Your Website: Silent Salesperson and Backup Trainer

Website

Are you a campus recreation staffer who is often called upon to train students and other staff members as part of your job? If you have a lot of staffers to train and not enough time or people to help you do it, get creative and use resources already at your disposal that are both cost-effective and time-conserving.

One day I walked past a building supervisor who was training a new membership services employee. The last thing she said to the employee as she closed her binder was, “Well, I think I’ve gone over everything. I can’t think of anything else to show you.”

I hesitated for a moment and then asked, “Everything? Are you sure? How about the website?”

“The website?” she asked.

“Yes, the website. What do you do if someone comes up to the desk and asks you a question you can’t answer and none of the professional staff are here to help you field the question? Most likely, the answer can be found on our website,” I replied.

“I hadn’t thought about that,” she chuckled as she turned to the employee. “Let’s take a look,” she said.

Using Your Website as a Trainer

When a member wants to look for your building hours or group exercise class list, the website is the most logical choice even if she subscribes to your social media channels. Twenty-four hours a day, your website is the silent salesperson for your programs and services.

How can you begin to use your website as a backup trainer? Incorporate website training into your new staff procedures by adding some of these exercises:

  • Assign parts of your website for staffers to study by sector. Say the first week is focused on reservations. Have them look through the requirements for renting space in the facility, learn about the services offered for events and understand where client reservation forms can be found online.
  • While perusing forms online, why not have the new staffer fill out the reservation form? It’s good for them to see the kind of information the member will be asked and to know about documentation they may need to provide. Members will also appreciate a staffer who can tell them right away that most reservations will need a 60 to 90 day window for large events so they can plan accordingly.

Creative Website Training Activities

Doing a lot of online training can be boring, so make it fun. Create activities around the website using information they’ve learned:

  • Have students create short quizzes about each sector they’re learning about that you can put out at your staff in-services and reward correct answers with small gifts.
  • Building supervisors can ask random questions about the assigned material as they make their building sweeps and hand out food coupons for the right answers.
  • Create a “question bank” where you have questions for each sector stored in a file and can print them on strips of paper, place them in a jar, draw them out at staff meetings and reward correct answers.

I remember a student who intently studied the website; it became a point of pride for him to let me know that he had read through most of the pages and knew where to find almost any type of information a person could ask about our facility. He turned out to be a very valuable employee and other students looked to him as a “go to guy.” Outcomes like that showcase the viability of your website not only as a silent salesperson for your offerings, but as a backup trainer as well.

Theresa Ortega
Theresa Ortega began her connection to fitness as a kid playing soccer and swimming in the Olympic pools at Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas, Venezuela. She became interested in the martial arts and attained a First Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. During that time, she also opened a martial arts supply and equipment retail store, Kamikaze Karate. In the early 2000s she was in the first group of certified instructors at the local Terre Haute YMCA to teach a fun new class called BodyPump. As a staffer at Indiana State University’s Campus Recreation since 2006, Theresa now manages marketing, communications, web, digital media and the pro shop. Her Bachelor of Science in Psychology is from Indiana State University. She has served as a conference committee member for IHRSA, and served as a speaker/presenter at both IHRSA and NIRSA conferences and Midwest FitFest, often speaking about handwriting analysis and its connection to health. Theresa is a connector in the rec center, reaching out to new members to encourage them to get started, and reminding current members of why they started in the first place; but mostly reminding all of the fun they can have making lifetime fitness their own. Theresa can be reached at tortega@indstate.edu.

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