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Show Highlights

Derek and Ashkahn give the low down on pitching memberships to customers. A lot of float center owners don’t want to come off as pushy sales people after people get out of their floats.

Ashkahn sympathizes with this a lot, since that’s exactly how he felt when he first started selling memberships for Float On. He and Derek suggest a perspective shift on the idea of memberships, as lots of customers end up being appreciative of the opportunity, and don’t feel like they’re being overly pitched to.

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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)

Ashkahn: All right. Hey. hey everybody. This is Ashkahn.

Derek: This is Derek.

Ashkahn: Yeah, slightly different crew here today.

Derek: Yup, yup.

Ashkahn: Exciting. Keeping it fresh. That was my nickname in high school.

Derek: Keeping it, or fresh?

Ashkahn: Keeping it fresh.

Derek: Oh.

Ashkahn: Keeping it, comma, fresh.

Derek: Oh.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Derek: It’s kind of like Danger is your middle name.

Ashkahn: Mr. Fresh was the formal version.

Okay. We got a question.

Derek: Please.

Ashkahn: I’m reading them now, so get used to that. Here we go. Our question is “I’m struggling with signing up members, but I always feel so salesy bringing it up. Help?” That’s good.

Derek: Yeah.

Ashkahn: I like when people are in desperate need of help and come to us.

Derek: Yeah. Hopefully we’re not answering this months later, so-

Ashkahn: Yeah. Just had to shut down. Didn’t have enough members.

Derek: Yup. Hey, at least they weren’t salesy.

Ashkahn: Yeah, I hear you. This is a common thing, I think, for so many people.

Derek: It’s every business. Some people want to make the widget, but they don’t want to sell it.

Ashkahn: Yeah. It’s every business, but I think it’s also especially every float business.

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: Because I think there’s just something about, there’s something that’s kind of sacred about the post float, that time when you’re coming out of the float tank. That’s part of the experience. The experience isn’t just being in the float tank. It’s how you feel afterwards and you don’t want to intrude on that part of someone’s experience and why they’re coming in and being like, “Hey, did you know that two for one this month, and you could get this thing,” and just feel like a used car salesman.

Derek: Yeah, and there’s some centers that wait until after the float to take payment so they can pitch that membership.

Ashkahn: Yeah. This isn’t just a difficult thing for float center owners, too. Everybody you have working in your shop.

Derek: Oh, yeah. I think that’s even more difficult. As a float center owner, you financially feel the struggle when you don’t have enough members, but your employees are like, hey, whatever.

Ashkahn: Yeah, and I think your employees feel the same thing. The best part of the job is talking to people afterwards and getting to be this kind of person who’s ushering their float experience and all this, and you don’t want to have, same thing. Feel like you’re stepping on that or making things kind of weird when you’re trying to sell them on something. So, I get it.

Derek: So, I have a quick answer to this.

Ashkahn: Okay. Great. Then we’ll just wrap up.

Derek: To me, it’s not a, yeah, let’s keep this under five minutes, ready?

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Derek: Well, it’s not a marketing problem, it’s not a business problem, it’s a mindset problem, right? So, when we sell something to someone, we’ve had bad experiences in the past buying cars, being pressured into something, or our trade-ins were ripped off and we got undervalued on that, and we’ve always had a bad experience being sold to, but in a float center, you’re not selling anybody something. Especially if they’re coming in and they’re paying full price, they’re gonna save money becoming a member. So, you’re actually saving them.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Derek: You’re not selling them anything they don’t want. They’re already there.

Ashkahn: It is, yeah, I feel like the truth I hear in that is very much from the experience of actually bringing it up with people. Where I definitely went in with the mindset, this was a struggle for me, too. I really don’t like the idea of being salesy, and I went in when we were first opening very much with that mindset of “hey, this is a weird thing to bring up, I don’t want to mention it too much”, and as I got more comfortable with it and did start bringing it up and finding kind of much more natural ways of bringing it up, the response was very much like what you were saying. People were thankful.

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: I’d be like, hey, just so you know, it would often be something organic, like, “Oh, man. That was great. I definitely want to do that,” or some people would even say things like, “Man, I could see myself doing this every week,” or something like that. There were just these natural lead ins, and you could just say things like, “Oh, if you really do want to float all the time, our memberships definitely are the cheapest way to do that.”

