Sitting outside our group fitness studio one night, I saw the approach of a membership advisor while touring with a prospective member. What I heard made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The counselor walked around the studio and suggested the following enthusiastic “terrain”: “This is our aerobics room.” We have all kinds of classes here. They are free and anyone can do them. There is a class of Pilates that you have to pay for, but you don’t have to take. “Needless to say, I wanted to jump in and step in to tell this future member about the many classes and benefits that await her in our group fitness program.
Obviously, not all traders have this casual mentality. But the incident made me think about the importance of selling group fitness, not only to members but also to staff. This article will show you how you can “sell” your group fitness program to your sales team so that they, in turn, pass on the value of your classes to new prospects and existing members.
The missing part of the puzzle
Usually the main focus of sales staff is to attract new members, and retaining existing members is a secondary goal. Unfortunately, few marketers are aware of the extent to which a well-equipped group fitness program can help both attract new members and maintain existing members. Many sales advisors ignore the puzzle fitness group when it should be their weapon in the sales arsenal. This supervision can be explained by a lack of knowledge about the products, a lack of time or a lack of understanding of the power that groups fitness.
Many clubs offer their members a schedule of hours that do not require an additional fee. But this does not mean that there is no value in these classes. Group fitness may not be a separate “profit center” in your club, but it has a strong impact on the bottom when you consider how many members and potential members it reaches.
Train sales staff
As a group fitness director, you are responsible for educating other employees about the value of your program. Don’t assume that they know your product and have the knowledge needed to sell a membership. The return on empowerment and training of your sales staff benefits everyone: you will have more satisfied members, more new members, and more participants in your group exercise program.
Keep in mind that time always comes first with sales staff. Their plates are full of research, addressing membership issues and achieving revenue goals. That is why it is imperative to reach out and share your knowledge with them. Meet with the sales manager to determine when all salespeople are available; it is best if you learn which days and hours are the slowest for them. Set an initial appointment that is mandatory for all sales staff. The time you spend with your sales team can be beneficial for both parties.
Act as a salesperson during this meeting; treat sales staff as potential members. Take them on a tour of the group fitness studio and point out the countless benefits of the different classes. Continue to hold weekly meetings with the Sales Director and offer a written “weekly update” of new and existing programs. This simple update can be a bulletin with bullet points highlighting new classes, changes in class hours, or new instructors available on board.
Furnishing the sales staff with facts
Make a list of facts about the importance of group suitability and share this list with your sales team. For example, cite current facts about the industry, such as how group fitness can affect retention and sales. When discussing the facts with your sales team, open the floor to questions and concerns. This type of feedback can help you keep your program fresh and up to date and will be a window to the needs of your members.
Make a list of frequently asked questions (answers) and answers about your program to serve as a basic knowledge for staff when they sell group fitness. Also consider putting a list of frequently asked questions in sales packages as a marketing tool.
Sell the experience
Before your sales staff can sell a group gym, they need to experience it. Simply outlining the benefits of a yoga or cycling class does not give a real idea of the benefits and special features of your program. Your sales staff
Encourage your sales staff to note all the details that potential information reveals and use them when selling group fitness. Vendors who are resourceful of the variety of your classes will focus on the opportunities that are best for them. Throwing a schedule on a future member without that kind of personalized attention is potentially dangerous because not every class is for everyone! For example, if a candidate explains that she has recently replaced a hip joint and suffers from chronic
knee pain, your sales team needs to know which classes to recommend and which to direct away. If she joins an advanced Latin dance class, she may feel out of place and can never attend another class, as this particular format will not meet her needs. The combined knowledge of the product and the perspective will allow your commercial team to direct her to a more appropriate choice, such as a water fitness class or a low-impact class in which she will feel more comfortable and successful. Eventually, you will have a lifelong member who will continue to thank you by sending her friends to your facility.
Hit the high value points
Most clubs offer some kind of group classes for their members. What sets your program apart from your competitors? Teach your sales team how to take advantage of the differences! Provide them with appropriate information about not only the classes you offer, but also the achievements and credentials that your instructors have. One of your best-selling tools is the great value of instructors who connect with members while keeping their practice up to date while continuing to learn the best and safest teaching techniques. Where possible, sales staff should personally present perspectives to each instructor available at the time of the tour. This personal touch allows potential individuals to ask more detailed questions about specific classes.
The variety in your group fitness programming also adds value that vendors can use. People are impressed by the schedule, which offers many choices; they feel that there must be something for them. Why not book tours during popular hours? This allows the prospects to see and feel the energy in the studio.
Warn your sales staff to avoid introducing fee-based classes against “free” classes. The truth is that value can be found in all classes. Potential members need to understand the dynamics of the fee relative to the free classes and understand the differences between them. Vendors should explain that a fee-based class is usually a special class led by a fitness professional with extensive training that goes beyond primary certifications. They should emphasize that participation in fee-based classes is often kept to a minimum so that the instructor can pay personal attention to those present, which is usually not possible in a large group.
First of all, vendors need to understand that selling a free short class will inevitably affect fee-based classes, because in many cases your free programs act as “feeders” for income-based programs in small groups.
Don’t stop at sales
Don’t rely on your sales team to be the only cheerleaders in your group fitness program. All employees working in the gym should be considered part of the sales team. This includes reception staff, personal trainers, kindergarten staff, managers and, yes, even your own group fitness staff. All employees should hold regular classes as part of their commitment to continuing education. Ultimately, instructors and trainers are expected to keep pace with industry trends. Why shouldn’t you also need service staff trained in your club’s programs, policies and procedures?
Why words matter
Does your sales team know that the terms aerobic and group fitness are no longer synonymous? When many people hear the word aerobics, they anticipate a video from Jane Fonda from the 1980s and think of legs, leg warmers and headbands. To his credit, the fitness industry has tried to change its literature to reflect what is now a much broader umbrella. We have evolved from obtaining aerobic dance certificates to looking for group fitness certificates. It’s not just a matter of semantics. Rather, this evolution reflects the fact that not all group lessons are “dance-based” and not all classes