Effective Lead Generation for Gyms

By Nan de Bruin

Published 20 July 2021

Steffie Bryant from GymSales Software joined us in the FitNation Lunch & Learn webinar to share her knowledge and valuable insights about how to effectively generate leads as a gym, and which prospecting pitfalls to avoid. In short, an episode you really don’t want to miss!

Steffie’s career accomplishments include over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry in sales and operations both in and outside of health clubs. Her prior roles have encompassed building and overseeing high-performing teams. She has a passion for teamwork and collaboration along with a true love for the wellness space.

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Alex van Hagen: Welcome, everybody. Yes, it is that time again, we are back for another episode of Fitnation’s Lunch & Learn. We want to thank everyone for taking the time to join us today. Quick disclaimer, we feel every topic is really important that we talk about, however, today we focus on something that really is the lifeblood, not just of Jameson Studios, but pretty much every business around the world. That topic is, of course, lead generation and prospecting for new clients. Ours will luckily have a special emphasis on the fitness industry directly.

So we’ve invited someone to help educate our listeners on that. Who would that be? That is Steffie Bryant, she is one of the leaders today may a branch of the very successful gym sales software. So Steffie’s accomplishments include about 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, both in sales and operations and then also in and outside of health clubs, so I think she has a breadth of experience that she can definitely share with us. She has a knack for building and overseeing high-performing teams, and today we’re going to be focused on effective lead generation for gyms, prospecting pitfalls and how to avoid them, and also how to prospect with limited resources.

So this is a topic, it won’t ever be relevant, so we really look forward to a lot of our listeners getting value for this for some time to come. I’m going to stop talking now. Steffie, thank you for taking the time to join us.

Steffie Bryant: Thank you. I’m really excited to be here today, and I think our conversation is going to bring up some really interesting points. So I’m really looking forward to getting into it.


Alex: Awesome. Well, we are happy to have you. Always a good starting point as a bit of a background, maybe you can tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do for gym sales.

Steffie: Yeah, absolutely. To be honest, you did a great job at introducing me, really.

Alex: [Inaudible 04:07].

Steffie: No. So I’ve been based here in the [inaudible 04:11] region with gym sales for the last two, three years but prior to that, I was actually working in the industry. I’ve worked within Australia, you can probably tell from my accent that’s where I come from, and I come from a background of, as you said, sales and operations. So I’ve been really lucky, I’ve worked from the ground up. I’ve seen the highs, the lows, I’ve been amongst it and I completely understand what our industry goes through on a day-to-day basis. So yes, that’s probably a bit about me.

Alex: Nice, thanks. Can you tell us a little bit about the mission of gym sales and what you guys are really trying to accomplish here?

Steffie: Absolutely. So we are a prospecting CRM, so our aim is to be able to support the fitness industry in particular. It’s quite often actually we get others from the outside industries and they come to us and they say, oh, you’ve got a great prospecting platform, let’s use it and actually we don’t tend to work with them because our mission is to support the fitness industry. Our founder actually had his own health clubs and he was using the good old excel spreadsheet, a bit of an archaic system, couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t getting leads, wasn’t getting sales, I should say, was getting the leads, but wasn’t getting the sales. So Tristan being the man that he is went and created gym sales and nine, ten years later here we are and I’m really proud to be a part of such a great business. I’ve used it and we’re here to help the fitness industry really convert those leads into sales.

Alex: Awesome. It seems like a lot of the listeners or guests we have, I should say, but a lot of the things that they’re working on it started from this concept of necessity, it’s the mother of all invention. So they realize there’s this big gap and instead of just not doing anything, they decided to build something themselves. So good to hear that he’s built up a successful product.

Steffie: Yes, absolutely.

Lead Generation in the Age of COVID

Alex: So we’re going to talk today a lot about lead gen and prospecting pitfalls and also, as I mentioned, prospecting resources in an age of COVID where people obviously there are fewer resources going around. Maybe we could start at lead generation and just work our way kind of logically through that sales cycle. Lead generation in the age of COVID from your perspective, what kind of things do operators need to be keeping in mind right now?

Steffie: Yes, good question. I think lead generations changed. It was definitely changed, particularly at the moment with, I don’t know what it’s like there based in Amsterdam, but very much here in the UK, for us to actually go out to an event or pound the pavements, as we used to say actually it’s not going to get the return that we need and we’ve very much gone digital. So I absolutely think there is a need for digital lead generation and whether that be that you provide a service. So whether it be a short-term membership or whether it be a digital offering, so we look at your online workouts and things like that.

