The role of reception in the sales cycle of a fitness centre

We refer to reception as the fundamental phase of any sales cycle of a fitness centre that has the ability to make anyone feel like they are a possible "accepted" member which is a process that can be often overlooked and not given enough importance to.

In some fitness centres, the reception of a prospect, that is, one who has decided to come and visit us, is even seen as an interruption of daily activity when it should be the primary purpose; in many other centres this phase is taken for granted and it is limited to a simple and cordial greeting that we do not classify as a phase of a reception process, but as one of good education. It is no secret that this process is often also forgotten in most job descriptions or in the process of training new staff fitness centre members.

Welcoming is our absolute calling card also in light of the fact that in the first 30 seconds a person manages to make a positive or negative opinion of us, and that the first 7-8 seconds are the most crucial. Only by creating a procedure shared by all players in the field: reception, commercial and technical can we aim to make that difference that will diversify us. Passion is not enough, therefore, but must be accompanied by competence and training for the creation of a structured welcome. It has to have a measurable and repeatable sales process that generates something that our prospects will find hard to find elsewhere.

In a fitness centre emotions win

If in the 80s material goods won, today it’s the emotions that win; if before it was enough to know how to give the right information and the right prices, today our customers have changed, before even entering the Club they already know everything about us and sometimes they know more than us, they are more demanding and more involved especially thanks to the hyper connectivity that the world of social networks has generated; If our customer has changed we can’t help but change, the more we move forward in a world of services that travels at high speed, the more complex customer management becomes, we cannot remain static at a time when demand is falling and supply is increasing and we can only make a difference, with our human resources that will induce the prospect to choose us and buy what they would not normally buy.
Enthusiasm is the true fascination of a company and its people, being attractive, transmitting sympathy and trust by establishing an emotional relationship with all those who enter the club, a sort of constant courtship in which all levels of communication are used and nothing should be overlooked.
A smile that’s used as the first gesture of welcome, a sincere greeting with all 36 muscles of the face and with the eyes, the latter will identify the first real contact that will be established with the prospect especially when you happen to find yourself on the phone or rather to manage other customers. An authentic and friendly welcome is the best way to establish interpersonal relationships accompanied by the use of a comfortable tone of voice and the right questions, leaving behind phrases like "can I help you?" that insinuate a state of difficulty of the prospect, replace it with "how can I help you", in this case we offer to be of help, establishing the right roles.

The communication keys of the reception

As already said in the beginning, the greeting is the beginning of the welcome and from it the true conquest of the prospect through all the keys of communication starts:
Verbal
Based purely on the type of language we use, precise, simple and dynamic without technicalities, names of unavailable lessons (cross fitness, functional, zumba) or even worse of subscription names worthy of note.
Not verbal
If we have to experience the welcome as a courtship then our image is fundamental. Everyone should look the part, down to every detail including knowledge of all of the services of the centre. Non-verbal is also the language of the look, gestures, body movement, wrong attitudes or postures as crossing the arms are negative signs for those who approach the establishment of a relationship so it will be necessary, at least initially to strive to maintain postural attitudes of relaxation and attention to the person in front, on the other hand only "by widening the arms the walls fall and the reception is made of bridges and not walls".
Paraverbal
Closely linked to the tone of voice, a fundamental element to establish a process of conquest, an instrument capable of generating emotions, sound waves that will reach the body of the prospect generating passion, authority, empathy and sympathy.
Listening
Another decisive element in communication, a capacity to be trained and developed. Active listening, listening with one's head to understand who I have in front of me, understanding its needs and how to meet them, without which the reception would be deaf, remember that we are still equipped with two ears and a single mouth.
The use of questions
In the sales cycle is essential to understand who you are facing using simple and targeted questions. During the early stages of the conversation it is useful to ask questions that make the guest comfortable but also that collect the contact information essential to do any recall activities, so sensitive data such as phone number or email cannot be forgotten, of course after asking permission to transcribe them, everything will be much easier if it is done with a nice smile that suggests that this process is part of a process of reception implemented by the club.
Some research has shown that we don't just talk with words, that "what" accounts for 7% and "how" for 93% and in this 93% everything communicates, this awareness will be our strength; the consistency between what we say and what we transmit will generate greater credibility and empathy with the prospect. Empathy understood as an authentic interest in those in front of us and it is through reflection that we succeed in creating that empathetic relationship based on trust and harmony.

Once we have defined the key elements for an excellent reception, we should put them into practice, without forgetting that this process in the sales cycle is really concentrated in a few minutes of conversation. Not relying on chance or improvisation, putting training into practice and following a very specific method, this will bring our competence combined with the ability to communicate towards a mandatory step in what we can call an emotional reception made of relationship. A relationship in which there is not only knowledge but also, above all, the ability to transfer positive emotions that will lead the prospect to choose us and no longer to buy. A warm welcome, 360° communication, active listening and the right questions will lead to an empathic relationship that will make the difference.

A training program where everyone will be able to propose it, a relationship that will excite people, by all members of staff, will make the club unique in a system that we can call a "culture of welcome" that will inevitably generate a positive word of mouth; be chosen and preferred over those who remain anchored to a single warm and smiling "Hello", or worse "Tell Me".

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