There are many different ways to reach prospective customers, including social media, advertising, incentives, promotions and email marketing, just to name a few. Whichever initial touch points you’ve found to be the most effective, the vast majority of new members won’t commit until they’ve checked out your house.
Taking the time to come and visit your facility shows a high level of interest and commitment. They are oh-so-close to membership. Seal the deal by giving them the best tour in town.
A tour participant shares her top 12 tips following a recent experience:
DO make it easy from the start. Whether it’s on the phone, online or walk-in, the response to a tour request should always be, “Come on in!” Select a few staff members, typically responsible for member management, to be the Tour Team Leads. These are the all-stars: Friendly, engaging, thorough. They should be giving most of the tours, but it’s well worth your time to have them train other staff members as well, so you never have to turn a visit down.
- DON’T turn down a tour. Even walk-ins should be given a tour around your facility. It may not be convenient, it may not be the best time, but it’s important to make it work. Again, someone taking the time to visit your center is highly interested. Don’t lose the membership because you don’t have someone who can adequately speak to your organization.
DO set the right tone. A friendly and inquisitive demeanor will put customers at ease. Know their names and why they’re interested in joining a fitness center so you can cater the conversation to their needs.
- DON’T push a sell before you begin the tour. This is not the time to discuss fees and pricing. This is the time to get to know your customer and keep it conversational.
DO make the customer the focus of the tour. Use the tour as an opportunity to play detective and figure out exactly what the motivation is for your customer to join a gym. By asking open-ended questions, you’ll learn enough to cater the tour to their interests. Linger in those areas and get specific if they want to. Interested in spin? Spend a minute observing the class. Want to build strength? Walk them through your strengthening machines.
- DON’T assume you know what they want. Engage them in conversation to find out and spend more time in their areas of interest. Also, cookie cutter tours are less effective. You may have a script down pat in your head, but each tour should be unique and different per customer.
DO walk and talk. Don’t rush it! While you want to be respectful of their time, make sure you walk at an easy pace, discussing each area and feature of your facility. Questions will come up as customers view new things, so rushing will do you no good. And while you may be excited to share your various programs, offerings and schedules, keep it high level. It’s best to provide something in writing with those specific details – It’ll cut down on your talk time and details like that are hard to remember, anyway.
- DON’T inundate customers verbally with minute details like the schedule of offerings. It’s best to provide something in writing with those specific details – It’ll cut down on your talk time and details like that are hard to remember, anyway.
DO sit down and make an offer. Provide web stations in common areas for members and staff to use whenever they need to. At the end of your tour, pull up to a station, offer the customer a water, coffee or juice and discuss pricing and membership options at the END of the tour.
- DON’T leave it open-ended. Make a concrete offer.
DO show customers you’re savvy. If they’re interested (which they will be because your tour was SO great), set them up online in no time at your station. Having a fully hosted, integrated membership management system like ACTIVE Net means you can type vital information one and one time only. No forms. No papers. Want to make it really slick? Attach webcams to each computer so you can take a picture for their member card and security profile right then and there. If you also have electronic signature tools ready for waivers, you can virtually eliminate the need for paper.
- DON’T miss out on the opportunity to cross-sell. If you secure a new membership and the customer is interested in youth swim lessons, too, offer to enroll them right away.
Find the right tour guides, follow these steps and you’ll be building your customer base, one tour at a time.