Help! How Can I Prevent Severe Member Attrition This Summer?

Kids laughing, playing in water at outdoor summer camp

Summer’s coming and I’m worried. A lot of our students, both children and adult students, took extended vacations last year and then never came back.

Any advice you can give? Ways I could be proactive … increase my chances that students will take part in training during the summer and return after vacation?

Korbett Miller’s Answer on Preventing Summertime Attrition:

You’re not alone. Summer is typically a challenging time for Martial Arts schools. We’ve had downturns in our enrollment and our gross/net almost every summer since opening our school in 1996.

In the beginning, when we didn’t have any financial cushion, it was desperation and panic in the summer. As my school became more viable, I began to just accept the fact that summertime was a down period and part of a business cycle. I resolved that there wasn’t much I could do.

A few years ago though, I realized that just isn’t true. You CAN do something about it. You CAN have a profitable, stress-free summer by taking some purposeful actions.

Here are two categories I recommend you consider. These will help create a sustainable summertime and a fun environment to maximize profitability and minimize member attrition.

#1 – Make Decisive, Positive Changes in Your Culture

First and foremost, everyone who has earned a black belt understands the value of commitment. Martial Arts is about consistency and commitment. Commitment is staying with something even when it’s a challenge or obstacles stand in the way.

Action Step: Make sure “commitment” is part of your instructors’ vocabulary and stump speeches, so that “commitment” is being reinforced with students.

Second, hosting events at your school is a great way to keep your culture fun and exciting, and your students involved and committed to training.

Action Step: Schedule fun events each week in your school. Take advantage of the warm weather. Go outdoors if possible to change things up.

Here are some event ideas for kids and adults:

Kids

  • Balloon Training
  • Water Balloon Toss
  • Dunk Tank Day (each year we have a “Get Back at Instructors Day”!)
  • Chux Days
  • Obstacle Course Days Ninja Warriors

Adults

  • Host a BBQ
  • Go hiking with your students
  • Host a special seminar

#2 – Change the Mechanics to Change the Mindset

Whether you offer ongoing or term memberships, I strongly suggest NOT offering summer holds or freezes. Here’s why:

If you “hold” people’s tuition during the summer, this is the mental conversation that you and your families will have come September when they are no longer attached to your school financially or physically:

Parents: “Johnny’s done Martial Arts for a while now. There’s that new sport, _______ or activity _______, he wants to try. I will just call and tell them we’re not coming back.”

Now here’s the mental conversation if you don’t “hold” someone’s membership for July and August, and they continue to make payments.

Parents: “Ok, I have paid for two months over the summer. I’m going to get my money’s worth with tuition. Johnny starts back right after Labor day.”

It’s a completely different mindset.

Action Step: Don’t offer summer holds or freezes. If you offer term agreements, credit the missed time to the end of the student’s enrollment period.

If you offer ongoing agreements, stress that you want to keep the student enrolled in the program and offer FREE private make-up classes for the weeks they missed.

This simple shift in the mechanics of how you run your school can dramatically change the complexion, cash flow and culture of your business in the summertime.

I hope this helps and wish you a successful, profitable summer! If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email.

Thanks,
Korbett Miller

Korbett Miller has been teaching at his Martial Arts school in Kirkland, WA for the last 17 years. Korbett still actively trains in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and most recently received his Black Belt from the legendary Saulo and Xande Ribeiro and won the Brown Belt Senior II World Championships in Jiu Jitsu. He is most proud of his three daughters and 17 year marriage to his wife, Elise.Visit http://www.de-mythify.com to learn more about Korbett’s book and mini-course on finding freedom in a small business. Korbett can be reached at korbett.miller@gmail.com.

New Membership Strategy Kit!

Use this new kit to maximize your memberships and cash flow. 6 resources give you best practices on how to:

  • Effectively raise membership prices
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  • Generate revenue beyond memberships
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Help! Our Front Desk is Costing Us New Members

We’re in the middle of the New Year’s resolution rush, but no one is joining. We think our front desk and approach to sales might be scaring people away.

Can you give us some tips to make our facility more welcoming, so it’s likely members join?

Chuck Heacock’s Answer on Making Your Front Desk More Inviting and Sales Approach Less Intimidating

Most of your competitors view January as just another start to another year. But if you’re reading this, you’re preparing to surpass your 2014 accomplishments … so congrats!

