A case study on 100 clubs across the country aims to identify areas for improvement and devise effective strategies to enhance the membership inquiry and sales experience.
As we navigate the post-Covid times, the vast majority of private clubs across the United States have returned to the numerous challenges in attracting new members similar to four years ago. Organic leads have decreased, lead-to-close times have lengthened, attrition rates are on the rise, and initiation fees have increased substantially due to the peak interest of club memberships.
In response to these hurdles, our organization conducted a comprehensive case study on membership sales processes, focusing on 100 private clubs throughout the country. The study aimed to identify areas for improvement and devise effective strategies to enhance the membership inquiry and sales experience.
For our case study, we surveyed 100 private clubs representing a diverse range of initiation fees, varying from $2,500 to $120,000. The selection process included clubs from all across the U.S., ensuring a broad geographical representation along with every type of ownership (private, corporate, and member-owned). To gather data, we utilized online membership inquiry forms available on club websites.
The findings of our case study were striking, shedding light on the pressing need for a revamped membership sales process. One of the most surprising revelations was that 26% of the clubs did not respond to our inquiries at all, indicating a missed opportunity for potential sales. Among the clubs that did respond, 95% chose e-mail as their primary method of communication, while only 5% attempted to connect with us over the phone.
Analyzing the response times of the clubs, we discovered significant variations in their promptness. Approximately 43% of the private clubs responded within a commendable two-hour window, demonstrating a prompt and efficient approach. Around 12% of clubs took between 2 to 6 hours to respond, indicating minor delays. Nearly 23% of clubs had response times ranging from 6 to 24 hours, reflecting moderate delays. Raising considerable concern, 9.5% of clubs took between 1 to 3 days to respond, signifying substantial delays. Most eye opening, however, was the fact that 12.2% of clubs responded after more than 3 days, which can be considered significant delays in today’s fast-paced world.
The case study also shed light on the clubs’ follow-up practices and sales approaches. Shockingly, only 8.1% of the clubs made any effort to follow up with us after the initial contact, missing an opportunity to nurture potential leads. While 85% of clubs provided pricing information along with their first contact, merely disclosing pricing without further engagement, rapport-building, and qualifying of prospective members, may not yield optimal results or a thorough sales process.
On a more positive note, 54% of clubs expressed a genuine interest in showcasing their facilities, offering to give us a tour, which demonstrates a proactive approach to highlighting their amenities. Additionally, 14.9% of clubs informed us that they were operating with a waitlist, indicating a continued strong demand for membership in some clubs.
The insights garnered from our secret shopping exercise on 100 private clubs across the United States revealed crucial aspects of the membership sales processes. While e-mail communication emerged as the preferred method, a significant number of clubs failed to respond to our inquiries altogether. The delays in response time and the lack of follow-up represent key areas that require improvement to provide a satisfactory membership inquiry experience.
In a series of blog posts and videos, Capstone Hospitality dove deeper into effective strategies for enhancing the membership sales process. We invite you to stay tuned for further insights and recommendations on how private clubs can optimize their sales techniques and ensure long-term success.
Based on the results of our study, we recommend that private clubs take the following steps to improve their membership sales process:
– Respond to inquiries promptly. The first 24 hours are critical when it comes to generating interest in a club. Clubs should strive to respond to inquiries within 2 hours, if possible.
– While e-mail seems to be the preferred method of communication for most clubs, it is imperative to use phone calls instead to help build rapport with prospects and learn what they’re looking for in a club.
– Personalize the sales process. Take the time to learn about each prospect’s needs and interests before making a sales pitch. This will help you to connect with them on a personal level and increase the chances of closing the deal.
– Follow up regularly. Don’t just send a follow-up e-mail after the initial inquiry. Continue to stay in touch with prospects throughout the sales process to keep them engaged and interested in joining your club.
By following these recommendations, private clubs can improve their membership sales process and increase their chances of success.
Capstone Hospitality has partnered with more than 70 private clubs throughout North America, helping them experience tremendous growth and financial stability through their proven methods and cutting-edge technologies. The process starts with a full and complimentary analysis of a club’s facilities and membership strategies, followed by the creation of an in-depth plan that addresses unique goals and needs. Next, a member of Capstone’s sales team seamlessly integrates into the club’s cultural fabric, executing on the customized strategic plan. This hands-on approach ensures that staff knows a client’s business inside-and-out and can adjust tactics as needed.