How to stop delivering nuisance follow-up calls

When it comes to selling, the old mantra ‘No means next one’ is widely used to help keep the faith amongst sales teams.  However, when...


Beyond the Treadmill - Focus on Relationships not Tasks

There are many fitness professionals within the fitness industry ...


Pre-sale proves to be an enjoyable learning experience

Nurturing Skills recently joined forces with Leisure-Net Solutions, and we proudly won the tender to provide pre-sales business development to ...



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How to stop delivering nuisance follow-up calls

When it comes to selling, the old mantra ‘No means next one’ is widely used to help keep the faith amongst sales teams.  However, when you or your membership sales team make those all-important follow-up sales calls and are consistently met with negative reactions and rebuffs, it’s only natural that those motivation levels will take a battering.

You’ll be pleased to hear that with a little careful thought and planning, and a tactical change to your approach to making follow-up calls, you and your membership sales team will see a noticeable improvement in prospective members’ responses – as well as your crucial membership numbers too.

As the founder of Nurturing Skills, I’ve had the pleasure of helping a number of health clubs, gyms and leisure centres to boost membership numbers and successfully train and motivate membership sales teams.  I’m a coach, trainer and mentor, and I understand that typical follow-up call responses can leave you or your team feeling as though you’re nuisance callers.  Furthermore, the greater the number of rebuffs and rejections you and your membership sales team receive, the harder it becomes to maintain a positive attitude and those crucial motivation levels.  It’s time to take action.

Stop nuisance sales calls… Start personal, positive and helpful follow-ups today

Usually, a follow-up call sounds a little like this… “Good morning, it’s Lesley from the X Club.  I’m just wondering whether you’ve had a chance to think about joining yet”.  Would that make you want to hand over your bank details and sign on the dotted line… thought not!

It’s a fact that focusing on the negative won’t get you anywhere – and neither will sounding apathetic and downcast on the phone.  Instead, why not try turning your follow-up calls around by being personal, positive and helpful, and aiming for an upbeat and positive message.

How to do positive and personal follow-up sales calls...

There are countless reasons as to why a prospective member will enquire about joining your health and fitness club, gym or leisure centre.  From weight loss to social outlets, each reason is personal and, for many, taking the first step to joining is often quite a daunting one.

It’s important to remember that, whilst the prospective member is obviously interested in joining your club (and let’s face it, they wouldn’t have enquired if they weren’t), there’s more often than not some nurturing and relationship building work to be done in order to secure the sale.  And being positive, personal and friendly is the best place to start.

Begin the follow-up call by saying how great it was to meet the prospective member, and to chat about their goals and desires.  Now add in the personal touches by acknowledging that they want to lose weight for a summer wedding, or perhaps get in shape for a holiday.  It shows you’ve listened and are interested.  And finally, ask if they have done anything about achieving their goals yet.  Invariably, the answer is a no, and they instantly feel guilty!  This is your perfect opportunity to be friendly, positive and assertive enough to close the sale.  So say how pleased you are that you’ve called as it’s great timing to help them on their way to achieving their goals.  And offer to get them booked in for their first one-to-one with a personal trainer.

There are times when assumption is a bad thing.  However, in this instance, making the assumption that they will join is the right approach so you’re able to get the joining process under way.

In the event that the outcome is still a firm no, then appreciate their decision and rest assured that at least you know it’s a no and you’ll not waste any more time calling them!  It also means you won’t be seen as a nuisance caller either.

How to do helpful follow-up sales calls...

The best sales people are kind and considerate and, whilst having a thirst for success, also have a desire to help people.  So by going out of your way to provide the prospective member with valuable information and support to help them on their new fitness journey, you are also doing a great job in securing a new sale.

So thinking in terms of ‘being helpful’, why not send a short and quick ‘service email’ which contains a brief ‘hope you find this helpful’ message, plus useful tips and information on how to… tone up quickly, lose weight effectively, get fit safely etc.  This isn’t selling, it’s helping.  And helping can help to sell!  So when the time is right to join, then your health and fitness club, gym or leisure centre will be the one that sticks in the prospective member’s mind.

To find out more about how your health and fitness club, gym or leisure centre will benefit from the Nurturing Skills team’s knowledge, or for further information on the importance of effective sales calls, leadership and sales coaching, training and mentoring, please call +44 (0) 7815 800 939 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

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Beyond the Treadmill - Focus on Relationships not Tasks

There are many fitness professionals within the fitness industry that are experienced, skilled and have an impressive CV, yet fail to support members and clients towards their goals effectively because they fail to pick up on feelings or issues beyond the training environment. This is probably because they are lacking in Emotional Intelligence (EI), the ability to understand your environment, succeed in the here and now and get the best from others.