You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again: first impressions cannot be changed. You can have the best program director in the world, but that won’t mean a thing to your business if your front desk — and the first impression you make — turns people off.

So here’s a quick look at my consulting notebook from 2014. Although they are in no particular order, these were the most consistent issues found in touring over 50 Martial Art schools and gyms last year:

Problem: No one greeted me upon entering the facility.

Solution: Very easy fix. If you’re open, make sure you, your assistant, your sales personnel, (anyone!) is there for a big warm hello.


Problem: Price list on the front counter.

Solution: More times than not sticker shock will occur. You need to build value to the prospective member’s dollar — or you just lost $1,200 to $1,500 by letting them leave. Brochures are for folks going on vacations. You need action now.


Problem: No action when walking in.

Solution: Hang pictures. Display trophies. Have monitors running that show you teaching class or highlight programs offered. Have something to build visual credibility.


Problem: Front desk is a tornado aftermath.

Solution: Throw everything away at the front desk that does not make you money. Clutter will kill a sale almost every time.


Problem: Walls are dirty. Paint is chipped, cracked and outdated in color, such as a pastel.

Solution: Take a picture of your location. Show it to your neighbor. Ask them what they would change to make it more inviting. Your opinion is irrelevant. You are there every day. You will not see what other folks see.


Problem: Hardcore vibe

Solution: I found that the family vibe locations are more profitable, and I will be the first to agree that money is not everything; I need to pay the mortgage. More importantly, I never want any of my members to feel intimidated, it would really defeat my favorite thing about my job: helping people become better humans.


Bottom line: Set your goals to be consistent, not explosive. Take 5 minutes at the end of every day to plan tomorrow. Ask yourself: “What can I do to make my business better?” By doing this, you will surely surpass every goal you ever set.

Chuck Heacock is a Sales Professional located in Los Angeles. He is best known for leading the licensing program for Krav Maga Worldwide, which has grown to over 240 schools throughout the world. He has been involved in every aspect of membership development from sweeping floors to owning 30,000 square foot facilities with over 35 years of experience. If your business is suffering, he will find a solution to get you back on track with his all-new 10-hour sales training course for you and your staff. You can reach Chuck at betterdojo@gmail.com.

Get Fit Holiday Promotions: How to Calculate Your Cost of Service

flat lay composition with gray shoes, purple dumbbells and craft gift box with violet bow on yellow purple and cyan paper background.

I do not know if holiday seasonal stress disorder is an actual condition, but if it doesn’t really exist, it certainly should. Every fitness business out there is being pushed this time of year to offer some sort of special or deal in order to entice people to sign up or make that first leap into health and fitness. Given that our wonderful industry also has some of the tightest profit margins, it can cause a greater amount of stress to try and exceed the expectations of the consumer.

Retail businesses can offer an 80% off discount, or a “buy one, get one free” promotion. They’ll still make a profit. But most of the fitness businesses we work with are service-based. If they offered these outrageous discounts, it would mean they would be paying people to work out. Not a bad promotion if you can swing it; “Come to my personal training studio and I will pay you to get fit!” You may get hundreds of clients, but those doors will be closed before they can even get in.

One of the best things to understand before you offer a special promotion is the cost to deliver your service. Determining your cost of service will assist you when you offer any promotions to existing and new members.

Calculating the Cost of Service for a Fitness Business

  1. Overhead Costs ―These are the indirect costs to your fitness business in providing services to customers. Examples include labor for other people who run the fitness facility or Martial Arts school, whether administrative assistants or a director of a department. Other overhead costs include your monthly rent, taxes, insurance, depreciation, advertising, office supplies, equipment lease, utilities, etc. A portion of all these costs will need to be included as part of your fees.
  2. Material Costs ― Material costs refer to stock or inventory required for the service. These are typically not huge additional costs for the average fitness business. For example, an automotive center would need the cost of brake pads and brake fluid when calculating a brake job. In our training studio, I add in the cost for our towels, laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, and razors. We purchase and supply these to our clients. They could just as easily be considered overhead expenses. In our training studio, I know that these toiletries add up to around $3 per client session, so I will use that number when calculating the cost of service and determining a promotional offer.
  3. Labor Costs ― Calculating labor costs for fitness businesses is usually pretty straightforward. Wages are typically the same per service per staff. That said, it is good to keep the average cost per service on hand and up to date. Also remember that when you give a raise to staff members, be sure to change this number to keep your costs in line.

