What can fitness membership sales consultants learn from fitness sales vendors? A lot.
Business-to-business (B2B) sales cycles are strenuous, often involving months of relationship building, conversations on value propositions, and negotiations. In business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, membership salespeople often find themselves in more transactional relationships, with their performance based on EFT attainment.
In this article, we’ve picked the top four B2B best practices that fitness sales vendors use that can be helpful in B2C sales for driving revenue and hitting membership goals.
1. Figure Out Your Valid Business Reasons (VBRs)
Valid business reasons, or VBRs, are reasons why a prospect would want to meet with your business — not why you want to meet with the prospect. VBRs are useful in membership sales and can be used to upsell a member to a service or amenity that they need, such as personal training.
You can suss out VBRs through casual conversations with prospects or members or by researching your club’s buyer personas to understand their pain points or challenges. For example, have organic conversations with a new member during their first 90 days to gain insight into their workout style, challenges, and goals.
As you uncover new member pain points, you’ll gain opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. For example, if a member has been attending classes but hasn’t experienced strength gains or weight loss, you can upsell them on personal training sessions.
Be sure to educate clients on why they’ll benefit from additional products or services. Explain what individual outcomes they can expect — and back up your sales pitch with facts and data too. The more you can personalize the experience, the more your members will trust that you understand their goals and that you have their best interest in mind.
2. Hit Quotas Faster by Understanding Qualified Leads
Marketing teams are often under-resourced and unable to create campaigns that can speak to every buyer persona. Your club’s sales reps, however, see the daily tally for which types of personas prefer which types of memberships.
In the B2B world, the best leads are based on an ideal customer profile (ICP), which offers details about the ideal business client based on a number of factors. In addition to an ICP, B2B companies also create buyer personas for each type of person that might be on the buying committee.
For B2C businesses, however, buyer personas do the trick. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data about real customers. If you’re just starting out, you can use industry research and benchmark reports to understand your buyer personas.
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The more you understand who your ideal buyers are, the easier your sales conversations become because you can determine qualified leads more easily. If your ideal buyer persona is a mother in her 30s who has little time to hit the gym and marketing is feeding sales leads that are single men in their 40s, you know you need to change something up and work to achieve better marketing and sales alignment.
3. Understand What, How, and Why Consumers Buy
B2B salespeople wouldn’t be able to make a profit if they went into conversations blind, and the same is true for B2C salespeople in the fitness industry. Do your research to understand what and why people purchase products or services related to their health and wellness so you can overcome objections and easily upsell them.
For example, post-workout rest and recovery are becoming increasingly important to your members. Are you prepared to meet this need? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you understand how and why recovery is relevant to gym goers?
- How do your recovery services help them achieve their goals faster?
- How far is a member willing to stretch their income to meet this goal?
3. Take Ownership by Building Out Your Sales Pipeline
You can’t rely on marketing 100% of the time to deliver the most qualified leads to your sales reps. The best salespeople know where their leads are coming from and take ownership of lead generation through sales forecasting and pipeline buildout.
A sales pipeline is usually a visual representation of where prospects are in the journey from lead to customer. A vital tool for salespeople, the pipeline lets you see where money, deals, and any other sales efforts are at any given moment. The pipeline helps your sales team understand what sales efforts are resulting in the greatest return so you can easily repeat what’s working.
B2B salespeople look beyond the current month to assess seasonal fluctuations in buyer behaviors and purchasing power, as well as where revenue will be coming from. By looking at a three- to six-month forecast, sales reps are able to decide where to devote their time and energy to pull in the most revenue.
To build a successful sales pipeline, nail down a list of prospects, your team's sales process, and revenue targets clearly mapped out. You’ll probably have the following pipeline stages:
- Prospecting: Finding leads through networking, inbound marketing, or ads
- Qualifying: Deciding whether they’re ready to sign up or still need to be nurtured
- Contacting: Reaching out to the lead with valuable content to nurture them
- Building a relationship: Showing them why you’re the best choice to meet their goals
- Closing the deal: Signing them up, re-engaging a cold lead, or acknowledging they’re not the right fit
Looking at the long game helps reps determine how to spend time, money, and resources. Be sure to keep your pipeline clean and up to date at all times too.
4. Nurture Member Relationships to Increase Referrals
Consumers are increasingly skeptical and critical of companies trying to earn their business and trust. So what’s a fitness business to do? Lean on your current members to drive referrals and revenue!
Today’s gym-goers are more likely to choose a business they like and trust, and they rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family more than ever. According to SEMrush, 78% of people rave about a favorite experience to people they know at least once per week and word-of-mouth reviews are even more effective than paid ads and result in five times more sales than paid ads.
In the B2B world, salespeople close the biggest deals after building a meaningful relationship with a client. The same is true for B2C salespeople in the fitness industry. The more that you can nurture a close relationship with your existing members, the more likely they are to recommend your club to their friends and family.
Get to know your members so you can deliver a more personalized experience. For example, if a member comes in for a class wearing a t-shirt for their favorite band, put together a Spotify playlist featuring that artist and send their way. Or, if a member is always complaining that they forgot their water bottle, offer them a branded water bottle on the house.
As relationships grow, you can decide which members have upselling or referral potential, which you can then build into your sales pipeline and forecast. After all, the more established your relationship with a member, the more likely that, when you ask them for a referral, they’ll come through for you because they trust you.
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Change is good and can lead to new and more profitable opportunities. Whether you change up your current sales tactics to implement some of these B2B sales best practices — or ask your vendors what tactics have worked best for them — you owe it to your club to try every possible sales tactic to see what works best.