If you’ve been in this business for a while you’ve probably heard the old adage: “The be-back bus doesn’t come back” or some other variation. The clichés were based on the fact that most times if a sale isn’t made on the first day, the missed guest seldom returns.

Consumers are too smart these days to fall for strongarm tactics or smarmy sales pitches.  So there are many times, no matter how good you are, that you will miss sales.  Combine that with the fact that there are a dozen other fitness options awaiting your missed guest, and you certainly want to believe in the be back bus.

Too many salespeople are focused on the next sale, rarely taking the time to effectively follow up with any missed guests, simply because they believe the be back bus doesn’t come back.  Well, the be back bus DOES come back if you follow a few simple rules to get them to know you, like you, and trust you.

  • Send a handwritten note or thank you card, expressing your appreciation for them taking the time out of their day to come see you.  If you didn’t provide a trial membership pass or gift card before they left your facility, make sure you provide one inside the envelope.  If you did provide them a trial pass or gift card, include an extra one for them to give to a friend.
  • Send an email or text message the same day they visit your facility, thanking them for their time and reminding them of their fitness goals they shared with you
  • Call them within 48 hours. I would just say, “Hi John, its Curtis from Anytime Fitness. I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was meeting you the other day and to see if there were any other questions about how we can help you with ________(fitness goals).

If you get their voicemail, leave same message but bait the hook with some type of mystery reason to call you back:  “Call me back because I just found out about something that you’ll find really cool”.

The calls can continue frequently for a few weeks, and more sporadically over time.  You only remove them from your call list if they have asked you to stop calling..  Remember, you don’t know what is going on in their life right now and you might just call in a moment of need.

Invite them to any event you are hosting.  A member appreciation event, a month end closeout, a seminar, etc.  You can also always call to extend their trial pass that has expired.  Or you can call and let them know that the club is going to pay for them to meet with a personal trainer.

If you follow this system diligently, you will find that there are more people than you thought who are willing to get on the be back bus.  A missed opportunity to sell on a first visit doesn’t necessarily mean the sale is lost forever.  The decision to join a gym is a big decision and there are some people who just need more time to think.  Get these people to know you, like you, and trust that you have their best interests in mind, and you will be surprised at how many make their way back through your doors.

    10 replies to "Does anyone ride the “be back” bus?"

    • Andre

      Great post! Very true. A little work will get them back in the door. We do get caught up in the next close and forget/fail to follow up with ‘the one that got away’. Thanks for the great info and reminder.

      Keep it coming!

    • Keith

      This is good…. but….so far in my experience there are only a certain kind of person that this can work for. The ones that are absolutely blown off their chair at your rates, even after providing and proving the value of your classes and what you have to offer, they just won’t come back because they literally can not afford those rates. “If you are offered a brand new BMW for $100 it is only a good deal if you have a $100, but if you don’t have it, then it just won’t work”. So I suggest be selective as to who it is that you are following up on so that you aren’t wasting your time.

      • Keith, I’ll have to disagree. If someone comes to your gym, they have enough expendable income to join. They wouldn’t have come otherwise. Even if you have a premium product at a premium price, there is ALWAYS a way for them to buy. If you charge $100/month and you find out that they eat fast food 4 days a week at $5 per meal, that’s $80/month they’ll save not eating out. And what if they tell you they drink 3 soft drinks a day. If you can convince them to bring that down to 1 per day, that’s five 12-packs of soda they don’t have to purchase each month.

        Additionally, if your $100 membership has more value than your competitor’s $30 membership, they will buy yours. If people can find a way to drink beer on the weekends, go see a movie, eat out, buy the new iphone, or any number of things people buy, they have the money to join your facility. I PROMISE you that you’ve never lost a sale because they can’t afford it. If they told you they can’t afford it, it simply means you didn’t provide enough information to prove to them that what you offer is worth the amount you’re asking them to part with or worth giving up something else they currently spend money on.

        Make sense?

    • Larry

      Curtis as always good post, just a quick comment on being able to afford. What can’t be afforded this week, may be able to be afforded the following week. Also, it is usually not I can afford or not afford it is a matter of priortization and you don’t know when that change will occur in their life. Also, can’t afford is an excuse used primarily to get out of making a decision, because who can argue with it. Keep in mind people usually don’t waste their time by periodically checking into a gym membership when they know they can’t afford it. Most people don’t spend their leisure time stalking gym owners and managers, making them give tours with absolutely no sense that at the end, they will not buy. There is something that brought them to your center, it is your job to find it while they were there, if you didn’t shame on you. **keith I could go on, however, the following quote is for you. “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    • Another thing to remember is that even non-members can refer. I have given stellar tours and customer service and not sold a membership because our facility just simply didn’t meet their specific needs. Multiple times I have had people refer others they know to my club because they know were are awesome and we DO fit their friends fitness needs. If you are giving quality, passionate service and believe in what you are selling… you will never miss a sale. It just may come back to you in different forms.:)

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