The fitness equipment industry faces a number of unique challenges in the modern era, thanks in part to advancing technologies and changing consumer expectations that are shaping the sales world for a number of industries. The equipment itself is becoming more advanced, but you’re still selling tangible, manufactured goods, and there will always be a demand for fitness equipment as long as people want to lose weight or stay in shape; even so, if your business wants to grow, or stay alive among the competition, you need more sales to do it.
The Need for Sales
Sales in the fitness equipment industry doesn’t function like typical B2C or even B2B companies. You can’t rely on general best practices for sales or conventional wisdom to fully inform your strategy. By the same token, you need an inward flow of revenue if you want to support your infrastructure and continue scaling your enterprise. Sales are the only way to achieve this—and most of your sales will be dependent on closing large-scale deals won with massive proposals.
The Main Obstacles for Fitness Equipment Sales
These are some of the biggest challenges you’ll face in the fitness equipment industry—and how to address them:
1. Niche demographics.
First, you’re dealing with a very specific set of demographics: large-scale buyers of fitness equipment like gyms and office complexes, who are looking to buy multiple machines for long-term use. These types of customers aren’t plentiful by nature, and they aren’t always easy to find, either. In some ways, this can be advantageous; because you’re only working with a small segment of the population, your marketing and sales campaigns can become laser-focused. However, it also means you can’t rely on any general or “blanket” sales strategies the way most companies can in the online world. Instead, you’ll deal with long sales cycles, intensive processes to filter your leads, and one-on-one interactions to close your deals. Get to know your target market, inside and out, and the process will become easier.
2. Industry competition.
You aren’t the only player on the block. Not only do you have to compete with other fitness equipment sales companies, you’ll have to deal with lenders/renters as well. This competition is especially difficult because you may be offering the same brands and models as your competitors. When that happens, how can you distinguish yourself? How can you prove to your sales prospects that you’re the right choice for the job? There are a handful of solutions to this, but one of the most effective is making sure your proposals are more polished and professional than those of your competitors. Your proposal will be responsible for forming prospective buyers’ first impressions in many cases, and will serve as a summary and reminder of who your brand is. Configure price quote (CPQ) software can help you make sure your proposal is as professional as it needs to be.
3. Price flexibility.
Though some other considering factors may enter the equation, since you and your competitors will be offering similar brands and models of equipment, most sales prospects will be making their decision based largely on price. So, a few questions arise. How flexible are you willing to be on your price? Are you willing to shave your profit margins to razor-thin levels to secure a big contract? How far is the competition willing to go? These questions aren’t straightforward, and they can preclude you from offering a consistent price across the board.
4. Technical specs.
Depending on the types of equipment you offer, it’s likely that you’ll have a number of different machines to learn and work with. Keeping all those technical specifications straight can be a headache, especially when any deviation or show of ignorance could compromise your reputation with the client. When you’re generating your proposal, you’ll need to include all these specs in the neatest, most organized way possible, and the best way to do that is through CPQ software, which will allow you to store information about all your products and services for later retrieval.
5. Rep training.
Thanks in part to the technical complexity of the machines you’ll be selling, and in part to the inherently complicated nature of sales in this niche, you’ll have a hard time training your new sales reps. There’s a definite learning curve when it comes to fitness equipment, and even if you commit all those technical specifications to memory, your reps still might be stumped when faced with a tough question by a sales prospect. Keeping all your information in one mutually accessible place for your reps, like through CPQ software, can be an all-in-one solution to this problem.
6. Service and repair plans.
Fitness equipment doesn’t last forever, and your clients need to have some level of assurance that your machines will last long enough to earn their value. There are a couple potential challenges here. First, what level of service and repair are you going to offer; for example, will you offer a guarantee? Will you have a discounted service plan, or incorporate regular maintenance into your proposal? Finding a way to balance this with your cost basis and final sales price adds an agonizing variable to your overall sales process, especially when price is such a major determining factor in whether or not you win more sales. One solution is to offer a suite of different service and repair plans, giving your sales prospects more flexibility in what they ultimately choose.
The sales process for fitness equipment companies isn’t easy or straightforward, but it is manageable with enough knowledge and the right direction. If you’re interested in learning more about how sales proposal software can help your sales strategy thrive, why not give it a hands-on try? iQuoteXpress offers a free, no-risk trial of our CPQ software, so you can see exactly how it might fit in your organization. Try it today!