The 6-Step Sales Formula: How to Use Science to Sell Gym Memberships

Imagine having a scientific method you could use to lead people down a sales path, turning visitors into members along the way.

Now stop imagining… because that actually exists, and i’m going to walk you through those steps below.

This methodology is based on on a book called The Science of Selling by David Hoffield, and I highly recommend reading it if you want to learn more.

The idea is that there are 6 major questions/objections that need to be addressed in the buyers journey, and when you’re able to overcome those objections – you’ll stand a greater chance at selling the visitor on what you’re offering.

The order of these 6 steps tend to reflect the order of the internal monologue that’s going on inside the buyer’s mind.

If you as the seller are able to explain the buyers problem better than they can, then your message will resonate with them.

So let’s get started.

#1 – Why Change?

According to studies, you have less than 3 second for your website to convince someone that your website has a potential solution to your visitors problem.

That’s not a lot of time.

All of this generally takes place above the website fold, before the user even scrolls, in what most people call the “Hero” section of the website.

The Hero section will contain your core messaging and is therefore one of the BIGGEST influencers of visitor action (aka, lead signup).

The problem is that your Hero section has to clearly communicate with your target customer using language that isn’t too vague, and isn’t too specific.

  • Language that is too vague will cause many visitors to think that you don’t really understand their problem.
  • Language that is too specific will cause many visitors to think your solution might not be the right fit for them.

And of course, we want our language to polarize – it should attract to our target customer and repel customers that don’t have a value for our approach.

How do we accomplish this?

We make sure our Hero messaging takes the user through the “Why, What, How” sequence.

What is the Why, What, How sequence?

  • Why should they care?
    This is often what many people refer to as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – it’s what you focus on to differentiate your gym from all the competition.

    This part of your message should tie into why someone is looking for change. The more you can resonate with that feeling, the more likely they’ll signup.

    Consider this example:

    If your main message was “Forging Elite Lifters”, who are you primarily appealing to?

    Either powerlifters or olympic lifters… right?

    Of course, that’s a little vague… a powerlifter may come across the site and think it’s for olympic lifters.

    But if you changed it to “Forging Elite Olympic Weightlifters”, then your message would resonate with weightlifters that wanted to be at the top of their game, and it would repel powerlifters, crossfitter, bodybuilders, and probably even yogis… ok, it would definitely repel yogis.

  • What do you do?
    This is where you cover your core programs – the services that contribute the most towards client success.

    If your message is “Forging Elite Olympic Weightlifters”, then your “What” would most likely be “Weightlifting Coaching”, “Individual Programming” and “Nutrition Coaching”.

    This helps set visitor expectations on how you deliver the “why”.

  • How do they learn more?
    This is the call-to-action button, and you would be surprised at how many businesses miss the mark on this.

    Before we go into how to create a compelling call-to-action, let’s talk about what we’re creating a call-to-action for.

    A call-to-action should direct the user to the preferred lowest barrier of entry.

    In other words, it doesn’t go straight for the sale. While “Sign Up for Membership” might be what you want them to end up doing, most gyms have a free intro session they want people to come to first.

    What makes the best call-to-action?

    • Actionable –
      “Learn More”, “Start Now” are both weak actions… Instead, you want to reflect the action you want them to take. “Schedule” might work, as well as “Sign Up”.
    • First-person pronouns –
      When you make things personal, people tend to respond better. So using “My” instead of “Your” or even “A” would work well.
    • Descriptive –
      You want to describe what they’ll be receiving, because people like to know what’s going on ahead of time. So instead of “Sign Up Now”, you could use “Schedule My Free Intro Session”

The goal of the Hero section isn’t immediate perfection, so don’t spend a ton of time looking for the perfect message.

Instead, look for incremental improvement.

Over time, you’ll see how the website messaging affects the quality of prospects that come in the door.

#2 – Why Now?

You can have a message that resonates, and yet still not convince someone that now is the right time to act.

The two biggest drivers for change are fear of loss, and desire for gain.

In the gym business, fear of loss is hard to get people to care about, and even harder to advertise for (because when you focus on loss, you tend to make people feel bad – and that violates Facebook ad policies).

So you’d want to focus on the desire for gain.

And you’d want to pull it into the near future by using a time estimate.

This helps people visualize results in a way that is tangible.

It’s also why challenges work so well… because everyone can visualize the next 30 days or the next 6 weeks.

“30 Day Weight Loss Challenge”

Sounds doable, right?

But what about a 16 week program?

That’s a long time… especially for someone new.

They aren’t ready for that kind of commitment.

“See Results in As Little As 6 Weeks”

Perfect. Now you’ve set some expectations, and given them something to look forward to.

#3 – Why use Fitness/CrossFit?

This is probably the easiest step in the framework… because most people will be searching within this industry when they find you.

However, you still need to check the box.

Assure them that the methodology works.

#4 – Why Your Gym?

The biggest tragedy in sales is when you’re able to convince someone that CrossFit is right for them, only to find out that they decided to go to a closer or cheaper gym.

And most of the time, the problem originates when you don’t send the right message or set the right expectations in the Hero.

If you aren’t able to sell YOUR GYM, then all the other steps are worthless.

You may as well be advertising for CrossFit directly.

Instead, you want to make sure you know WHAT you’re selling (in case you forgot – you’re selling your USP), and you need to position your gym as the best (if not only) place to have that problem solved.

How do you achieve this?

Case studies, or any type of member-based success story. We’re not looking for how the member necessarily feels, we’re looking for proof of the kind of success that you’re promising.

If your main message is “Forging Elite Olympic Weightlifters”, then a good way to show that your gym is the solution is by showing a few of your members and the accomplishments they’ve made while in your program.

Now… this is where most gyms tend to miss the mark.

Because they aren’t making any specific promises in their messaging, they have no clear successes to show.

So instead, they tend to show testimonials where the member says good things about the gym.

That’s a huge problem!

The focus should be on showing that your members have achieved the results you promised… not on whether they think you have a great gym, or how great your coaches are.

Those testimonials are good to have, but not here.

Focus on the measurable results. The power is in the details.

#5 – Why Your Program?

Now that you’ve made a promise (in step #1), and shown some proof that you can deliver on it (in step #4), you need to give people an idea on how you do it.

Essentially, you need to sell your program.

People not only want to know that you can get results, but they want to be assured that how you get results fits with what they’re expecting.

For example:

In the “Forging Elite Olympic Weightlifters” example, if the only explanation you had for your program was “weightlifting classes”, then many people are going to see your initial promise as fluff.

They know it takes more than “weightlifting classes” to achieve elite weightlifting status.

And they’ll think you’re either blowing smoke, or that you’re holding something back.

Both of these things will prevent someone from engaging with you.

Instead, you have to show them you know what you’re doing in terms they can understand.

By doing this, you’ll get them to buy into your process.

#6 – Why Spend the Money?

The final step…

Why should they part ways with their precious earned money?

Because others have done it, and they are happy with their experience.

Most people have a fear of buyers remorse… they can buy into everything – the message, the company, the results, the strategy… and yet still fail to move forward because they’re afraid they’ll regret their decision.

The easiest way to overcome this is through strategic testimonials where your client shares how happy they are they went through the process.

This shows that other people have gone before them, and found that it was worth it.

It’s social proof at it’s finest.

In Conclusion:

You can create an attractive website and hope that it generates leads, or you can take a scientific approach that has been used to sell millions of dollars worth the products.

And like a good scientist, you’ll learn what’s working and what isn’t, you’ll adjust, and you’ll continue increase the performance of your website.

You’ll turn your website into a sales machine.