There’s one thing blocking 99% of gym owners from selling more gym memberships.
They’re afraid of selling.
Strange, we know. If they don’t sell, they don’t grow and if they don’t grow the only thing they will be selling is their location when the business closes down.
Let’s dig a bit deeper down into this – why are they afraid?
It’s usually because they don’t want to push people or bother people or be too overbearing – but that’s the wrong attitude to have.
The key question is – how do they get over that fear?
That’s the problem we will solve in today’s article.
We will look into why people are afraid of membership sales, lay out a highly proven and practical way to increase gym memberships and explain how getting the sales process wrong could effect your long term retention rates.
Skip ahead to:
- Why are gym owners afraid of selling?
- What happens when a lead comes through the door?
- Why a good sales process is so important
Why are gym owners afraid of selling?
In his book Gym Launch, fitness business expert Alex Hormozi tells the story of a gym owner he was helping and how this particular gym owner demonstrated a perfect example of a gym owner. afraid of sales.
He recounts that this particular gym owner had a prospect walk in enquiring about memberships and services. In response to this, the gym owner handed the person a pricing sheet and asked them to wait in the reception area. The prospect, left to their own devices, scanned the sheet for a minute or two before walking out.
Hormozi likened it to a “car crash in slow motion” which is probably accurate! Consciously or unconsciously, this particular gym owner was likely delaying this sales conversation because they didn’t want to have it and were waiting for the prospect to make the decision themselves.
But think about it – has that ever really happened? It’s extremely rare that a prospect will walk in with a credit card in hand, ready to buy. It happens, don’t get us wrong, but you can bank your gym’s success on it.
But why was this person afraid? And why are alot of gym owners afraid of gym sales?
The thing is the idea of sales can be tricky. You are trying to get someone to part with their hard earned money for a product or service and you don’t feel like you want to be pushy or overbearing.
Changing your mindset around gym sales
The key is a change of mindset when looking for ways to increase gym memberships in your fitness business. Once you make this shift in mindset, you’re on the road to increasing gym membership in your fitness business.
Here are three ways to think differently about selling gym memberships:
- You’re solving a problem for someone: The person who sees your ad or walks into your gym is clearly looking for a solution to a problem they are having with their fitness. They are actively looking for someone to give them a pathway to reaching their fitness goals – and you are the person who is going to do that.
- It’s about building a relationship: Chris Cooper, owner of Two Brain Business, makes a very good point about what you’re actually selling the person a relationship. You are selling yourself as a support system for the prospect so they can navigate the sometimes rocky path in pursuit of what they want.
- Have 100% faith in your product: It sounds simple but it makes things a hell of a lot easier – if you 100% believe your product will help a person achieve the results they want it will make it easier to convince the prospect to sign up for a membership.
And as we see Alex Hormozi’s story above, first impressions matter. In the next part of this article we will look at the importance of this first impression and the journey from there to the person excitedly signing on the dotted line.
What happens when a lead comes through the door?
Leads are finally starting to flow in from your marketing and social media efforts – great! Now the challenge is converting that lead into a full paying gym member of your fitness business.
In his book Gym Launch, Alex Hormozi looks at different areas gym owners are typically falling short and provides practical solutions in each area. One of these areas is sales, specifically taking a lead and turning them into a paying member.
There are 4 parts to this.
The Top 10 Barriers Discover more
Slowing Your Fitness
Scheduling the prospect in for an appointment
Once a person has given over a phone number or email address through a lead capture form on social media, website, facebook ad or other avenue, they’ve expressed interest – they want to know about what you are offering. So what’s the best time to reach out to this prospect?
As soon as you can – like literally right away. Don’t wait around and hesitate as the longer the time between the prospect expressing an interest and receiving an answer the better the chance they will lose interest. In Gym Launch, Alex Hormozi suggests reaching out to the prospect that day and at the latest, the day after.
He also suggests using scarcity to drive turn up rates. For example a good idea is to tell the prospect there’s only a couple of spaces left and the list of prospects coming in is growing – this will likely push the prospect to schedule an appointment.
The day of the appointment
When you have the prospect scheduled for an appointment make sure you are in regular communication with them. In these communications make clear the time they need to turn up, what will happen during the appointment and any other relevant information.
Once they come through the door of your gym for the appointment remember these four key points:
- Greet them within ten seconds of them entering the gym – use their first name so they know you are serious and care about why they are there today.
- Have a sign in on a sheet. Make sure this sign-in sheet is stacked on top of other sheets and filled with names to give the impression of a busy and in demand gym.
- Have a waiting area set-up with pictures of testimonials of current members on the wall. This is powerful social proof that gives off an excellent impression of what you offer before you’ve even talked to the potential member.
- Make sure the prospect fills out a pre-consultation questionnaire – this will increase your chance of closing the sale.
The consultation room
Your consultation room is where you will make the sale. Hormozi advises to do these three things in the consultation room:
- Have a table with a couple of chairs set up so it gives the impression you are in demand. Also place a stack of signed contracts on the table to add to this.
- Sit beside the person – never directly across from them – you want to be on the same level as them as you are going through the sale.
- As with your waiting room, make sure there are testimonials on the wall – powerful social proof is your friend.
The CLOSER formula
Now you have the prospect in the door and settling in the consultation room – what do you actually say? How are you going to actually close the sale? Luckily Hormozi has a foolproof and practical formula for this – The C-L-O-S-E-R FORMULA
- CLARIFY why they are there
- LABEL them with the problem you are trying to solve
- OVERVIEW their past pains and experiences
- SELL them on the vacation
- EXPLAIN away their concerns
- REINFORCE their decisions
This is just a quick overview of the formula – take a look at the article we have linked below to take a deep dive into how this gym membership sales framework works.
Read more here: Sell more gym memberships with this foolproof framework
Once you’ve closed the lead however, the process isn’t finished. In the next part of this article we will look at the big mistake a lot of gym owners make when a sale is done – and how it affects their long term retention.
Why a good sales process is so important
Apart from the obvious fact a good gym membership sales process leads to more sign ups which leads to more sales which leads to the golden goose of more revenue, there’s one crucial factor you need to keep top of mind.
Long term retention.
We know it may seem odd to think about retention in the acquisition process, but there is a good reason for that. And we have one of the best retention experts in the business to explain to you why that is in the next part of this article.
A good sales process is the foundation for rock solid retention
Dr. Paul Bedford is one of the leading industry experts on retention. He’s authored industry leading papers on the topic and spoken at hundreds of talks and conferences. He also imparted his wisdom on numerous fitness business podcasts – including our own!
When he joined us on The Fitness Founders Podcast back in 2021, Dr.Bedford went through a range of gym membership experience and retention strategies. As well as that he took a step backwards in the member journey and looked at the importance of acquisition to overall retention.
According to Dr. Bedford, the sales process is the beginning of hopefully fruitful relationships with the members – so it’s crucial that all the right things are done to ensure the prospect transitions smoothly from a lead into a long term member of your gym.
And the most dangerous time to lose this person is the time between sales and onboarding. In this gap, if there is not enough communication with the member they may become disinterested and all the good will built up in the sales process will be for nothing.
The key lesson here is that the sales process doesn’t end once the person signs up – you need to make sure regular communication is sent out until they begin onboarding.
Sales can be scary – we get it. But it’s an absolutely necessary skill to have as a fitness business owner.
With the strategies and techniques laid out in this article, you will be able to master the art of selling and increase your gym membership sales.
Crucially though you need to realize that the sale is on only the beginning and should be seen as the foundation on which the gym membership is built. A good foundation will lead to better gym member retention rates and higher gym revenue – which is really the key indicator of success for your business.