Sell More Memberships: Tips to Overcoming 8 Common Objections

By Melania Armento

Published 15 October 2020

Are you putting in a lot of effort to make your gym a success, but simply can’t sell more memberships? We’ve talked to gym and health club owners and put together the most heard of reasons why people might not be joining your gym.

This guide will help you better prepare and train your staff so that they can turn a prospect into a member. Simply put, if you’re able to overcome your client’s objections, you’ll also be able to sell more memberships.

We’ve narrowed it down the list to 8 common objections and tips to overcome them:

1. Your Memberships Are Too Expensive

Let’s face it, life isn’t cheap. You’ve got to keep in mind that your prospective members have monthly payments; groceries, utility bills, clothing, kids and the list goes on.

So, adding yet another monthly bill might be too straining on their wallets. If the fee itself isn’t expensive but your membership plan is too restrictive your prospects might not be ready to commit to a yearly payment.

Tip: Get to Know Your Audience

In order to still draw people in and sell more memberships, you should first do research on the type of members you want to attract. When creating a profile of your prospects it’s good to think not only about their fitness goals but also their disposable income.

By knowing who you want to attract will help you refocus your marketing efforts for that target group and adjust your prices accordingly. Additionally, try changing your membership plan to a more flexible one. By creating and managing flexible memberships, day passes or multi-visit passes, you’ll be able to sell more memberships.

2. Your Gym Does Not Stand out from the Rest

If you want prospects to join your gym you cannot be ‘just another gym’. We’re not talking about buying fancy equipment or attracting famous trainers.

Even if you have basic equipment and clean facilities you should be able to run a successful gym. What is crucial though, is to set yourself apart from your competitors.

Tip: Design a Unique Experience

One of the ways of standing out is by creating an excellent client experience that is unique to your gym. You can do this by building a strong sense community around your club through social media.

3. You Don’t Adapt to Consumer Demand

People are constantly changing and so are their demands. The modern gym-goer wants more than a couple of treadmills and some dumbbells. To anticipate consumer demand, focus on large and younger generations of clients, like Millennials for example.

This group, consisting of young adults in the age group 20-34, make up 48% of all 18+ regular exercisers who do gym-type activities. It is important for your gym to cater to the needs of such a big group.

Millennials use fitness and health apps twice as much as other generations. And 47% will start using wearable tech in the next five years.

Next to the increasing demand for technology during workouts, new fitness fads gaining popularity. From 80s-themed yoga classes, spinning to hot Pilates, it seems like there is new concept every week.

Tip: Technology is a Must-Have

As a gym owner it can be lucrative or even necessary to respond to these developing consumer demands to sell more memberships.

So a couple of new yoga classes or introducing software that helps people track progress could really help your business.

4. Your Gym Is Too Intimidating to Sell More Memberships

A gym can be an intimidating place. Plenty of fit people, grunting, flexing and throwing weights. This could put especially put people off who have never gone to the gym before.

It is crucial to make everybody feel welcome, otherwise, a part of the potential members will not join your gym.

Tip: Listen to Your Gym Members’ Needs

Creating a friendly atmosphere for beginners is a smart thing to do. You could do this by having special hours for beginners only, by putting together a section in your gym just for starters, or by simply encouraging a helpful attitude among your more experienced members.

5. Your Target Audience Is Unmotivated

This is probably one of the hardest groups to get into your gym, because of the simple fact that they are not motivated. Still, getting people motivated to work out is an essential part of the fitness industry.

Tip: Engage with them!

There are two steps in the process of motivating members. First of all, you need to motivate them to visit your gym. This can be done by using incentives and motivational marketing campaigns. You can try to boosting engagement via social media or offer something new.

Secondly, you need to focus on changing that external motivation people get from your efforts into their own motivation. If you want people to stick around, their motivation needs to come from within. Setting challenges and rewards is one way of making sure your members stay motivated and on track to reach their fitness goals.

6. People Like to Exercise Outside

For some people (and there is a large number of them), working out inside is their worst nightmare. They see the gym as a cramped space with lots of noise and musky air.

You can try as hard as you can, but getting them inside four walls may be close to impossible. So what can you do to sell more memberships?

Tip: Combine Indoor and Outoor Trainings

Setting up bootcamp classes in the local park or organizing running groups would be an effective solution. You can offer them home workouts via a mobile club app, for which they will pay a small part of the normal membership.

7. Your Marketing Is Ineffective

In the search for new members, you can’t forget about marketing, online and offline. As a gym owner, it’s essential you keep in contact with your potential clients through for example social media.

Slacking off or being inconsistent in any way on social media will not be rewarded with new members.

Tip: Work on User-Generated Content

To be effective marketing-wise you should involve your current members in co-creating your marketing. Ask them to write about their experience at your gym, post video’s, pictures on your social media. These earned media will give you the most credibility, and on top of that demands no time or effort from you!

Besides marketing, via social media, there are countless other ways to market your fitness business.

8. You Have Too Many Restrictions – Or Too Few

We have talked about choosing the right target group for your type of gym. The type of gym you have also decided the type of rules you need to have.

If you own a gym targeted to the general public, then you can imagine that many people won’t like it when somebody is grunting heavily and slamming weights (see above – it can be intimidating!).

On the other hand, these aspects of weightlifting are normal for a gym targeted at experienced lifters. The same goes for clothing restrictions and the way you use the equipment.

Tip: Find a Balance

It’s important you apply a set of rules that fit your gym and find a balance, since going into either extreme (prohibiting or allowing) will drive away different market segments.

Key Takeaways

Getting people to join your gym is a huge challenge. Whether you have to motivate people to work out, or you have to adapt to their demands, there are many things you have to take into account if you want to attract prospective members.

But most importantly before you do anything, pick your target audience. If you know which crowd you are aiming for, you can start building your way to success and eventually sell more memberships.

Melania Armento

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