Health Club Employee Management

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Every two interactions a member has with fitness staff in a given month results in one extra visit from that member the following month. It is essential to understand the correlation between employee turnover and member retention. Members value engagement from staff, and the staff values happy members.

Retaining and engaging employees is as important as retaining members. Many costs are associated with hiring and training new employees, so keeping the high performers in order to minimize hiring and onboarding costs can save your facility serious money and a lot of headaches. Here are some tips to keep employees engaged while boosting your facility’s efficiency:

1. Create a thorough onboarding process.

Supply employees with all information needed to prepare for the job: introduce them to the tools and team they will work with, and orient them to the facility. This process should be stan­dardized, making it repeatable and reliable. When new employees are trained at the discretion of whoever is working that day, significant details could be left out. Helping everyone stay on the same page builds trust among your employees while relieving you of actually training new people yourself.

2. Invest in employee education and training.

Similarly to the onboarding process, weekly staff meetings — as well as training sessions on gym equipment, software, and POS systems — keep everyone aligned in terms of club goals and how to use technology. Employees should also be familiar with new workout routines and techniques so they can help any member that might need assistance. The ability to recommend specific classes or trainers based on desired goals gives employees a greater sense of knowledge and credibility to members. This education creates more inherent value in whatever role that employee has and also instills a greater sense of trust between the member and employee. Members should feel confident that most questions they have can be answered by the staff at hand.

3. Offer employee incentives.

Reward employees when they do a great job. This incentivizes them to continue striving above and beyond and demonstrates that you recognize this behavior. How you measure the benchmarks for rewards is up to you. Consider things like the number of new members signed up or positive reviews left online or in a suggestion box. If this is clearly spelled out to employees, you offer them a clear line to rewards. These prizes should not be given out randomly, but rather enshrined in a well-defined and circulated document. You’ll be able to tell if this works by analyzing the metrics that the awards are based off. If your employees truly feel incentivized, you’ll achieve those goals much faster. Also, if this ends up costing your gym more than it produces, consider revisiting how you reward employees. Cash is always nice, but free membership packages or gift cards to local restaurants might prove more sustainable.

4. Test employees’ knowledge.

Quiz employees regularly to ensure they understand all processes and procedures thoroughly. This can be done through multiple choice quizzes or in-person roundtable discussions. Give them the opportunity to ask questions in weekly meetings and provide their feedback for overall facility improvement. Sometimes a shy employee might not bring up what he does not know for fear of losing his job or your trust. Encouraging a welcoming environment of learn­ing without stigma will eventually create an educated workforce unafraid to ask a question or speak up when something is not clearly explained. You can also reward employees for their knowledge of your gym, as mentioned before. Be sure to keep tabs on the people trying to learn the most. The more your staff knows, the more helpful they can be to members.

5. Adopt a Member Focus Approach

Adopting a member focused approach, offering different experiences, products, and services to different customers based on their individual needs, is a key ingredient and philosophy for success in the health club industry today. This approach puts customers at the center of business strategy, places an emphasis on customer service training, and aims to maximize the lifetime value of health club members. The lifetime value of members being one of THE most important key performance indicators in the health club industry today. Do you want to get your staff to adopt a more member-centric approach in your health club business?

6. Create a Personalized Member Experience

Consumers in general along with gym and health club members expect personalized communications and services tailored to their individual preferences. Personalization in the health club, gym and fitness industry c needs to go beyond basic tactics like addressing customers by their first name in emails or providing one size fits all workout or exercise programming. Creating new fitness solutions and messaging using technology helps to Hyper-Personalize Health Club marketing and services.

  • Genomics to Personalize
  • 3D Body Scanning
  • Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics

An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site

How to Improve Sales at Your Fitness Center

Owning a fitness center or gym can be a great investment and career choice as they can be very profitable in all economies. While a fitness center can be successful and profitable, it does count on sales and other efforts to drive enrollment and overall revenue. I continue to work with many gyms that continually say, “I thought it would be easier than this.” When evaluating their business, it will many times come down to simply a failure to properly understand and implement sales and marketing strategies. When you are looking to improve your sales efforts at your gym, there are a few tips that can be followed that will provide an immediate return.

1. Regardless of circumstance, be sure that everyone gets a presentation. So many gyms owners work so hard and spend so much money to get someone walk in the front door and then many prospects never get a presentation. Prospects will come in wanting to work out with a friend, they just want to take a class, and they have ice cream melting in the car…you name it. If you can master this tip, it will have an immediate impact.

