Club Insider

It Is Not WHAT You Know But WHO You Know to Grow Sales

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Gary PolicGary Polic

We are all the experts in the "educational" piece of marketing our clubs. "You want to know WHAT to do to get the results you are looking for, then come to us!" That is the position we are all in currently when fighting for our market share. I mean, who would want to trust their fitness results to just anybody, right? But, what about relationships? The consumer buys from someone they trust and has good rapport with initially or over time. Well, then, that leaves us with the most important question, and that is WHO do you know personally in your communities that is an influencer?

Fast forward to today: It is the Holiday Season! Did you know that 60% of the total annual revenue for most retailers is produced between Thanksgiving and Valentines Day? Further, 80% of retailers have a database; 60% correspond with that database! That is exactly what gives our clubs the perfect opportunity and "reason why" we would approach retailers to cross-promote and create a long-term alliance to WIN! Your local communities (now that COVID is slowly becoming behind us) are having events being planned. And, corporations are meeting with their employees again and sharing gifts over the holidays.

Increasing the sales at our clubs: We are all counting on our marketing and social media postings to bring in those sales, and rightfully so. However, what do we do collectively as a management team to inspire and lead our department heads and their respected teams to grow our brand awareness and sales in our communities?

Consider this... Every Department Head should be able to participate "actively" in the following five lead-in questions to follow. When I say "actively," I mean have a "present/ongoing" strategic influence attacking these questions and subsequently "building a database" of influencers/leads on a weekly and monthly basis for their clubs.

The GM should be leading this effort and delegating tasks to cover the ground that needs to be covered. It is not an easy task but well worth it when you consider life and business is all about building and sustaining relationships and increasing lines of communication of how we can better serve each other.

Remember to lay out a realistic plan to execute the roadwork necessary to elevate your club's brand awareness in your communities. Take the time weekly to add this task to your Department Head meetings weekly, especially now, during the holidays and the New Year celebration fast approaching us.

Five Lead-In Questions

Here are five lead-in questions to consider asking your management team, and subsequently, their staff during this holiday season.

1. Do you know your Members Personally? If you were to walk into your club, take an employee with you out on the fitness floor and point to a member, would they know that member personally? Your members are the hottest influencers in your community. I always say, "Once a member invites you over to their house for dinner on a Sunday night to meet their family, that's when you've done your job in building the relationship."

What is your established "New Member" follow-up protocol? I personally always liked scheduling a seven-day follow-up appointment with the member at the POS. This way, we can re-connect and ask them how their experience was at the club so far and who they have shared the good news with recently! We talked about it before, and that is your Member Surveys being utilized by your new sales representatives to begin the member building relationship process.

2. Do you know your Retailers (small business owners) Personally? If you were to walk outside and go to the first business to the right or left of your club, would you know that owner personally? Have you began calling on that old corporate listing (pre-COVID) of the club you are working at yet? Executive Sales Manager, Ronald Jones, of the Athletic Club Northeast at The Wellbridge Company did both, and he has not only built a long-term relationship with the business but also closed 42 new memberships to boot! Great hard and SMART work, Ronald Jones!

How about making your clubs available for small businesses to congregate? The small business can send out invites to their entire databases and invite their customers into the club for a weekend of fun on them! What about utilizing your clubs for a Chamber of Commerce "retailer community event" sponsored by your club?

3. Do you know your Community Leaders personally? If you were to ask your GM the name of the town Mayor, Chief of Police or Fire Marshall, would they know them personally? Also, who is your Congressional Representative in your district? Have you been on the local town's website? What events are happening over the holidays, and how can your club contribute? Most importantly, are you laying out your annual marketing calendar regarding giving back to your communities through charitable events and donations? Do you know your local news station? Are they looking for heathy topic segments?

4. Do you know your Staff/Team Members Personally? If you were to ask your Personal Training Department Head what is one of their personal trainer's "super why," would they know the employees' personal reason "why" they work at your club or need to make money? We expect our individual team members to produce. However, we do not know what triggers them to produce. If you genuinely care for your people and are invested into their development, then you should know "why" they work at your club and what motivates them to perform.

5. Do you know your Local Corporate Decision Makers Personally? Driving a five-mile radius of your club, would you know the CEO/COO or HR Director of that corporation with hundreds of employees? This really takes us back to #1. At the POS, we should all be asking our sales representatives that make the sale the question: "Where does the new member work, socialize or place of worship?" The funny thing is our local corporate influencers are working out at our clubs today! How many times today have you asked a member where they work? What "listing" are you calling on? Is it being worked "daily?"

The Bottom Line

As we compete with other clubs for market share, we are very aware of the growing need to build long-term lasting relationships in and outside our clubs with the influencers of our communities. I like to say: "The clubs that know the most members personally... WINS!" Well, in this case: "The GM who knows the most Members, Retailers, Community Leaders, Corporate Decision Makers and Staff Personally... WINS!"

So, I leave you with this final question to begin your journey to grow your brand and sales, and that is... "When will there be a better time of year and logical "reason why" to reach out and wish an influencer of your club and communities a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year than now?!"

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Time to work SMART like Executive Sales Manager, Ronald Jones, of the Athletic Club Northeast at The Wellbridge Company! Check out Wellbridge (headquartered in Denver, Colorado, which brings decades of elite health club experience to the 19 athletic clubs, tennis clubs and spas it manages across the United States) at

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