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8 Steps To Teach Your Coaches How to Sell Gym Memberships

By Sean Greeley

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Your phone rings.

You’ve just walked in the door after an exhausting day of training clients and meeting with prospects.

You were hoping to finally sit down for dinner with your family and spend some quality time with them.

But your phone is buzzing and it might be a prospect who’s trying to call you back… and you can’t afford to miss out on that.

Sixty hour workweeks and ZERO freedom… this isn’t what you imagined when you decided to open your own fitness business…

But you don’t have to continue being a slave to every prospect who inquires about your business – you just have to learn how to grow and develop other people sell for you.

So where do you start? Who should you hire to fill that role? Where do you find them? And how do you train staff to give prospects a great first impression and close sales just like you do?

In today’s blog, I’m going to share eight steps you can take to replace yourself in the sales function of your business, grow faster, and get more freedom as a business owner.

Vision is everything.

And if you’re not clear on what success looks like, you’ll never be able to create a plan to get there.

Think of working with a new fitness client. Do you create a workout program before discussing their goals?


First you have to know where they want to go.

Do they want to lose weight? Get toned? Gain muscle?

Once you understand their vision and what success looks like for them, THEN you can create a plan to help them achieve it.

The same goes for you (and your business).

This process starts with asking the right questions in three important areas:

Your Life

What does your ideal day look like? How many hours per week do you work on your business? What role do you most enjoy performing in your business? What do you want to have more freedom to do outside of your business?

If you’re saying, “Ok, Sean… but I’ve done this before.” Great. Let me tell you what I tell our clients… let me see it in writing.

Thinking about something, and intellectually understanding it, IS NOT THE SAME AS DOING IT.

Sit down. Get this done.

Your Business

How many clients do you want your business to be serving? What type of revenue will that generate for your business each month? How many new clients will you need to add to your business to hit those targets?

Hiring Your First Sales Professional

What are the qualities that you want to see in someone else representing your business with a new prospective client? What values do you want them to align with? What type of passion do you want them to be able to communicate? What motivates and drives this person to perform the role?

This is critical.

Your beliefs MUST support your vision… otherwise you won’t ever be able to achieve your goals.

Too many fitness business owners have the mindset of “I’m the only one who can sell.”

If you believe you’re the only one who can do it, you’re right.

If you want to do everything forever, keep telling yourself that and continue selling by yourself.

You’ll be in the same place you are now in 12 months. Not much will have changed.

In order to grow as a fitness business owner, you’ve got to adopt the mindset that others can sell, and you must learn how to recruit, develop, and lead others to sell for you so you can make a bigger impact.

The faster you get rid of your head trash and start believing other people can crush sales in your business… the faster you’ll actually make that happen!

If you currently have team members working for you, take some time to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Can you develop any of them to pre-qualify prospective clients or train them to be a sales rockstar?

If you don’t have any staff, or you don’t have anyone you could train to be a sales professional, start the recruiting process.

Most fitness business owners make a ton of mistakes when it comes to recruiting.

And especially when recruiting for a sales role for the first time.

Don’t focus on the potential candidates’ sales experience.

Look for who they are – not what experience they have.

Is the candidate a good core value fit? Do they have a strong passion for the helping others reach their goals? Are they enthusiastic about your purpose and mission?

Look for those things first because they can’t be taught. You can always train on systems and tools later.

Keep in mind that prospective clients don’t pay you for your time… or your qualifications, location, equipment, brand, etc.

They’re paying for your VALUE.

V = CE + R + R

Value = Client Experience + Relationship + Results You Deliver

If the people you’re recruiting (for any role!) aren’t a good fit for your culture, chances are that they’re not going to support your mission of providing a great client experience or building strong relationships with prospective clients.

Remember this equation as you go through the recruiting process instead of simply making your decision based on a resume.

There’s nothing more frustrating from a staff member’s perspective than to not understand what success looks like, what is expected of them, and how to perform their job well.

You MUST set goals for your company and individual staff members from day one.

That’s your responsibility as a leader and business owner.

But simply creating a list of tasks for them to do isn’t going to help you grow your business to long-term success.

Instead, develop a scorecard which has three main components:

  1. Mission – This is the essence of why the job exists and should be tied directly to your company’s overall mission.
  2. Outcomes – These are 3 – 8 results that someone will be held accountable for delivering in the role.
  3. Competencies – These are what the candidate must bring to the table in order to get the job done and cannot necessarily be taught, such as honesty and integrity, intelligence, organization, etc.

As you develop a sales professional, just as you would develop any member of your team, you must show them how they can achieve their goals by helping prospective clients commit to their goals.

And take some time to get to know what motivates your team.

Everyone is motivated differently, and understanding what motivates your staff can increase sales revenue and improve their performance…FAST.

With sales roles, most business owners think that it’s all about commission.

But very often, we’ve found that a lot of team members (some of which who can perform this role very well) are not “money motivated.” Here are some other popular incentives to consider:

  • Recognition
  • Time off
  • Rewards and bonuses
  • Etc.

Discover what motivates each of your staff members.

How do you do that?

Just ask!

Not only will it show that you care about them and what they want…but it proves you’re committed to helping them succeed…and THAT’S what makes a happy sales professional who’s motivated to help you achieve your mission.

Put incentives in place, and then ensure your staff is given whatever support they need to hit their personal goals (by hitting your company goals!).

Using a sales system in your fitness business is crucial to closing sales consistently, but it’s even MORE important when you start trying to train other people how to sell for you.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve taught our 7.5 Step Advanced Fitness Sales System called AUTO-CLOSER® to more than 24,000 fitness professionals and business owners in 95 countries.

Because it’s a true system, you can train someone how to use it and get the same consistent and predictable results that you would get using it.

It doesn’t matter whether or not someone is “on” that day.

AUTO-CLOSER® is a system that teaches anyone how to sell fitness and personal training services and helps you:

  • Change your outlook on sales to embrace your professional responsibility to educate prospects
  • Effectively communicate the value of your services and confidently charge what you’re worth
  • Price and package your services to sell what your clients need to be successful and deliver results they’re looking for

AUTO-CLOSER® consists of 7.5 steps, including:

Step 0.5 – Pre Qualification

This step MUST occur before you get face-to-face with a prospect! It will help you overcome the two most common objections you’ll ever get in selling fitness services:  “That’s too expensive” (price objection) and “I need to talk it over with my partner” (spouse objection). And it will help you save time – and time is money!

Step 1 – Rapport Building

Establishing rapport simply means helping your prospect get comfortable. They don’t know you, and you don’t know them. And during a consultation, you’ll talk about some very personal stuff – their health and fitness goals. As a professional, it’s your job to make them comfortable.

Step 2 – Probing and Discovery Questions

Ask a series of questions about your prospect’s goals, motivation, level of commitment, current exercise and nutrition habits, etc. The important key here is to ask a question and allow your prospect to do all the talking until they reveal the emotional reasons why they truly want to solve their problem or achieve their goal.

Step 3 – Identify Needs

The big mistake almost every fitness professional makes is to assume that because they understand a prospect’s needs, the prospect will inherently understand their own needs. But this assumption is dead wrong. In this step, you’re holding up the mirror to help them see for themselves.

Step 4 – Problem Building

This is the most important step of all. Without problem building, it’s VERY hard to establish any type of value to your solution! The better you become at building the problem as a sales professional, the easier it is for your prospect to run towards your solution and buy what you’re selling.

Step 5 – Present the Solution

It’s been proven in studies that having a visual aid in your sales presentation can increase comprehension by as much as 400% in the mind of your prospect. We recommend presenting your program visually to clearly communicate what you sell and more easily close the sale!

Step 6 – Close the Sale

Closing is NOT something you do to someone. It’s an opportunity you give them. You offer your prospect an opportunity to grab the solution they want and buy what you sell. When it’s done right, closing is effortless. It’s simply a natural extension of your sales process.

Step 7 – Objection Handling

If you didn’t handle the first six steps correctly, then you get to go for a seventh round – objection handling. The top objections are price, spouse, the need to think it over, and the purchase of a low-end package. It’s crucial to stay in full control of the sales process and know how to handle each one of these.

In order to fully implement the AUTO-CLOSER®, you’ll need to get two tools in place: a pre-qualification script (part of step 0.5) and a sales presentation (part of step 5).

The Pre-Qualification Script

As a small business owner, your most valuable asset is your time, and you must protect it.

Ultimately, it’s wasteful to invest your time in a prospect who’s not qualified for your programs, and it’s disrespectful to a prospect to waste their time.

The two most important things to get out of pre-qualification is to make sure the prospect can A) afford your services and B) have the power to make a buying decision.

WARNING: Skip this step at your own risk!

Pick up the phone (or if they’re a walk-in, have a conversation with them) and pre-qual the prospect before you sit down with them for a consultation.

When a prospect can’t afford your services and/or doesn’t have the power to make a buying decision, it doesn’t matter how good of a sales professional you or your staff member is. If you sit down for a consult with them, THEY WON’T BUY!

And you’ll either have lost them… or you’ll have to reschedule your consultation until the prospect comes with the decision-maker…which just wastes time and money.

If you do pre-qualification the right way, you’re going to give a professional experience to all of your prospects, give them the information they need to take the next step, and determine whether you should guide them to the next step (meeting with you face-to-face for a consultation).

The Sales Presentation

We recommend that you present your program visually as part of AUTO-CLOSER® Step 5:  Presenting the Solution.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a PowerPoint presentation that’s branded with your business (colors, logos, etc.) and helps you:

  1. Demonstrate the process of how you work with a client to get them to their goals.
  2. Talk about the types of assessments you perform.
  3. Showcase what’s involved in program design in working with a client. You can include things like nutrition, supplementation, resistance training, metabolic conditioning, flexibility, your coaching, etc.
  4. Discuss how you’re going to implement this program to help the prospect get the results they’re looking for. You need to include how you operationally work with clients. Do you hold weekly check-ins? Monthly check-ins?
  5. Give the prospect a projection on the timeline required for them to achieve their goals. This sets client expectations and gives you the opportunity to talk about the difference between training twice a week versus four times a week and how that affects the length of time it will take them to reach their goals.
  6. Describe your conditional guarantee. We recommend providing a guarantee on your services.
  7. Add social proof. This is your chance to show that you’ve achieved results with people just like the prospective client you’re talking to. Include before and after pictures and be sure to tell story to make your social proof more relatable.
  8. Present your pricing and packaging. This leads directly into closing the sale.

After you’ve hired a sales professional, it’s crucial to train them on how to perform both the pre-qualification AND the sales process, as both are equally important to the long-term success of your business.

Teach someone the 7.5 step system (once you’ve mastered it yourself), show them how to use the tools, and role-play the sales presentation with them until they can do it by memory.

One of the most important steps that most business owners miss is to conduct a debriefing.

Have the sales professional complete a self assessment, and make sure you also complete an assessment of their performance, which you’ll use in the next step.

But that takes time and I’m already working too many hours and doing too many things.

Here’s what you must remember: You must invest more time now in training your sales professional to gain more freedom after you duplicate yourself.

There’s no way around that.

You can choose to continue working nonstop in your business…or you can go hard for a couple of weeks as you get your sales professional up to speed and then finally have the time to do things you love to do.

The choice is yours.

In order to determine if you’re moving towards your goals, you must start tracking your progress.

Have each sales professional in your business use a tracking sheet to ensure they’re hitting their numbers and achieving the outcomes you’ve set for them.

You can easily recreate the example below in an excel sheet and get them printed to ensure everyone is on track!

As a leader in your fitness business, it’s up to YOU to ensure your sales professionals (and all staff members!) are consistently growing and hitting their metrics.

Creating a feedback loop helps determine how your staff performed and ensure the correct processes were followed.

Review their self assessment and your assessment of them before having a discussion about where they’re succeeding, where they’re breaking down (and why), and what they can do to continue improving and achieving their goals.

Do this consistently and it won’t be long before you’re generating more revenue, developing stronger sales professionals, and making strides to achieve your company’s mission!


The function of closing sales can make or break the success of your business. It’s as simple as that.

But holding onto the mindset that you’re the only one who can sell will lead to long hours, endless work, and a business that’s bound to get stuck for weeks, months, and years ahead.

Once you have the systems and tools to duplicate yourself AND understand how to hire, train, and develop someone else to perform the sales role in your business effectively… you’ll be able to sell more and work less while your business continues to grow a whole lot faster.

Follow the 8 steps outlined in this guide to begin stepping out of the sales role in your business, get more control of your business (and life), help more prospective clients commit to their goals, and enjoy more freedom to do the things you love to do!

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