The DriveSales™ | Here are the sales strategies for Gyms and Fitness Studios to win and delight more customers!

The rise of fitness culture is an inevitable process and is a direct consequence of people trying to compensate for decreased physical activity in daily life. Gyms and other fitness centers are mushrooming at a rapid pace to cater to this unrelenting demand. On the flip side of this mushrooming lies the fact that many of these sprawling fitness hubs do not stand the test of time due to a lack of a streamlined sales strategy due to stiff competition and multinational fitness chains paving their way into the burgeoning fitness landscape. Generating new memberships is survival.

In today’s fast-changing world, a mix of both online and offline presence is as inseparable as the two sides of a coin. The 9 critical parameters, comprising of both online as well offline channels, to successfully attract customers in a way that provides a differentiated offering from the competition are discussed as follows.

ONLINE CHANNELS:

1) Create a User-Friendly Website

Online real estate has become the first point of contact for almost every business across the world and with the proliferation of smartphones and high-speed mobile internet, it will augment further in leaps and bounds.

This is where a website plays a crucial role to build and engage with the client base. To attract clients online, the website should be easy to navigate and informative. With the advent of digital tools like Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, etc., creating a website has simplified dramatically, thus mandating an online presence due to the ubiquitous reach of the Internet. A high volume of monthly active users can be further capitalized through online merchandising for branding as well as an added source of revenue.

2) Engagement by Building an Online Community

fitness is a very community-driven activity, and there is an emerging culture of an increasing number of people augmenting their daily schedules with passive and active forms of becoming fit. Using social media effectively is a great way to engage with current clients and also to cultivate relationships with potential clients.

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be used to interact in some ways which include posting referral rewards for the month, reposting members’ posts, having a social media contest to get more interaction and followers, workout videos by trainers, and posting pictures of loyal members who are consistently striving to reach their fitness and health goals. Selling branded merchandise and fitness products is an additional revenue stream for monetizing the user base.

3) Local SEO

Consumers need to find information easily and thus, mostly turn to online search engines. Local Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the most cost-effective forms of sales strategies and is capable of having a significant return on investment as gym/fitness club is a proximity-based business thus making local SEO all the more critical to success.

To optimize the website for ranking high locally, the following parameters should be kept in mind:

· Create a Google My Business (GMB) page: This is the most important parameter for getting eyeballs locally as potential clients can find basic information such as location, operational timings, and contact numbers easily. They can also see the images of the facility and business reviews. In a lot of cases, the ratings from other local listings on the business’ GMB card are also mentioned in the search results which garners more credibility for the business.

· Create ample local citations: Citations are any form of online mention of the name, address, and phone number of a local business on websites, apps, or social media platforms. These citations carry authority as the more authoritative the citation is, the more weight it will carry when Google ranks websites for searches. The most common local listing sites used are JustDial, Sulekha India Yellow Pages, Asklaila, Grotal.in, GetIt.in and StartLocal in decreasing order of their SimilarWeb traffic ranking. There are a ton more, but popularity varies based on locations. So as a rule of thumb, the top five should be targeted for local citations.

· Visibility in local packs: The Local Pack is a section in Google’s search results that displays three local businesses related to the query which may answer that query whenever the query has local intent. Google considers three factors for local rankings: distance, relevance, and prominence. Thus, using local keywords in the content makes the website more relevant and optimized to a search query.

· Consistent NALP: The name, address, location(s), and phone number(s) should be the same across the website and all citations.

4) Aggregator tie-ups

With the rise of on-demand services, the fitness industry has also been disrupted with a slew of online discovery platforms trying to reshape the industry and have become a critical touch-point for most fitness needs. Fitness has now joined the ranks of on-demand services that include taxis, meals, and clothes. Fitness centers aggregator platforms like Fitternity, Gympik, and Fitpass allow users the convenience of downloading a mobile app or log on to their sites to find the nearest fitness center or trainer of their choice thus creating a rapidly expanding medium of reaching potential customers. This, in turn, has led to increased relevance and importance of being discoverable on such platforms.

