18 Best Practices to Develop Sales & Customer Acquisition Processes

Selling more memberships is key to expanding your business. These 18 tips will help you develop a top-notch sales process.

Justin Tamsett, managing director of Active Management, contributed to this article.

In order to grow your business, you’ll need to increase your customer base and sell more memberships to your facility. Sales are incredibly important, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Selling memberships to your health club or studio is both an art and a science. A good sales system will include friendly and well-trained sales staff with a detailed—but flexible—plan for each customer interaction and will incorporate technology, good marketing, and communicating with customers.

This article is one in a series of 28 Best Practice Guidelines for Operating a Fitness Facility.

We have broken up these guidelines into four categories to help you focus your efforts while developing your sales process:

  1. Use Technology to Support Your Sales Process

  2. Show Your Customers How You Can Help

  3. Develop Your Sales Process

  4. Train Your Employees and Manage Your Sales Process

Use Technology to Support Your Sales Process

1. Select a customer management system that is suitable for the business based on size, type, complexity, and access to technology and reliable internet.

2. Consider a customer relationship management (CRM) software that integrates with your website and billing software to automate the sales process and capture key information about each prospective customer.

3. Transparently publish pricing options on your website and, where feasible, allow customers to purchase online.

4. Consider automating parts of your sales process through a virtual sales assistant, virtual chat, or AI software products.

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Show Your Customers How You Can Help

5. Develop an onboarding program for all customers to learn about every aspect of your facility along with available products, services, and technology. Capture detailed information on the health and wellness goals of each customer and follow up periodically.

6. Show each potential customer how your facility and services will help them achieve their desired results.

7. Selling is providing solutions to satisfy a prospects needs.

8. Create opportunities for prospective customers to connect with a person and ask questions before they make a purchase.

Develop Your Sales Process

9. Create a step-by-step sales process to convert leads into customers. This can happen online or through a dialogue between the prospective customer and a sales professional.

10. Develop a series of questions you want to ask each potential customer, then prepare to ask an additional three to five follow-up questions to each primary question to gain deeper knowledge.

11. Selling is a conversation, not an integration. Pay attention to what your prospective customer is saying and build trust.

12. Make a friend first and a sale second. Show genuine interest and truly connect with each potential customer. Avoid making assumptions and take detailed notes on everything the potential customer shares with you.

13. You don’t want the customer to say, “You’re right.” You want to hear, “That’s right.”

14. Personalize all communications to each individual and avoid automated, generic emails. Insert your personality and your brand identity into each message.

15. Many potential customers are not ready to buy on the first interaction. Follow up five or more times to increase your chances of conversion. Stay in constant contact and continue building the relationship.

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Train your Employees and Manage your Sales Process

16. Provide regular, consistent sales training for all employees throughout the year. Manage the sales process daily with goal-setting, check-ins, real-time feedback, and by communicating expectations.

17. Do the math. What are your sales targets? What is your conversion ratio and how many leads do you need each week to hit your goals? What actions and behaviors do you need to consistently follow to achieve the desired result?

18. Train all employees on proper body language when interacting with a customer. Eye contact and smiling are the keys to connection. Let your smile come through over the phone with a positive, upbeat tone of voice.

This article is part of the 28 Best Practice Guidelines for Operating a Fitness Facility series, where we’ll cover topics like Strategic Partnerships, Advisory Groups, and Advocacy in upcoming articles.

Additional Sales Resources for Fitness Professionals

IHRSA has an extensive library of sales articles, webinars, publications, and videos. View our Sales & Marketing section to learn more about how to sell to customers and market your business. And check out a list of Curated Sales & Marketing Resources for Your Health Club Staff to help your staff learn more about these vital topics!

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.