Often people focus on their intelligence or personality i.e. improving their knowledge by doing very technical based qualifications. EI is what will turn those resources into an effective performance and ultimately results. Research from the USA has highlighted that those with a greater emotional intelligence earn more than those with a lower emotional intelligence!

The qualities traditionally associated with success at work, such as toughness, determination and vision, are “threshold capabilities”, so while they are essential they do not distinguish the exceptionally effective coaches or leaders. EI provides the next layer of effectiveness in getting results for members and clients.

Some of the key components of EI include empathy (understanding other’s feelings to get better results), social skills (friendliness with a purpose to get cooperation and agreement), self awareness (understanding your emotions, strengths and weaknesses so you are truly honest with yourself) and self regulation(managing your feelings and emotions so you act on them in a thoughtful and constructive way).

Empathy is particularly important, as coaches and leaders increasingly need to be able to lead teams, get them to work together and make good use of different views. Equally as health clubs, leisure and sports centres increasingly work across cultures the scope for misunderstandings rises, yet being able being able to tune into others’ unvoiced concerns is invaluable.

The low EI coach or leader may have less awareness of emotions and how these impact behaviour, can be rigid and rely too heavily on technical expertise, focus on tasks rather than relationships and not look after themselves and their teams in challenging times.

The good news is that you can develop your EI! Changing behaviours can improve it, yet over time you are likely to revert to type, therefore to make it stick you need to change your attitude and not just your habits (people tend to behave in ways that match their attitudes).

This can mean taking time to reflect on and understand what really matters to you, reset your values and then align your behaviour to these values. To learn EI you also need feedback. It is important that the feedback comes from someone you can trust to be objective with their comments as often people take feedback personally and can get defensive.

Interestingly many large, global organisations are moving away from providing training on the hard skills and are now focused on the human side i.e. Emotional Intelligence.

The global business psychology consultancy JCA commissioned a study around EI on more than 25,00 people in the workplace and found significant differences between groups.-

Self Employed people scored highest in EI, perhaps because they need strong interpersonal skills and awareness to be successful. Graduates scored lowest, particularly around interpersonal skills and confidence. While EI increases with age and experience (as you would expect) this suggests that there is a need for the education sector to develop EI before graduates and young people enter the workplace. Also of note the financial sector scored lower in EI than many sectors with people being more critical, less flexible and less people orientated, although this has improved over the last decade.

Six Simple Steps to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence:

1. Be Self Aware: This involves realising that your life would improve if you worked to develop your EI.

2. Be Open to Change: This is really listening and accepting that you have areas that you need to develop and realising this will take effort and time.

3. Identify a SIMPLE Change: Often people identify a major issue, like tackling a conflict and then become too demoralised when it is too challenging. So make a simple change, such as creating time to talk to new colleagues can be effective.

4. Practise, Practise, Practise: Committing to a simple change, and practising it every day without fail, is likely to build your belief in your ability to develop and also provide some timely results.

5. Broadcast: Tell trusted friend or colleague that you are going to make changes and check in with them after a few weeks.

6. Find a friend: Find someone you trust to prompt you and do the same for them.

For fitness, sales, leadership or service training, coaching and mentoring for your health and fitness club, leisure centre, call +44 (0) 7815 800 939 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Pre-sale proves to be an enjoyable learning experience

Nurturing Skills recently joined forces with Leisure-Net Solutions, and we proudly won the tender to provide pre-sales business development to the new Queen’s Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield Borough Council (CBC). 

With a high pre-sales target, we set to work immediately and delivered some impressive results. Not only did we beat CBC’s target of 750 new memberships, but we exceeded it by an incredible 30% and delivered 1000 new memberships.

So if your health and fitness club, leisure centre or gym is looking to boost membership numbers, and you’re interested in the countless benefits to be had from Nurturing Skills’ professional sales coaching, sales training, customer service development, and membership team mentoring, then read on.

Nurturing Skills exceeds Chesterfield Borough Council’s pre-sale membership target… Here’s how:

“When would you go shopping and buy something you can’t see or try? That was the challenge presented with selling 12-month memberships for the new Queen’s Park Sports Centre”, said Cathy Hinde, Marketing and Communications Officer at Chesterfield Borough Council.

Cathy went on to add, “Working with David Monkhouse from Leisure-Net Solutions and Lesley Aitken from Nurturing Skills really demonstrated how it could be done. Since contracting them both in early October, it’s been a hectic three months of fast-paced work and actions.  However, it’s also been one of the most valuable and enjoyable learning experiences I’ve ever had working in the leisure sector.

