Articles for Employers, Businesses, People

The Fundamentals of Selling Gym Memberships


Steve Grant is the owner of GymHub, “the first ‘High Performance’ Network and Mentoring program for Gym Owners across Australia and New Zealand.” In this guest post, Steve outlines how your greatest sales tool – the free pass – if not used well, may be costing you memberships.

Over to you, Steve…

Trial memberships and demo classes are some of the most reliable methods of attracting prospective members to visit your fitness studio. IHRSA released data suggesting up to 63% of the people walking past your gym each day wish they could exercise, and free trials are a great way of getting them through the door.

Unfortunately, though, after a free trial period, some people will still walk away rather than join at the end.

Do you know what’s even more unfortunate?

The reason they are not joining is probably more your fault than theirs.

While getting bodies into the gym with a free pass is a great strategy, it’s what you and your staff do during—and after—that trial period that takes those fence sitters and turns them into members.

1. Absolutely Give Out Free Trials but Be Measured in Your Approach.

Everybody likes free stuff. And, while you may want to attract as many people as possible, you may be better off in the long-run attracting fewer, more qualified leads.

Offering a day or a week for free is great, but also try offering a month at 50% off. You can also do this for group or Personal Training sessions as well. This clarifies two things for you:

You weed out the slackers. A person who is willing to pay for a trial membership is more likely to be willing to pay for a full membership.

You have more time to impress. A short-term free pass might not give you a fair chance to show them what you’ve got. In fact, you might get more objections from someone who only walks in for a day, rather than someone who experiences your culture for a month.

2. Show Them Some Love.

Every member and prospect should be handled with care! Always have a greeting ready, make sign-ups and check-ins a breeze, clean your facilities and equipment and, of course, deliver the best results.

3. Let Nothing Fall Through the Cracks.

Set your sales team up for success by having an automated follow-up system in place for when leads finish the trial period.

  • Have an automated email go out the day after the first trial day and ask how the workout went.
  • Call the prospect a few days later for some feedback and a great follow up offer like a free PT session or to bring a friend on their next visit.

If your team isn’t using a solid lead management plan, then your prospects might be falling through the cracks. Make sure you check to see if they’ve come in, when they came in, and what classes they took, so you can tailor your sales pitch to them and get them to join.

4. Keep Tabs on Dropouts.

Not everyone joins immediately after using a free gym pass. Sometimes it takes a while and that’s fine—as long as you don’t forget them. Add them to a lead nurturing workflow. Let them know what’s going on in the club through emails or SMS messages, and send them the occasional offers meant for leads like them who have already done a trial at your gym.

Follow-up calls and updates will help keep your gym top of mind and a step ahead of the competition.

Would you like to get more from your business? 

Grab a free copy of Steve’s 20-page report “5 Reasons Why your Fitness Business is Not Growing and How to Fix it Fast!”  Click Here.

Schedule a No-Obligation 10-minute phone call. Schedule a time that works for you and Steve, so he can learn more about your business and uncover the 3 key business areas holding you back and create an action plan for the coming year. Start here.


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