Managing your Gym Sales teams

Managing your Leisure Club or Gym Membership Sales Team

Contrary to what many Club Managers and business owners believe. Members do not simply join our clubs.

I hear all the time excuses like.

- The competition are cheaper

- The competition is newer

- Our location stops us getting walk-ins

- We have spent thousands on marketing but they don't work

- We don't have enough leads

The list of excuses as to why a club does not succeed with membership sales are endless.  However, in my experience they come down to one main cause.  There are few if any processes in the sales structure and what is there is not being managed.  

I hope to give you some understanding of the minimum expectations required to ensure you are set up for success.  This will in no way guarantee it but it will definately ensure you are managing the team to make the most of your marketing initiatives.

So where to start:

Targets 

You should have already set your club target for the month.  This now needs to be broken down between the team members.  My suggestion is to base individual targets on the number of shifts they are rota'd for.  Even full timers may do a different number of days even just by 1 day.   This means the individual is now responsible for their own performances.

Simple equation:

Target 100

Add up the total shifts your staff are working between them

divide 100 by this total

then multiply the number by the number of days each individual is working

This will create their sales targets.

We break down our team target for a number of reasons.  One is to make the staff accountable for achieving their fair share, it allows for their performance to be managed and finally allows you to break the larger target down into more achievable chunks. 

As a basic rule of the thumb the following activities should be a minimum expectation from every individual

- 20 Completed calls (this does not include left messages or those calls that were attempted.  Attempted calls are those where the advisor actually makes contact with the prospect)

- 10+ New prospects per advisor per day.  This could be referrals or 

- 25%+ of these calls should book an appointment for a free trial or a tour

- 70% of the appointments should show up.

- 70% of appointments should join

If you already have statistics of your clubs current conversion stats you can actually work out your clubs personal targets on all the above. For example,

If your target is 100

You tour to sale percentage 50% meaning you need to do 200 tours

Appointment show percentage is 50%, you now need to book 400 appointments

Calls to appointment ratio is 50% meaning you need to book 800 appointments

You now realise that a target of 100 required a significant level of activity.  You will be right in thinking, the higher you can get the conversion rates the easier the workload becomes and so the importance of setting up your team and ensuring regular training takes place is vital.

Important

Asa business owner not only should this target be broken down between your team but more importantly broken down daily. This exercise should also be carried out with your revenue targets. Braek all reevenue targets into daily and weekly chunks. This allows the target to appear manageable and allows small successes to be celebrated.

Importance of a membership and prospect data base system

There is a very important point to make here.  Every club from the small independent to the large commercial gym should have a membership system that they can manage their activity.  We recommend Club Right but there are a range of other suppliers. 

This allows you to manage daily activity of your team as well as new joiners, contact details, referrals and usage statistics.

What you days should look like?

A membership sales team does not need to be in any earlier than 9am unless you have a specific customer that requires any different.  The same applies to the evening in that 9pm should be the latest. 

The following activities are a must for every club:

- Outreach every day - up to 4 hours per day

- 2 Call drives - set between 12-13.30 and 17.00 - 20.00.  These would be done as a team where possible and be as exciting and vibrant as possible.  have challenges, set targets, play games between the team to get results and ultimately reward success

- In Reach activity - to be carried out during peak periods,  have a referral desk manned in an attempt to ask for names and telephone numbers of those looking to join.

The Sales Board

This is a vital tool for you to manage and for the tean to self manage their progress.  An example can be see below and shows all the details required for you and your managers and team to understand where they and what still needs to be achieved

Meetings and Training:

I cannot count how often i see underperforming teams that do not have regular individual 1-1 and group meetings.  These are vital to address shortfalls in training, to focus the team on the challenge ahead and to discuss the daily activities and targets. HA

Every sales team should have a group meeting at the start of the day or before the first call drive.  This is discuss yesterdays performance, what could have been done better and to discuss the objections and have a small group role play o training on those specifics.

Every week each individual team members should also have a 1-1 for 20 mins to go through their performance.  This allows you to praise good performance or discuss actions for poor performance.  The individual performance statistics should be reviewed along side all of their prospects, where each is on the buying cycle and what do we need to do to get them joined.  Including maybe a call from you as the manager.

Sales in any form is not rocket science, it is a people games.  What is often neglected is the discipline required to keep the basics moving.  If you don’t manage the team and the processes the team will quickly become lazy and your performance will drop.  High performing teams always know the goal, the route and the expectations.  Your job is to know they are where they need to be, delivering what is expected of them.

Despite all of this, make it fun. Sales people are often your influencers, they like to be praised, they like to work in fun environments and they like excitement. keep them hyped and motivated and you will be well on your way to smashing targets

A great source of Information on the sales process and managing sales team is Casey Conrad. Check her out and buy her books. Well worth a read

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Selling-Fitness-Complete-Health-Memberships/dp/0978802411/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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To Franchise my gym business or go it alone

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So having worked with a number of Franchise brands over the past few years you would expect me to be a completely sold by the Franchise model that is sweeping the UK. Whilst they do have huge benefits for potential new business owners they are not always the right solution for everyone. I will try and cover the benefits of both angles as to to give you a better insight into what could be the best choice for you if you are thinking of setting up your own gym business

So lets start with what the Benefits of the Franchise model. Its important to note that these are the generic benefits and the quality of the service and support delivered can vary massively across the brands. Some for instance will provide you with a pre-sale manager to guide you through the site up process, others with provide you with telephone support. I will cover another time of what you should look for when doing your due diligence on a franchise business