So it was giving access because they’re all generating leads but I also think there’s one and I see it quite often in those companies that are doing really well at the moment, they’re maximizing every opportunity and that’s referrals and it’s using their members to generate more leads and bring those people in. So they’ve got really good relationships with their members and they’re constantly giving them an opportunity to bring a friend or a family member in and we always say referrals are your best lead generator and I still think they are

Alex: A hundred percent agree and then you think about, especially referrals right now, why would someone be so high on a gym? Probably because it’s very clean, people are keeping COVID rules in mind, social distancing and so it’s really something that they feel comfortable about bringing someone else in. So a hundred percent agree with you there. We probably hear that construction next door, as I mentioned in our pre-call, they’re starting to do some nice drilling. So listeners at home this is definitely the age of COVID, we’re doing our webinars from home and just listening to construction and other life actions happening around us.

Steffie: I’ll have a dog barking very soon, I’m sure.

Ideal Prospecting Flows

Alex: That’s okay. So we start generating these leads, say someone gets a referral and they’re interested in speaking with this gym, that sales manager starts to pick it up. What is an ideal prospecting flow for you guys look like if you look at it from a high-level snapshot?

Steffie: Another great question. I don’t think there is an actual this is the ideal way of doing it. I think it really depends on where your gym is based. We look at demographics and I actually had this conversation with a client just recently, they’ve got sites located in an older demographic, and then they’ve got sites that are located in a city center and their touchpoints or their prospect flow is very different in each location. So I think the first thing you need to know is you’ve got to know your business. You’ve got to know who am I talking to and who are my prospects mainly? Are they older, younger? Are they digital? Are they not digital? And then you have to create your prospect flow around that.

It’s something we’re constantly doing with our clients and our new clients is we look at their prospect flow when we go. What’s your demographic? How do you communicate to them currently? How do you think you should communicate to them? Is it SMS? Is it email? Is it phone calls? Is it how many emails? A really good statistic actually we have is it takes twelve touchpoints to actually convert someone and actually when we look at data, most salespeople or most team members give up on touchpoint six, they go, oh, I’ll see you later and it’s really interesting actually when we take on a new client, they’ll go, oh, we don’t want to bombard them, we only want to hit them three times and a common question that goes is why, they’ve inquired with you, they’ve inquired with the gym down the road, and they’ve also inquired with five other gyms in the area and I can guarantee you, the first one that gets them in is the first one that’s going to convert them.

You’ve got to be on top of it as soon as that lead hits your system. So whether it comes from a Facebook website, whether it comes from a referral, you’ve got to be in contact with them and have those touchpoints and I think another prospect flow as well is they might contact you now and then life happens. We all know that life happens, doesn’t it? And then five weeks later they go, oh, actually I’m now ready to get back into the gym and I can guarantee you, they will contact the one that they’ve had the most contact with, or they’ve got that relationship with. I actually take that experience into myself. I recently changed gyms and I canceled my old gym and then I actually thought, oh, actually I need a bit of a break for a second, life gets in the way, doesn’t it and actually, it was the gym that regularly contacted me and I had that relationship with that I joined and actually, it was further away.

Alex: You made me realize that actually the gym that I go to, I was referred there by somebody. So yes, I was referred there so I can absolutely see already that the things that you guys are saying to focus on, it can absolutely be true. And if I think about the only sales process we went through for that, even though I pretty much knew I was going to go there anyways, they still have to track me down a bunch. Like I was, if I’m honest, an easy sale and I think he still had to hit me up six or seven times and I was open to the idea. We see the same thing, you and I both work in tech sales software in our day jobs and yes, I see similar statistics that it’s double-digit touchpoints and also in a variety of channels just to try and get through and I at least just make yourself open and present and relevant. So I guess the moral of the story is don’t give up early and try and be a little bit inventive with how you get there.

Steffie: Yes, absolutely. Because, again, talking about that, sometimes some areas are more receptive, like they’ll respond to your SMS or they’ll respond to email, whereas others will respond to actually a phone call and I think a common thing sometimes we see is that some clients will just go down one route, so they’ll just do emails and actually you really do need those different communication channels because you’ll pick them up here and there along the way.

Alex: Yes, absolutely. So other than, I think the number of touchpoints is a really key KPI that gyms should be focusing on. How much should we be doing? Maybe not necessarily how much is too much or how little is too little, but just focus on that. But are there other really key metrics that you think are really important for gyms to understand about the prospects as well? [inaudible 13:21].

