Using a Sales Funnel to Boost Your Membership Conversions

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Your health club memberships are sold through a funnel. They have really always been sold through a funnel. However, today the sales funnel is a key concept to marketing and sales in the digital age.

A sales funnel is the marketing term for the journey potential members go through on the way to purchase a gym or studio membership, class card, package, or any other product or service you may sell. There are several steps to a sales funnel, usually known as the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, although these steps may vary depending on individual sales models used by different fitness facilities.

Every fitness club and studio owner knows the pain that comes with missing a sale after the long process of finding the prospect, touring the prospect, making the sales pitch and then after the close the prospect gives you a big, fat “no.”

Of course, sales is a numbers game. However, the more your marketing and sales funnel is fine-tuned, the more likely you are to get the right prospective member in front of you or your sales team leading to a more likely “yes” when you ask for the sale.


The first of the sales funnel stages is called “awareness,” because it’s where people first become aware of your fitness club or studio. This can come from many areas both paid and unpaid. It can be from a current member referral or a mailer or increasingly through paid and unpaid digital means such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or other social media sites.

Once you’ve got their attention, it is now time to move prospects through the funnel via both marketing and sales activities. This movement will lead them down through the middle and lower sales funnel stages. Those who move through are the ones you really want to pay the most attention to, as they have more value to your business than just knowing you exist. It can be thought of as the digital equivalent of someone walking by your gym or walking in your gym to take a look around.


This is where you have the attention of the prospect and where your digital – and even off-line — marketing is key to getting the prospect to be a marketing qualified lead (MQL). You want to build a closer relationship with customers during the interest phase, with the key being to capture their email. Videos, blogs, e-newsletters, how-to guides, checklists and other content that fitness club prospects can sign up for as well as trial pass or complimentary group fitness class offers are all ways to do this.


Shopping for a membership gets real during this stage. The prospective member may be comparing your club to a competitor down the street. They may be deciding if an activity such as CrossFit will work better for them than a traditional health club or maybe a yoga studio. This is where a combination of educational and promotional materials delivered via email, along with increased involvement by your sales staff, can help tip the scales to your club. Don’t forget to incorporate the fitness staff and other employees in this [maybe a video of your top attended group fitness class or healthy eating tips delivered by your nutritionist) so you can really show prospects the value of becoming a member at your fitness facility.


Here’s where your sales staff earn their keep. At this point, the prospective member has decided that they in fact need to join a gym or studio  to help them meet their goal. They may have even decided they need a club that offers services that your club offers. But now it is crunch time on deciding if it is your club they need. If your marketing has done its job, the decision can be fairly easy. But it still may take some convincing to get them to plunk down their hard-earned cash. The most important part of the funnel at this point is to have your sales staff well-trained and well-organized. Losing track of prospect follow-up here will make it close to impossible to get the prospect to a “yes.”

While you have a fitness club or studio sales funnel, whether you know it or not, with the correct plan and management of it in place, your business can use these tactics to drive more prospects to your sales team and, in turn, into new members.