John,

I read the article pertaining to your experiences in seeking club membership. I felt that I had to respond.

I am a seasoned sales professional with a proven track record in membership sales. I would like to express my firsthand observation and opinion.

I first became a membership director in a private club company. (Not all of their clubs were fitness). This company, which will remain nameless, provided professional training. They endeavored to create a professional atmosphere where one could make a substantial living wage.

Unfortunately, I was under the misconception that all clubs in the fitness industry were as professional as this one.

In my search for another position I came across the following:

  1. Most clubs do not train their sales consultants. They hire anyone who is interested in fitness to sell memberships and feel because they have put little investment in their staff, if the person leaves, there is always some else to replace them.
  2. The compensation package is low. Sales professionals are usually not interested in the industry.
  3. The fitness industry is competitive. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to have fewer turnovers by training the sales staff?
  4. I just left a company that did not train me in their policies and procedures. If they don't train a sales professional what happens to those that are hired with no sales experience?
  5. Listening and asking questions before you take a prospect on tour are the abc's of sales. Asking the prospect to join is how a salesperson receives compensation. Are the sales consultants happy with the low salary they receive? Then they are hiring the wrong people.
  6. I looked for a sales position recently and contacted many companies; most did not even have the courtesy to acknowledge receipt of my resume. When I was offered a position, (management or consultant) the compensation package was for an inexperienced salesperson.
  7. Why don't fitness companies train their sales staff? I have not been able to answer the question. They would have fewer turnovers, because consultants would make a living wage, the staff would feel and be successful and the club would have continuity with their staff.

I am sure you are asking yourself why I wanted a position in fitness. Well, before my last experience, I felt that I wanted to help people become healthier. Now I have left the fitness industry and that is their loss.
Name Witheld

It is unfortunate that you ran into a few “bad apples” that have soured you on the industry as a whole. I think it is becoming more rare that clubs run their sales force and training as unprofessionally as you describe, but it does still happen. It is important that the entire industry work toward providing top-notch training for all staff and pay that staff as professionals so we don't drive away sell-qualified people.

John


To Club Industry,

In your recent magazine of March 2004 — I take umbrage at the title “Magic Words to Build Your PT Business,” by Karen Woodard. Although I realize that the editor chooses titles for the articles by authors, which may let Karen off the hook, a PT is a physical therapist NOT a personal trainer.

A personal trainer may or may not be an educated individual but does not possess a license to practice as does a PT. I could belabor the education, licensure and education of a licensed, educated PT compared to a personal trainer, but will not.

There is no comparison between a PT and a personal trainer. A personal trainer can be anything from a high school drop out to a college graduate who may have passed an exam proclaiming them to be a personal trainer. Also, I believe the APTA made a formal statement several years ago against people who are personal trainers from calling themselves PTs.

The weekend workshop and certification exam of a personal trainer cannot compare with the extended education and curriculum of a physical therapist. Personal trainers do not care for people in the acute phase of treatment.

Sorry for the outburst but must clarify that PT is a physical therapist.
Helen M. Tilden, RN

Helen,
We are sorry if the headline caused confusion for you or anyone else. We weren't trying to compare personal training business to physical therapy. We were just trying to convey an idea with a limited amount of space. In the future, we will try to be more clear whenever possible.

Thanks for you input.
John


Dear Editor,

Looking through your archived articles on your Web site, I noticed that you took off the “printer friendly format” when I tried to print the articles. Wondering if you could bring this back? Thanks!

Jason Reidford

Jason,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. As you may notice, the Web site has recently been redesigned and we are still working out some of the bugs. I will check with our IT team and see if we can't get this corrected ASAP.

John

Who are they fooling?

After reading your March article, “Industry Groups Work on Personal Trainer Issues,” I have to wonder whom the certifying organizations that are creating their own “third-party” accreditation groups think they are fooling. A catchy name and logo doesn't eliminate the fact that these groups appear to be nothing more than an off-shoot of the certifying group, and that is not a legitimate form of third-party validation. Are we as an industry, going to be fooled into believing a certification “accredited” essentially through the same group that developed the certification has any legitimacy.

It appears that these groups view IHRSA's recommendations as nothing more than an additional income opportunity. At this rate not only will we, as an industry, have more than 200 certifying organizations we will have a similar number of accrediting organizations as well.

I better start working on a catchy acronym, so I can validate myself.

Submitted anonymously for obvious reasons.