Steffie: Yes, again, you have to know your numbers, any time we’re talking about lead generation or we’re talking about sales conversions, another common question I’ll ask is, what are your numbers? What is your lead-to-sale conversion rate? What is your contact to appointment ratio? What is your show ratio? And you’ve got to know these numbers because even as a sales manager, myself, I would always look right, are we hitting our targets? If we’re not, let’s work backwards through our funnel, our good old funnel. So if we’re not getting the sales, are we closing? How are we closing? Are we having good conversations with these people with our offering? And then you could backtrack from there even more. So how many people are we actually sitting in front of? Are we booking enough appointments?

Because again, that’s another common area that seems to fall short, and then it’s okay if we’re not booking the appointments, how many people are we actually talking to? And out of these people that we’re actually talking to, are they good leads? So where have they come from, are they fresh leads, or do we actually need to start lead generating and capturing more leads and filling the funnel? And I think that’s one, we talk about the funnel all the time and it’s something that as a business operator, we need to know our numbers because the goalposts never changed. But the way we get there will constantly fluctuate and it’s being able to react and I always talk about being proactive and not reactive, but sometimes in these cases, you do need to be a bit reactive, but to be reactive, you need to be proactive and know your numbers.

Alex: Nice. Yes, I think that is, especially if you think about maybe doing some outbound prospecting efforts. I don’t know how many gyms you talked to do that, but it seems like that’s the first thing to fall down the list of priority is being that kind of proactive. It’s always nicer to attend to the most squeaky wheel if you will. Maybe this is a loaded question, I don’t know if you can answer it in one go, but from what you’ve seen, how many gyms do you think are doing prospecting right? And that could mean a lot of different things for a lot of different gyms, but in general, what’s your consensus here?

Steffie: I would say 80% do it really well and I mean that, I think 80% do it fantastically, they know their business, they know what their marketplace is and they know how to go capture it. Sometimes where I see them fall short is they’re great at going and grabbing all these leads but then they don’t follow them up. They capture them and then you go fantastic and you’ll actually, we look at data sometimes and they get the lead 10 days ago and they haven’t spoken to them or they haven’t emailed them and it’s like, you’ve spent all this money on these leads and going out and capturing them, but you’re not following them up? And I think where we say, do people, or do businesses capture leads? Yes, I really do think 80% have it right but it’s in the follow-up where it falls.

Common Mistakes Made in Lead Generations

Alex: Yes, and I think maybe that could be one of the key points that I was going to ask next and maybe we’ll see what else you have to say about this, but going off of that the 80% that are doing it right, it seems 20% are doing it wrong, no one is going to say that they do it perfect. So there’s always room for improvement. What kind of common mistakes do you see taking into account that not following up a lead on time, maybe something else?

Steffie: Yes, so not following up, I think also, I don’t think people do it wrong, I just think that there’s an area for opportunity. I think that sometimes some businesses get very stuck in their ways. So where pounding the pavements has always worked for them or where Facebook lead ads have always worked for them, it only works for so long and then you’ve got to get inventive, you’ve got to try something different and I think that’s probably the difference between those that do it great and those that could do it better is the ones that are doing great are thinking of new ways all the time of how to get better.

How do we capture more leads? What is it? I can’t remember the latest stats, but let’s just say 20% of the population have a gym membership and 80% don’t and yes, you take into account there are some other statistics around that, but those that are creative and not just thinking about 20% have a gym membership, let’s just chase those and beat the price and stuff. But they’re also thinking about how do we get a community active? How do we get people into the gym? How do we, we’re in COVID at the moment, it is the best time at the moment to actually think health and fitness and to bring those people in and get people active and those that are doing it well are doing things like that. And yes, I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I went off on a tangent and now I’ve lost the point of the conversation.

Ways to Positively Impact Lead Generation

Alex: I know exactly what you say. It’s about thinking maybe a little bit outside the box and doing things a little bit differently and one thing I was going to ask you here is if you had to give advice to say a gym operator or a studio who feels that they’re doing a good job following up their leads, they feel like they’re kind of tracking well with our conversation so far, but maybe what’s one change you think most operators could make that could even positively impact their lead generation or prospect end flow even more? [inaudible 19:03].

Steffie: Yes, I mean the ones we’ve already spoken about, so absolutely knowing your numbers. I think it’s great to say, yes, I’ve got this great prospect, but actually, what are your numbers saying to you? Is your touchpoint actually working? Because I think so often we see that I get a new client and look at our prospect, Jenny, it’s amazing and do you know what it is amazing, but for six locations it’s amazing and for one location it’s amazing for a month and then all of a sudden something changes within the area or a new gym opens or whatever happens and actually, they need to change it. So they need to keep up with the times and I think you’ve got to know your business, you’ve got to know those numbers and you would notice they, they change all the time. One minute, you’ve got a sales consultant who is fantastic at building rapport and then the next minute you don’t and actually, you’re not having those same conversations. So then the lead, so much could impact it and I think you just got to know your business.

