I’m sure you’ve been inundated with emails from marketing companies talking about your “sales process” lately. It seems to be the buzz in boutique fitness.

But before you dive in, decide what you are really trying to accomplish. While a sales process is absolutely vital for a profitable studio, I’ve seen good intentions backfire on studios as well. Too many businesses lean on bombarding clients with automated emails that do nothing but sell. They lose clients from both their lists and their classes.

The true intention of a sales process is to build trust and connection with your clients — not just close the deal. An authentic client nurture campaign includes in-person relationship building, automated emails (that educate and sell), phone calls and texts. It might sound like a lot, but it can be the most effective way to really increase revenue at your studio.

So how about a breakdown of what it takes to have a rockin’ process that actually serves the customer and motivates your staff? Here are four steps to make it happen.

1. Hire the RIGHT people, not the EASIEST people.

We’ve all done it. We are desperate and need someone, anyone. Even though our gut doesn’t feel right about the candidate, we hire them because they can start immediately and fit the job well enough.
But then you pay, in more ways than one. The candidate isn’t the right fit, isn’t passionate about your classes, makes too many mistakes, shows up late, etc. You get the point. We end up wasting time and energy training the wrong person, and our sales suffer as a result.

Take the time to find the right candidate. If time is an issue, hold group interviews and the standouts will inevitably show themselves. Once you do find the right candidate, train them well. Teach them about your “why.” Ensure they live your mission. Invest the time to make sure they understand how to make your clients feel welcome and comfortable so they can make the appropriate buying decision. Ensure they know the products and believe in them. The right hire will make your sales process a breeze.

2. Have an attractive, commitment focused intro offer, and price the next step in a sensible way.

I see it time and time again: 1st Class Free! Please don’t think you have to do this to play in the yoga game. I’ve seen behind the curtain at many of these businesses and it’s not pretty. The number of clients that actually come back after a free class is dismal at best.

An intro offer that allows multiple visits over a period of time (three weeks for $30, etc.) gives the client a chance to really get to know your studio and integrate into the community.

Best of all, it gives you time to nurture them with education about your services, relationship building opportunities, and an attractive upsell to membership.

3. Develop a weekly and monthly call/text list.

Run the first visit report and assign one or two staff members a group of clients to follow up with weekly for the first month. You aren’t bothering your clients — you are showing them you’re invested in their success.

Email is a great complement, but talking to clients will help you stand out. Make it a priority to stay in touch with anyone that walks in the door. It is way easier to keep a current client than it is to acquire a new one. Make them feel special.

4. Document progress and share results.

Use a CRM (or contact logs in MINDBODY) to document each touchpoint so any staff member can see when and how you’ve communicated with the client. You can see which staff members are having success and who might need some coaching. It will make life easy for your staff members when making the calls, especially if you have multiple people calling clients. Hold monthly or quarterly meetings to share wins with your staff and keep them connected to the bigger meaning behind it all: community wellness.

Once you decide to commit to a sales process, the possibilities are limitless. You will find that your clients feel more connected to the studio and will feel less alone on their wellness journey. In my experience with our clients, we see retention percentages jump up to 40 percent after six months of a disciplined sales process. The commitment will be worth it.

San Diego based-MINDBODY Certified Business Consultant Laura Munkholm is the founder and CEO of Studio Solutions. She has worked with yoga and barre studios around the world to help them grow revenue, memberships and to improve the overall client experience. Join Laura this spring for the Inspired Studio Mastermind, built for female studio owners, or schedule a consult with Studio Solutions to find the right support system.