Sensible Sales and Service. Part 2

The solution to dilemmas like these is to ask questions and listen closely to the answers. Instead of giving the same facility tour and sales pitch to every prospect, customize it to each individual. This involves more than asking the question, “What are your fitness goals?” Other questions may focus on barriers to exercise, past exercise experiences, and equipment and activity preferences. It is important to find out what prospective members are hoping to achieve, why they want to achieve it, and what has gone right and wrong for them in the past.

This also applies to selling a new program or contract to a corporate client. Learn the challenges the company faces, the solutions it needs and the pressures it is under. Bottom line: What factors are going to have the greatest influence on the prospect’s decision? Try to position yourself as a long-term partner with the prospect. The sale will usually go to the facility with the most attractive package overall.

The decision-making process

Take a closer look at a prospect’s decision-making process. The decision-making process is generally based on four types of critical analyses: side-by-side, ease of use, cost of investment and vision.

Side-by-side. Side-by-side analysis, as the name implies, means comparing one vendor or facility to the others available and choosing the best overall package.

Ease of use. A decision-maker using the ease-of-use analysis wants to know how readily results can be obtained.

Cost of investment. The cost of investment analysis focuses on the bottom-line price and return on the investment.

Vision. Vision analysis centers around future needs, growth and adaptability.

When dealing with a prospective member, try to learn as early as possible which of the following factors to focus on.

Determining factors. Determining factors are usually hard numbers and bottom-line projections.

Supportive factors. Supportive factors include increased visibility with the prospect’s target market, better image in the industry and improved media relations.

Emotional factors. Emotional factors are internally rooted with the decision-maker and often center around prospects wanting and feeling that they deserve the best of everything.

Consider a salesperson’s decision-making options. The seller needs to evaluate honestly if the facility is a right match for the prospect. Everyone has had challenging members. In some instances, it may be in the facility’s best interest to tactfully suggest another vendor or facility — one that may be better aligned with what the prospect is looking to accomplish.

After the sale

Once a prospective member joints, keep abreast of their changing needs and wants. It’s far easier and less costly to keep current members than to attract new prospects. Keep in touch with members and keep asking questions. Don’t take a secure business relationship for granted.

Of course, selling anything can be an extremely complex task. These are just a few ideas to get a start on improving sales and service numbers. Remember that a tip or idea can’t help unless the time and energy are put forth to implement it.

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