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The best sales techniques for gym owners: start with WHY

Hilary Achauer

The most effective sales techniques have nothing to do with what you traditionally think of as “sales.” They have one thing in common: a focus on meeting the needs of the customer, not making a sale at all costs.

This is especially true when selling a gym membership. 💪 A gym membership is a recurring expense, not a one-time interaction where you make the sale and never see the person again. If you don’t meet the needs of your members they could become dissatisfied and leave. 🏃 Far more important than making a sale is matching the product or service with what the customer needs and wants.

So how do you know what your members want? You have to ask. 💬

In this post we’ll explain:

✅ Why it’s important to find out what your members really want

✅ How asking the question could result in increased profit

✅ Tips for implementing these customer-centered sales techniques

But first, an analogy!

The New Car Scenario

Imagine you need a new vehicle. 🚗

You head down to the dealership and take a look around. You don’t have a specific make and model in mind, but you know you don’t feel comfortable driving large vehicles and usually stick with something that’s easy to maneuver. The moment you arrive at the dealership, you are greeted by a salesperson 👨 who eagerly asks how he can help you.

“I’m looking for a new car,” you tell him, “I’m here because a friend recommended this place.”

The salesperson jumps in headfirst with his tried-and-true sales techniques and shows you a large SUV that’s on sale.

“Fifty percent off! It’s the best deal on the lot!” he says.

Although you said you didn’t want a large vehicle, it’s such a good deal you convince yourself you’ll get used to it. Two hours later you’re driving off the lot with your new SUV.

What a bargain!

Driving home, you feel so exhilarated by your purchase you hardly notice your white knuckles gripping the steering wheel. 😓 Over the next few weeks you keep trying to talk yourself into going out with your friends and getting out of the house, but you’re afraid you won’t be able to park downtown, or you’re too nervous to take your vehicle on the highway, or you always drive so slowly you can feel everyone glaring at you. We won’t even talk about the mailbox 📫 you nearly hit.

The new car smell just doesn’t make up for the fact that you wish you would have gotten something you’re more comfortable driving.

How can this type of dissatisfaction be avoided?

During the initial conversation, prior to ever showing you a single vehicle, the salesman should have asked, “What would you feel comfortable driving?”

And when the response was, “I feel most comfortable driving a small vehicle,” he should have walked right past the amazing deal on the massive SUV and instead showed you the full-priced car you actually wanted.

In the long run, the customer is 100% satisfied -- rather than leaving excited 😃 and later falling apart. 😩

Hopefully at this point you see a parallel to the conversations taking place in your gym!

When someone comes into your gym for the first time, ask them: “Would you feel more comfortable training one-on-one or in a group setting?” 

The answer to that question opens doors for both clients and gym owners. The job of a trainer is to identify what a client needs, and then deliver it in a format the client wants. If we fail to do our jobs as trainers, our clients will be selling their huge SUV after only a month or two -- which in your case means quitting the gym.

Do not let perceived comfort and confidence fool you … ASK THE QUESTION!

You’ve heard us preach about numbers and data to make decisions – here’s some data for you.

A single 30-minute personal training session can fetch upwards of $60! 💰 As clients progress, you can combine comfortable clients into small group-based 30-minute personal training sessions which will have an even higher return! That, coupled with recurring monthly group memberships, is a potent combination and WILL increase your ARM (Average Revenue per Member).

The beautiful thing about this is the motivation for doing it has nothing to do with money or shady sales techniques. You are instilling confidence and delivering what a client NEEDS to be successful. It’s a win-win. 💯

The goal is to slowly build confidence in an individual or in small groups, and then if the client’s needs or goals change, transition them to group classes -- or keep them as private training clients if that’s working! Your gym’s membership will grow with confident, comfortable clients, and as they move into group classes, it frees up time for your coaches to facilitate additional individual sessions and small group training for others.

Demonstrating the benefits of one-on-one training early on provides ample opportunity for continued growth. Clients see value in one-on-one training because you delivered what they needed AND what they wanted. 💕 Asking this question isn’t just for new members!

Continue asking the question at various membership stages. When you think they might be ready to progress into group classes, ask it. When they are struggling to attend group classes, ask it. 👍 When their progress is plateauing after 18 months of dedicated membership, ask it! 👍 When they are training for a competition, ask it! 👍Many members don’t need continuous one-on-one training, but coupling one-on-one training packages with recurring memberships will help them reach higher training goals and will significantly increase ARM.

Is it for everyone? Absolutely not! But if you never ask, you will never know who really wants it! 👏

Action Items for Customer-Centered Sales Techniques 

In reality, the best sales techniques aren’t really about sales. The key 🔑 is meeting the needs of the clients and ensuring they are set up for success. How do you accomplish that? Start by asking questions. It’s as simple as that!

Use these example questions as a guide:

❓Tell me about you?

❓What got you here?

❓What are you currently doing?

❓What do you want to achieve?

❓How will it feel when you reach your achievement? What will you be able to do?

❓Would you feel more comfortable training one-on-one, in a small group setting, or in a larger group setting?

❓I’m so excited you are ready to progress into group classes. Why don’t you continue with a one-on-one session each week so we can keep refining skills and developing good habits?

❓Why don’t we schedule a few one-on-one sessions so we can finally knock out (insert goal or problem area)?

When you are able to use the tips and tools we offer to serve your client’s needs and increase your ARM, you’ll find it a lot easier to keep the passion in your profession. So take a deep breath, implement our customer-centered sales techniques, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 🍒 You’ve worked hard for it!

How to write a Facebook ad for your gym

When was the last time you wrote a new Facebook ad?

If you aren’t getting the leads you once did, it might be time for a rewrite.

We know life as a gym owner is crazy busy. Who has time to spend hours creating the perfect Facebook ad? To help you out, we consulted some of the best marketing minds in the biz and talked to owners of successful gyms to create this free, step-by-step guide to writing a Facebook ad.



Download our guide to writing a Facebook ad customized specifically for gym owners!
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