2. Treat everyone like a buyer. This is easy to say but very difficult for many people to follow. Don’t prejudge your prospect. Treat them like they are there to buy, you’ll be amazed at the difference. Us this tip with everything, telephone inquiries, gym prospects, follow up, corporate accounts, marketing efforts, etc.

3. Sit down with every prospect. Many personal trainers will make this mistake, but I see it across the board. Solving problems for customers is what you want to do and the customer does not know what the desired outcome is. Guide them through the process.

4. Use a pre-printed price sheet. Now, it’s my suggestion that you decide on two programs you would like to sell and that’s what you show your prospect. You want to keep this simple for your prospect AND your salesperson. Don’t show your customer a menu of options, you’ll just create objections.

5. Be agreeable. This is another tip that will take some practice for many folks. I hear and see too many salespeople trying to sell from a standpoint of disagreement. Be agreeable, it will draw people to you. Now, this doesn’t mean we lay down or anything. “Mr. Customer, I understand, it seems like everything cost more these days, what do you say, can we get you started.”

6. Ask for the sale. Of course, this is the biggie. If you do nothing else, be sure you do this one. Of everything I teach, this is consistently the most difficult one for everyone — new and even experienced. It will take practice and regular training. The big mistake everyone seems to make when they are covering price…is when the customers offers and “objection” we have a tendency to go back to selling when in reality we need to be asking for sale.

7. Follow up. This is another one that offers a significant opportunity if it’s done properly. I won’t bore you with the statistics, but most leads don’t get properly followed up on. Learn how to do this properly and you’ll always have a full pipeline. The key here is to nurture your prospects and members — in other words, work to help maintain interest and desire.

One of the big problems I continually see is how we choose to view membership and personal training sales. In the end, you’re really not selling a membership or training, but rather, you’re solving problems for people and providing solutions. You gym will need a process that allows you to do this and you’ll have be sure and snag that first sale. Where do you find that first sale? We’ll it’s you. That’s the first sale you’ll need to make before to start talking to customers. YOU must be sold. Can you solve your customer’s problem? Do you have the best gym to sole their problem? Is now the best time to solve their problem? It’s easy to say “yes” on all of this, but it will take work, regular training and accountability.

Now, go improve your sales!

An Outsourced CEO, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site

How Relaxed Services Increase Fitness Club Membership

People join fitness clubs for a large variety of reasons. From the power-walking elderly to recent mothers getting back in shape, the energetic athletes in the commercials make up a much smaller percentage of the total members than one might think. For these specialty groups, the peripheral services offered by a fitness club can be more important to them than the centralized elliptical and resistance training machines. Spas, pools, saunas, tracks, massage therapy and personal trainers are a big part of what draws clients to a fitness club and the quality of these services has a huge impact on their potential number and selection of clientele.

The Pool and Physical Therapy

Most people are aware of the advantages of pool based physical therapy. It can be highly beneficial for many conditions to simply float, lifting normal structural weight off of stressed or damaged parts of the body. People who suffer from orthopedic conditions often seek fitness clubs that offer a relaxed pool environment. Creating a safe wading area and scheduling weekly therapy classes will make a club much more welcoming to members seeking physical therapy assistance.

Walking Slowly to Stay Fit

Before cars, people walked everywhere all the time. Generation after generation of people walked miles a day to complete their work and daily errands. Your body expects to walk that much, and your digestion is built to work better as you walk off each meal. Unfortunately, it’s no longer practical or safe to walk everywhere anymore. Between desk jobs and dangerous city parks, it’s no wonder why people love the track. This holds true for every age, energy level, and capability of person. The elderly, infirmed, and recent mothers have a lot to gain from regular long walks in a safe, well-lit environment and will often join a fitness clubs for low-energy services like walking the track or slowly swimming laps. Having a very-slow lane on your track is a great way to draw and retain these members.

Relaxing in the Spa

Not everyone joins a fitness clubs to work out, lose weight, or build muscle. Some people will become members solely for access to luxurious spa services. Whether for personal or medical reasons, saunas, hot tubs, massages and relaxed personal trainers will increase a club’s numbers with more laid-back members. Conversely, clubs with an ambient attitude of athletes vs slackers will be much less welcoming to the large percent of the population who don’t care to pump iron but may still want the fitness clubs perks.