So I don’t think there is one magic thing that can make an impact. There are so many things that can make an impact. But absolutely I’ve always drilled home and even to my team, when I was running gyms was know your numbers, know where you are, know your game plan, and actually your goal posts never changed, they never do. Your target are your targets, you’ve all got to bring in your return on investment, all that and actually it’s your game plan that changes. And if you look at rugby or the euros are on at the moment, they don’t go out and then they just stick to one plan because actually the other team’s really good at, I don’t know, I don’t even know football talk but defense maybe, or whatever it’s called. They have a huddle and they have to change the game plan and they put a different player on or they take that player out and it’s exactly the same, exactly the same.

Alex: Basically, don’t get too bogged down in one thing, be open to iterate, be open to adjust and one thing we’ve talked about here as well, is treat things like experiments if need be, because experiments they’ve maybe have even a little less, you’re less married to the result. If you feel like you’re going down one route and you want to treat it maybe as an experiment, does this actually work, do some testing on it and then if you like the way that goes, iterate a little bit more, iterate a little bit more, and that can be how you can just always be on your toes or just be able to be able to react when for example, a global pandemic starts to hit and everything gets turned on its head overnight. Hopefully, we never get there again, I think people will be a little bit more prepared next time around [inaudible 21:50] next time around. As far as like, omnichannel goes, now this, we don’t want to read this at the same point, but it’s going to vary from gym to gym. We’ve already established that, but as far as omnichannel goes, so using social media, using texts, using this, what kind of insights or what kind of things do you guys focus on with your own prospects and customers there?

Steffie: So we definitely suggest that you use different channels. I think we all should use different channels. I think we remember talking before about different demographics, everything like that. Yes, you might be using one particular channel with those demographics, but actually having different channels or different means of communication, you’re just going to capture a wider audience, aren’t you? And that’s the aim of the game at the end of the day. You want to get your name out there, you want to get your brand out there, so how do you do that? And I think it’s having at least three different channels, like a three-channel strategy and having those, yes.

Alex: Would you say, I mean, I would imagine phone calls, probably email followups, but personally, I use texts a lot. I’ll be texting my own prospects through WhatsApp most of the day and using that as kind of a, maybe a quicker way to just establish some rapport. I don’t know if gyms are actually doing that that much, but I mean, what would you say, actual WhatsApping back and forth?

Steffie: Yes, I think it’s changed, I look back to 10 years ago, now I’m showing my age, when I was a membership consultant. It was phone call, phone call, phone call, phone call, and that’s what it was. SMS and email kind of didn’t really play into it, whereas now it’s very much, I know myself when I go and book a doctor’s appointment or a physio appointment, I just do it online, it’s easier. I don’t have to ring someone up, I don’t have to talk to someone, I just book it online and actually, we’ve seen that change. A common thing that gyms use now is a thing called a booking scheduler. So rather than the prospect having to have a conversation with you and then you book an appointment for the tour, a lead comes in from your website, an email goes out immediately and in that email has a member of our team will be in contact with you soon. However, if you can’t wait book a time here and they go through and they book a time to come down and tour your facility. Now that person tours your facilities, they’ve not even spoken to anyone, that was unheard of 10 years ago.

Alex: Yes, it’s just about removing friction, isn’t it? So how frictionless can this process be?

Steffie: Yes, absolutely. But then you turn that on your head and you go into a demographic that’s slightly older. So if I look at you, your leisure centers, where they have that slightly older demographic, they don’t use that. It’s literally about phone calls and conversations with these people because that’s how they get a response. Sometimes there will probably be a bit more email savvy but definitely not using a booking online or anything like that just doesn’t happen.

Alex: In this age where, especially right now I think we’re predicting and even a lot of UK operators specifically are seeing a huge surge in sales numbers as gyms go back open. There’s this refocus, this re-shift towards health and wellness, not just going to the gym so your biceps could look better or you look good at the beach, it’s really about something more of your youthful, holistic health. What would you say about prospecting for a competitive advantage in today’s environment?

Steffie: Yes, I think, I mean, we always talk about you’ve got to know what you’re good at, don’t you? Your point of difference, I think as a business, yes, you have to know your numbers, but you’ve also got to know your point of difference. What are you good at? What do you offer that potentially someone else doesn’t or what do you offer that you’re really good at? I think you’re a hundred percent right, everything has gone a lot more holistic and actually, I was involved the other day on a panel where we were speaking about the whole holistic versus digital versus; the marketplace has changed dramatically and I think if you’re not changing, you’re not keeping up with the game.