People would be like, “Oh, thanks,” and want more information about them, or want to take something with them to have that information. I was surprised at how genuinely interested and thankful people were that I was sharing that sort of information with them.

Derek: Right. You can even take it a step further. So, when somebody comes in and pays full price, you can just at that time, when they say, “Hey, it was great, I would love to do this more often,” and you say, “Well, I can take what you paid today and apply it towards a membership. So, not only we’ll start that today, but we’ll roll over the excess into your next float.”

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Derek: So, in our example, you pay $77 or it’s $54 for a membership, well, start your membership today and take that extra $23 into your next float.

Ashkahn: Yeah, that is definitely another thing we do, I think, specifically, to kind of deal with this feeling of salesiness. It’s just easier to be salesy at times that are not right after someone got out of a float tank, right?

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: So, we just try to lean in a little bit more into those times. So, we will mention things like before people go in, or it’s in our emails, we’ll have little membership things and appointment reminders and emails they’re getting before they’re coming in for a floats-

Derek: Little P.S. sections that say, “hey, if you enjoy your float today, you can save more”.

Ashkahn: Yeah. It’s more just kind of we have obviously membership signs and they’re the biggest signs-

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: Behind our desks, and our pricing on our website very prominently mentions memberships, and we also have a guide that’s just called tips for your future floats.

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: We put these out on our coffee table, and 90% of this thing is just nice, useful information for people, like hey, it might be nice to bring a fresh pair of socks with you next time because it’s really nice to get into comfy clean clothes after your float. Or if you notice any salt in your ears afterwards, here’s some tips for dealing with that. Or, it’s just mostly that, and then on the back of this thing that we’re hoping people take with them is our membership pricing, and that way it is very much information that is actively useful for people and something that is worthwhile for them to take with them, and it’s also a place for them to realize we have these memberships and if they are floating regularly, that this is gonna be something that makes it more affordable and works out better for them.

Derek: Right, and the subtle approach is you mention the little PS blurb in the emails that talks about memberships, or even the ongoing guide to floating that after you’ve floated guide that we have on the tables. Those are subtle ways you can do it, and so really it only leaves you with one more outward point of sales is that when you’re checking them out for that float, whether it’s either before they float or after their float. You’re really only giving them one “salesy interaction,” and so I think if you were to do that and then spin it into a way that’s actually providing them value, saving them money, you don’t have to turn it into a 16 point spiel about all the different perks and benefits of it.

Ashkahn: Let me just get my PowerPoint up. One second.

Derek: Right. You have one right now? You seem kind of serious.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Derek: Okay. So, if you avoid all of that, if you go, “Well, if you’re a member, you also get 10% off of this, and 20,” and you start stacking it, you could save that if you need to. If you really need a little bit of extra information that would maybe tip them into your favor, but for the most part, they’re just happy saving money on floats because that’s what they were there for anyways.

Ashkahn: Yeah. Just like anything, it’s something that improves with practice. Right? It’s one of those things it may be a little weird the first couple times you do it as you learn what feels natural for you to say, and what leads to people having natural reactions and if you’re too scared to do it those first couple times, you’re never gonna get there. But if you kind of push through or we’ll even sometimes in our kind of group meetings or our monthly meetings with our shop staff, just do some practice rounds with people-

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: It’s always silly and absurd and a little uncomfortable, but it gets that kind of uncomfortableness out of the way and makes it a little easier to bridge that gap to deal with customers and once you do a couple times and it starts to get more natural, you’ll find ways of presenting it where you’re not overtly trying to use this rote sales language-

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: On them that you said 1000 times, and you’ll find ways to make it sound like you’re just talking to them, and-

Derek: Just casual conversation.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Derek: You even don’t want it so well rehearsed, because then it does just seem like this spiel that comes white noise to them because it’s becoming white noise out of your mouth.

One of the fun things I find when we get into empowering the sales associates, aka the staff of the float center, it’s kind of fun to watch them comment in the log book to their peers and go, “Hey, I sold two memberships today and I tweaked what I was saying with this little added verbiage.” Then it might spark the creativity of somebody else to go, “I could probably sell a membership like that, or maybe I would say this,” and then they go try it and they’re inspired by that log book post and they sell a membership.

