// Selling club memberships isn't difficult with the 7 keys

by Casey Conrad

After selling memberships in the health and fi tness industry for over 25 years (19 of those as a sales trainer) one thing has become crystal clear to me. Selling health club memberships isn’t difficult; it’s the training of salespeople that’s the challenge. This comment may not sit well with some people but I’m not writing this to make you my friend, I’m writing it to help you be more successful in sales! So, now that I have your attention let me explain myself and try and regain rapport with you.

When Michael Jordan was born the doctor didn’t hand the baby to his mother and say, ‘Look, you’ve given birth to a future basketball star’. That same principle holds true for any person in any profession. The reality is that although people are certainly born with genetic abilities that may be more suited towards certain things, those ‘things’ do not miraculously and spontaneously develop. They only develop with the proper encouragement, education, training and development.

Doctors go through many years of school before they are allowed to practice. Accountants and attorneys go through extensive education and testing before they can practice. Tradespeople such as mechanics, electricians and plumbers need to study before they can become certified to practice their trade.

Why then, can people become health club salespeople without having to complete any training whatsoever?

Think of the senselessness of this! People are walking into a health club facility to make perhaps one of the most important decisions of their life – whether or not to join a club and begin living the benefits and privileges of a regular exercise program – and we allow employees with little or no training to assist them in this decision making process.

If you want to become a master at selling health club memberships you need to go through a proper process of education, training and development. Sure, starting off with the right ‘sales personality’ is just as important to long-term success as being athletic is to a professional athlete, but assuming you are starting with the ‘personality aptitude’, your success will be measured by your ability to master sales fundamentals.

In my years as a sales trainer I have discovered that there are seven skills which, when mastered, form the foundation for health club sales success. I call these skills ‘core competencies’, and coach my clients not to let a salesperson anywhere near a prospect until they can pass both written and oral tests on these seven skills.


1. Memorising the steps to selling a membership. It is important that your club has an established, successful process outlined that everyone follows.

2. Memorising the information call script, i.e., how to take an incoming call and turn it into an appointment to tour your facility (for more information on capitalising on incoming calls, read Justin Tamsett’s article on page 40 of the Summer

3. Having a written, pre-established set of ‘Needs Analysis’ questions that you are totally comfortable discussing with a prospect. These questions should uncover the prospect’s exercise history, goals and motivation and reveal potential roadblocks to joining.

4. Memorising five ‘Feature-Benefit-Feedback Modules’. These are intelligent statements about the features and benefits of your club, which engage the customer and give the salesperson feedback as to whether or not the club is meeting their needs and wants.

5. Memorising your price presentation. This should take the form of a confident discussion of membership options.

6. Memorising the steps to overcoming any objection. I train on ‘6-steps’ to professionally handling objections, but what matters is that your club follows a systematic approach that can be duplicated, measured and improved upon.

7. Memorising a buddy referral script. This should make the salesperson feel comfortable asking for referrals at the point of sale.

I sometimes have salespeople and even club owners resist the memorisation of scripts and skills because they believe that memorising something will result in them sounding like a robot or a used car salesman.

Sounding robotic with a sales script can happen, but typically only occurs with amateurs – not professionals. The difference between the two is that an amateur practices something well enough to get it right, but a professional practices something well enough to never get it wrong. There is a big difference between the two and it’s not just in their income!

The fact of the matter is that every single fitness facility salesperson who has given more than ten tours has already developed a script of their own, albeit subconsciously. I can follow a salesperson around their club and will guarantee that a recording will reveal that they are using the same statements, the same explanations and even the same jokes time and time again. They have a script; the question is, ‘Do they have a good script?’

When it comes to the ‘7 Core Competencies’ it doesn’t matter if a club’s sales team uses scripts taken from professional resources, from another trainer or of their own creation. The most important thing is that they have scripts; have memorised them; have every salesperson using the same basic scripts; and are measuring the eff ectiveness of those scripts. It is only through this process that mastery can be achieved.

Just as great athletes have to learn the basics of their sport, so every salesperson needs to practice their core competencies. There may be minor execution differences on the sporting field but every batter uses the same basic skills and technique to successfully hit a ball. Further, every year before a new season begins these professional athletes are practice the basics over and over again.

I encourage you to embrace the same type of discipline to the selling of health club memberships. To assist you with this, you can access a free one-hour download of my most popular sales keynote presentation ‘The 8 Steps to Successfully Selling Health Club Memberships’ at www.HealthClubSalesTraining.com to share with every member of your sales team.


Casey Conrad
With 25 years experience in the health and fi tness industry, Casey is president of Communication Consultants, a company dedicated to providing high quality sales, marketing and management seminars and materials for professionals in the health and fitness industry. She is the author of numerous sales books, DVDs and CDs including The Complete Guide to Selling Health Club Memberships, Selling Fitness and Selling Personal Training. For more information e-mail

NETWORK • AUTUMN 2009 • PP24-25