You can’t stay the same and those that are doing really well well are bringing in things around health and wellbeing. So actually a local gym recently that is a client bought in a physio that now rents a room and I know it’s just the smallest thing, but actually, it’s that whole health and wellbeing, a nutritionist or even group outdoor workouts or going for a walk, it’s all different things that you can add into your, I guess, your bricks and mortar and you can bring in those social aspects because actually, that’s what people want. We’ve nearly had what a year and a half of being socially distant and not being able to talk with people.

People just want to have a connection with someone, a conversation with someone and being able to, I think create those connections or those social groups are definitely having a competitive edge. I always can try and compare a local CrossFit gym and a big box gym and I think a local CrossFit gym, or everyone always says, why are they so popular? But they are fantastic at creating that human connection and the social aspect of it. Whereas unfortunately, sometimes our big box gyms don’t necessarily have that. I’m not saying not all of them, but some of them don’t, they don’t create that environment. So actually someone just goes in and they train and they leave. Whereas CrossFit gym, I become accountable to the ten other people or six other people in my class at that time and I think if you want the competitive edge, it’s creating a community that encompasses your membership base.

Alex: Yes, and really that was even supported by the data recently in the UK where upon reopening the retention numbers for these smaller, more communal, more high touch kind of businesses fared a lot better in terms of member loss than the big box gyms. And I mean, I think you and I both work with a lot of big box gyms ourselves and also small operators and so, yes, I think the message, I suppose, therefore for the larger gyms is to try and be more communal and try and create that social touch. And then yes, for the smaller gyms, it’s not just keep doing what you’re doing, but also think about what other services or how can you make this even more of a close-knit kind of tribe, if you will, to make sure that people just don’t even think about going anywhere else.

Steffie: Absolutely and I look back actually to my days of running a gym and I was fortunate. I was really successful in the gyms that I ran and people would say to me, what’s your magic formula, and I was like, there’s no magic formula, but we create a community. We put on member events, we put on running groups and we create those social environments that actually your members do the work for you. You don’t have to ring and check how they’re getting on at 30 days, how they’re getting in a 60 days, don’t get me wrong, those calls are really important, but actually the other members within your gym group are actually going to do that for you. So I think there’s a lot to be said for creating that social space within a gym.

Effective Prospecting and It’s Effect on Long-Term Retention and Member Engagement

Alex: And one question I wanted to ask you, and maybe this is a good segue for it is how effective prospecting can help with long-term retention and member engagement. I think we’ve already started to go down that path. So maybe if you want to elaborate on that a little bit further, I think it’d be really valuable to hear.

Steffie: Another great question. You are full of these good questions aren’t you? I think it’ starts from the moment you get a lead, you set the tone and I mean that, I think you’ve always got to be in communication with your prospects and your members and it’s creating that supportive environment and it’s having again, using those different communication channels. Sometimes you often see that they use all these different communication channels in prospecting and then they become a member and they stop. It’s like, oh, we only use email. Well, hang on a second, why are we only just using email?

You’ve used all these different channels and you’ve done all this great work and you’ve communicated with these people and then we’re all just going to filter them into one way and it’s all the emails will do it. You’ve still got to keep up those touchpoints and we always speak the first 30 to 60 days of a new member’s life cycle is critical. That is when they’re developing their new habits, we talk about what is it, 21 days to make a habit and it’s so important, but it’s so often that you see in some of these gyms or they get a sale and that’s it, game over. They’re on the member journey, they’ll be fine. You don’t just stop there, get them involved, get them involved in your app or get them involved in your group fitness classes or give them a challenge.

I think a great thing that I’ve seen from a client recently was they created this new member challenge. So they created milestones and they would actually, they’d get like gifts and they’d get like different things and actually it’s great because their members actually stay on and they have completely increased their retention and I think you can’t just drop them at a sale and so often we see that.

Alex: What you’re saying right now, it definitely spans, as I mentioned earlier, this spans all industries, it’s not just necessarily the business industry, but especially for a gym service where people, there could be the options, just go to the closer one of the cheaper one right down the street. If you’re not creating that special experience or they just feel like they’re another member, what’s to keep them from just moving right on. We work with something here called a mutual action plan and it is that life cycle of going through the sales process, signing an agreement, and then what happens afterwards and so really we put signing the agreement right in the middle, because that’s only halfway through what we’re trying to do. The real goals, the real results are what comes after that and that’s where the long-term partnership and that’s where renewals are going to happen and it’s exactly what you’re talking about there. The same thing happens in the gym industry with how people will renew their membership, whether they think about it, whether it’s pay as you go, whatever it’s going to be, it’s creating that experience afterwards.