So, you can set the foundation of quick, easy ways to get people interested in a membership, and let your employees run wild.

Ashkahn: People have the best float experiences when they’re floating regularly, so it’s not like we’re trying to dupe people into something-

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: That is just for our benefit. It’s good for your float center and it’s good to create stable, repetitive income-

Derek: It’s good for your floaters.

Ashkahn: Yeah, it’s good for them, too. People will get the best float experiences if they are building it into their lifestyle, and so that makes me feel nice about it, too. I don’t feel like I’m trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes or anything like that.

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: So, it’s just that. It’s just realizing this stuff is a spectrum, and used car salesman is one end of it, and there’s a lot of gray area between that and not saying anything where you can bring this stuff up and put it more top of mind and you’d be surprised. You’ll probably get a lot more positive feedback than you think you will in your head right now.

Derek: Kind of wrap things up, you have to do it every time. It’s just a law of numbers, right? If you just decide maybe one out of every 10 customers you’re gonna try to sell a membership to, you’re decreasing your opportunities by the other nine people possibly not getting pitched a membership. So, you need to make sure every single time, these people, if they’re floating more than once a month anyways, they’re gonna need that membership. They’re gonna need to save money. If they’re not, they’re only gonna hear that “spiel” once every, what? Three, six, 12 months, whenever they decide to come back? So, it’s not like you’re over selling them.

So, you really only have to present the opportunity to float once, and once they’re a member, you can just stop selling them. So, really it’s only one opportunity you get.

Ashkahn: Yeah, we do also at Float On, we keep notes on people’s accounts, too. Because sometimes someone is floating on a semi-regular basis, but just doesn’t want a membership, and it is kind of annoying to keep asking them every time, so we’ll track both people that seem like they potentially would be good candidates for membership, that’s something we’ll take notes on.

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: So, our staff will look and be like, “hey, this is the fourth time this person’s floated. They’ve all been in the last three months”, and they’ll put on a note on their account and the next time they come in, the next person on staff will be like, “Hey, you know you’ve been floating a bunch. Have you looked at our memberships? It’s definitely the cheapest way to get in.”

Derek: Or the manager will create a watch on their account, so when they book again, they’ll get notified, and that manager might leave a note.

Ashkahn: Yeah, so we’ll do that for the positive, when people seem like good candidates, and then we’ll also leave notes if that person says no, and maybe says why or whatever.

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: So, we don’t keep bugging that same person who we are seeing on a more frequent basis for memberships. So, there’s that amount of customization in it, and you can really add a little bit of, take a little time and track things in your system and make a little bit more personalized experience for people, too.

Derek: And “bugging them,” we’re not really bugging them, so.

Ashkahn: We’re not bugging them.

Derek: Yeah.

Ashkahn: But it would be, if you’ve said no to the membership and given a reason and you keep getting asked every single time-

Derek: Right.

Ashkahn: You come in, I can see that-

Derek: No, that makes perfect sense.

Ashkahn: honestly getting frustrating.

Derek: So, yeah. Again, recap, it’s just a mindset shift on not only your part as a float center owner, but getting your employees involved, too.

Ashkahn: Yeah, and practice.

Derek: Yeah.

Ashkahn: Practice is the only what it’s gonna start to feel more comfortable, and that you’ll get better at it.

Derek: Once you start seeing those memberships roll in and the stabilized income, you’ll get extra comfortable.

Ashkahn: Yeah, boom. Next thing you know, you’re in a hammock, sitting on an island, just not even working.

Derek: Yeah, something like that.

Ashkahn: Yeah. Your float center is just walls are built out of gold bars.

Derek: Gold?

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Derek: Does that hold up to salt?

Ashkahn: I think it doesn’t rust, so you should be good.

Derek: Sweet.

Ashkahn: All right. If you guys have other questions, you can go to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and we’ll be here, and we’re gonna answer them.

Derek: We’re awaiting your golden center pictures.

Ashkahn: Yeah, please send photos along if anybody makes gold walls.

Derek: All right. Please.

Ashkahn: Okay. Talk to you tomorrow.

Derek: Bye bye.

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