Let’s face it, most of us (including me) are often not comfortable when it comes to sales.

We are great at training people and love teaching classes or running bootcamps but when it comes to converting hard earned leads to sales, this is often our downfall. From my experience, it is a lot easier to generate leads than to convert them.

But let me say this may be the most important part of the whole marketing process. It can be the difference between a successful health and fitness business and a flailing one.

The best way to learn is on the job

For most of last year, I was working for Ashfield Aquatic Centre, a new leisure centre based in Sydney which opened in September 2020. My main role was to generate as many quality leads as possible through a variety of marketing and social media campaigns.

As we got closer to the launch, I found that I had to focus more and more on sales with the main purpose of phoning warm leads and getting them to sign up before the centre opens.

Now I have to be honest and say this was not my forte and it isn’t exactly as creative or fun as running an advertising campaign. There is a reason it is hard to find and keep good sales staff – it is a tough gig.

Having said that, sales is such an important skill which we must have. Having been thrown into the deep end, I learnt a hell of a lot. So based on my experience, here are my top 5 tips to help make you a sales star.

1. Strike while the iron is hot!

The sooner you can contact a lead, the better the chance they will convert.

When a lead gives over their details, they have a fairly high level of motivation and excitement in doing so. I discovered that if I contacted the lead within an hour of receiving their details, not only were they impressed with such a fast response, but more importantly they were really interested in what I had to say. I was able to keep the momentum going and increase the chance of them signing up there and then!

When we called leads from weeks or months ago, we were lucky if we could even get in contact with them. When we did, the vast majority were not interested anymore or had joined another centre.

2. Tie it in with what motivates them

This is a great trick – we would always ask “what is the number one reason you expressed interest in the centre”? Once we had the answer, we would tie it in with some features or service.

For example:

“I really need to reduce my stress levels”

“Well did you know the new centre will have a beautiful spa and sauna – the perfect place to relax and let the world go by”

“I really need to lose some weight after being in lock down for several months!”

“Well we will have a variety of group fitness classes, the leading personal trainers and the latest equipment and machines to help you get in the shape of your life”.

“I want to improve the health of my children”

We have a great learn to swim program for your kids plus a number of heated outdoor and indoor options for the entire family for fitness or fun. This is your total fitness and leisure community hub to take full advantage of when you are a member.

Find out what their pain point is and tell them how you can solve it.

3. Handle with care

Be prepared to handle a variety of objections.

Trying to sell a membership which cost over $1,000, had not opened and during Coronavirus, definitely made it a more challenging task.

The big one was “it’s too expensive” (especially when compared to the old Ashfield pools or the nearby Anytime Fitness). But this was like comparing oranges and apples.

My approach was to take the focus away from the price and instead zero in on the value. The new facility was such great value considering it had six pools, a new gym, group fitness classes, creche, spa, sauna, steam room, personal trainers, the latest technology with machines and equipment.

Considering all the wonderful services you can access with your membership (plus I would break down the memberships to the price of a daily coffee), suddenly they didn’t think so much of the cost but the value.

I would also remind them you can’t put a price on your health and fitness. What price can you put on feeling better, looking fantastic, having more energy and having fun at the same time.

By the end, they were reaching for their credit cards and eager to sign up.

4. Use FOMO as the final motivator

The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) can be the difference between someone signing up straight away or waiting weeks on end with no action.

We had a great launch offer which was only available to people who signed up before the centre opens. After that, poof, the offer would disappear never to be seen again.

Having an offer for only a limited time gives those people who are umming and ahhing, a kick up the backside to take some action. It creates urgency to act sooner rather than later. Who doesn’t love a bargain and saving some serious coin.

5. Let’s keep in touch

One of the frustrating parts of the process was not being able to get hold of people. It is very common for people not to answer their phone when they don’t recognise the number.

A small tip, I would often leave a message and say when I would call back. More often than not they would pick up the phone on the second time around as they expected the call and knew what the purpose was.

However for those people you can’t reach after three or so attempts, then make sure they are still kept up to date through emails and text messages.

Text message are almost always opened. And never forget the power of a well crafted email – again they are more than often opened and read. And ensure you keep in regular contact – don’t let them forget about you (and don’t forget the FOMO offer).

Keep your social media up to date too. I would constantly post beautiful professional shots of the new centre so people could see visualise how it would look (and hopefully picture themselves in one of the beautiful pools or having a delicious lunch at the café). That played a big part in the campaigns especially when the centre was not yet available to view.

After all of this, how was the launch? Well with a goal of having 900 paid members, we smashed it with almost 2,000 signed up by the end of the year with more and more people joining every day.