ thinkin’. You must have a positive attitude. Be looking for solutions. Don’t make your sales slump any worse by associating with a bunch of underachievers. Associate yourself with positive, successful people.
  1. Get active. Do something. Do anything. And do it now. Stay busy and active. Don’t find yourself stuck in an office worrying.
  1. Believe in your club. Be sure you are selling for your customers’ reasons and not simply your desire to get a sale. Don’t press, either. Stay focused on helping your club guests get results.

I’ve never been a big believer in luck having much to do with successful health club selling. Some good timing here and there, and an occasional bad break happens, but I’ve seen health club winners “create” their own luck way too many times.

Now, go dump that slump.