We use our Member Manager software to calculate most of this for us with just a click of a button. I can see exactly the percentage of revenue per service that is going to labor for all staff or on a per staff person basis. Member Manager also calculates the revenue that I generate per service and pinpoints members that pay below my rack rate so I will know when it is time to raise their rates. All of these costs are important numbers to have handy when determining the discounts you want to offer. I can quickly add my costs together, along with my desired profit, to formulate an accurate price for a special.

Next week I will apply this cost of service calculation to a few fitness business models and show you some cool specials that help increase member attendance and still keep profits high.

Why Credit Card Processing Makes Good Business Sense

Imagine a brand-new member anxiously walks into your facility, eager to buy whatever is in sight. As he stocks up on gear, ready to make his purchase, you have to break the bad news: “Sorry, we only accept cash“. The member races to find some money but only has a few bucks in his pocket. He has a credit card on hand but you don’t take credit cards. Your member leaves disappointed and you lose a sale.

Is this you? Are you missing out on opportunities to grow your business? People rarely carry cash anymore; and when is the last time you saw someone with a checkbook?

To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, you have to provide what customers demand, and that includes the convenience of paying by credit card.

In fact, many people prefer to pay with credit cards to accumulate reward points and miles. Credit cards also help customers organize their transactions and provide buyer protection services, which make them a preferred payment method in many cases.

Accepting credit cards also provides several benefits to businesses:

    • Cash flow typically improves — regardless if there’s an increase in sales
    • Rather than sending an invoice and waiting for that invoice to be paid (or anticipate a check to clear), the money from the sale goes directly to your bank account
    • You decrease the likelihood that you won’t receive payment by capturing the funds as close to the time of sale as possible
    • And last but not least, an increase in sales

Many small businesses shy away from credit card processing because of the fees involved. However, numerous studies have shown that the average size of credit card orders can be as much as three times greater than those paid by cash or check. All said, the increase in sales heavily outweighs any expense incurred — making it a wise investment. Also remember … if you don’t accept credit cards, are your competitors doing the same? Or are they allowing credit cards and providing an advantage that you aren’t providing?

How to Get Started with Credit Card Processing for Your Business

In order to take credit card and debit card payments on-site at your place of business, you will need to do the following:

Step 1: Get a Merchant Account

A merchant account is a special type of bank account that allows your business to accept payments by credit or debit card. Merchant accounts also provide the ability for you to receive monthly statements detailing your business’ processing volume. To learn more about merchant accounts, visit csipay.com/overview.

To obtain a merchant account, you will need to apply under a merchant agreement with a reseller or bank. The application process is fairly simple and requires that you provide some background information about you and your business, along with some supporting documentation.

What you can expect to pay: The processing fees you will incur usually represent a small percentage of the transaction and a set amount. When shopping for a merchant account you will often see rates advertised that try to lure you in with a cheap transaction fee. Make sure you review ALL of the fees that you will pay. Many times, in addition to the low-cost fee, advertised, you can expect to pay different rates depending on whether you swipe or key in the customer’s credit card number. These fees combined together make up what you can expect to pay for credit card processing.

Step 2: Work with a Level One Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliant provider.

The PCI Compliance standard was created by the credit card industry in 2006 as a way to prevent sensitive credit card information from being compromised to avoid credit card fraud. To comply with the requirements you need to make sure you work with a secure, certified processor to ensure the credit card information is securely stored and that the payment requests are processed in a secure manner. The processor, who provides you with your merchant account, will be able to explain this more fully and educate you on best practices when accepting credit cards at your business.

Step 3: Establish a way to capture transactions.

This is accomplished with a credit card terminal or reader. You are probably already familiar with them when you have shopped in a retail location and used your credit card. The reader can be configured to work with other software solutions, such as a front-desk system to help manage your Fitness facility. Once you start processing credit card transactions, the transaction amount will be sent to your bank account minus the transaction fees that are withheld.

There are numerous readers that exist and you can shop and select the best reader based on your needs. Some are even wireless if you want the flexibility to move around when processing payments.

Remember earlier when I mentioned that you can expect to pay processing fees when accepting credit cards? These fees will actually change depending on the manner in which you capture the credit card transaction. You should try and swipe the actual credit card whenever possible since that will help provide the cheapest processing rates for your transaction.

