It’s March Madness at PushPress! We’ve asked our community of fitness business owners to share the lessons they’ve learned from gym ownership. Today, we’re talking to LASSO owners Sherman Merricks and Blake Ruff, who are sharing lessons about selling gym memberships.
Merricks and Ruff know a thing or two about success in sales and gym ownership.
Merricks has owned Dynasty CrossFit in Gainesville, FL for the last 10 years. Ruff is the former owner of two gyms in Indianapolis, IN. Together, they founded LASSO, a lead and sales system optimization company that helps gym owners bring in high-quality leads.
PushPress gyms all over the world have worked with LASSO and experienced substantial growth. For example, Ibrahim Funmilayo doubled gym revenue after just two months of working with Merricks and Ruff. Funmilayo owns VIBE Boxing Fitness in Iowa City, IA.
Merricks and Ruff sat down with us to share their suggestions for improving your process to increase membership sales revenue.
Five Tips For Selling Gym Memberships:
1. Learn To Overcome Objections.
When it comes to overcoming objections, Merricks says it’s imperative, and refers to it as “Sales 101.” Oddly, he says, this is where most gym owners really struggle.
Instead of learning to overcome prospective clients’ objections, gym owners usually back off the moment they sense hesitation. Hesitation isn’t a reason to let the person go, Merricks explained. Instead, he suggested that gym owners should change perspective.
“Objection handling is helping people get out of their own way so they can reach their goals in your facility,” he said.
He added that if you don’t learn to overcome objections, “then you will miss out on the opportunity to change many lives.”
2. Present Services From The Top Down.
The LASSO owners always suggest starting at the top when selling gym memberships. By this, Merricks and Ruff mean presenting your high-ticket gym services first.
“Then work your way down to lower level services,” Merricks said.
Oftentimes, gym owners do the opposite because they’re scared to give the prospect immediate sticker shock. However, the focus should be on whichever service will provide the client the best value.
Merricks said, “Although they cost the most, your highest-level services get clients the best results.”
3. Sell Results, Not Your “Amazing Community.”
As gym owners, we know what a tremendous asset our communities are, so it’s easy to want to talk about the support and encouragement it offers. Plus, we know it’s part of what keeps people around for the long term.
But for the person walking into your gym for the first time, avoid talking about community when selling gym memberships. It’s not that they won’t enjoy the gym community, they’re just not interested in it yet.
“People walking in are looking for a service to get them results and keep them accountable,” Ruff said. So you need to focus on how you’re going to help this person finally get the results they want.
“When you talk about your gym, community and amenities, you will lose the sale,” added Ruff. “But when you talk about the client, their journey, and how you can help them you will win every time.”
Ultimately, people buy something because of the way it makes them feel, or how they think it will make them feel.
“No one joins for the community,” Ruff explained, because they don’t yet know how it will make them feel. However, with that in mind, “They do stay for the community.”
Therefore, the focus should be on selling the transformation they want to experience.
4. Only Reveal Your Prices In Person.
Often, the first thing a prospective member will ask about is pricing.
Though it can be tempting to provide gym membership pricing and explain services on the phone, Merricks and Ruff recommend against it. Instead, wait until you’re meeting in person to discuss the details.
Primarily, selling gym memberships should involve an in-depth, in-person conversation. You’re trying to solve an important problem for them. You’ll want to discuss details and prescribe a customized solution.
“When you just give someone the price, they have nothing to go off besides a number,” Merricks explained. He added that the price alone doesn’t give the person an idea of the value they will receive in exchange.
Along the same lines, they don’t recommend listing prices on your website.
“The only time I recommend [putting prices online] is if your gym is full and you don’t care about adding more people,” Merricks said.
5. Get Sales Training.
Since most gym owners don’t have a background in sales or marketing, enlisting professional help is a game-changer. Merricks admits this is a mistake he made for too long and something he regrets. He says that early on as a gym owner, formal sales training could have helped him and his coaches.
“I wish I would have gotten help with sales training for myself and my staff before I even opened my facility, as I have learned many valuable lessons,” he said.
Just like hiring a mentor, relying on the guidance and expertise from those who’ve seen success in the industry can translate to success in your gym as well.