Does selling memberships make you feel greasy? It shouldn’t! Think of it this way: Your sales process is not only the key to more money for your martial arts school—it’s also the way to discover who needs your talents the most.
A good sales process is less of an outright pitch and more of a dialogue that helps your prospect envision success with you. The result is an opportunity to build trust, fellowship, and emotional investment.
Being good at selling memberships and running a business does not take away from your existing relationships at your martial arts school. Developing your sales skills protects your livelihood and adds value to the services that you provide.
4 Steps to Build Relationships in Your Membership Sales
1. Be the best at what you do.
You can’t make a case for yourself if you don’t have something valuable to offer in the first place. Get your school organized. Nurture the unique qualities of your classes and community. If you feel like you need more time to focus on developing your business, try automating admin tasks with your martial arts software or delegating office work like membership billing.
2. Talk about value, not price.
Price questions require that you follow a specific sales script that can make or break the sale. When you’re asked about prices, avoid answering with a number. Responding with a number forces you to justify your value before your prospect has experienced your services.
Many prospects ask about price because they don’t know what they want or what to ask about your martial arts school. Rather than discussing price, show the value of your services by talking about your prospect’s goals and past experiences.
A) Discover prospective members’ goals.
Always say that pricing will depend on the program your prospect chooses. If you give your prospect price when he or she asks, you create an objection that immediately puts you in a position to defend your services. Make the conversation option-oriented with questions like:
“Why did you call us?”
“What do you hope to get out of this program?”
“Are you a beginner, or have you trained before?”
Much like if you were a journalist, an interview-style conversation helps you get to know what the person actually wants. Particularly if the person has never tried martial arts before and doesn’t know what to expect. Focus on a dialogue that reveals goals first. Write down your prospect’s responses on paper so that he or she knows you’re attentive.
B) Discover past experiences.
Again, when you talk about the value of your school, differentiating factors are important. Now that you know what your prospect wants out of your program, you need to know what hasn’t worked in the past.
“How long have you been thinking about this goal? When did you begin to consider training to meet your goal?”
Asking this question upfront avoids the possibility of hearing I need to think about it later in the sales process. Tailor this question as appropriate for parents talking to you on the behalf of their children.
“What else have you tried to accomplish your goal, and why didn’t it work for you?”
Asking what your prospect has tried before gives you a better sense of his or her needs (e.g. support, beginner-friendly instruction, class structure). It also gives you the chance to empathize with his or her struggle and to talk about how your school addresses those pain points.
3. Overcome 4 common membership objections.
An objection is any roadblock to a prospective member saying yes to your school. Objections arise when you don’t know how to address them early in the conversation with your prospect. Taking the lead, however, confirms that your prospect won’t flake later.
When asking these questions, avoid accepting I think so as an answer. If you hear it, don’t proceed any further unless your prospect can confirm with 100 percent certainty. Your recipe for success: question, listen, and verify.
Objection 1: Location & Transportation
Confirm that your prospect is in the area and has transportation to get to class. Even if you’re talking to a parent, ask.
Objection 2: Schedule & Time
Propose days and times. If your prospect is unable to confirm, ask when works better in his or her schedule.
Objection 3: Motivation & Commitment
You’ll need to help your prospect envision what it would be like to achieve his or her goal with the help of your school. Lead with positive reinforcement first. Ask your prospect:
“What do you see happening when you achieve your goal? What is that going to do for you?”
Follow up with asking what makes them unhappy about his or her current situation. Again, write everything down.
Not only does vision help your prospect, but it also helps you know how to best support the person.
Objection 4: Family or Significant Other
Oftentimes, prospects will say he or she needs to consult a family member or a significant other before moving forward with your school. Ask in your own words, Is there anyone who isn’t supportive of your accomplishing this goal? Who is the first person you’re going to tell when you get home and are they 100% supportive of you?
4. Offer a trial membership
Trial memberships are a powerful sales and marketing tool for your martial arts school. It’s key to walk through the discovery process first with your prospect so that he/she understands your value and they feel empowered toward their goals. Afterward, give your prospect a chance to experience what your school through a free class, free week, or a paid trial with a free uniform.