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Boost your new membership numbers and beat your targets

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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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Guest Wednesday, 23 June 2021

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