Getting started with credit card processing may seem a bit daunting. Don’t worry ― it is easier than you think. There are many great resources out there to help you get started. Make sure you pick a reliable, dependable partner; and in no time at all, you’ll realize the many benefits that credit card processing can bring to your business.

About the author: Steve Pinado is the CEO for Member Solutions. Recently, Member Solutions launched a new affiliate business, Constellation Payments, to deliver secure and reliable payment processing for merchants. For more information, call 888.248.7060 or send an email to sales@csipay.com.

Make Direct Mail a Part of Your Back-to-School Marketing

"Back to School" chalkboard on desk with school supplies

I’m a huge fan of using direct mail to market my martial arts studio. Being just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, I’ve always had to find creative, low-cost alternatives for my marketing. My overhead historically has been high, so a costly marketing plan has never been an option for me.

When I first started to use direct mail as part of my marketing plan, I did everything wrong and wasted a lot of money. The difference between then and now is that I have a strategy. My ads work, my list is hot, and it’s coupled with an email.

Think of your marketing plan like your fighting plan. When you first started, you closed your eyes and just went in swinging. As your martial arts skills developed, you became a smarter and more strategic fighter. You picked your shots wisely and with laser-point precision. In the end, you were less tired, less beat up, and more victorious.

Thinking through your marketing plan is extremely important. It will take some time to execute properly, but the results will be worth it. Here’s what to consider.

1) Mail to a Good List of Prospects

The first step of having a successful campaign is to keep a good list of prospects. If you are just starting out, purchasing a list is always an option. However, if you can create a list of people who have visited your school through special events or have taken part in something you’ve offered, you will find that your results in turning them into students will be much higher.

2) Create a Professional-Looking Advertisement

Once you have your list in place, it’s time for your advertisement. I create my own because, over the years, I’ve become pretty good at graphic design and making my ads more specific to our offerings. If you aren’t at this point yet, Get Students has some really nice, professional-looking cards that will help you get started.

3) Keep in Mind You Have to Pay for Postage, Too

Regardless of what you use, there are some important tips to remember with direct mail. First, you need to understand that in addition to the cost of printing the cards, you’ll also have to pay for postage. A postcard stamp is cheaper at $0.34, but if you mail 5,000, you’re still looking at $1,700 in postage. It still may be worth the cost, but I personally try to keep my budget lower and more focused on the hot leads I mentioned above.

4) Consider a Bulk Mailing Service

What’s worked best for me is to create oversized postcards and mail them through a bulk mailing service. Standard rate postage is much cheaper—the only drawback is that it will take a couple weeks for your pieces to be delivered. With a little planning, it’s worth the money you’ll be saving versus mailing first class. Plus, you don’t have to be the one putting the labels and stamps on each card.

5) Present an Attractive Offer

I’m getting ready now to start my mailing for the Back-to-School rush. My postcards are set to hit 500 mailboxes on or around August 29th. The 2nd set of 500 will be delivered to the same prospects two weeks later on or around September 15th. We’re offering a $100 discount on enrollment if they sign up prior to September 30th.

6) Include a Call-to-Action and Testimonials

It’s very important to have a call-to-action, or CTA, on your postcards. If you don’t have an expiration date, there is no sense of urgency for them to call you now. Figure out what type of promotion works for your school and make your offer. Always include a testimonial from a happy student or parent. Testimonials are worth their weight in gold when it comes to marketing your school.

7) Send Emails Between Mailings

In addition to the postcards being delivered, send emails to the prospects between mailings. This helps with reminding them that you are the one extending an offer.

8) Look at Your Return on Investment

Lastly, always review your return on investment prior to spending any money on marketing. My direct mail campaign will cost me roughly $700 from start to finish. One student who signs up from the efforts will bring in $2,600 for the year. I’m confident I’ll get more than just one new student from this campaign, but regardless what that actual number is, I think it’s a pretty good gamble.

If anyone has questions about direct mail marketing at your school, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to help.

About the author: Steve Giroux has been training in the martial arts for 30 years and is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Chun Kuk Do. In 1999, he graduated from Bentley College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy with a minor concentration in Law. After founding his studio in January of 1999, Steve has successfully grown revenues over the years after starting at only $7,000 in his first year. You can contact Steve via email at Steve@GirouxBrosMartialArts.com

5 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Your Business’ Grand Opening Event

Client Question: I am opening a new business soon. Can you provide some ideas to drive traffic to my business on our Grand Opening day?