The centre was an £11.5 million project, and a brave move for Chesterfield Borough Council to back the building of a new sports centre when other authorities are cutting back or closing. It was imperative the centre could support itself financially, and a key step to financial independence was to significantly increase the numbers of direct debit memberships taken out before the centre opened in January 2016.

In my mind, there were two major steps to making the project work.  First, it was crucial we didn’t just hit, but rather smashed, the sales targets set by the council. And second, the management, development and nurturing of the Business Development team was essential – as was the outreach initiatives undertaken.

The Business Development team was on the shop floor, and acted as the public face of the project by being directly tasked with selling memberships. Witnessing the team’s development is testament to Lesley’s positive attitude and her killer sales skills! People never get tired of receiving compliments, and what was evident was the focus on the team’s positive skills and attributes alongside the learning skills to help develop their weaknesses.

From a marketing perspective, I also learned a huge amount from Lesley’s sales style, both in practical skills and in the confidence to deliver. Big ideas…small budget. Maximising contacts with nothing but a smile and a flyer!

The versatility Lesley demonstrated in delivering a marketing campaign on a very tight budget primarily maximised on what we had freely available. Developing the outreach and corporate marketing in a strategic way was something we had not done before – and I shall take it forward into next year’s marketing plan.

Seeing first-hand the benefits of working with local businesses, the skills and techniques used in linking in to local workforces and companies, and tapping into the business market through Destination Chesterfield was truly inspiring.

As the first busy weeks following opening are starting to calm down, I can reflect on the project and think what have I learned, what I need to permanently instil in my own work, and what I can do that will enable us to retain the customers we have gained by listening and finding a solution to all customer challenges.”

For proven pre-sales coaching and mentoring, or to increase your health and fitness club, leisure centre and gym membership numbers, call +44 (0) 7815 800 939 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

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Boost your new membership numbers and beat your targets…

Nurturing Skills shines again by winning collaborative tender and beating Chesterfield Borough Council’s high pre-sales membership target.

Case Study: Pre-Sale for Queen’s Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield Borough Council with Leisure-Net Solutions and Nurturing Skills


There are times when two brains are better than one.  So when Leisure-Net Solutions and Nurturing Skills joined forces, the outcome of an impressive team effort was monumental.

We proudly won the tender to provide pre-sales business development to the new Queen’s Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield Borough Council (CBC).  By working together, we achieved a high tender score of 99.4%, which meant our collaboration was the perfect match with which to accomplish CBC’s desired target.   

About us…

Leisure-Net Solutions is the leading provider of Customer Insight, Business Intelligence and Consultation services to the cultural services, active leisure, and health and fitness industries.

Nurturing Skills specialises in generating leads, increasing conversions and boosting sales by providing essential tools to the health and fitness industry, including sales systems, sales training, sales management, and lead growth strategies to improve business. Nurturing Skills proudly boasts the completion of FIVE successful pre-sales projects in less than three years.

Our client… Chesterfield Borough Council (CBC)

Chesterfield Borough Council has built a modern, replacement Queen's Park Sports Centre on the site of Queen's Park Annex.Building work began onsite in autumn 2014 and the new sports centre opened in early January 2016.

The centre is funded by £6.725 million from Chesterfield Borough Council, £2.5 million from Chesterfield College (as part of a dual-use agreement), £2 million from Sport England’s Strategic Facilities Fund and £25,000 from Squash England.

The scope of our work:

David Monkhouse from Leisure-Net Solutions and Lesley Aitken from Nurturing Skills were tasked by Mick Blythe, CEO and his management team at CBC to quickly recruit, train and lead three pre-sales people.  This enabled rapid membership sales growth of 750 new members, including 100 corporate memberships and 50 student memberships from mid-Oct 2015 to early January 2016 when Queen’s Park Sports Centre opened.

We were also tasked with creating and delivering a marketing pre-launch plan, and to work in partnership with Cathy Hinde, Marketing and Communications Officer at CBC, to generate enough high quality leads to achieve the sales target.


3 months, working via a monthly retainer averaging 3.5 days each week.


We exceeded CBC’s sales target of 750 new memberships by 30%, and encouraged 1000 new members to participate in physical activity.

Our approach:

Recruitment and Foundation Sales Training

Our goal was to quickly find three members of staff from existing centres. Key skills included superb communication skills, determination, good product knowledge, a passion for health and fitness, and  a willingness to learn.

