Seven Stages of Selling Process

By understanding and organizing the seven-stage sales process into the form of a well-organized sales presentation, you’ll cover all the ground necessary to get the prospect to sign on the dotted line. This process follows true, whether you’re selling health club, full-service, racquetball, tennis, swimming, or any other membership type.

The seven stages of selling are:

1. Greeting and personalization stage.

2. Attention stage.

3. Qualifying stage.

4. Interest stage.

5. Conviction stage.

6. Benefit Summary stage.

7. Closing stage.

These seven sales stages flow from one to another, periodically going back and forth to reinforce each other. Now let’s discuss them one at a time.

The Greeting and Personalization Stage

Object: To personalize this sale as soon as possible. Chances are, the decision to join is going to be an emotional one, not an analytical one. Make it easy for your prospects to say “yes” to you. You’re in the people business - it’s important to let your prospect know this right away. You have very little time to gain a person’s attention, especially a favorable one, so you must start off with a warm, Welcome to the club approach. Get out in the open... don’t hide behind a desk or counter. Smile and greet your prospect warmly. “I’m glad you could come in tonight and see the club, Mr. Harris.” A firm handshake and heartfelt smile goes a long way beyond breaking the ice.

The Attention Stage

Object: To get the attention of your prospect. You should start to control the conversation from this point on (and you’ve only about 10 seconds to do this). Since you only have 10 seconds or so to establish your first impression, you should know your basic direction before you start. A genuine compliment or comment of concern is a good approach. State it in a question form such as “I’m glad you could make it into the club, Mr. Harris - how were the roads?” or “That’s a great-looking suit - what kind of material is it?”. These sort of questions will prompt the prospect into talking about themselves, the roads or their suit. You’re now off and running. Another little technique often used when start- ing a tour of any sort is to relate some incredibly wild statistic about your club just to keep things on the light side, such as “When this building was constructed, it took 727,000 pounds of concrete to build each racquetball court.”

The Qualifying Stage

Object: To discover your prospect’s dominant buying motive. This is a question-and-answer period best accomplished during a club tour or in an area of the club designated to selling member- ships. As you go through your presentation, you’ll be asking questions regarding the prospect - with the aim of taking the pieces of the puzzle and fitting them to serve your prospect’s needs. People join clubs to serve a need. Whether it be social, physical, psychological or financial, that particular need exists and it’s your job to find out what it is. “Are you working out now?” “Are you thinking about getting started in a fitness program?” “What about your wife? Will she be interested in aerobic dance?” “Do you think your kids would like the pool?” And so on, until you’ve got all the tools.

The Interest Stage

Object: To demonstrate how the club can be of service to the prospect and his family. Now that you’ve identified the wants, needs and desires of your prospect, you must create an interest in what’s going on - emphasizing, of course, your prospect’s specific wants. Basically, it’s at this point here where he or she will start justifying the membership cost in their mind, as well as how they’re going to schedule it into their day - and, of course, how they’re going to tell their spouse that they’ve joined a club today. “Our nutritionist can help both you and your wife develop good eating habits and lose weight.” “Yes, we have a group of good players with a challenge court and challenge ladder that you can get on right away and start competing.” “The club opens up at 6 a.m. so you can drop by on your way to work.” “I’ll be glad to introduce you to our fitness director and get you started on a program right away.” Once again, here’s the time and place to stress the services the club has to offer.”

The Conviction Stage

Object: To get the prospect progressively convinced that the services and benefits of the club outweigh the disadvantages. It’s here where you must give facts that the club is all that it’s cracked up to be. Tell the prospect how he or she will benefit. Tell them how other members have benefited. Use name-dropping here. “You know John Smith has been a member for two years. He has a back like yours and the doctor told him to swim. He’s been at it now for four months and is doing great.” Compare your prospect with other members he or she may know that have similar needs.

The Summary Stage

Object: To get the prospect to project themselves into the role of an existing member and to summarize the benefits as if he or she were a member now. “As I understand it, Mr. Harris, you’re interested in playing competitive racquetball. What level of play would you like to start at on the challenge ladder?” “I understand you want to get started on losing that 40 pounds before New Year’s Day. Our fitness instructor is on his way down to show you what type of program he has set up for you to get started on.”

Try to project your prospect into a club role: “If you get started tonight, you’ll be ready for the state championships by June.”

The Closing Stage

Object: To get the prospective member to make a decision in favor of purchasing a membership and giving you cash or check to consummate the deal. One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to go through the entire routine of a tour, discuss the facilities, qualify the buyer, but fail to ask the prospect to join. Most of us don’t like rejection, and thus, avoid it when we can.

You must face up to this possibility upon each sale, or be doomed for lifelong failure. To make it easy for the prospect to say “yes”, you will use a technique called trial closes. This is an attempt to gently nudge the prospect in the direction of joining without actually having to say yes or no or make the black and white decision. Such trial closes could include questions as:

1. Which membership do you think will be best for you?

2. Would you prefer billing to start on the 15th or 30th?

3. Will that be cash or check?

4. Are you going to include your wife today?

By asking these questions, both you as the seller and the prospect as the buyer are working your way to an assumption that he or she will join. Try to get them to answer questions affirmatively by asking questions that you feel will be answered with a YES response. In most cases, by using the trial closes, you’ll be leading your prospect into a membership without outright asking if they’re going to join or not.

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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