The First Impression Could Be Your Last!

Before I get started, I need to thank the many people who called and emailed about our last article, “It’s All About Relationships.” It’s apparent from your calls and comments that this information is really being put to good use. There’s more where that came from . . . so stay tuned.

Anyhow, on with this today’s topic. I can tell you that in the course of compiling this article, and after calling and touring many fitness facilities across the country, I’m embarrassed to report that there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason for how phones are answered or how tours are conducted. Some facilities were better than others, but believe me, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

So what the heck are some of you thinking or doing? The public's perception of the fitness industry is far from favorable and we all wonder why. . . We all want to be called fitness professionals, but from what I’ve heard and seen, that title is short-lived and shallow at best. I know the dream for many is to own a club or be a personal trainer, but what good is a name or title if you can’t walk the talk. We need to take responsibility for our actions and strive to deliver the products and services we promise our club members and the community. The title says “The First Impression Could Be Your Last!” So read on.

People are calling and listening, and I don’t mean the NSA. The telephone is often the first contact a customer has with a business, making phone etiquette one of the most important elements of a business. Through our travels and phone contact with many clubs in most every state, the pattern was obvious. Proper staff training was non-existent. Our experience yielded gum chewing during the conversation, loud music, long holds, and canned scripts that took way too long and sounded rehearsed. The routine we experienced was alarming and should be of concern to many owners and managers.

Conducting a proper telephone information call is essential and can be handled in several easy steps:  

#1. Smile as you pick up the phone and be sure to identify yourself and the company by name in a clear voice that the person on the other end of the line will understand. 

#2. Answer promptly and pleasantly. 

#3. Control the call with questions and be sure to answer their questions. Your main goal should be to schedule an appointment for them to visit the club.

When touring several facilities across the country, we also saw that staff training was non-existent or weak to say the least. There was no consistent strategy for how tours are conducted. Most of the staff I met had no clue what they were doing, let alone knew much about the facility itself. At one location in the mid-west, I was allowed to tour their facility unsupervised and was told the membership rates on the way out the door. And guess what! They never followed up on my visit.

Giving a proper tour takes knowledge, skill, and practice. Here are a few tips: Greet your prospect and introduce yourself. Give them a guest registration form and ask them to take a moment to register. Don’t say, “Fill this out.” Nobody likes to be told to fill anything out. After they have completed the guest registration, give them a brief outline on what the tour will involve. Explain the areas you will be touring and let them know that at the end of the tour you will be sitting down with them to discuss their fitness needs and the different membership programs.  

As you can see, there are a lot of important steps to handling telephone information calls and giving proper tours. So give us a call and we’ll gladly share our systems and resources with you. All you have to do is ask.

For more information on this subject, give us a call at 925-672-4800 and we will gladly do our best to answer your questions. You can also visit our website at for more information. 

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