Benefits of Joining a Fitness Franchise:

  • Franchising has been proven to have a higher initial success rate than those businesses setting out on their own. With upwards of 70% of new businesses closing within the first 2 years this can be an important factor

  • The Franchise will have already established a certain percentage of market share

  • You have a brand name to use and promote

  • Often no prior experience is needed

  • You have access to a supplier network with pre-agreed favourable terms

  • Many will provide national marketing initiative to drive the brand and company promotions

  • Techniques, workouts and training methods will have already been created

  • Operational guidelines, staffing structures, cost analysis etc will already be in place

  • Funding channels will be in place to enable you to access leasing options for equipment. Banks and finance companies are more likely to lend to a Franchise supported business than as an individual

  • Dedicated Franchise support

  • Technically you don’t need any fitness experience.

Then disadvantages of a Franchise Model

  • Your upfront investment is often higher than if were to research and find suppliers yourself

  • You are restricted by the franchise model and so are expected to follow the model to the letter

  • You are obliged to maintain the investment protocols they set

  • There will be restrictions on the suppliers you can use and sometimes this actually leads to higher running costs

  • You are restricted to the programs and activities you can perform

  • Less opportunity to add your personality to the facility as the brand will always come first

  • It is harder to create independent relationships with other businesses

  • You may find over time that franchise support/audits become intrusive

  • The inflexibility of a franchise model can restrict your ability tom adapt to local market conditions and changes

  • Your vision for the future direction of the brand or business may differ and as you are not a shareholder in the main business your say is nothing more than just feedback

  • Selling a franchise business does not yield the same returns as you do not own the intellectual property, the brand or ven the members.

The other things to remember:

  • A Franchise will have commercial arrangements with almost all their key suppliers. This means that everyone from the builder to the software supplier is paying the Master franchisee a kick back to provide you a service

  • You have to pay a significant fee upfront to purchase a territory as well as the monthly fee which is often a set fee or a percentage of your revenue

  • Your upfront investments are almost always more expensive than originally quoted. This is not directly the Franchises fault as costs will vary depending on the location you get. However, I can guarantee that they will sell the package based on the lower estimate.

  • Not all franchises have a national coverage and so a franchise business with a predominantly London set up is unlikely to have any brand presence up North. This being the case are you benefiting from being part of their brand? In fact the Franchise is probably gaining more out of the bargain than you

  • Not all franchises invest in National marketing campaigns and use the franchise network growth as the way of growing their brand presence

  • Don’t go into the process believing they are the best value for money. A successful independent club has the potential of making higher profits.

  • Franchising is definitely not risk free and success is not guaranteed. Whilst the risk is lessened there are certainly may examples of Franchise businesses failing in all of the major Fitness Franchise chains.. Don’t convince yourself the Franchise will save you if you run into trouble as they simply wont as that is not their role

  • While no experience in the chosen industry is essential it is recommended

I have worked with some amazingly successful franchise clubs who are incredibly happy with their decision to do so. I would also recommend anyone that does not have a fitness business background to open up communications with the variety of Franchise businesses to ascertain one that suits you best.

What I would say though is that you do your research, not only on the brand but on their future growth plans, what support you will receive and how much they invest on growing the brand themselves.

Franchises definitely have their place in the market and for many are great investments for the right people. However, if you want control on the brand, style of service you deliver and you have the business acumen and the experience in Fitness they may in fact not be the right choice for you..

Final thought is, if you have the confidence and desire to own your own fitness business then why be part of someone else’s success when you could create your own. I would strongly advise running your plan past a fitness business consultant who would happily advise on what they though was the best route for you and your experience.

Why you should hire a consultant for your gym

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Now I know what you are thinking:

“Consultants are a waste of time and money as we already hire staff to get us results”

In all honesty that is exactly how I felt as a club manager and business owner back in the day.  I was protective of my business, I felt a consultant would criticise and look to mock what we were trying o achieve and thus I never looked to improve further that what I knew I was capable of.

Now this is a very honest and admirable approach, believing in your own talents and that of those who you employ should be a high priority in your business.  Otherwise why would you employ them?

However, I urge you to look at consultants like myself in a different way.  We are in the success business, we work with clubs to improve on what they are currently doing.  We help find solutions to the challenges that affect you most and work within your own framework to improve your processes and maximise your success.

In any field of business, experience can expensive to hire. For many clubs, especially within hotels and independent clubs the managers are often inexperienced and whilst incredibly enthusiastic do not always have the skill set to deliver the budget targets expected.

This is where Charlesworth Consultants can make a difference.  We work with clubs on both a short and long term basis to implement training, improve skill and knowledge base and ensure that those running the clubs from the owners, general manager and club manager are aware of what is required to maximise their success

As consultants we do not take over the running of your club and dictate terms of engagement.  We act as an impact team to first determine with you what your aims and objectives are, we then aim to put in place a strategy for your team to deliver and put in place the required set of skills and processes to enable the team to deliver.

Every club differs and so some simply require membership sales training, others require a bespoke set of strategies to deliver results.  Some we work with as a one off, some we work with for years.

The Key is, we are there to support and guide your teams to deliver the success your business needs.  We will help identify these business needs which could range from:

-          Membership Sales Training

-          Membership Management and marketing strategies

-          Business reviews and management

-          Service deliver, standards and audits

-          Mystery shopping

-          Systems reviews

-          Operational standards delivery