selling gym memberships

Selling Gym Memberships: Tips For New And Experienced Gym Owners

Whether you're opening a gym or have owned one for years, selling gym memberships is key to growth. Check out these useful tips from our friends at LASSO!

Emily Beers
May 16, 2023
Selling Gym Memberships: Tips For New And Experienced Gym Owners
Whether you're opening a gym or have owned one for years, selling gym memberships is key to growth. Check out these useful tips from our friends at LASSO!

For many fitness business owners, selling gym memberships is an opportunity to change lives and help people. But for others, sales fits into the “have to” category for building a successful gym.

The irony is that almost all gym owners opened their doors to improve peoples’ lives through health and fitness. So when some are resistant to the sales conversation, it can be detrimental to the overall goal.

When you opened your gym, it was probably with that same goal of helping people. And chances are, the best days you envisioned likely included a lot more coaching than selling. But consider this: Maybe your resistance to being a “salesperson” is getting in the way of helping as many people as you could.

Sales is the first step to helping members reach their health and wellness goals
Sales is the first step to helping members reach their health and wellness goals.

Recently, we reached out to Sherman Merricks and Blake Ruff, the owners of LASSO. LASSO is a lead and sales system optimization company devoted to helping small gym owners. Merricks and Ruff offered tips to both new and experienced gym owners for selling gym memberships.

Three Sales Tips When You’re Opening A Gym:

1. Start With A CRM.

Many new owners believe they have plenty of extra time and don’t yet need a CRM for gyms. With a small roster of clients, they hold off on using workflows and automation.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, the LASSO team explained.

“When you are starting you, you are the salesman,” Ruff said. “You’re dealing with every lead that comes in. There’s no coach, there’s no team, so when it comes to the sales process you definitely need to have a CRM so you can keep up,” Ruff said. He added that a CRM stops leads from falling through the cracks.

Merricks learned this the hard way when he opened his gym 13 years ago. In the pre-CRM days, he did everything manually by email. He often forgot to reply, or the lead wouldn’t reply and that was it. He never hear from them again.

Now, the CRM prevents this from happening, and Merricks noted that you still get to personalize the process of selling gym memberships.

“The CRM doesn’t replace everything” he said. “It's not like the CRM will tell you when someone has signed up. But it’s there in the background helping, like a safety net.”

Pro Tip: Want to learn how PushPress Grow can help you automate your lead nurture? Book a demo with our team today!

Finally, it’s especially useful to play the long game with those who aren’t ready to sign up immediately.

“A lot of people think that just because someone heard about you they’re going to sign up a day later,” Ruff explained.

The truth is, leads sometimes take months to join. But if they’re not being nurtured the whole time, you can lose them. Your CRM will help you stay in front of people until they join your gym.

2. Sales Training Is Essential.

Gym owners who will be the most successful in selling gym memberships will look at conversations with leads as help, not sales. And even though that sounds easy, it’s a learned process.

Sales training will help you learn the basics of selling gym memberships
Sales training will help you learn the basics of selling gym memberships.

With that in mind, not having a sales background doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. In the same way you went through your L1 or continued education to coach your clients better, sales is no different.

Merricks says many gym owners are hesitant to do formal sales training, which can be a big pitfall. Some don’t want to spend the money or don’t believe they need it. Others just haven’t accepted that they’re in sales at all.

The first step, according to Merricks, is recognizing that selling gym memberships is simply about how you’re talking to prospects. As part of LASSO’s services, he does one-on-one sales calls to teach gym owners how to sell the right way.

3. Keep Your Membership Pricing Simple.

When you’re ready to sell, Ruff said it’s important to make your materials clear and simple. He recommends creating an easy-to-understand sales sheet for your gym membership pricing. Use bullet points instead of long paragraphs, so your prospect doesn’t have to sift through information.

He also suggests having no more than three options for each main service you offer. For example, if you’re selling a membership with group classes, more options isn’t better. If the client has to choose frequency per week and length of membership, it’s no longer a simple decision. The same is true for personal training or nutrition coaching.

“More than three options just overwhelms the client,” Ruff said. “They then have no idea what they should sign up for.”

Tips For Selling Gym Memberships At Experienced Gyms:

1. Your Sales Team Shouldn’t Just Be You.

While it’s common for new gym owners to handle the entire process of selling gym memberships at first, eventually you’ll need more cooks in the kitchen.

Merricks explained that you can only do this for so long.

“As you mature, you have to find people on your staff to get good at sales and want to do it,” he said.

If not, how do you ever take a vacation or a few days away from the gym without everything coming to a halt?

Train your staff to handle leads and sales while you're away from the gym
Train your staff to handle sales while you're away from the gym. (Photo credit: Healthy Steps Nutrition.)

The key is hiring a team that checks the right boxes. Some will be motivated by money, others will enjoy the sales process. Merricks warns that you should avoid forcing someone into a sales role who doesn’t want to do it.

With that in mind, he says the reason some are resistant to selling is because they just haven’t seen success in it yet. Therefore, it’s important that your sales team has the proper training options as well.

2. Have A Dedicated CRM Staff.

Another key for the maturing gym is to funnel all leads through one person, who manages the CRM. This will also free up your time as a gym owner when you feel like you’re wearing all the hats.

Ruff explained that the person in charge should be qualified for the role. Look for someone who has a warm personality and is good with people. Your CRM manager should be good on the phone and someone who Ruff describes as “more HR-oriented.”

3. Track Your Important Metrics.

Once your sales process is running smoothly and you’re selling gym memberships consistently, it’s time to track the important gym metrics.

From the number of leads you’re getting to the number of conversions you’re making, tracking all your sales numbers is key to growth. Ruff explained that this is how you’ll know what’s working, what’s kind of working and what needs to be improved.

Pro Tip: PushPress software makes tracking these metrics easy to track and understand! Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

Bonus Tip For Selling Gym Memberships:

Merricks and Ruff said they see it all the time, in both new and experienced gyms. Clients will ask for price via text, and the team at LASSO says providing it immediately is the mistake they see the most often.

Since the prospective member doesn’t yet know what you’re offering, they’re likely comparing you to the globo-gym down the street. Ruff says to keep in mind that they might be asking about pricing because they don’t know what else to ask.

Instead, your goal should be to get the prospect to come in for a one-on-one consultation. Then you can find out about their goals and challenges, and offer a solution. Once they understand your services and know you can help them solve a problem they couldn’t solve on their own, your price tag make sense. But explaining all of that via text is next to impossible.

Encourage leads to do a consultation to talk about goals and challenges
Encourage leads to come in for a consultation to talk about goals and challenges privately.

So what do you do when someone asks about pricing? Merricks suggests replying with something like the following: We personalize your plan based on your needs. So our prices range because we can do personal training, group training, nutrition coaching and accountability coaching.

After that, he says to “turn it around” and ask them what their goals are. This might be enough to steer them away from thinking about price. And from there, you’re likely more able to get them to sit down with you for a one-on-one consultation.

Both Merricks and Ruff agree that a consultation is the easiest way to position your gym as the solution they need. As compared to a group class, where you aren’t able to speak privately with them and prescribe a customized plan.

In Summary: Sales Is About Solutions.

When you reframe your mindset from selling gym memberships to helping prospective members achieve a goal, you can increase your results and enjoyment too. With the end goal of helping people in mind, you have to take the first step. Meeting with people to learn about their goals and challenges is how you’ll close more sales.

Forget the scripts about how great your equipment is or how convenient your schedule will be for them. Dig deep into the reasons that they came to you for help and embrace the chance to provide solutions. When you do that, you make your price tag a mere formality to getting started.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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