5) Encourage Reviews

There are umpteen sites dedicated to reviews of local businesses, and to build the best possible sales pitch, a strong endorsement from customers is imperative in today’s world. A negative review is as powerful as a positive one makes sure that you jump on the issue and respond promptly. These fitness testimonials and reviews strongly portray the brand in a positive light to potential and current members. Google reviews are also an effective way of disseminating past experiences of users which is visible on the GMB card as well. These reviews and testimonials influence the decision-making process and help the brand rank higher than the competition in local SEO.

OFFLINE CHANNELS:

1) Referral Sales

Customers are the best marketers. Referral selling refers to asking the current customers to refer a product being used by them to their personal/professional network by leveraging the trust quotient. Sales referrals are the most valuable prospecting methods because they help bridge the trust gap between the business and the referred prospect.

For a referral program to make a real impact on new member sign-ups, the following key elements need to be in place:

· Incentive — The principal benefit for existing members for inviting people within their trusted network.

· Awareness — Members should be constantly reminded and made aware of the benefits of referring new people.

· Simplicity — Members should understand and use the referral program easily.

· Process — Tracking and rewarding successful referrals.

When all these elements are practiced and addressed in detail, a comprehensive referral program is born which has the capability of becoming one of the strongest sales channels for acquiring new members.

Some of the commonly practiced referral rewards include:

· A free month of membership

· Private lessons with the head instructor

· Free sessions of yoga, meditation, Zumba, etc.

2) Create Partnerships in the Local Community

Fitness and nutrition science usually go hand-in-hand. Hence, a partnership with a local registered dietician nutritionist (RDN) is a mutually beneficial and mutually exclusive relationship with a long-term impact. Member clients can meet with the registered dietician for one-on-one counseling sessions and suggestions to improve eating habits in exchange for using the fitness facility to meet their fitness goals creating a more holistic fitness regimen. The same goes for other mutually beneficial partnerships such as chiropractors, physical therapists, fitness-wear apparel stores, or healthy meal delivery services.

3) Encourage Corporate Wellness

Offering corporate memberships to businesses at discounted rates only available through the workplace helps to draw in a group of like-minded people to work out together and help them stay motivated as a cohort. This may be offered as a team-building exercise as well which will test the teams outside their usual work environment.

4) Drum Up Doctor Referrals

Doctor referrals are a time-tested medium to build credibility and drive traffic toward fitness centers. A trusted relationship with a general practitioner in the area goes a long way in building trust in the community such as those who are overweight or at-risk for diabetes, can be ideal candidates for a referral. With the proliferation of lifestyle diseases, these health issues have aggravated, thus making the doctor a key element in breaking this chain of events. Being backed by a trusted doctor can provide free marketing for your gym.

As the Fitness Industry is gaining momentum and more health studios, fitness clubs and gyms are opening up worldwide. Hence understanding the motivations and consumers’ behaviors of fitness buffs becomes increasingly relevant and important. To capture and sustain this affluent audience, business models will emerge to cater to both the active outdoor buffs and gym buffs. Brands should focus on reaching out more to female fitness buffs who represent a larger gender demographic. Brands also need to pay heed to fitness addicts’ increasing attachment to social media, mobile devices, and a hyper-connected world.

Now, as an effective SALESPERSON! We can do three things from here.

1. Not ignoring the opportunity and blaming the situation for revenue loss.

2. Taking necessary notes and revisiting your sales strategy with a growth mindset.

3. Reach out to The DriveSales™ in case you need any specialized help.

To conclude, what you believe also provides some idea of your development as a consultative salesperson. For more, please be connected to team The DriveSales™ as these are the foundations for our culture and ways of working!

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SELLING is HARD. You don’t make sale by chance. But, if you are willing to, then we can help make selling promising!