Chances are good that you have invested a lot of money into starting your new business. Here I’ll provide some low-budget ideas for a Grand Opening celebration.

1) Rent an inflatable jumpy or bouncy to place in front of your business.

If you don’t have a front lawn, rent a sky tube. Also add balloons, yard signs and gigantic banners out front that read “Grand Opening” – anything that will make people look at your location. Use your connections too. Know someone that owns a hot rod, race car, or chopper? See if they’ll let you borrow it. Place it out front to draw attention.

2) Offer free hot dogs and sodas throughout your Grand Opening event.

Have visitors go inside your Martial Arts school or gym to get a coupon for the free food. In order to get the coupon, have them fill out an info card.

3) Create Grand Opening postcards or flyers.

Donate $250 to your local high school football, soccer, baseball or basketball teams. In return, ask them to put the postcards or flyers out in the neighborhood they live in. This is an easy way to get cards out for little to no money. It’s also a win-win for you and your local schools and sports teams. They need money too and will appreciate your donation.

4) Have hourly giveaways – gift cards to local restaurants and movie theaters.

Give something away every hour. Have visitors fill out an info card to enter the drawing for the prizes. Make sure you keep their information and enter it into your member management software so you can follow up with them about joining your Martial Arts school or gym.

5) Giveaway T-shirts with your business name and logo.

Drive around to local businesses, parks, and supermarkets. Invite the people you talk to into class. Have an appointment book on hand. Make sure they know about the Grand Opening celebration.

Remember that your Grand Opening doesn’t have to be just a one-day/evening event. Make the most of your new business opening. Consider running a one or two-week celebration to keep the excitement and momentum going.

Hope this helps,

Chuck

Chuck Heacock is the owner of the Fitness Compound, a training facility that provides unparalleled fitness activities including Martial Arts classes, special boot camps, personal training, baseball, basketball, spinning, Zumba, cardio and more. Chuck is also a sought-after fitness industry consultant and a member of the Member Solutions Martial Arts Business Advisory Team.

Creating a Martial Arts Website That Gets You More Students

September’s here and I know a lot of you are beginning to plan out your marketing and events for the upcoming 2012 year. I wanted to share some of my secrets on how to turn your school’s website into the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal before the January rush.

I’ll be covering some of these and more during my upcoming webinar. It’s totally free but I’m limiting the call to only 97 schools, so register as quickly as you can.

A lot of you already know me by now or have at least heard of the success of the products my company creates and builds for school owners.

For the most part, besides our Licensed Fitness Kickboxing Program – the iLoveKickboxing.com program (I’ll include the link to explain it on the bottom of this blog) we build the industry’s only pure “Student Sales Websites”.

In other words, I make websites that actually enroll people online and have them pay you before they ever come into your school. And apparently I do this pretty well…

The Sales Website and online marketing programs that my company built for schools over the last 21 months have generated an incredible 47,291 online enrollments! That’s right; almost 50,000 people have whipped out their credit cards and purchased an online Martial Arts offer we created.

How many actual people is that? It’s about this many people –

It’s about the number of spectators that the new Yankee stadium holds: 52,325. Just to give you some perspective.

Have I got your attention? I hope so, because I really want to help you to get the same kind of results even if you and I never decide to do business together. You see, I’m totally committed to our industry and I’m on a mission to help schools learn how to market and recruit more students using my proven Internet strategies.

Let me first explain the difference your school’s website and the kind I’m talking about, ‘cause I know you might be scratching your head right now.

A Sales Website doesn’t list all the info that you want your students to see; the upcoming events, photo albums, lineage, full class schedule, social networks, etc.

A Sales Websites just gives prospective students the information that they are looking for so that they can make a decision on whether or not your school is for them. No distractions, no music, no shiny bells or whistles … nothing that takes their attention away from your ‘Online Sales Presentation.’

After a prospective student visits your Sales Website, one of three things happen;

1. The student reads it through and decides that it’s not for them. No worries, on to the next person.

2. The student enters their email as you have piqued their interest but they are not ready to ‘buy’ right now. You can now build a relationship via e-mail and send them cool content and show them that you are the ‘man’ (or woman) in your community when it comes to Martial Arts training. You have a chance to get them to buy later on.

