Creating a Culture of Sales Success

Sales managers are the key to creating disciplined and effective sales practices.

The fitness centers that constantly achieve membership sales success are aware that sales must become part of the club culture. Here are some of the key steps involved in establishing a culture of sales success that permeates the entire facility, from the lowest-paid staff member to the most highly compensated manager.

The importance of a sales manager

The most critical part of creating a sales culture is to establish disciplined sales-management practices. If you haven't already, identify and appoint a sales manager. The sales manager is the individual who helps set sales goals, leads sales meetings, provides coaching and instruction for the sales staff, and otherwise supports the efforts of the sales staff. Some duties that will help to create a disciplined sales program include the following:

Establish sales goals for the team and individuals. The sales manager, working with ownership, needs to establish annual, monthly, weekly and even daily sales goals for the team and individual sales staff. Many fitness centers set goals based on the number of membership units sold, but the wise sales manager focuses on sales goals founded in dollar volume. The individual and team sales goals established should be somewhat of a stretch, so that, if they're achieved, the facility exceeds its baseline membership parameters for being successful.

Monitor and track performance. The sales manager should implement a system that allows the club's sales performance to be tracked on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. The system should enable the sales manager and sales staff to identify positive and negative sales trends.

Conduct weekly team and individual meetings. The sales manager needs to have weekly sales meetings with the team that focus on results, challenges and solutions. Concurrently, he or she needs to meet individually with team members to provide support, coaching and education.

Create special incentives. Sales managers need to create incentives that reward great performance, and also help drive performance during down times. While these incentives can be ongoing, in many cases, they should be designed to be employed during specific periods of time.

Recognize success. Sales managers need to realize how important recognition is to salespeople. Accordingly, a means to recognize individuals who perform well should be designed and implemented. Such an undertaking can produce great results.

Compensate the sales staff based on performance. Salespeople need to be compensated based on how well they achieve their individual and team sales goals.

Integrate the sales team with the operations team. Facility managers and sales managers need to realize that the greatest membership sales success comes when the operations team and sales team work together. Unfortunately, some clubs forget this, and create silos (individual pockets of focus) where membership sales are not connected to the other areas of the fitness center. An effective sales manager must realize that the entire staff can contribute to the success of the sales department, and works hard to integrate sales and operations.

All for one

The facility manager needs to hold the sales manager accountable for the club's sales performance against the predetermined plan. By the same token, the sales manager should hold the sales staff accountable for their individual and team performance. Successful membership sales seldom happen by chance. Rather, such sales result from a process that collectively features the thoughtful integration of insights, ideas and proper planning. A fitness center that cultivates and fosters an environment where the focus is on membership sales is more likely to be successful.
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