Gym owners often ask how to sell gym memberships online — or if it can even be done.
The short answer: It’s 100 percent possible to sell gym memberships online, and many fitness entrepreneurs are doing it with great success. Some are even selling very expensive packages that drive up their average revenue per member.
Online sales can help you reach new markets and sell new services, such as nutrition, lifestyle and online fitness coaching. A virtual process can also solve a sales staffing problem if you have multiple locations or if you’re an owner/salesperson who works off site while coaches train clients. Done right, online sales offer new opportunities for clients and gym owners, and they increase efficiency.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to close sales without meeting a prospective client in person in your gym or studio. Below, we’ll tell you exactly how to sell gym memberships online, add members quickly and save time as you build your business.
How to Sell Gym Memberships Online: Your Funnel
To sell gym memberships online, you need leads. Leads are prospective clients, and you must acquire their contact info so you can nurture them. We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive article that will tell you exactly how to obtain and nurture leads.
Resource: “How to Get Gym Leads”
We’ll assume that you have some leads—you just need to figure out how to close them online.
Gym sales should occur in a free consultation, often called a No Sweat Intro (or NSI, see below). A consultation is the absolute best way to sell gym memberships online or in person. All your marketing should direct people to book appointments through your website.
Resource: “The Best Gym Website Design.”
Ensure that your booking page on your website alerts people that you can meet with them in person or online—whatever they prefer. This is especially important with regard to the pandemic: Some people will be very hesitant to visit a gym for a long time. Others will simply be interested in online coaching and appreciate the convenience of a digital fitness consultation. The online option is also perfect for people who are intimidated by the thought of walking into a gym. On the web, they can stay in their “safe place” but still find out how you can help them.
Contact leads in person by text as soon as possible—even if you have an autoresponder set up (tip: You must have an autoresponder). The gold standard is minutes, not hours. Confirm the booking—but you can also ask them if they’d prefer to meet online right now or sometime before their booked slot.
Example: “Thanks for booking an appointment on Tuesday at noon! I’m actually free right now: want to meet up online and talk about your goals?”
This is the main advantage to online gym sales: You could literally meet with a lead and start your sales process minutes after the person enters your funnel. By removing the waiting period and travel, you’re giving appointment bookers less time to change their minds, forget, spend all their money, get derailed by bad weather or run out of time on busy days.
By learning how to sell gym memberships online and contacting leads immediately, you are guaranteed to make more sales.
If the lead wants an online consultation, make it happen ASAP—immediately if possible. Supply the URL to your meeting by text, email or DM and prepare to chat. Lots of platforms exist, but it’s hard to beat Zoom for online gym sales. Zoom offers unlimited one-on-one meetings for free, and most people are very familiar with it. Whatever system you select, make sure it’s user friendly.
Online Gym Sales: Your “Media Studio”
You should have a private room in your gym for in-person consultations and membership sales. Aside from seating, a sales binder and your other in-person sales tools, this room should have a very reliable internet connection and a webcam. The camera doesn’t have to be expensive: Spend about $50-$100 (you can even use your computer’s built in camera in a pinch).
Whichever camera you use, make sure you have a clean, professional background behind you. You don’t need to purchase anything. Just make sure the room is free of clutter. A great background might be a clean wall with your logo and maybe a framed credential. Or even shelves filled with fitness books and other curios. You can use virtual backgrounds, too, but some clients might wonder what you’re hiding.
To look your best, you should be well lit. Trust us: A small ring light is a great investment. You’ll look crisp and professional rather than dull and dark.
People also need to be able to hear you—especially if ambient noise filters into the office from the gym. Large, obtrusive podcast mics should be avoided. Stick to Apple AirPods, Bluetooth ear pods or a small headset. You can also use your computer’s built-in mic—but an external mic will provide better sound and help you create value. No one wants to say, “Sorry, can you repeat that? What was the price?”
Before you turn on the camera, make sure you look like a true professional. No sweat, no chalk, no blood, no food in your teeth. Comb your hair and throw on a shirt with your logo. You only get one chance to make a good impression. Sit up straight or stand, smile, and be sure to project energy and enthusiasm right from the first second.
Finally: Make sure you have all your package options on a sheet on the wall behind the camera. That way you’ll have all the info you need right in front of you and won’t have to drop your eyes or fumble through papers when you prescribe services to a client and move to close the sale.
Selling Gym Memberships Online: The Consultation
As mentioned earlier, a free consultation is the best way to sell gym memberships. Not a tour or a workout. A consultation. And you can easily interview prospective clients online.
Our friends at Two-Brain Business have developed a No Sweat Intro process that has been proven to help gym owners make more sales. We recommend you make up a consultation form so you can take notes as you go through the process. Every bit of into you can get from the client will help you make the sale.
Here are the basics of the No Sweat Intro, or NSI:
Greet clients warmly and thank them for meeting with you.
Ask lots of questions to acquire info, and be sure to take notes:
- Why did you book an appointment with me—and why now?
- What have you heard about us and the services we offer?
- Have you ever had success with any other programs before?
- If you stopped a program before, why did you do so?