3. The student enters their e-mail and decides to take you up on the awesome online offer you’ve presented them with. It’s not any type of free offer – ‘cause people don’t buy free – it’s an introductory offer.

A low-barrier-of-pain, few classes or a few weeks for a small fee and including a uniform, gloves, etc. This person is now the most qualified prospect out there; they’ve actually paid you online BEFORE ever coming into your academy.

Some people still ask me from time to time if people will really ‘buy’ Martial Arts online and isn’t it better to do a Free offer, a month, a week, a lesson, etc.

First let me tell you this. YES! People love to buy things online and Martial Arts or fitness training is no different.

Secondly, we’ve tested free offers vs. the paid offers and guess what? Paid offers crush free offers. You see, nothing in life is free and everyone knows it. So they’re always looking for the ‘hook’ or the gimmick sales pitch.

But once they pay for something, they experience a mental shift – they’ve exchanged money for good/services and it’s a transaction that makes sense to them.

Here are my 9 Essential Elements to a Great Sales Websitethat’ll I’ll be covering in my upcoming session:

Now, I’m not saying that you can’t sell lessons online without one or all of these elements; I’m just saying that these work for my clients and me. Check your Martial Arts website to see which ones you have and which ones you’re missing. I’ll cover these in detail on the Webinar.

1. Compelling Headline
2. Opt-In Box w/ E-mail Capture Program
3. Ethical “Bribe” in Exchange for their E-mail Address
4. Gripping Sales Copy (Story)
5. Success Stories
6. No Risk Guarantee
7. Low Risk Offer
8. Sense of Urgency
9. Payment Checkout System to Process Payment

Here’s one example of an awesome sales website that my company made for a cool dude named James Terlecki in Youngtown, OH. Hit him up on Facebook or contact him through his site – I’m sure he’ll be happy to share with you how he gets amazing results for his Kids Martial Arts, Muay Thai, BJJ and Kickboxing programs.

If any of you are interested in the iLoveKickboxing.com program, please check out http://MyiLoveKickboxing.com or call me office at 516.543.0041.

About the author: Michael Parrella is the founder and CEO of Full Contact Online Marketing, a Martial Arts Website Design and Development company, the iLoveKickboxing.com Fitness Franchise, MAPRONewsletter.com, and several top-grossing kickboxing facilities in New York. He is also a published author and an MASUCCESS Monthly Columnist.

Michael has several Coaching and Mastermind programs that he runs for Martial Arts school owners of all levels and styles. You can reach him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/michael.parrella1 , email him at Michael@FCOnlineMarkeitng.com or contact him at 516-543-0041.

15 Email Templates to Boost Fitness Sales

15 Fitness Email Templates photo

Email marketing can make or break your fitness membership sales process. Great emails increase membership sales while bad emails will send your hard-earned leads into the hands of a competitor. Getting it right means responding quickly, writing intriguing subject lines, and personalizing messages to your leads’ wants and needs.

These 15 email templates respond to the most common reasons people are interested in joining a gym. Use them along with the recommendations below to improve your email response rate and to drive more trials and sales to your fitness business.

6 Fitness Email Best Practices

1. Automate your emails: You are 10x less likely to make contact with your lead after the first five minutes. Waiting ten minutes versus five decreases your chances by 400 percent. Why does such a quick turnaround matter? Because 78 percent of customers buy from the first business that responds.

Of course, you and your staff can’t monitor new leads around the clock—so speeding up your response time means you’ll need to automate your responses. Fitness center software like Member Manager can send emails immediately after a new lead expresses interest. The dramatic drop in response time will decrease the likelihood of leads considering or bouncing to a competitor.

Member Solutions Member Manger Software- Email Marketing Template

2. Get their attention: Email inboxes are selective, competitive spaces. Subject lines are the first text that recipients see when choosing which emails they open. What you’ll see in our email templates is casual, emotive language that speaks directly to the goals that leads want to achieve.

Are they looking to lose weight? Achieve peak physical condition? Improve their health? It’s more likely that a person interested in your gym will open an email with a subject line that connects with him or her than generic phrases like “Following Up” or “Checking In”.