We managed CBC’s expectations by advising that initial sales training and recruitment activity would take at least two weeks. One-day of sales training and pre-sale expectations were delivered to staff including gym, reception, and duty officers. Then all staff were invited to apply for a Business Development role during pre-sale. Applicants were invited to attend an intense recruitment day, comprising an interview and various sales tasks.

We offered the roles quickly to a receptionist, fitness instructor and attendant, who are now top-performing sales professionals.        

All members of the pre-sales team received the highest quality sales training and coaching, as well as unrivalled ongoing support.  By playing such a hands-on role, we empowered all team members and enabled them to succeed.

Pre-opening offers  

To generate volume membership sales prior to opening, we used marketing tactics to create urgency and scarcity in the market place. This encouraged people to join at a special and limited pre-opening membership rate. Many budget gyms cost under £10 per month to join in pre-opening; however, we had to maintain CBC’s existing average yield price of £20 per month. Therefore, we designed the pricing strategy to protect the yield. We sold  the pre-opening, all-inclusive memberships in three phases ranging from £19.99 per month up to £26.99, and one month free before opening.


The pre-launch integrated marketing plan is integral to any pre-sales success. So we worked exclusively on this to generate and capture enough high quality leads to achieve monthly sales targets set, whilst considering the following elements:

  1. No online joining available
  2. A small marketing budget
  3. An informative council website but with no ability to capture leads 
  4. No sales and lead management system

With no online joining available,  the pre-sales team had to capture, follow-up and convert every generated lead. 

With a small marketing budget and the need to capture leads, we cleverly created a new cost-effective website. This consisted a landing page with new site visuals and video, FAQs, and ample action buttons to a pre-opening registration web form. It quickly became a proven marketing, lead and sales generation tool when compared with the old council informative site, which only generated a small number of email enquiries and  lacked full lead data capture of full name and telephone number. 

All marketing was aligned with the pre-opening pricing offers and ensured a consistent marketing message across all channels and methods, such as social media, press-releases, flyers and referral incentives.    

It was important all online marketing, including social media, and offline traditional marketing drove as many people as possible to the website landing page to capture their full data. This was then sent electronically to a sales and lead management system, which immediately alerted a member of the pre-sales team to make contact. We provided CBC with a sales and lead management system designed for selling memberships, and could track and monitor our valuable leads, which was critical to the success of exceeding our target.     

The speed at which the pre-sales team responded to website leads was paramount to conversion success of the prospect into a fully-fledged new member. 

Furthermore, the quality of the response was key too.  Friendly, approachable, supportive and knowledgeable are all essential attributes.  And with competition amongst health and fitness clubs in Chesterfield at its most fierce, giving great customer service was critical. Every prospect who registered online for a pre-opening offer received an auto-responder first; this explained that a member of the team would call them. 

No online joining meant we had to work harder. Many prospects would have joined online – and at any time. However, even without online joining we still exceeded our target and all new members received the personal touch!

Low-cost marketing activity

The business development team had flyers, posters and banners. Plus, banners were strategically placed close to the new build. Every day a member of the pre-sales team would network with small businesses in Chesterfield, plus canvassing in well-known supermarkets, Chesterfield market, and large local organisations such as the NHS and Royal Mail to promote the new sports centre.  Even if they weren’t signing people up immediately, they were influencing them to visit the website or pre-sale membership suite.

We generated many referrals from new members, and trained pre-sales team to generate and convert referral leads. As a result of the training and volume of referral skills and activity delivered, we received a constant stream of new members via referrals.    

Other marketing activities used were press releases, emails and texting.

What we didn’t do  

We didn’t spend our small marketing budget on radio or large newspaper advertising. We believe traditional advertising methods no longer offer a good return on investment.


We consistently marketed both online and offline. And combined with a mix of tactics we ensured people understood our pre-opening marketing message and how to join, which lead to a great result and return on investment.

We empowered the highly trained and consistently coached pre-sales team to be creative, accountable and responsible for hitting their numbers.  Yes, they made some mistakes along the way, but they quickly responded with a positive attitude and learning outcome which enhanced their performance. Their morale and confidence was boosted by every small achievement, which lead to a huge celebration and acknowledgement of achieving 1000 new membership sales.       

For proven pre-sales coaching and mentoring, or to increase your health and fitness club, leisure centre and gym membership numbers, call +44 (0) 7815 800 939 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

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Posted by on in Blog
Nurturing Skills receives a little nurturing…

Nurturing your health and fitness club, gym, or leisure centre is what Nurturing Skills does best.  We nurture your membership sales teams to ensure that the successes keep on flowing.  We develop and support your membership sales teams, as well as management teams, so that confidence levels go up – and stay up!  And we boast a proven track record amidst what is undeniably a competitive and challenging industry when it comes to boosting membership sales – the numbers speak for themselves.