Steffie: Absolutely. I always compare it to a relationship, you’ve worked so hard to get into this relationship and you’re dating and it’s fun and great and then all of a sudden you’re in a relationship and it’s still great and then all of a sudden it just goes stale, and then the next minute they’re breaking up because they’re not putting the same effort in, and I think it’s exactly the same. You’ve got to put the same effort into when they’re a prospect, when they’re set to, when they’re a member, you’ve got to keep putting the same effort in and if not more, when they’re a member.

Differences Between the Sales Cycle of Verticals Within the Fitness Industry

Alex: A hundred percent agree, a hundred percent absolutely agree. We also wanted to talk quickly about maybe the differences between the sales cycle of the verticals within the fitness industry. So maybe how a personal trainer selling his services, how that relationship or that sales process might go differently compared to a gym and someone buying just a monthly membership. Maybe we can elaborate on there briefly if you notice any differences between your own customers.

Steffie: I always talk about this with my experience. So a couple years back, I was a member of a gym, so I got a started and it was all going wonderful and then I was like, oh, do you know what? Maybe I should do some training, some personal training. So I spoke with a personal trainer and I had a limit. I think it was, I don’t know, $50 a week or something and I was doing one session a week and I never spent more than $50 a week, that is all I’m going to spend. Three months later, I was spending $150 a week on personal training. Now, the reason I was spending that was because I saw the value, I absolutely saw the value. So this personal trainer not only did one session a week with me one-on-one, but then he did small group training where I was then accountable to other people within the group but then he would do the smallest thing of bringing us a protein shake or bringing us a towel.

So all of a sudden you just see value and then I went from 50 to 75 to 125, all of a sudden I was paying 150 and I didn’t question it once because I saw the value in it. And I think being a personal trainer you are selling a service. I mean, yes, we’re selling a service as a gym membership as well but as a personal trainer, you are one-on-one with that person and you’ve got to build value into what you do. How often do you walk into a gym these days and you see a personal trainer teaching a client yet they’re on their phone and they’re not even paying attention to the way they’re doing it and then they wonder, they come to you, how do I build my client base, I’m not doing really well. I said, well, first of all, pay attention to your client.

Alex: Yes, be present.

Steffie: Be present, and also know that your brand is on show all of the time. So when you go in do a teacher group fitness class, you are on show, but also you’re on show five minutes before you teach that group fitness class, because actually they’re watching your interactions. They’re watching what you’re doing. How often again do you go in and they’re on their phone or they’re not interacting and actually you don’t want to go train with that person, you want to train with the person that had a smile on their face and said, hey, how you doing? How’s your training going? Not a person that goes, oh, and I think when we had, I know we’ve probably gone off on a bit of a tangent, but there has to be value in it, if people see value, they won’t question it. I mean it the same with gym memberships, but definitely with personal training, because it’s a more unique, one-to-one service that you’re selling.

Alex: I think one of the things I’m picking up from you as well, that it was really valuable for, I think really listeners to understand is it’s not just like the one thing, it’s not the quick fix. It’s the little things that build that foundation that then it just starts to snowball positively. If you do all the little things right, then you start to reach these big goals later on down the line. So things like, and if you’re familiar with the Atomic Habits book by James Clear, super famous book on really good habit management, that seems to be one of the similar concepts as well. It’s just like these little changes, it’s like what is it in investing the compound interest, right? Like if you invest, I don’t know, however much per month or per year, at the beginning it’s small, but once you start to do that continuously time and time and time and time and time again, it just grows exponentially and this can be the same way.

Steffie: Yes, and it’s funny, even linking that back to, we’re talking about numbers before knowing your numbers. If you increase by 1% every day, actually, by the end of; I told you my dog would bark. By the end of the week it’s 7%, and it is those little habits, it’s the little things that make such a difference and so often people forget about the little things and they’re so important.

Alex: Yes, it’s the tiny increments for sure. And on cue as well the construction is continuing through our call. So it’s just a nice call here. What about how gyms should think about the prospecting resources when maybe they have 30, 40, 50% less team than they did in March of 2020 or February of 2020? How does prospecting with lower resources look right now?

Steffie: Another great question. I was actually talking about this with a client last week, we were talking about how the workforce has changed or the team is pretty much halved in some respect. So I think getting automated, so taking away those manual tasks. So we talk about automated items, when they’re a member, how can you automate some of those sorts of things and I know we’re saying get personal and you can absolutely still be personal with some of these automated things, but take away some of the manual tasks. So you give your team the opportunity still to have those quality conversations, because those quality conversations lead to referrals, which lead to leads, or those quality conversations to a member also stop them from canceling because you’re creating those conversations.