When choosing a club to join, members are looking for services that suit their needs. Sporty people will be looking for their favorite mix of equipment and hours that suit their busy schedules. People with health concerns are looking for a safe, relaxed place to stay in or get back into shape. Some people are just looking for a place to get a weekly massage and sauna. Whether you’re having trouble finding the perfect fitness clubs or are a club hoping to draw a larger audience, contact ustoday. Fitness consulting is what we do best!

A Gym Consulting Firm Can Help You Look at Your Fitness Center in a New Way

If you have built your fitness center business from the very beginning, chances are good that you have put in a lot of hard work and money to get it going and make it successful. Unfortunately, this can make it hard for you to look at your gym in a neutral way. This is one of the benefits of hiring a gym consulting firm to help you.

Even though your fitness center might be a labor of love, there is a chance that there are some improvements that could be made. If you haven’t updated the look of your gym on the inside or outside in a while, for example, it might be time to do so. If you have been marketing your fitness center in the same way for years, it might be time to try something new. If you haven’t made any major changes, it might be time to invest in some new equipment or start up some new classes.

An experienced consultant can look at your fitness center in an unbiased way and can help determine if there are any changes that need to be made. Then, you can work together to come up with a plan to update and improve your facility. This can help your business grow and improve and can even boost your bottom line. It can also help you ensure that your gym is successful in the long-term. If you are looking for a consulting firm that you can count on, contact us at Fitness Management and Consulting to find out how we can help.

Blogging Ideas to Boost Fitness Club Sales

It is kind of surprising that there are still fitness clubs that do not have an active blog. In today’s social media environment, blogging is essential for attracting potential members. Regardless of how well your website is designed, an active blog is often the difference between 10 website visitors a day, and 500 visitors per day. Is that something you could use in your situation?

Ultimately, every blog entry creates a new web page and a new opportunity for a future member to find you. The typical business website will have 5-10 web pages, maybe even a few more depending on the design. While this may sell a prospect that is ready to buy a fitness club membership today, it is likely not enough to get the person to your website in the first place. Every blog post is a new page for the search engines to index, for visitors to share on social media, and for other websites to reference and link back.

While you can provide the same, generic information that so many other fitness clubs produce, in order to stand out you must create content that is uniquely valuable to your ideal fitness club member. While some of this may include the standard “How to Burn More Calories” articles, you must branch out with fresh and relevant content, and treat blogging as a creative work. With this in mind, here are some great blogging ideas to boost fitness club sales.

Blogging Ideas for Fitness Clubs

  1. Why you became a fitness professional and opened your club.
  2. Expose the bad advice or praise the good advice of a celebrity trainer.
  3. Share information about a successful fitness club event, consider adding photos or a video.
  4. Recommend a local restaurant and talk about your favorite menu item as a cheat meal.
  5. Demonstrate the use of a funny piece of fitness equipment.
  6. Write about a local charity or cause that your fitness club supports.
  7. Share healthy recipe versions of local or regional favorite foods.
  8. Answer real customer questions. If one person asked, there are many who wonder silently.
  9. Share behind the scenes stuff, such as celebrating an employee’s birthday or a baby shower.
  10. Review other local (non-competing) health and fitness businesses.

What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you like to talk about blogging ideas to boost fitness club sales, or a related topic, please contact us.

How to Develop a Fitness Center Business Plan

Running a fitness center is a dream for many people. The work is rewarding, and you are your own boss. Having success is harder than many people realize. Although your work is important, you must make a profit when running your business. If you want to have success running a fitness center, you need to follow three key principles.

  • Put Customers First
  • Reduce Expenses
  • Market to New Clients

Put Customers First

A lot of fitness centers are difficult for customers to enjoy. Building a quality experience for customers is first on your priority list. There are many fitness options that your customers can choose from. If it is not fun for customers, they will choose somewhere else for their fitness needs.

Reduce Expenses

When starting out in business, the expenses get increase quickly. As a business owner, reducing expenses leads to higher profits over time. Always make sure to think about the financial payback of every decision you make. It is tempting to upgrade your facility to the nicest one in town. However, you really need to market to your core customers in your local area. Spend money where it matters, but never spend so much that you go out of business.

Market to New Customers

Marketing is essential for any new business to have success. A lot of business owners struggle in this area. People who own a fitness center would rather be working with clients on their diet and exercise program. However, there are a lot of benefits to marketing. Especially when starting out, make sure to spend a considerable amount of time marketing to new clients. Starting a fitness center is not easy, but we are here to help in this process.

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