"Part of the health club management challenge right now is keeping membership sales reps focused on issues that they have control over, such as their calling activity. "
While most health club salespeople are accustomed to price resistance, they are feeling more of it these days as a result of an economic downturn.
Many health clubs are feeling the pinch and sales staff retention is a particular concern right now in clubs. What makes the problem worse is that many health club owners have never led a health club through an economic slowdown, and most membership salespeople have never sold during tough times.
It can have a significant impact because in tough times, health club salespeople must create opportunities, not just respond to them.
In working with several health clubs in different parts of the country, we have come up with some ideas that you can use to help motivate your health club sales reps.
When it comes to motivating health club sales staff, train, train and train some more.
1. Adjust Your Health Club's Goals And Incentive Programs
From a management standpoint, you want to better establish and define the sales goals…both for the health club itself and for the individual membership reps. Then you have to hold yourself and your membership salespeople accountable to those goals, and give them the tools they need to accomplish them.
The system should be based on goals established at the ownership level, such as a certain number of phone contacts per week, members serviced per month, new membership sales added or new services added to an existing membership.
2. Don't Just Throw Money At The Problem
Too many health club owners and sales managers offer reps more money, never realizing that what they really need is support, training and motivation. Most membership reps just want a sales manager who spends time with them and helps them work through challenging issues.
3. Hit the Workout Floor And Ask Questions
To cultivate effective health club sales teams, managers must get out from behind their desks and hit the workout floor (and phones) with their membership reps. Salespeople have to feel that everyone is in the same boat right now.
4. Train, Train And Train Some More
Take the time to learn the health club sales systems inside and out. By passing that along to the membership reps, you can motivate them to be confident to get out there and talk intelligently to members and guests about the health club.
You will enhance the membership reps' sales skills and demonstrate your commitment to their success. It will not only boost their self confidence, but it will also help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and learn new ways to build their sales pipelines.
5. Stay Connected At All Times
View your membership reps as a direct conduit to the all-important health club member, who have their own needs and worries to contend with in today's fast paced environment.
To get a handle on those needs, conduct weekly sales meetings to discuss the prior week's results, main members who were contacted, results of those calls, plans for the week ahead, sales pipeline status and what reps are doing to grow those pipelines.
6. Urge Them To Increase Member Face Time
When sales are flat or slumping, unmotivated health club reps tend to sit in the office, waiting for the phone to ring and commiserating with peers about how bad business is. The approach is flawed as membership sales slumps are the perfect time to get out and win more face-time with current members and potential guests.
Part of the health club management challenge right now is keeping membership sales reps focused on issues that they have control over, such as their calling activity. In tough times, I recommend that membership salespeople increase their face time with members and guests by a minimum of 25%, and health club managers need to make sure their salespeople are doing that.
7. Encourage Membership Reps To Sell More To Existing Members
It costs five times as much money to acquire a new member than to service an existing one, so why not take this time to push reps to sell more product and services to the members they already have?
8. Provide Assurance And Support
When times get tough, membership sales teams often become the lightning rod for the rest of the health club. If a health club is going through a tough time, it's inevitable that someone will complain that 'if the salespeople would just get off their butts and sell something, we wouldn't be going through this.'
Get your membership reps focused on issues that they can control, and let go of what they can't control.
9. Keep 'Em Informed
Keep your sales force informed not only about the health club industry, the competition and the selling environment, but also about how the club is doing, as well.
10. Inspire Them To Succeed
Health club members and guests want more, but they want to pay less for it.
The challenges are out there, all around the reps, I tell them that if they follow a proven system and keep working hard with a winning attitude, they'll be successful. That's my message.
About Jim Thomas
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