In the last few blogs we discussed operational strategies on hiring front desk staff for your affiliate gym, including: how to hire front desk staff, where and how to place the ad, wages with bonuses, and front desk tasks which will increase your revenue and customer retention. In today's blog we will discuss ways to train your front desk staff.
Training: After carefully hiring employees, the next step is to start the training process. Training is the key to maximizing your employees’ potential. If you walk into any well run business, like a Starbucks, you can ask any one of their employees a question and you’ll see that they have been trained to clearly explain the products as well as their job duties. The first and most basic thing is that your employees need to know exactly what is expected of them. Take the time to put systems into place, create checklists if needed. Below are some topics that new employees need to master.
Systems and Policies : Your front desk staff need to clearly communicate gym policies to members (holds, cancellations, on-ramp, discounts, forms, membership agreements). When we first opened we had an issue with cancellation requests. Members would say, “I told the trainer or front desk staff I wanted to cancel.” We made the policy clear that in order to cancel you must go online and fill out our cancellation form. No email, no verbal, and no Facebook cancellation requests. The front desk staff were giving wrong information which created problems with members. Spend some time with your front desk staff, role play or quiz them to make sure they understand your policies.
Sales Training: As we discussed in the previous blog, sales experience and a good personality is a must when hiring your superstar employee. Even if your front desk employee has past sales experience, refining his/her skills for membership sales is important. All of our front desk staff must attend our 8 week sales training program, 1-2 hours per week, done in a group setting. Implement a sales training program and create systems as mentioned below:
Front desk staff must have a clear understanding of the product they are selling. They must be able to clearly convey to potential members what the workout is, the benefits of the workout, how the workout will change their lives as well as how it changed the front desk employees’ life. Make sure to include stories and testimonials on how it changed specific members’ lives. We would use one of our members named Ben as an example. When he started the workout he was 40 pounds overweight. Within 6 months his body completely transformed; he was eating healthier; and his cholesterol was much lower. Spend time with your front desk staff so they have a clear understanding of the product they are selling. Quiz them until they get it. Also make sure your front desk staff is taking classes.
Create systems so your front desk know when and how to pitch memberships. We implemented a policy where all new prospects must call in advance to schedule their 1st class. This gives us the ability to control the sales process. Below is our sales process. Create a system that works for your affiliate Box:
- Potential member calls in to schedule their 1st class. They get an overview of the class, what to expect, and a pitch on our memberships. The call also gives us information about their goals which we use to sell them after their 1st class. All the info is recorded in our management software program.
- They come in, fill out the waiver. Meanwhile, we are building rapport and discussing their goals from the scheduling call. The prospective member is told to come talk to us after class.
- After class the member is pitched on our memberships and offered a promotion/call to action if available.
- All visitors receive a follow up call one day after their first class. This gives you the opportunity to get feedback, answer any questions, and offer a second intro class if warranted.
Pitching memberships: Your front desk staff need to ask the million dollar question after the end of their 1st class, “Are you ready to get started?” Non-sales staff are afraid to ask that question. Thankfully you hired people comfortable with sales. Part of your sales training should include the items below which will prepare your front desk to ask the million dollar question:
- Creating scripts: Create a script that your sales staff need to follow. Have them rehearse and memorize the script until it becomes second nature. A script must include many open-ended questions with multiple chances to close the sale.
- Overcoming objections: It's human nature to object to something before saying yes. It's the front desks job to overcome those objections and close the sale. Collectively with your staff come up with a list of objections and ways to overcome them. Discuss any new objections at future meetings.
- Role Play: Role Play, Role Play, Role Play. The Beatles practiced together for 10,000+ hours before they made it big - that's what made them great. The same rule applies to your staff. The only way to improve is to practice. Role Play with them at least a ½ to 1 hour a week individually and make it mandatory that the front desk staff role play together.
- Structured Sales Training Meetings: Make sure your group and individual sales meeting are well planned and the information/message is well delivered. Set aside part of the meeting for role playing.
Next week we will discuss creating KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for each of your front desk so you can measure their performance.