You’ll no doubt appreciate that nurturing your business and team is the first, and most important step, to achieving your membership sales goals and boosting those crucial numbers.  However, at Nurturing Skills we’ve been so busy over the past 3 years helping our countless happy customers that we thought it was about time our own business received a little nurturing and TLC of its own.

Meet Adam Daniel. We like to think that the past 3 years have been akin to a marathon for the Nurturing Skills’ team.  Thanks to some remarkable stamina, and periods of sprint-like speedy growth, Nurturing Skills has gone from strength to strength.  And as a result of some pretty impressive development we’re in our strongest position yet and are delighted to welcome Adam to the team.

We are proud of our consistent track record; achieving fantastic and proven results for our customers day after day is no mean feat.  Furthermore, we have just taken on board a major contract to supply training for a Facility Management Group, so it’s a great time for Adam to join us.

Nurturing Skills is now one of the UK’s most respected providers of leadership and sales coaching, training and mentoring within the health and fitness club, gym, or leisure centre industry.  And as a result we are regularly asked to help develop health and fitness teams, personal trainers and leaders with our bespoke training plans. We also offer personal training and fitness programming – and thanks to Adam’s sporting experience he’s a real asset to the team.

With an extensive background within the fitness industry sector, Adam adds to the Nurturing Skills team’s pool of corporate knowledge.  Furthermore, Adam recently completed an International Sports Management MBA from Loughborough University.  He is now combining his industry knowledge and experience with the theoretical aspects of the MBA as he joins Nurturing Skills – and opens his own multi-faceted training hub.

Adam prides himself on providing outstanding customer support, and places great emphasis on developing exceptional working relationships.  What’s more, he has spent the last few years juggling the demands of work, family and study, which will serve him well when it comes to balancing the needs of the many companies now working with Nurturing Skills.  He believes in a strong work ethic, continuous learning and connecting himself with positive and inspirational leaders who help shape and define his future.

In recent years, Adam’s excellent communication skills, analytical thinking, innovative ideas and advanced organisational skills have lead him into team leadership, and presenting and programme development – all whilst maintaining a personal training business. Adam is a highly motivated, self-sufficient individual and team member who thrives on new responsibilities and challenges.  He always strives to maintain the highest standard of work, with exceptional accuracy and impeccable attention to detail – and a reputation for results.  These attributes have seen him featured in ES magazine as one of London’s top 6 personal trainers, and also explain why he is such a sought after presenter and consultant.

On joining Nurturing Skills, Adam said, “I am delighted to become a part of the Nurturing Skills team and I am particularly looking forward to building new relationships with clients looking to book leadership, fitness training and fitness programming development.  It is an exciting opportunity to be working with a company that values my varied skills and I look forward to further business growth”.

Adam has been fortunate enough to have accumulated a wealth of experience in both his sporting career.  He competed as an international athlete and semi-professional rugby player, as well as his professional career where he has worked in countless environments, including one-to-one training, group training and management.

To find out more about how your health and fitness club, gym or leisure centre will benefit from the Nurturing Skills team’s knowledge, or for further information on the importance of leadership and sales coaching, training and mentoring, please call +44 (0) 7815 800 939 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

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Your knowledge, passion and expertise in helping us to find the right front of house staff has been invaluable. You have trained, inspired and developed our front of house staff to deliver exceptional service. How do we know this? Feedback about customer service from our tenants have improved and we will continue to work with you in the future. Thank you Nurturing Skills.

Rob Court, Training development for Guardian News and Media

Since the training has been delivered by Nurturing Skills we are monitoring sales and the process more closely. For example sales targets, enquiries to appointments, appointments to sales, and sales to referral are all monitored daily and as a result of the process we have increased.

  • Sales by 30%
  • Enquires to appointment by 70%
  • Appointment to sale by 55%
  • Point of sale referral by 45%

Barnsley Premier Leisure

For anyone looking to improve the sales performance, customer retention or customer service within their organisation, then there is no place better than to start with Lesley Aitken. Not only is she a charismatic trainer who is commercially astute but she quickly understands the needs of your business and puts them first before considering any monetary gain for her own organisation.

Trafford Community Leisure

Lesley Aitken is a very professional influential and highly passionate speaker. Highly interesting and motivational group coaching skills. Lesley has the ability to improve all major aspects of selling and the latest techniques to dramatically improve your business in just one day. An expert in her field and will get you and your colleagues the vital KPI's to improve your business.

General Manager at The Gym Group