3. Personalize your emails: You’ll notice that these emails don’t focus on your gym. Rather, they focus on the reader. Don’t waste prospects’ time by telling them about your state-of-the-art equipment or your modern facility. Save that for when they come in for a trial membership or a first-time appointment. When they filled out your lead form, they had a specific goal in mind. In these emails, you’ll tell them how you can help them lose weight, build muscle, gain confidence, or meet new people.

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Imagine what they want to hear. Remind them why they contacted you in the first place. Express empathy for their current position, and acknowledge how difficult it is to make a change. Explain how your services are different than what they’ve experienced at other fitness centers. Use positive and negative emotions to motivate leads to follow through on their original request.

4. Show proof: 78% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and need to read at least 10 reviews before trusting a business. Share a testimonial in your emails to leave a positive first impression and to satisfy the need for social proof. Edit your email templates to add quotes, photos, videos, or links to Yelp and Facebook.

5. Tell them what to do next: Emails to prospective gym members need a clear call-to-action that tells them what to do next. Should they call to start a free trial? Check out your online schedule to try a group class? Explain the next steps, and provide a convenient contact method. To create urgency, try including a limited time offer or bonus training session if they contact you quickly.

6. Don’t give up: 80 percent of sales require five follow-ups to close a deal. Sending this many emails manually is a tedious task. You can use your fitness center software to create an email flow to automatically communicate with new leads every few days.

Email Template on Laptop

How to Use Your Fitness Email Templates

These email templates are built in five-part flows to include testimonials, video links, personalization, and time-sensitive calls-to-action. Personally, I set up my software to send one email per day for five days. Afterward, I add unresponsive leads to my newsletter list so I can continue marketing to them. Once a lead has expressed a genuine interest in my services, I don’t give up until I hear from them or they unsubscribe.

Once you’ve downloaded your new email templates, tailor each message to your business by changing the contact information, testimonials, and website links. If you’re a Member Solutions client, you can upload these emails to your Member Manager software to create automated lead flows.

Want help with email templates or automation? Contact the Member Solutions team today.

About the author: Erik Charles Russell has been in the martial arts and fitness industry for more than 25 years. He owns Premier Martial Arts and Fitness in Watertown, NY. In 2015, he published a book based on his successes called The Art of Selling Memberships. The book became an international bestseller—hitting number one in three categories in the U.S., Australia, and Germany on Amazon.com

 

Download 15 Email Templates to Drive Trials and Sales.

Drills to Overcome Objections

“I would love to do this but I have to first clear it with my wife,” or “I can’t really commit to this right now,” or “My son has never really stuck to anything for any period of time and I don’t want to waste my money,” or “I just don’t have any time right now.” No matter what the situation, the list of objections goes on and on. I am sure you have heard many objections, and I’m here to tell you there is a way to get past them.

Objections are a form of client communication. When prospects don’t commit to a particular item, sale or program, they are telling you that you have not sold them yet: that you have not communicated the benefits and touched the reason why they came to you in the first place. If they walked through your door (after all this is the hardest part), then they are interested in joining your Martial Arts school or buying your product. So if they walk out with out signing up, then for some reason you have not connected with them.

An objection is a way for prospects to say “I am not quite sold yet.” If you have answered all their questions, there is still a chance that they may not want to join your school or buy your product. Many times when this occurs, you have said something that doesn’t appeal to them. Or maybe you have not listened hard enough to what the client is looking for. Diagnostic selling is basically the method of listening to the prospective clients and then presenting them with solutions to the objectives that they want to accomplish. No matter whether the objective is to lose weight or gain self-confidence, you need to appeal to their desires. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do and how cool you are, if the prospects don’t see the benefits to themselves then it is a lost cause.

Here are some staff training and mental sales training exercises to help you overcome objections and close the sale:

Drill One: The Benefit Game

This exercise is effective in preparing you for any objections. Write down all the objections that you have heard in the past and then write an appropriate response to each one. After you have done this, practice the responses. Get used to speaking to clients about their objections, using the responses you have developed. For example: a mom tells you that she wants to help her child develop patience. She asks what you can do to help her child. Tell her specifically what components of your program help this situation.

After you have answers for all of the objections you’ve documented, you and the staff can drill this on a consistent basis and become masters at conveying the information that prospective clients really need to know. Most importantly, don’t do it simply for the sake of a having an answer: make sure that you believe in the answer you are giving and practice responding from the heart. Don’t be a salesman, be a solution provider.

