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Save Money By Letting Personal Trainer Sell

This week, experts Chris Gallo, Sam Berry, and Michele Melkerson-Granryd discuss personal trainers playing the role of sales-people as a cost-cutting method:

Q: “We're looking for ways to save money by having our personal trainers give club tours when prospects come into the club. What are the pros/ cons of having trainers double up as sales people? What are some easy way to train them to make sales?”

...your customers would prefer to be toured by fitness professionals versus club managers or salespersons by a margin north of 2 to 1. A: Absolutely! As far as selling what I consider “solutions” there are no better staff-persons to do that than your club’s expert trainers. They usually display passion, execute with verbal mastery and in the meantime are completely believable. This culminates into the perfect scenario in creating an excellent “service sales” culture at your club while also leaving the prospect with a great first impression of your facility. Even if the customer does not buy on that initial club visit, there is a good chance that if the trainer listened to the customer and offered unique and customized solutions based on the client’s needs that the customer will leave with a very positive impression of the club and will at least return for a follow up appointment. [+ Expand]

  • Train these fitness experts on the art of creating urgency and setting appointments
  • Make sure all of the trainers involved are given credit for their efforts and have monthly goals in which they strive to achieve.
  • Track each person’s productivity based on appointments set, show rates for appointments, and of course client conversion ratios (no matter who makes the final presentation).
  • Create a team culture based less on how gets credit for the final sale – but more on the process metrics (appointments, trial memberships, consultations, etc) that drive the end goal of making the final close.
  • Manage this system tightly – no club can ever afford to lose a legitimate lead.
  • Once again, train everyone on the verbal mastery of selling “service” and “solutions” not just club features…practice makes perfect.

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Chris Gallo, President
Health Club Development Company

A: This is certainly a great way to save money, and for that matter help increase non-membership revenue at the same time! The way that it helps increase revenue is by having the trainers that sold the prospect on membership to sign that person up for personal training services at the point of sale. The initial PT session may not be a paying session; however the likelihood of it being a client is much higher than just having a traditional sales person signing the person up for membership. By doing so, members that invest in personal training average a much lower attrition rate than members that do not meet or work with a trainer on a regular basis. The only cons that I can imagine from having a trainer double as a sales person is their intrinsic motivation to get the member to work solely with them, and not one of the other trainers at the gym that may be better suited to work with that individual or having an inconsistent schedule for giving tours due to their training schedule.

Great educators and resources for teaching trainers how to sell are people like Bob Esquerre and Thomas Plummer. They’re sales systems and expertise in the fitness industry are second to none!

Sam Berry, Personal Trainer Director

A: As I see it there are two primary benefits, payroll savings – not having to schedule a sales person during all operating hours just in case a guest comes in to tour or join; and the relationship that begins between the prospect and your staff, an interaction with someone who can actually help get them integrated into activity, that should lead to enhanced comfort in your facility for that new member or guest.

The cons are many: Personal Trainers often don’t think of themselves as salespeople (a topic that deserves attention on its own) so they may be resistant and uninterested in the tour/sale process and therefore be terrible at it; a lack of follow up with prospects who don’t join right away; a lack of follow up with new members – so that they don’t get integrated into the club activities; the trainers’ discomfort with up-selling other products that might be appropriate; and your guest may feel awkward if you are scrambling to find a trainer available to give a tour.

If you decide that the benefits outweigh the cons - good tour and sales training is imperative so that the trainer feels comfortable and competent with the process. And trainer must believe that there is a benefit too. For example, they should share in the commission their prospect becomes a member (within a reasonable amount of time) and they should be aware of the potential benefit of exposure to new clients. The best training for this purpose utilizes observation of actual tours and paperwork processing as well as role playing (they should have access to script that gives them all the right words to convey your message consistently.)

At BodyBusiness our sales process has gone through an evolution over the past 3 years and we currently use a combination of one Member Services Consultant with our Trainers on Duty (TODs are scheduled during all hours of operation), in conjunction with our front desk staff. Our Member Services Consultant is scheduled to be available during the hours when we experience peak guest traffic and is responsible for conducting follow up with new members and prospects who have visited/toured the club.

Michele Melkerson-Granryd, M.Ed., Executive Director
Texas Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association

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