BACK TO SCHOOL

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So it’s almost September, and you have survived another summer hoping that the fall will increase your production and lead to a more prosperous 2017.  If you have been in this business for a while, you have likely noticed that many of the old trends do not apply anymore.

January is flatter than it used to be, and there is no guarantee that the push from the fall will counteract the difficult summer months.  You have two options:

  • Keep doing what you have been doing for years, and hope for different results
  • Prepare your staff by training them to handle any increase in traffic or phone inquiries

Are phone calls turning into appointments?  What percentage of these appointments are actually showing up, and what is the closing ratio on these presentations?  How many outgoing calls are being made, and what results are you getting from these efforts?  Are you running your desk as a revenue system, or are you putting the least trained, least experienced person at the counter?  How much time is your manager spending at the desk, and is he/she monitoring what your staff is saying to your customers?

Unfortunately, summer is often the time where these skills and practices tend to fall apart, leaving your business ill prepared to enter the fall and winter.  It is time to set expectations for the last few months and begin your budgets for 2017, as well as re-train your staff.  Every metric of your business must be evaluated and monitored if you are to be prepared for success in the coming year.

Vacation time is over – look at this as if you were going back to school, and set your expectations and work load accordingly.  Re-cap what happened to all your summer presentations and leads, and set up your production systems with these people at the forefront of your calls.  Ensure your people are trained to handle the excuses from people who are now going to try to push back their commitments until after the holidays, whether it’s for membership or personal training.

When it comes to business, hope is an emotion, not a plan.

The Weekend Warriors – Are they prepared?

 

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How many times have your sales & training departments told you that weekends are slow?  For years this industry has struggled with sales professionals who accept substandard performance on the weekend. They effectively “mail in” what amounts to 40% of their workweek.

Our industry is still thought of as a recreational purchase despite decades of trying to categorize it as a necessity, and the majority of recreational purchases are made on the weekend.  Since Monday is the typical starting point for those who want to begin exercising, the weekend would be a perfect time to purchase services, wouldn’t it?  Gyms who rotate the staff on weekends, due them being “slow”, are doomed to fail on these days.  It is far better to have a motivated group of sales persons and trainers  who look at the weekend as their chance to shine. Good performances here will many times point to the future leaders of your departments.

It is the mindset that matters; preparation and attitude are two keys to a successful weekend.  The training department should have a clear leader on the weekends, responsible for PT revenue and chasing a goal for both enrollments and member service.  Many customers would love to redeem a session on the weekend, when they have more free time.  Are we accommodating our customers or placating our staff?

There are so many reasons for Saturday to be a great day for the enrollment of new members, but it will require changing the mindset of the staff.  Since Friday is payroll day for most of us, it is likely that half of our prospects get paid the day before we come to work on Saturday morning.  Are we prepared ?  Perhaps weekends are not terrible, but we are terrible on weekends.

There are strategies that improve weekend performance.  Contact us for a free one-hour consultation regarding this or any other topic you would like to discuss, or just to share something that is working well for you.

 

Sometimes “Old School” is simply old….

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Usually used as a compliment, the term is meant to describe someone who learned the skills at hand in an old fashioned, results oriented way.  “Old School” is perceived to be a better way of doing things when compared to an untested or fly by night method of operation.  When it comes to performance standards, some of the ways of the past are what is missing in today’s business environment, especially in our industry.  Interviewing, touring, and sales skills are still important.

When it comes to a sales platform, KPI reporting, and lead generation and tracking – leave the old school in your rear view mirror.  Companies that still rely on paper systems are missing valuable technology in the fight to increase membership and service revenue.  Most companies we visit are also missing at least 10% of their sales goals right at their front desks.  Documenting and tracking guests, along with counter control to ensure that all entries are paying accounts, are the first areas we concentrate on when improving revenue for a client.

The old style Production Book needs to be a thing of the past.  Your sales staff likely has a book that is too heavy to carry around, due to being filled with old paperwork and dead leads.  There are also viable contacts that are not going to be called, as there is no system to organize them – in fact 25% of your potential members are probably not being followed up on.  Using lead tracking software enables you to see what is actually being done, who is doing it, and what is working when it comes to marketing efforts.  There are metrics associated with every aspect of this industry, and I want our clients to be able to quantify effort – not simply hope things will work out.

There are so many variables to this industry requiring attention that you cannot begin each day with inaccurate information – nor can you afford to lose or misplace leads.  “Old School” is an attitude – it should not be a methodology.

 

Please contact us for more information on increasing the effectiveness of your production systems.  As always we offer a free one-hour consultation on any aspect of your business.

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Training is a process, not an event…

seminar3We hire an exciting candidate, show them the basics of the business, and marvel at what a good job they are doing their first month……….only to have them fall off dramatically within 60-90 days, leaving us wondering what happened.

How many times have we made this same mistake ?

Staff training is not a single event; it is a process, ongoing and evolving.  It never ends – once you think your staff is well trained, turnover or expansion brings you right back to new people.  Many times we lose people simply because we leave them alone while they are doing a good job, afraid to “upset the apple cart”.  This is a costly mistake – high performers need more than just praise; they need constant feedback and challenging tasks, as well as continued education in their fields.  Your best performers will either become bored, or start cutting corners, when left alone for a prolonged period of time.

Additionally, your mediocre performers will never become better simply because they read a manual.  How many times have we given our staff clear instructions, seen to it that they understood what we expected, and still been disappointed to see them stop following the process, sometimes within days of the training ?  It is happening to most of us today, somewhere within our business.  Constant training, monitoring, and feedback from experienced professionals is necessary to retain your people and increase their effectiveness.

What type of staff training or continuing education are you providing ?  Are you examining reports and financial returns with your managers and staff daily, or are you so busy that these only get addressed after a “slow month” ?  What metrics are you using to analyze your performance in each category ?

Many companies exist to provide you with software that will record data on everything you need to run your business; however most owners are unsure where to begin when it comes to the implementation of the systems necessary to gauge success.  We suggest daily production meetings, complete with a training topic each morning.  Your staff will look forward to these meetings if they are presented as a learning experience rather than simply a report card on their performance.  Constant review of procedures, policies, and training is necessary if you wish to take advantage of any type of seminar or software program.  Continuing education is an investment, not an expense…

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