Drill Two: Become a Better Listener

Learn to listen when someone is objecting, and then restate the objection so that you can be sure you understand the person correctly. I have been in the situation where I restated an objection back to a client and the client said “Well that’s not really what I meant,” and so the client then explained the objection differently. It is so important to listen to what the client wants. Always give clients your undivided attention so that you can be a specialist and a problem solver for the sake of the clients.

One of my favorite responses to a client who is not sold is “In a perfect world what could I do right now to convince you to sign up? If there was one thing that was holding you back, what would it be and how could I eliminate that obstacle for your benefit? After all, our goal is to help our students.” This usually gets the client to think about his or her objections and open up a bit. A sale is always possible as long as we continue the conversation.

Once a potential client walks out the door, the chance of a sign-up is drastically reduced. Take the time to listen to the objections of prospective clients and then explain to them wholeheartedly that participation in your school is something that can help them achieve the things they want. To ensure a sale, the decision must not be about you or your school; it must always be about the client.

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1 Easy Trick to Increase Your Gym Membership Sales

Man uses membership software reporting and metrics for sales insights

How well do you know your sales team? How well does it handle telephone inquiries? How is it doing with their tours? Are trials converting to new members? If you answered any of these questions without referencing a number or percentage, you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to increase gym membership sales.

Tracking Sales Performance

Using a few simple sales metrics will help you increase your revenue by determining where your business is strong and where you need to improve. Knowing the numbers will help you:

  • Set goals that motivate team members to reach their potential
  • Use your strengths to drive sales
  • Identify and fix problems in your sales process

Getting Started

The goal is to measure key numbers throughout the sales process. Specifically, you want to track new prospects, tours, trials, and membership sales. Record the data in your fitness club software (or a spreadsheet), where you and your staff can easily review the numbers on a regular basis.

What to Measure
1) Leads

What to Do: Each week, track the number of people who express an interest in your gym. Remember to record the source of the inquiry – your website, email, phone call, Facebook, etc.

Why It’s Important: How many leads you get tells you how well your marketing is working and determines how many opportunities your sales team has to sell memberships.

Tools to Help: Use the Member Manager Lead Activity report to review the new leads you have in a certain period.

2) Lead Follow Up

What to Do: As a group, review the phone calls, emails and other follow-up activities your team does. Try to identify the activities that help drive trials and sales.

Why It’s Important: Inspecting the follow-up process can reveal which activities—or a combination of activities—give you the best results. You may discover that you should adjust your sales process or that your staff needs extra training.

Tools to Help: Optimize your sales process with Member Manager Lead Flows – series of tasks, such as phone calls or automated emails and text messages, which detail your lead follow-up process. Use the Member Manager Follow Ups report to review every time a sales team member has contacted a lead.

3) Tours & Trials

What to Do: Tally the number of tours you give of your facility. If you offer trials, carefully track how many leads take trials.

Why It’s Important: Tours and trials are crucial parts of the decision-making process. If your leads aren’t coming in for visits, there may be a problem with your follow-up process.

Tools to Help: Review the Member Manager Prospect Activity chart to quickly check how many appointments have been set and introductory tours have been completed by your team.

4) New Members

What to Do: Based on your financial goals, set a target for the number of new members you want to have each month and make sure it is well communicated to your team. Compare sales to the number of leads, the amount of follow-up and the number of tours/trials given to get an idea of your overall success.

Why It’s Important: Good sales can be an indicator of the health of your business. On the other hand, if you’re consistently missing your goal, there may be a problem with your strategy. Comparing sales to other metrics can reveal opportunities to improve your marketing, communication, tours, trial offers or membership options.

Tools to Help: Check the Member Manager New Members report to see how many memberships you’ve sold in a period of time. View the Sales And Value chart to quickly find out your revenue by category.

These easy-to-use metrics can help make your sales team more effective and significantly increase your gym membership sales. These numbers will teach you how to maximize your strengths, fine-tune your sales process and motivate your team to go above and beyond expectations.

For more information on Member Manager software, contact the Training and Support team at 877.600.3811 or support@membersolutions.com.

About the author: Justin Bodamer is the Manager of Implementation & Support for Member Solutions. The Implementation and Support team is dedicated to helping you and your team make the most of your relationship with Member Solutions. You can contact Justin at membersolutions@membersolutions.com.

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