Building a Sales Engine: Hiring a Salesperson

A hand fits a puzzle piece with a red person icon on it into a jigsaw puzzle with a host of grey people icons.

You need someone to sell.

In the Founder Phase, that’s you. And maybe in the Farmer Phase, you hire staff to fulfill your operations but keep the sales process to yourself. I get it: no one else is as passionate as you, no one else understands every facet of your service and no one else should see the money.


All those statements are false. And if you believe any of them, you’re probably not great at sales. Here’s how to find, hire, train and compensate a salesperson at any stage of your business.

First, you can download our Done-for-You Hiring Plan and Detailed Job Descriptions here.

The type of salesperson you hire—and the compensation you offer—will depend on which phase of entrepreneurship you’re in.

Not sure which phase you’re in? Take our test here.

Founder Phase—You’re It!

When you launch your gym, you have to do everything. The key is to keep time available for sales and to master the mindset of helping first.

You need lots of reps. And opening a gym is a great way to get them: You’ll attract people in your area who are already interested just because you’re new. We call these “warm leads,” and your conversion rate should be very close to 100 percent.


  • Practice your sales process (like a “No-Sweat Intro”) on friends and family. You can’t afford to blow it on a real customer.
  • Doing a free demo or trial isn’t selling. Selling is accepting payment.
  • Ask for referrals. Don’t just wait and hope they magically happen.


You eat what you kill.

Farmer Phase—Train Others

As your team expands, you should have more time for sales and marketing. We call this process “climbing the value ladder.” And at the top of that ladder are the sales and marketing roles.

As you move from Affinity Marketing to paid lead generation, you should be the one with enough time to talk with potential new clients. That means you should educate yourself on sales the way you educate yourself on programming, practice role playing the way you practice the snatch, and spend 20 minutes on sales for every one minute you spend on marketing.

But your coaches will also need to learn how to sell because they’ll be growing their incomes under your brand. They’ll need to sell personal training, nutrition or whatever their specialty programs might be. So training them to sell will also help them increase their incomes.

Every month, you should track your sales and marketing metrics on the Two-Brain Dashboard. Track your Set Rate, Show Rate and Close Rate for your leads. Work to improve the Close Rate before you increase ad spend.


  • Time spent role playing means you won’t make expensive mistakes on real clients.
  • Learn the Prescriptive Model and read “Help First.”
  • Track your metrics (and your staff’s metrics!).


You: You don’t get paid directly for selling. But as your average revenue per member (ARM) and length of engagement (LEG) increase, you’ll earn more through profit.

If your leads are organic, nearly every intro appointment will result in a sign-up. Your close rate should be close to 100 percent. So other coaches should do these appointments to get new clients for personal training. Their sales reward is a new client. Your greatest aid to them will be more sales training. But keep a close eye on the Close Rate: If it dips below 80 percent, either your staff needs help or your leads aren’t really warm anymore.

If you’re using paid lead generation (like Facebook ads), you might need to pay your coaches to take appointments. Start by providing them with a solid sales training foundation in our Incubator program. Then role-play with them a lot. Then pay them a nominal rate (like $10 per appointment) to take intros if your schedule is filled.

Keep a very close eye on everyone’s close rate: You can’t afford to pour paid leads into leaky buckets. Over time, optimize to guide most paid leads toward the staff person with the highest close rate. If your close rate is highest among the staff, double staff training and practice. You must replace yourself in this role or your gym will never be independent of your time.

Tinker Phase—Replace Yourself Completely

Tinkers build a wealth platform.

That means Tinkers must have freedom of income and time. And if you’re the only one in the company who can sell, you don’t have the time to move on to the next stage. Worse, your company can’t grow without your constant hand on the pump.

When your gym reaches this size, it might be worth bringing in a specialist. Good salespeople should more than pay for themselves.


  • Your sales team must report their KPIs every month.
  • Your sales team should work very closely with your marketing plan.
  • Your sales team should be proactive: Instead of blaming “seasonality” or poor ad targeting, they should seek opportunities to increase sales using the Affinity Marketing plan.


Up to $30 per closed sale. Download our Part-Time Sales Manager Job Description here.

Thief Phase—Be too Busy to Grab Coffee

When you’re focused on giving money away, you shouldn’t have time for sales.

Here’s an example: I regularly get requests on LinkedIn from software companies. They want to talk about partnerships, so I send them to our Partnership Co-ordinator. Sometimes they don’t like the answer they hear from him (we say “no” to most partners because they don’t meet the Two-Brain Standard of Excellence). So they come back to me and say this:

“If I could just get 30 minutes to show you the platform, you’d love it.”

But the best possible outcome of that 30 minutes—for them—is that I say, “OK, let me get involved and override my Partnership Coordinator.” That’s a horrible outcome for him and a horrible outcome for me (because I’ll be back doing his job again).

When gym owners write me back after reading a love letter, it makes my day. But if they want to get more information about mentorship, I send them to my sales department—because I don’t want to waste their time. They shouldn’t have to tell their story twice. They should just get on the right path now.

I also get requests from locals who want to talk about their fitness, so I send them to our gym sales department. If I grab a coffee with them, I take 30 minutes of their time and then send them to the gym to repeat the process anyway. Why not get them started a day sooner?

To move forward as an entrepreneur, your business must run itself. That means completely replacing yourself in all roles, including operations and growth.

Other Articles in This Series

Building a Sales Engine: Selling Without Selling
Building a Sales Engine: Who Sells?
Building a Sales Engine: Affinity to Infinity


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.