I hear these statements all the time. “We grow our gym organically through referrals and word of mouth.”
“Our clients love us, so they usually wind up telling a friend or family member.”
Basically, you’re telling me you sit around and wait for sales and referrals?
If you want to make money and be able to impact as many people as possible, and train the kinds of people you WANT to work with, you must sell.
Growing “organically” is like putting your money in a savings account. You’re going to get some return, but it is barely worth the effort.
You need to add ROCKET FUEL to your gym and get your marketing and sales processes organized.
You need a reliable and measurable PROCESS that greatly increases your leads, conversions, and retention.
The term “sales” usually strikes fear into the hearts of most strength entrepreneurs as they harken it to a used car sales man chasing them through the parking lot trying to convince them that the 72’ Dodge Dart is the right car for them.
Good sales are a system.
You sell the right solutions to your client’s problems.
When you have a well-defined marketing plan, a clear sales process, and the data to track your progress, you will see an explosion in the growth of your business.
Here are some steps on how to create a simple yet effective way to grow your gym!
STEP 1: Create a Simple Marketing Plan
IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL CLIENT – Who are you marketing too? Make sure you spend some time identifying what your typical client looks like, where they hang out, what services they are looking for before you start spending time and money on looking for them.
STREAMLINE YOUR OFFERINGS – Focus on selling only one or two things. If you give your clients too many options, you will blind them with indecision. Tell them what they need.
CREATE A MARKETING CALENDAR – Break down the year and design at least one key marketing strategy for each month; like “New Year New You” in January or “Get Ready for Summer” in May. Make sure the plan includes your target market, your unique qualities as a gym, your “proven process”, and a guarantee. Line your marketing up with holidays and or events in your gym.
CREATE SIMPLE CONTENT – Don’t just ask for sales all the time. That will get you no ware fast! Provide value and service. Create short videos, recipes, training tips, sample WOs…The possibilities are limitless. Be creative and bill yourself as the expert who can help your ideal clients solve their major problems.
DIVERSIFY YOUR MARKETING – Be present in all medias but focus on one as your major platform. Ours is email. Email is still the #1 form of marketing with the highest engagement. If you take pictures and hate to write maybe Instagram is better for you.
Whatever your platform, make sure you convey your message clearly and focus on giving away lots of great content. Connect with your clients as frequently as possible, aim for at least 3x/week.
ASK FOR THE SALE – Only after I have built trust and provided a ton of value to my customers will I ask for something. If you have given them a lot they should have problems giving back.
Once you have a plan of attack for your marketing you can move on to the next step. Take some time to get your ideas down on paper.
STEP 2: Get Sales Focused
I think there are two extremes many gym owners fall into when it comes to sales. They either over complicate things or they grossly underestimate the need for a well-defined sales system that is easy and simple to follow.
Which one are you?
WHO’S IN CHARGE OF SALES? – Many gym owners are the head of marketing, sales, finances, and just about everything else. As your gym grows it will be hard to focus more attention on sales if the other areas are growing as well. Time to delegate and elevate! Whether you hire a sales manager or simply designate an existing member of your team as the sales leader, someone must be held accountable for sales and marketing. If it has to be YOU, set aside at least 6hrs/week to focus on sales.
OUTLINE A CLEAR SALES PROCESS – What happens when someone walks through the door of your gym to the point in which they buy a service? Write out a clear step by step process as to what EXACTLY is supposed to happen and what message you want to convey. This process should be easy for any employee to follow while making a great first impression of your facility.
CREATE SOME SALES PARAPHERNALIA – Design some simple brochures, price sheets, and/or pamphlets that help explain your proven process and how it can help potential clients achieve their goals. This will not only serve as a place of reference for you and your staff, but as a great take a way for potential clients.
SET SOME REALISTIC GOALS – If you’re new to this start with something super simple like, ten new clients enrolled to your monthly membership this month. Write it down and put it somewhere visible for your entire staff to see. You might be surprised how just identifying a goal can start the sales wheels turning. As you get better at this your goals can be more specific and with greater accuracy.
Make someone in charge of sales or make more time to tackle it yourself. Clearly outline the process, get your sales materials ready, and set some real goals for you and your team to hit.
STEP 3: Practice Your Pitch
Most gym owners are NOT great salesmen, spending the large majority of their time studying training, programming, and nutrition. As a businessman, you need to have the ability to clearly and convincingly convey your message to another individual in order to sell your gym. This requires practice. You only have a few seconds to catch someone’s attention, and you have to make it count. Why would I want to spend my money and my time at your gym when there are thousands of other gyms out there?
CREATE SALES SCRIPTS – To get really good at selling you have to have a lock-down pitch. Write it out and read it over and over until it starts to come naturally. Create scripts for all the different products you sell. Use different scenarios to reach the same solution. (Ex: Selling to an adult male or female for their child.)
