18: “How Does Your Job Work?
or; Why Sales Training Has Never Been More Important
What is our business exactly? What are you doing at the club? Sure, dancing, getting dressed, chatting, and babysitting drunk grownups all feature pretty heavily. All in all, those activities probably take up most of your time. But how much of your money do you make by doing those things?
You might be thinking 100%.
And you do make money by doing those things. If you work at a very stage heavy club you might even make a good percentage of your money by being great solely as a performer. Right now though,
I want to sell you on the idea that the majority of your income comes from your ability to efficiently, strategically, and consistently inform and manage customers through a sale.
“But Carmen, I don’t get paid unless I dance!”
Really? Have you ever tried walking up to a customer and dancing for thirty songs without asking first? Good luck getting a dollar out of him after you’re all done.
“Well, even if I’m not dancing I have to entertain him or he won’t even notice me”. Sure! You’re 110% correct. Ever wasted an evening “entertaining” away without getting a dollar out of that customer you were just certain was going to pay up at the end?
Your job is about all of those things above: but at the core of every single conversation, dance move, pole trick, and introduction is one massive factor: you are trying to convince your customer that his money is better spent on you, your service, and your time, than it is staying in his pocket.
So why is it that so little of our time goes into learning, thinking, and developing our sales skills?
Well, in part because very few people think of what we’re doing as sales in the first place. Basically, we’ve sold ourselves on the idea that our job is just entertainment and company- and forgotten what’s at the center of the business.
Our clubs haven’t forgotten though—ever seen a strip club banner flying over the city advertising a club?
What about billboards? Social media? Websites? A million and one coupons?
Your club knows that to make money it has to get customers in the door.
While your club may be great at marketing, the marketing guys aren’t paying attention to the other side of the equation- the salespeople that close deals once the customers actually get in there.
Part of this comes down to the importance they place on hiring in the first place. Let’s be honest: selling a drunk guy on buying something from a beautiful, talented entertainer isn’t that hard if you seek out the right entertainers. This is why getting hired at the club is often the single most difficult part of the job- they’re prequalifying you as a salesperson with no other information than your look, your dancing, and a few moments of human interaction.
But marketing and selling are two different skills; and clubs aren’t going out of their way to tell you about the sales part- which is also why most entertainers are walking around the club working extremely hard to pick up what’s left behind by the closers.
This is why some entertainers seem to always stay busy, to always bring in regulars, and to always go home with the big money. And why most dancers are usually left behind, wondering what they’re doing wrong.
Think about your first week at the club: How much on-the-job training did you get? How much time did your management spend teaching you how to get customers to buy more, more often? How much about the sales cycle of the club did you know before stepping on the floor?
If you didn’t get intensive sales training up front, don’t be surprised. To my knowledge, no club offers it yet. And likely, this comes down to the club business model.
How can this be?
Clubs make money by bringing in quality customers, not by building quality sales people.
Clubs are often running a numbers game: most of them care about the overall sales of the club- they know they can get those overall numbers up by marketing to their customers. But their individual salespeople (AKA dancers) aren’t making a salary.
Many entertainers travel often and take lots of time off-which means the cost of training seems to clubs—I believe inaccurately—to cost more than it’s worth. Plus, as long as money is coming in many clubs honestly may not always care about what’s being left on the table.
It’s not just about the club marketing model- it’s also about their employment (or, more likely, contracting) model- it just doesn’t reward individual excellence. Clubs don’t pay us a set number to show up that cuts into their bottom line. We are the ones paying to work.
So, if you know how to sell, you get to go home with big money. If you don’t, better luck next time. At the end of the day the club is still making its house fees, alcohol sales, and VIP room prices- whether it’s you or someone else on the roster.
Think about it this way: if your club had to pay every dancer a baseline of $200,000 out of their own pocket per year to each entertainer as a salary, how much do you think they’d invest in your training?
It would be day and night! They’d bring in the best experts, give you the most information, and train you to be an amazing selling machine!
Clubs know they don’t have to pay you 200K to show up: there are ten people outside the door waiting to take your job tonight if you walk away- and they behave accordingly.
At the end of the day, they know that there will be people showing up to the strip club no matter what, and that there will always be new dancers to supply their demand for performers.
So, what do you do?
You start treating your sales training as if your money, happiness, and income depends on it: because it does.
In this book you will not find an opinion about who is at fault for the state of employment for entertainers. To be clear: it is an extremely important discussion, and one that is coming to head in the last few years as external legal pressures and internal club decisions shape a new landscape for our industry.
But regardless of how these conversations shape out; regardless of what opinion ends up on top. Regardless of what new approaches to sales training clubs take in the future:
You have to take responsibility for building a unique, informed, and powerful sales approach.
Because right now, today, no one else is going to do it for you.
And because right now, today, the choices you make about what you prioritize your time learning and practicing will absolutely have an effect on your income, your hiring potential, and your future in this industry.
Commit. Place yourself in control of your sales training, your information input, and your habits and practices at the club. Take on the next few challenges with the mindset that they can either serve you and help you, or you can find a million and one reasons why they can’t work for you.
It’s your choice. It’s your career. It’s your life.
 This is also why club hiring standards are a massive issue in our community—because clubs don’t focus in on your selling and entertaining abilities as much as on first impressions, many overqualified and highly competent entertainers get turned away at the door on the hiring biases of companies, corporate, or even individual management. Ever heard, “show up the next day, that manager may hire you?” This approach only works because hiring in our industry is inherently confusing, arbitrary, and unfortunately often tied to what clubs think their customers want- not what the market is actually asking for.
 Ask the same question in a few years, and I may be referring you to Racks to Riches club training programs..but that’s a story for a different time.
 If you want to learn about it more check out this long-form interview about this topic with an Employment Attorney on my Youtube channel titled “What Kind of Work do You Do? Employment Law, Stripping, and Recent Changes in the US” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMtWl_VQvGM
If you enjoyed this article, check out Stripping the Sale- a Racks to Riches workbook with 30 more challenges, prompts, and worksheets to help you grow your dancing business. Now updated, upgraded, and with 150+ pages of content: