How to be an Ethical Health Club Salesperson

September 30, 2013

By: Jim Thomas
Fitness Management & Consulting

We were asked recently to conduct a health club sales training class on ethical selling practices. The following are some of the points that came out of that training seminar/workshop.

Whenever I conduct a training class of this nature, I start by asking each person in attendance the first thing that pops into their head when the word “sales” is mentioned. I am always amazed at the negative descriptions many people use for sales.

I get the sense that this negative perception some health club people have about sales is used as a permission slip to “just get the sale.” Here is what came from the training session:

  1. Don’t intentionally misrepresent anything.
    Never, never, never lie to a health club member or guest. About anything. Ever. Period. That should be pretty straightforward.
  2. Make it a priority to fix any significant misunderstandings that you can.
    It’s possible that your member or guest will form incorrect ideas or beliefs about your health club.

    It’s very tempting, when these misunderstandings work in your favor, to ignore them. On the important issues that impact the membership sale, allowing misunderstandings to exist is called an act of passive dishonesty. Correct them when you can.

  3. Without exception, you should work hard for the health club owner.
    It’s easy for a health club salesperson to give in to the temptation to cut corners when it comes to working a full day, every day. After all, who really knows if you make your first prospect call at 9:00 A.M. instead of 8:30 A.M.?

    A code of ethics is easy to live by when the club owner is watching. But it’s a real test of character when your ethics are tested in situations where no one else knows, and you know you can get away with it. You owe your club owner consistent, full days of your best efforts at the health club. Anything less is unethical. Do the right thing when no one is watching.

  4. If you say you’ll do something, do what you say you are going to do.
    This isn’t as easy as it sounds. In its’ simplest form, don’t over promise. That’s difficult to do when you’re in the middle of a competitive situation over a big corporate sale, and you know the health club around the corner is over promising to get the sale. But, if you’re going to be an ethical health club salesperson, you won’t over promise, because you know you won’t be able to do what you say you’re going to do.
  5. No one does it alone, recognize those who help you.
    It’s easy to get into the mind-set that you alone are responsible for your health club selling success. After all, you’re out there all alone, fighting the membership sales battle every day. Nobody else knows what good work you did following up to get that sale, or how hard it is some days when nothing goes your way.

    In spite of this, you couldn’t do your job without the support of a staff of people at the front desk, on the workout floor, in maintenance, etc. Your health club owner gave you an opportunity and nurtured you along. I’m sure the front desk has cleaned up more than a few of your messes, and they have positively impacted many of your new members and guests.

    All of these health club support staff has contributed in significant ways to your success in selling memberships. It is just as dishonest to not recognize them as it is to misrepresent the health club.

  6. Be coachable and willing to continuously learn and improve.
    You are not as good at health club sales as you can be. You have yet to reach your potential in the health club industry. One of the reasons why the club owner hired you for membership sales is that they saw potential in you. I believe you have an ethical obligation, not only to the health club owner but also to yourself, to become as good as you can be… to continuously improve yourself. When you decide that you are good enough, that you know about all you need to know about health club sales, you quit learning and improving. And when that happens, you rob yourself and your health club of that potential you have that will not be developed. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. There is no in between.

Now, let’s get ready to sell. Ethically.