MOCK SALES – More important than writing it out is speaking it out loud. No matter how many times you read something, when you have a potential client in front of you staring you down, you need to be able to convey your message quickly, clearly and concisely. Hold a mock sales review once per quarter and review all the products and sales solutions for your clients. Then put everyone on the “hot seat” and make them walk you through selling a solution to a made-up client. This will send your sales ability through the roof in no time. Mock sales to your other employees, your friends, your mom, or anyone else who you feel comfortable with.
REVIEW YOUR CONVERSION RATES – Marketing sets up leads. Great leads are a layup for sales. Sales converts leads to clients. Great clients who become raving fans are more apt to refer a friend (aka: a new lead)! If you run a marketing campaign and it gets you 100 leads and you only convert 5 to clients you have a major problem. Either your product is not the value advertised or your sales process is not working. Nine times out of ten it’s the latter. This also allows you to track the conversion rates for your employees’ sales. If one person converts 80% and another 40% you can easily analyze and adjust.
SELL SOME MORE – As I said if you want to get good you must practice. Get out and sell. When was the last time you dropped into a local business to speak to another entrepreneur about your gym and how you can help their employees and customers live happier and healthier lifestyles? When was the last time you spent an entire week at the front desk as the lead sales rep? Sell in your car, in the shower, to your dog for that matter. Practice makes perfect. If you want to be good you have to be “on” all the time.
STEP 4: Ask for Referrals
Growing through referrals doesn’t have to be passive. Why wait around for someone else to do the work for you. You got into business for yourself to CREATE the life you want…NOW GO GET IT! Some well-placed referral campaigns can really boost your membership with the right type of people.
REMEMBER REFERRALS = HIGHLY QUALIFIED LEADS!
When a great client refers you to someone they have already pre-qualified them for your gym. Most likely they have told them about the training, the community, and what they are getting into…and they are OK with that! That means there is a much greater chance that they will stay on and turn into another great client.
Here are some ways we like to ASK for referrals:
In my course, 6 Figure Sales, I talk about strategic tactics you can use that have helped us generate hundreds if not thousands of referrals over the last 13 years.
RUN A REFERRAL CAMPAIGN – We have seen a lot of the gym we work with, including our own, do very well on this one. Here’s how we like to do it: For a month, offer a great discount to any new client who is referred by an existing client. If they join, give the referring client an awesome gift…Free month, $$$cash, T-Shirt…Whatever you feel is a good enough value to pay them back. At Varsity House, we give $100 off to the new referral and $100 cash back to the referring client! We do this 2x/year during our slower months.
ASK FOR REFERRALS AT THE TIME OF SALE – There’s no better time to ask them when they are in their honeymoon phase. Every time a client joins your gym ask them if they have any friends, family members, or coworkers they would be willing to connect you with. Give that client a PAY IT FORWARD gift card(s) to give to their friends. At Varsity House, we give every new client a $100 to give to a friend/family member for them to use towards our onboarding package.
ADD REFERRALS TO AN EXISTING PROGRAM – Add referrals to a body transformation contest or a fitness challenge. At Varsity House, we offer our 6-Week Transformation for FREE to any existing client who refers a friend. Since we started this process, we have had hundreds of referrals to our 6WT and nearly half of them will stay on as full time clients.
Make referrals a condition of doing business with you and part of your gym’s culture. As a rule, we like to have at least one referral option going at all times and run 2-4 specific referral campaigns throughout the year. Our clients look forward to our referral programs as an opportunity to get the friends into our gym at a discount. And the nice thing is, the options for referral connections are endless.
STEP 5: Measure the Results
As a super busy gym owner, the last thing I want you to do is worrying about creating some competing system of sales and marketing. I want you doing what you love coaching and connecting with people! Create your own systems using the format I laid out for you and create your own operations handbook, so you can teach these systems to your employees or future employees. That’s how you scale. That’s how you grow. That’s how you can create REAL financial freedom.
How many leads are you bringing in? This will tell you if your marketing is working. How many leads converted to sales? This will tell you if your sales processes are tuned in. Out of those sales what products are people buying? This will tell you what offerings you should focus your attention on during a sales meeting. How long are people staying? This will tell you if there’s a problem with your product, a coach, or the culture of your gym.
The numbers don’t lie!
I know most gym owners don’t want to be bogged down with making spreadsheets and some complicated KPI (Key Performance Indicators). So, I created one for you.
Now go and create your own sales machine!
Make sales a reliable process rather than a passive hope and watch the numbers go through the roof. The more you can dial in your processes the easier and more consistent your sales will be. No more waiting around for sales to happen, go make them happen for yourself.