Rick and Matt discuss how you can actually improve retention and client member sales by not offering free trial memberships and eliminate selling to unqualified prospects. Can you really be too good at sales? What that means is you might spend so much time on selling a prospect requiring a higher level of sales skills when you attract unqualified prospects that really can’t afford your membership price. Following is an alternative way to think about traditional marketing and sales offers formerly used in the fitness industry, and why it should be different for boutique studios like Alloy Personal Training Franchise.
Now we are not saying anyone in sales wouldn’t benefit from a formal sales training or a scripted sales process. Even the most talented salespeople are 80% more effective when they sell with a system rather than just shooting from the hip.
However, what we will discuss are marketing hooks that result in unqualified leads. One of the marketing hooks used in the fitness industry for many years were free trial offers and free fitness challenges. Historical data revealed that free offers rarely worked long-term because any person attracted by a free challenge was not an ideal customer. Free offers definitely were not effective for personal training studios where the cost of training is higher than big box health club chains. Higher paying clients would look at the free offer as a digital bait and switch hook. Free offers drive people crazy and they do crazy things for free. Free is an attractive word to use in marketing, but you have to be careful with it.
For example, a fitness studio offered a free six week personal training trial as the marketing hook, but when the prospect arrived the sales person asked them to put money up front. This really isn’t a free offer. In reality, gyms found if you didn’t put any money up front, then the client wouldn’t be accountable to show up and achieve results. So you had to have a higher level of sales skills and acumen to take a prospect that came in under the idea of a free membership and then tell them they must give you $500 cash due or sign a long-term agreement instead of the free offer. The fact the free offer wasn’t free made it feel like bait and switch. Most personal training businesses have stopped using the free hook because a studio based fitness model correlates to a higher member price. In the Alloy Personal Training Franchise model, the average client demographic in our facilities is a mover and a shaker, more educated, and with a higher income bracket. So anyone that we would attract with that free ad was not a suitable candidate for our business long term. If you actually sold that person attracted by a free offer because the sale person was so good and persuasive at sales, then you talked them into buying something that they couldn’t afford. That client would be more likely to default in the long term and cause lower retention rates for the business. That is why Alloy excels with a 97% a month retention rate, which is exponentially better than the industry rate average of 82%. Alloy could never achieve those high retention rates if we created a hard sell to people that actually didn’t qualify for our service. So it would look good on the front end generating a lot of cash flow from that $500 flip, but we would churn members out the back end resulting in a lower retention rate.
Are you too good at sales by hard selling unqualified prospects? Tune in to this episode to learn why your marketing strategy may not be working for your brand to attract the right prospects.
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- Why you should sell from a scripted sales process and system (00:58)
- The one marketing hook that drives people crazy (02:18)
- Being too good at sales can lead to attracting the wrong customers (05:14)
- Finding the ideal client for your business (06:40)
- How marketing hooks can make the relationship transactional rather than relational (10:57)
- Bait and switch hooks will not bring in the right client (11:34)