Is “Online Joining” hurting your sales process rather than helping it?

One of the key changes that has happened out of the rise of the internet compared with traditional fitness marketing is that it’s become possible now for customers to find out a lot of detail about your club online without leaving there place of “personal security”.

Many Clubs have produced Websites (mistakenly in our view!) packed with facility detail, and  (unhelpfully we think )with their membership prices quoted online alongside the join up online app.

Our research is that this is more often than not counterproductive unless you are very careful. 

Here’s why:

Presenting your membership options is more than enough detail to satisfy UNEDUCATED BROWSERS and the danger is that prospects use this information to build a FALSE or at best NEUTRAL personal impression of your club.

If you are the cheapest Club in town then the challenge is straightforward. QUOTE your prices big and bold and point out how cheap you are compared to the competition. If you want to attract people who are buying largely on price then that’s the best plan.

If you are at the other end of the fee spectrum OR you want to establish clear water between you and clubs in the same price point then your mission is to INDOCTRINATE; to convey an impression of your club to the customer online which will stimulate the email enquiry, the telephone or ideally the appointment to tour.

Here are the questions you need to answer in the INDOCTRINATION phase online:

–  WHO are you aiming at?

– WHAT is your U.S.P (UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION)? Why should these people join you?

– Explain HOW you deliver the U.S.P to the people you are aiming it at!

– Provide PROOF that you deliver it

So, the solution to successful INDOCTRINATION is as follows ( it’s a pretty complex phase so forgive us for simplifying it but hopefully you get the main tenets of it ):

– Test different ideas to get the most Effective data capture of prospects details online. Give away FREE information in exchange for a prospects email address  

– Create Video and audio representation of your club, and the STORY of your how your club works for people like THEM!

–  Link these presentations to your online enquiries via a series of sequential emails. The prospect will unsubscribe if they’re not happy and you can use email technology which shows who is looking at which emails.

–  Use a sales system (preferably online) that allows easy follow up and prospect management.

– Promote Testimonials from your satisfied customers that the claims you make stand up to scrutiny.

– Advertise results! Weight loss by our new members last week/month. Calories burnt this month.

– Titles matter! Give your staff job titles that establish EXPERTISE. Replace “fitness Instructor “with a specialism like “Muscle Conditioning Specialist “, Gym staff with “Fitness Guru”. Receptionist with “Customer Service Coordinator”.

– Utilise the facilities on Google PLUS to establish AUTHORITY by member Club reviews.

–  Utilise YELP! with positive Club reviews

– Be seen in your Community as The Go to “EXPERTS” in fitness

– Write articles for local websites, magazines and blogs.

– Present regular webinars on health and fitness issues

– Create an “At Home Fitness Service” (programme service, nutrition advice, home equipment consultancy) for people who are not ready /interested to join you YET! 

– Focus on ONLY ONE COURSE of ACTION at the conclusion of the phase – GET PROSPECTS TO VISIT YOU FOR A TOUR!!

Once they tour, the sole objective for your sales process is to make a decision. It’s as important that the Close delivers a YES or a NO to joining. At least the decision has been made. If you offer the “get out” of the “Think about it” objection because the opportunity to utilise online joining exists then that can only harm the sales person’s opportunity to close the sale.

So, in conclusion, Online Joining is a very useful tool to the sign up administration process in club.

It’s very good if you have price point advantage over your competition.

The big “but” here is this.

If you’re not the cheapest player in town and if prospects don’t join you immediately from the tour, then and only then, is this the sensible time to SEND them (along with your follow up messages) to the previously hidden link which is your Clubs ONLINE JOINING PAGE.

What do you think?

 What experience have you found of the impact of Online Joining facilities on your sales process?



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