The landscape for health club sales has changed immensely during the past year. When leading a sales team, it’s important to consider how circumstances have shifted for your prospects and your employees.
In guiding your team, there are several steps you can take to acknowledge that approaches need to shift and that doing so can help ensure their success, notes Nick Thornton, vice president of sales at Club Automation.
Empathy Is Essential
Perhaps the core challenge facing everyone these days is simply understanding how much the playing field has changed and communicating that to others.
“Recognizing what your team and members are up against may seem subtle, but it’s critical,” says Thornton. “First and foremost, you need to treat your people with empathy; empathy not only for the environment that they’re in, but also for the struggles they may experience in selling memberships to prospects whose priorities have changed.”
What your team is likely dealing with is a balancing act for prospects. While the pandemic has made personal health and fitness a bigger priority, with many people buying home equipment and fitness memberships, prospects are dealing with other purchasing issues.
McKinsey & Company data shows, for example, that while American optimism regarding an economic recovery continues, more than half of U.S. consumers do not expect their routines to return until the latter half of 2021. In addition, up to 40% of consumers plan to decrease discretionary spending and only about 24% feel safe about engaging in “normal,” out-of-home activities.
“Given those obstacles, you can’t be in a place where you just pound sales numbers into people and make it happen,” Thornton says. “Leaders need to pull their teams into the emotion of the sale and into the vision of the club. Salespeople need to understand that prospects have these issues, but that they should never be apologetic about what they’re selling. What the health and fitness industry is doing —and what they’re doing—on behalf of our society and their community is more relevant now than it’s ever been.”