,,Today we have a guest email from BFU coach Ben “The Secret Weapon” Pickard.
Ben recently had the dreaded “Key Hire Loss.” But because he’s a bad-ass, he leveraged this opportunity to actually improve his sales process before getting a replacement to take the role back over for him.
Great takeaways for your sales process, AND a damn fine example of turning lemons into lemonade.
Ben here, and I’m excited to share with you 3 tips to level up your sales process.
As a very brief context, after 2 years of insanity with lockdowns in Canada, on February 14th, 14 days after we re-open from our 4th lockdown, I lost my general manager.
At the time I felt “ugh… seriously… I’m building a business, not a job and now I’m at the studio until 9pm some evenings each week and I want to spend time with my wife and hang with my kid and walk my dog and ugh... FML”.
Like all challenges, there were many silver linings.
The most useful, of which I didn’t recognize for a few months, was that I was stepping back into the sales role.
I did the lead follow up.
I did the consults.
I did the trial to membership conversions.
I crafted the offer.
I did 72 consults the last 4.5 months, signed up 68 of them, increased our trial conversion to 78.7%, and increased our monthly recurring revenue by $10k+.
In hindsight, it’s been fantastic. Turns out I can crush sales, I just don’t like being the head salesperson for my company.
Today I wanted to share 3 tips I’ve re-learned to help you level up your sales process.
1. Create the play. Run the play. Improve the play.
You probably recognize this as Dan John’s Plan the hunt. Hunt. Discuss the hunt.
My previous GM came from a sales background, and, to his credit, he was effing good. He loved people. Loved to chat with them. And loved to sell.
And as it turns out, he loved to make things more complicated than needed.
When I took over (re-took over?), I had the opportunity to look at what we did, see how it was working, and tweak it.
First, I created the play - I recrafted our trial offer, deleted slides from our sales presentation, and tweaked the SOP for the pitch.
Second, I ran that exact play, asking the exact questions I laid out, highlighting the exact points I chose to highlight, and did what I said I was going to do.
This was my biggest learn as my GM constantly veered from the SOP, and led to sub-par and unpredictable results. I need predictability, and so do you.
Lastly, I constantly improved the play. What are most people buying? Where are their hangups and obstacles? How can I simplify my membership agreement? Every few weeks I made a tweak, kept an eye on how it performed, and finalized or changed it.
If you want to grow your fitness business and don’t have an exact layout for what to do, create the play.
Once you have it, run that play exactly as you made it.
And once you’re running it like clockwork, improve it.
2. Track a (simple) metric for every level of the funnel.
It’s hard to know what to fix if you don’t know what’s in most need of repair. And the last thing you need as and owner-operator is more work to do.
Having a metric for each level of the funnel tells you exactly where to spend your time, what to improve, and will tell you if it’s working without waiting for your monthly P&L.
When I took over sales our conversion percentage was embarrassingly low.
Some of this was COVID uncertainty, some was the offer, and most of it was a complex SOP.
Because I have a simple tracker, quite literally a spreadsheet with a number of for “how many of X happened at each step of my funnel each week”, I knew I needed to start with conversions so I re-crafted our trial and membership offer.
My funnel is the following (and to be clear I am not saying this should be your funnel):
- Lead comes in
- Prequalification phone call
- Trial sign up
- Trial to membership conversion
- Referrals, testimonials, and happy clients living their best lives in the community
Each step has a metric, and it’s filled in at the end of each week to be reviewed and acted on the following week.
How many leads did we get last week?
How many phone calls were booked last week?
How many consultations did we book last week (including how many no showed or rebooked)?
How many trials signed up from those consultations?
How many trials converted to memberships?
And the last one comes from our quarterly member satisfaction surveys, shaking hands and kissing babies in the gym, and mingling with members (though I do track referrals received each week).
If you want to increase your sales, you need to know where to start.
3. To the uninitiated, all gyms are the same.
Pretend you had a time machine and brought Agatha, a lovely lady from the 1800s, to our time today in 2022 and you needed to educate her on modern methods of transportation.
We all know that bikes, cars, and public transport are drastically different experiences and levels of service.
What do you think Agatha sees?
I bet she just sees a bunch of things that all have varying amounts of wheels, are faster than walking, and don’t eat hay.
Now, try explaining to her that bikes are cheap but also make you sweaty and cars might hit you if you ride one, cars are noisy and run on the remains of dinosaurs, public transport is usually late and strangely don’t require seatbelts, and she can spend anywhere from $50 to an average annual salary to buy one of the above, and wait for the look on her face.
And we didn’t even tell her people figured out flying machines. And we can go to space! SCIENCE!
Agatha would rather just ride her horse in the 1800s like she’s comfortable with.
As much as it pains me, I understand why the average person would rather stay in a relatively unfit and unhappy level of comfort than navigate the spider web of endless, overwhelming fitness choices out there.
In the same way I’ve hopefully helped you picture Agatha’s gorgeous face, with her jaw on the ground while we try to explain we don’t ride horses anymore, my top priority in every interaction since I’ve taken over sales is to speak to my ideal client and every step of the process.
Sue, my ideal client, is 55 with 2 kids and a bad knee, hasn't worked out in years, and hates the gym.
I need to speak to her about fitness the same way you’d speak to Agatha about transportation - start with the basics you learned ages ago to make her feel comfortable and develop know-like-trust.
You don’t have to be cripplingly sore for 4 days to get a good workout.
2 days a week is actually a great place to start and workouts don’t have to be 90 minutes.
And for the most part, only rich people ride horses for fun now-a-days (even though I dream of being a cowboy).