The Marketing Strategy
What is marketing?
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines marketing as ”the process or techniques of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” Although this definition is rather simplistic, it begins to demonstrate how marketing encompasses many elements above and beyond creating signage and other forms of advertisement. Marketing is the process of promoting a product or service (such as personal training or gym memberships) by communicating the features and benefits to potential customers.
What is a strategy?
In management theory, the Chandler definition is typical: “… the determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out these goals”
What is a marketing concept?
This details what the product is, why customers may be interested in the product, who the target market is, and how one aims on selling the concept to this market segment.
How does one market?
Effective marketing requires:
• Identifying the customer’s needs: one of course needs to do research as to what the target market looks like. Market research can be described as is any organized effort to gather information about markets or customers. Market research is for discovering what people want, need, or believe. Through market information one can determine pricing. One should also investigate which part of a market segment one is aiming to target i.e. demographics of people interested in your product.
• Developing the appropriate products and services to satisfy those needs
• Promoting services and solutions in a cost-effective manner.
Goal of marketing
The ultimate goal of marketing is to understand the wants and needs of the customer so well that selling becomes non-essential because the product or service sells itself.
Whether working in a commercial facility, as an independent contractor, or as a business owner, fitness professionals must develop a comprehensive marketing strategy/ plan to achieve a successful business.
This requires a detailed understanding of the client’s wants, needs, demographics, and socio-economic statuses. For example, if a Personal Trainer is working in a health club that mostly caters for working parents and young adults, he or she should provide services to accommodate these individuals’ goals and work or school schedules, such as early morning and evening classes. Conversely, if a Personal Trainer works mostly with stay-at-home parents and retirees, this Personal Trainer can create incentive
The Sales Strategy
What is a sales strategy?
A sales strategy sets out in detail how you will get your product or service in front of people who need it e.g. How are you going to attract members to your gym? Looking at it strategically will give you a comprehensive, methodical approach to ensuring you market your business correctly and you are approaching the right clients.
The sales strategy will be largely based on market research and marketing strategy. The sales strategy is however not the same as a marketing strategy. Whereas marketing is about getting your brand out there and developing interest/ a need for your business, a sales strategy is more about HOW you close the deal.
Note that the sales strategy may include specific strategies for each product or service i.e. How you sell gym memberships may be different to how you aim to sell Personal training/ retail business at the health club.
Setting out sales objectives
In order to be effective in sales it is important that one is clear on exactly who/ what the target market is. Once the market has been defined, the sales strategy should list specific objectives in order to achieve the sale e.g. In order to get 3 clients, the Personal Trainer should do the following each month:
• Put together a list of new members from the last 3 months.
• To have made 20 phone calls per day to new members.
• To have provided 10 free sessions per week with new members.
• To have offered 2 monthly workshops on technique for training.
• To have followed up on sessions with a courtesy call.
There should be five or six steps for each objective. Think SMART when you are coming up with them:
Some considerations when formulating the sales strategy:
• What potential barriers could there be to achieving the sale? Develop strategies to overcome common barriers// obstacles, before they happen!
• What has worked for you in the past? What has worked for previous gyms/ Personal Trainers in the past, in the same region? Focus on the strategies that are bringing you business, rather than those that aren’t.
• Know your target market and keeping asking questions of your existing clients as to what they like/ don’t like about your service.
• How are you different from you competitors? Differentiation in the market place is a key element of influencing the buying decision. Make sure that your marketing material makes reference to how you are different, unique and how this will benefit the client.
Decide on your sales channels
1. Reaching the right customers is easier said than done. Once you have worked out what your market is and how it’s broken down, you need to decide which sales channels to use:
2. Direct or on-site sales are face-to-face, and is the model used by most Personal trainers/ fitness Professionals. This is usually the best chance that one will have of making a sale and the Fitness Professional should do everything possible to get face-to-face with a client. Ideally it should involve the client experiencing an exercise session with the Personal Trainer.
Health club owners may however use various other means to make a sale e.g.
• Telesales can be effective for business-to-business and repeat sales, but generally has a low conversion rate
• Direct mail/ flyers also has quite a low conversion rate but is less intrusive than telesales.
• Corporate days, aimed at selling memberships within a company.
• Creation of awareness at public places e.g. display stands at shopping malls.
The Sales strategy should include a sales interview template, which sales team members should follow.
Key elements of effective face-to-face sales/ The Sales Interview
1. Build trust and rapport with the prospective member.
Note that this process is started the moment that the client walks in the door, so all members of staff need to be well trained. Address the person by his/ her name, introduce yourself with your full name to show professionalism, and introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Body language and presentation play a large role in creating a first impression too. Remember that people decide on whether they like you in the first 7 seconds! Ask relevant, open ended and sincere questions, and then listen actively! Ideally one should try to connect at an emotional level with the client.
2. Conduct a Needs assessment.
Too often the sales person goes straight for the jugular, tries to close the sale, and breaks trust. The sales person needs to get to the root and needs of the individual first and foremost. Sometimes that may mean digging a little deeper into what is presented initially. The aim of the needs analysis is to find out the real reason why the person is thinking about joining your facility i.e. don’t try to present your own reasons to join the gym, get the person to identify reasons why they should be joining the gym!
3. Build desire for the member to do a tour of the facility.
A key element of the tour should include showing the member what facilities will benefit him/ her first. The sales person should show excitement in being able to assist the individual in reaching goals. In fact, it is vital that the sales person shows good use of tone and varies facial expression throughout the interview.
4. Create urgency!
This can be done by for example running promotions/ running programs with set time periods/ creating personal motivation.
These days people have the luxury of choice and will inevitably do research on facilities like yours in the area. It is therefore important that the sales person does research on who your competitors are and how you can differentiate yourself. Be aware of your product strengths and weakness and be prepared to effectively overcome any objections/ questions which the prospective member may have
Once the interview has been conducted you should be 80% of the way to completing the sale.
Presenting the price can be dealt with effectively by:
• Knowing exactly what your client’s budget is (from previous questioning).
• Presenting a professional looking price sheet, detailing all options.
• Aim high at first i.e. try to get the prospect to spend as much as you think that he/ she can afford. You can always work down from there.
• Present all options slowly and clearly, making sure that the person knows exactly what you are offering. Only once he/ she has ”closed” that option, move onto the next option.
Selling is a skill often misunderstood. At the end of the day, it is your company’s sales mechanisms that will drive business growth.