So I think you’ve got to give your team time to still be able to have those important conversations and those important interactions. Again, another touchpoint I used to talk about when I was managing teams, how many interactions have you had today? Not necessarily interaction with text message, but an interaction as in, have you spoken about someone’s work out today or have you spoken about what they’re doing for the weekend? How many interactions, and you should start to give your team goals around that, take away the manual tasks from them and I think so often I go into a client and their team is so bogged down with all these manual tasks that they then can’t have those quality conversations and I think yes, that’s really important and I know I’ve gone completely off topic.

Alex: I really don’t think so. I see the same thing here is like, if you can eliminate these things that basically just start to frustrate people day in and day out, that just becomes an undeniable task that they have to do, updating the CRM, manually typing this kind of stuff in, manually changing all these different settings then yes, it’s just once you have to do that a lot makes you less likely to go chat somebody up just to see how they’re doing. So I totally agree that if you can decrease the amount of manual admin work, it hopefully allows them the opportunity to do more engagement, relationship building things, because the other stuff is set it and forget it is automated now. So I think that’s a super good example.

Steffie: Yes, absolutely. I think also you can’t forget about having a digital presence and I know we’re going more and more and more digital, but you’ve got to be able to leverage those digital platforms. So, if you do have an app, how you’re actually capturing leads through that, do you have a referral program in place? Even if you do have an app, maybe it’s got workouts and everything on it, can you somehow leverage that so that actually you could do a non-membership sort of seven days access, then you’re capturing information, you’re still capturing leads. How can you use Facebook to your advantage? Are you running lead ads? Have you got a group? Have you got a community group? Are you running competitions?

You can make videos these days, there’s so much you can do. But it’s also the basics as well, having a presence. If I go and type into Google ‘gym in my local area’, you need to be the top and if you’re not, you need to go and talk to someone that can help you get up there because that’s so often than not actually does drive traffic to your page and Instagram and can you leverage social media, I want to say famous people, but what are they?

Alex: Influencers.

Steffie: Yes, there you go, influencers, I should say, but can you leverage them? There’s so much you can do without actually having to get your team to go and do it as in pound pavements, handout flyers, anything like that. There’s so much digitally and you can also do, well we all know Facebook and Instagram competitions where actually they will do the work for you, like, tag follow, comment, get someone else, think of something like that. So I think there’s so much that you can do and again, I think it goes back to the theme that we keep talking about, do something different, be inventive, don’t just stick with one way, think of different ways you can do it, communicate differently, automate what you can and then have those interactions and think outside the box.

Alex: The one that actually sticks out to me and it’s not necessarily just the gym industry, but any online company or any company who is responding to their reviews, whether it’s super positive, super neutral or super negative. I think those companies, if you can have a human response to that, and it’s not just okay, there’s a bad review of their app, it says, oh, we’re sorry, please contact support@company.com. It’s actually more like respond to what they said that’s negative, offer some sort of say opportunity to expand more, make it more personal. But then on the flip side, if it’s a really great review, celebrate it. So how has it be personal and sometimes some social media managers are going to be better than that. They’re going to be more witty and snappy with their responses, but just that level of engagement and interaction, to me it really sticks out if you see Google reviews and they responded, it shows that the company actually cares a lot versus ones where it’s just like 10 reviews, four of them are bad, three of them are good but there’s just no interaction from the company whatsoever. I think it’s a huge missed opportunity.

Steffie: I have to agree with that, particularly when you say, oh, please send it here, thanks for listening.

Alex: Yes, thank you, I will send it to my general support inquiry and it will be filed away and never be discussed. So we’ve talked about prospecting lead generation at a high level, but maybe it’s just an opportunity to talk about gym sales specifically, how do you think your best customers are using gym sales the best, and this could be specific to the product, or it could be more about the process, but I’d be really interested to hear about this from your perspective.

Steffie: Yes, I think we’ve spoken about it throughout. So it’s knowing your area and then it’s using those different touchpoints. So we provide an automatic or an automatic cadence. So they can personalize it and they can make it fit them, which gives those clients, the ability to chop and change it as they need. So the ability to be able to interact with them by email, SMS, but also we talk about the one-percenters and one thing that our system does really well is it gives the operators the ability to be able to see what’s going on. So you can listen to your phone calls, you can see how your team’s actually having those conversations, but then you can see the data. So often we hear that our team member goes, yes, I did 25 calls today. You go fantastic, what were the conversations like? You can actually jump in and you can listen to them and hopefully we don’t see this very often anymore, they say, yes, we did 25 calls and you go, oh, great, you did 25 calls in two minutes.

Alex: None of them picked up.