- What are you hoping to accomplish—what is your goal?
- Why is it important to you?
- How will things improve if you accomplish this goal?
Questions are especially important in online membership sales. You can’t see a prospective client’s body language as well as you would in person, so you’re going to have to work harder to connect with the person. Be extra observant, inquisitive and engaging.
Remember: The interview isn’t about you, your credentials, your equipment and your knowledge. It’s about the client’s goals. Listen more than you talk.
Measure something the client cares about so you have a clear starting point. This is slightly more difficult online. In person, you might use an InBody machine to measure lean muscle mass or body fat, or perhaps you’d measure weight or waist circumference. In some gyms, a short baseline workout is part of the consultation process, and the results are logged.
Online, you can’t do any of that, so you’ll have to ask the client for some metrics. For example, “You’re looking to lose 10 lb., so let’s find our starting point. What do you weigh right now?”
Get as much info as you can, and backfill metrics later if needed. For example, if a client wants to improve strength, you could certainly get some metrics in the first in-person session after the online sale. Or if the client trains online exclusively, you could prescribe benchmark tests and log the results.
As a fitness expert, provide the client with the absolute best plan to accomplish his or her goals. Don’t worry about price. Just outline the quickest path to success as if money isn’t a concern.
Ask if they’d like to work out one on one or in a group setting and if they’d prefer to train at your gym, at another gym or at home.
Use your pricing sheet to quote the cost of the services.
Confront objections and close the sale. In some cases, you might have to adjust the prescription and re-close.
For example, “If personal training three times a week is out of your budget right now, I can get you into a hybrid PT-group program that will still help you accomplish your goals. Let’s get started on Monday.”
Start your intake process.
More Online Gym Sales Resources
The process described above is called the “prescriptive model,” and it’s been tested and refined by Two-Brain Business. Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper talks about it in detail in this podcast: “The Prescriptive Model: Your Key to Survival as a Microgym.” Listen and learn how to sell gym memberships online—or in person.
Next, we’ve got a video for you. You’re going to need to learn to confront objections whether you’re selling in person or online. Here are a few:
- “I need to check with my spouse.”
- “I need to think about it.”
- “I can’t afford it.”
- “I’ll come back tomorrow and sign up.”
- “I forgot my wallet.”
Sales expert Jeff Burlingame will tell you exactly what to say to a host of objections in the video below, and you can find a host of gym sales videos on the Two-Brain YouTube channel.
Finally, you must regularly practice selling. This is true whether you meet prospective clients online or in person. Start with a dog, friend, mirror or mentor, then move up to other staff members.
Rehearse your delivery and practice confronting common objections so you’re smooth, confident and natural.
You might start rehearsing with some notes or a sales script, and you can always keep these resources handy off camera during online sales meetings. But there is no substitute for repeated sales practice. The more you practice selling, the more confident and professional you’ll appear when a real client is on screen. You won’t sound like a scripted sales robot. You’ll sound like a true fitness pro.
Remember: Selling is an acquired and perishable skill, so make time to practice.
Similarly, make sure you practice selling online as well so you can master the platform you use. You must know how to solve basic software and hardware problems fast or you might be left stammering “I still can’t hear you” to a prospective client who’s getting more and more frustrated. Be prepared to offer “on-the-spot tech support” to people who don’t regularly use Zoom and similar platforms. For example: “Please click the ‘unmute’ button in the lower left corner to turn on your microphone.”
Confronting Your Objections About Online Sales
It’s common for gym owners to be skeptical of online sales. Many gym owners take a lot of pride in their facilities, their equipment and their smiling staff members. Prospective clients don’t get to see that online, so these owners think they’re at a huge disadvantage. But that’s not the case!
Gym owners who sell memberships online have the advantages of speed and convenience, and clients who are looking for coaching don’t need a facility tour. In reality, that tour is more for the gym owner’s ego: “Check out all the shiny toys!”
Clients don’t care where the treadmills are or how fast your barbell collars spin. They just want to know how to accomplish their goals and remove their “pain points,” and you can tell them exactly how you’ll help them through Zoom, Skype or any other platform.
During the COVID pandemic, many gym owners relied solely on online sales, and many had great success selling virtual coaching and in-person offers as restrictions allowed. Many forward-thinking fitness entrepreneurs kept the digital consultation option in place when lockdowns and social distancing ended.
Similarly, many gym owners have incredible success selling high-ticket coaching online. Their expensive services might be delivered online or in person (or both), but their consultations often take place online because it’s much easier for very busy clients.
Trust us: You can sell gym memberships online. And in many cases, the format allows coaches to sell additional services delivered outside the gym, such as nutrition coaching, healthy habits coaching and so on. The online sales meeting also allows coaches to expand their reach all over the world instead of just into the 5-mile radius around the gym.
Go Online and Sell Gym Memberships
In the new era of fitness, consumers don’t bat an eye at online consultations—and many prefer them. With a little preparation and practice, you’ll be able to master the digital format. And the skills you polish online will only make you a better salesperson when you meet people in person.
Follow the instructions listed above and you’ll connect with more leads and make more sales.