By: Jason Abucejo
I can’t tell you how many times someone has approached me at a trade show looking for software to help sell more memberships. In a digital age, more and more people are forgetting that while technology does help us streamline our work it will not do the work for us. And while club management software can be a tremendous tool in your club the bottom line is – software doesn’t sell memberships, people do.
If there’s one thing we cannot lose sight of in our industry, it’s that personal touch and connection are the mainstays of a service-driven industry. You can automate all the emails, text messaging, Facebook posts and referral programs you want but without setting goals for each of these mediums and outlining a definitive plan of action for your sales people, the messages you send out will get lost in the white noise of today’s overloaded, tech-driven society.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all phenomenal sales and retention aides, but if you aren’t holding yourself and your staff accountable and are relying on a “set it and forget it” mentality, you’re getting complacent. Automation is a great way to get your information out but how you follow-up on the success of those deployments makes all the difference.
For example, if you’ve initiated an email or texting campaign, are those messages getting through? Are they going to spam? Are you tracking responses? How are you handling the prospects you get from these campaigns? Do you have a system in place?
If you’ve got a prospecting system with your software, you HAVE to keep working it. Make sure you are entering prospects; setting up next actions; connecting personally with the prospects; practicing a timely following-up; offering incentives, and asking for the sale. All too often we see people entering prospects and not following through, leaving them to wonder why their conversions are low.
The reason I am bringing this up is that we recently rolled out our new online Pass-A-Friend® member referral program, and we’re having a dialogue with our clients about how to best use the program. Passes are emailed to members and members can give them to friends and family. The reality is that it takes more effort than hitting the “send button” to convert the passes to sales. Clubs have an easy, low cost method to bring in an exponential number of prospects, but a definitive sales action plan for the program will make ALL the difference in conversions.
An analogy I like to use has to do with the gadgets people buy and wear to track their fitness levels, as well as the apps people download to track nutrition and workouts. You, more than anyone else know that these gadgets don’t lose weight for people. They don’t make them healthier. They are just tools being used to help the process along and assist in gauging the effectiveness of their fitness and eating plans – most likely outlined by professionals like you. Systemization is great for tracking results, but it won’t get butts off couches. The people using these tools have to make the commitment to put in the work, and our industry provides the facilities, follow-up methods and staff to help them get the work done.
Establishing a routine process for all marketing mediums is essential for creating the cornerstone of your sales plan. The software is an exceptional tool, chocked full of reports and data helping you gauge where your prospects are coming from, what they’re interested in, and so on. Use that data to your advantage. If you initiate an email campaign from your software program, talk to your members and ask them to keep an eye out for promotions, or member referral incentive programs in their inbox. Track the overall success of the campaign and use that data to tweak future marketing efforts.
Get to know your software program, and find out what reports give you the best data to develop marketing campaigns. Use the tools you have to track and measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. Here at ASF we are always willing to talk with clients on how to best use these features. Don’t hesitate to ask your provider, or tech vendors for advice on how to best track results.
The bottom line is that we are in the people business. Whether you are using our software, another platform, text messaging services, email programs, or any other tech-driven marketing tool. Use the tools to get your message out. This “behind the scene” automation was developed to make your job easier – to sell memberships. The real deal starts when those prospects take their first step into your club. There’s no automation in the world that replaces a genuine, well-trained staff member who understands that every touch point in the club relates to a member experience and engagement. Those touch points can lead to greater sales, retention, revenue and profit.
Jason Abucejo is the Senior Executive in Sales at ASF Payment Solutions. He can be reached via email at Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800-227-3859 ext. 738. Visit www.asfpaymentsolutions.com for more information on the products and services from ASF.