Telemarketing and follow up is probably one of the most underutilized tools in the arsenal of today’s health club professionals. I encounter clients who contact us and swear their gyms production problem is a lack of people to sell memberships to.

Fortunately, (whether they like to hear it or not) the real issue is not the gym marketing, or the clubs location, or the recession but rather the health clubs inability or unwillingness to farm the traffic they already have, EFFECTIVELY. There is generally more than enough membership leads through inquiries and walk-ins not to mention the leads in house such as expired club members and upcoming renewals not being followed up with in the right manner by the fitness consultants.

Now, I could share a boatload of fancy membership lead follow-up tactics using direct mail, email w/ auto response,newsletters, referral drives but, for the purpose of this article I’d like to focus on the simplest, least costly, and oldest ways to reach out these existing membership leads and see a huge return.

Pick up the phone and give them a call!

However, you must have a plan in place to effectively and consistently conduct successful telemarketing follow up. This plan should include all of the following steps and the one big HAVE-TO

1. Pool your list of prospects

2. Separate prospects into groups ( TI, missed guest, expired, referral, Lead box ECT)

3. Create call schedule starting 2wks after initial follow-up process, 30 days, 90, 180, 1 yr

4. Develop strong offer (sweeten the pot the further out you go)

5. Make sure each offer contains a guarantee, a call to action, and sense of urgency

Most importantly, write a specific SCRIPT that keeps flighty gym sales people on track, accomplishes the goal, and drives club prospects to action.

The scripts I recommend set out to accomplish one thing which is to get the potential gym member to take the next step.

In most cases, set an appointment, go to the website, come check out the exciting changes we’ve made, or refer a friend.

These type of follow up calls are rarely designed to close sale on phone as there is a much better chance once they’ve had an opportunity to get comfortable our in our club, build upon the relationship, and become excited about the idea of a fit lifestyle. While not impossible, this can be difficult in a 2 minute phone conversation.

Armed with a good list, a powerful offer, properly designed script quickly re-introduce yourself and the gym, state the nature of the call, try to establish a bit of rapport and then make an offer that can’t be refused.

Here’s an example:

Hi John, this is Frank from XYZ Fitness how are you?

Great, I just wanted to find out how things were going since your visit to the gym a couple weeks ago.

(Pause, listen if they divulge any valuable ammunition)

I remember when you came in you wanted to tone up but found it difficult with your schedule to exercise. (BTW,only known if we ask the right questions and document).

Are you still staying busy?(9/10 everyone says yes)

If yes, well I know it can be tough but, I also know you understand the importance of taking care of yourself so you can be even more productive during that hectic schedule.

I have an awesome promotion starting in a couple weeks and I’d love for you to be able to take advantage of it so I thought I’d give you a chance to workout over the next 30 days on the house and see if you can squeeze the gym in.

If it works I’ll reserve your spot during the special! If not then you aren’t out anything. Sound Fair?

Great, when do you want me to have your VIP pass ready, today or tomorrow?

If they say no or it’s not still a problem or they even joined another club still proceed and make a similar backup offer. The point is the follow up, re-establish connection and give them a reason to come back in. If you play your cards right you get another shot at them. In some cases you may not get them immediately but the act of staying in contact is generally more than other clubs do and can prove to be the deciding factor in eventually earning their business.

The key to remember is to have plan, have appropriate follow up offers, script the conversation and be consistent. As I mentioned even if you don’t win the battle you win the war if they value the fact you remembered them and cared enough to not let them fall through the cracks.