Steffie: But it’s a simple thing it’s like, you can actually see, okay, I did phone calls and a common thing we see is really high call attempts and not many spoken to and actually what happens is they make the calls the same time every day, because we’ve got multi-skilled teams these days. Our reception teams, our front of house are very much doing everything. They’re doing the workload. So they are very much system people and they’re very much, I’ve got to do this, then I’ll go do that and that, so then their calls end up being at 9:00 AM every single morning and actually that’s why they don’t get through to anyone because they’re making the same calls to the same people at the same time every day.

Actually when you highlight that and you change it, all of a sudden their contact to appointment ratio changes, and then all of a sudden they’re booking appointments, then all of a sudden they’re converting sales. And I think you’ve got to, I know we keep talking about it, but you’ve got to know your numbers and you’ve got to have visual over them as well. Sometimes we see, you know, we’ll talk about numbers and they say, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re getting a hundred leads in and we’re converting 50 of them or we’re converting 20 of them and actually then when you start to drill into the detail about, okay, so talk to me about these contact to appointment ratios, or talk to me about your show ratio, they actually don’t know the detail around it and they’re the things that make a difference.

We see about a 40% increase in those with the show ratio, if they have a confirmation text the night before. So we actually did a bit of a pilot with some of our clients where some of them didn’t have it, some of them did and those that didn’t, we ran it for a certain amount of time and this is what their show ratio was and then we actually put on this automatic text message that went the night before, and it was reply why to confirm, they increased by 40%. So it’s those little things, and I know we keep talking about it, but the little things make such a big difference.

Future Prospecting Trends to Affect Industry

Alex: It adds up. It really does. Nice. And starting to round out a little bit here, I mean, from your perspective, what you guys see I imagine, as you mentioned, you have a lot of data. What kind of prospecting trends do you think are going to start to hit the industry here in the next six to 12 months?

Steffie: Yes, I think we’re going to continue along our digital platform or our digital platforms, I should say. I think you will start to see operators become even more savvy and you’re already starting to see it, even with, I know, simple join online’s now, it’s making them join there and then. So I think you’re going to continue to see that happen but I think also in the digital space, you will see things, we were talking before about apps and work out and giving access to those that aren’t members. I know a lot of operators have done that throughout COVID lockdown times, but I think you’ll continue to see that change and evolve but I also think you are going to see the old school come back as well. I know you and I recently were talking about can’t wait to actually get to an event and have a session with someone. I’m actually counting down days so I can have an event and I think it’s the same without our gym members or our gym prospects, they’re exactly the same.

Yes, they can get back into the gym at the moment. In some areas they can’t, like in some of the European areas, actually, they can’t at the moment, but for those that can, there’s still a limit on it or they’re still a bit hesitant about it. So I think as the world starts to hopefully come back to post pandemic world we will start to see probably some of those old school channels start to come back in. I think it’s always changing, I’d love to say, hey, this is what’s going to happen, wouldn’t that be nice?

Alex: [inaudible 50:10] one year to talk about your predictions and see how it goes.

Steffie: There will be like flying dogs, [inaudible 50:18].

Alex: I hear exactly what you’re saying and for me sometimes, we use automation technology, I’m texting all the time, but honestly just a quick phone call can get to the point and get things done so much quicker than a lot of these other methods and that’s just for me and the customers and the prospects that I personally work with. So again, if you feel like you have a younger demographic who is not going to pick up their phone, but they respond really quick to an automated text or a personal text, whatever it’s going to be, lean into it.

Steffie: We were actually talking about the different areas in the different regions, you would understand this, when we talk about things within the tech space, we talk about things being done in the bar or in that side of the world. Whereas, if I talk to those in America, it’s very different in the way that they do business. So it really depends on your region and your demographics, doesn’t it?


Alex: Yes and I guess knowing that first and foremost, it can allow you to be the most successful in all these other different aspects that you can hopefully start to take on. Awesome. Well, Steffie it has been an absolutely fantastic conversation. I really want to thank you a lot for coming on the show and sharing a lot of your knowledge. For the people who are listening and they want to learn more about yourself or about gym sales, where can they go to find you?

Steffie: First of all, thanks for having me on the show and second of all feel free to jump onto my LinkedIn account. So Steffie Bryant or feel free to head over to our website. So gymsales.net, follow the links through to the Amir region and you’ll be able to reach out to me.

Alex: Fantastic and I think we’ll put some information in our show notes as well. Okay. Excellent. All right. Well, Stephanie, again, one last time, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. This has been another episode of Fitnation Lunch & Learn. Thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you next time.

Nan de Bruin

Visual storyteller and winter sports enthusiast


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