New Gym Start Up: How to Make Your CrossFit Facility Stand Out From the Competition

There are a lot of factors to take into account for your new gym start up, including the type of facility you’re opening. CrossFit has quickly taken over gyms nationwide as more and more people are getting hooked on not just the intense WODs but the community that CrossFit facilities bring to their clients. Mainstream gyms are catching on to the CrossFit trend, though, and are offering their members classes. This is bad news for CrossFit centers and startups. So, how can you make your CrossFit location stand out from the competition? Whether you’re just starting out or are trying to drum up more business for your existing facility, here are some ways to make sure your facility comes out on top:

First Impressions

First impressions are EVERYTHING. From the exterior of your facility to the friendliness of the front-desk staff to the cleanliness of the interior, incoming clients will pay attention to it all. It’s a good idea to do a routine check from a client’s perspective. Take a walk from the parking lot and go through the routine. Is the locker room tidy? Does the bathroom need attention? Is your staff acting professionally? How’s the lighting? Even a seasoned gym owner can make vast improvements simply by slowing down for a few minutes and looking at the gym from a client’s perspective.

Maximize the Free Trial Period

It’s pretty standard for gyms (including CrossFit centers) to offer potential members a free trial period. If you aren’t already doing or planning to do this, start it. TODAY. Since most of your competition is providing free trial periods to potential members, you’re missing out on a huge potential for new clientele by avoiding it. That being said, too often CrossFit facilities don’t really sell themselves during the free trial. Here are some ways to convince potential members that they need to sign up once their trial is over:

  • Get to know them: Don’t let people on a free trial sneak in and out of class without learning their names and their fitness/lifestyle goals. Someone should take each potential new member on a full tour of the facility before their first class. This is a great time to get to know your new members. Ask about their lifestyles, their current gym (if any), their CrossFit experience, and anything else that seems relevant. Keeping things personal and friendly will let your potential customers know that they matter to you and your facility. Check in after class to see how it went, and refer to your members by name each time they come in.
  • Demonstrate how your CrossFit gym will help: After listening to potential members’ goals, frustrations, and experiences, talk about how your facility will help them. Do they suffer from motivation? Talk about the importance of keeping a schedule through classes. Are they looking for a challenge and bored with their current routine? Talk about how exciting it is to do a new workout everyday. It’s important to sell your gym with information that will directly impact and improve the lives of new members. Be sure not to be overzealous by offering something that isn’t realistic.
  • Be enthusiastic: If you and your staff are happy to greet new members, they’ll feel welcome. Even if you’re wiped from giving your 10th tour of the day, make sure each and every potential member feels special. One negative comment or feeling can cause someone to leave once their free trial is over.
  • Bribe them: Well, maybe bribery is too strong of a word, but incentives really work. Offering a discount for people who sign up on the first day of their free trial is a great way to fulfill memberships while actually giving people a good deal.
  • Offer Two-for-One: If you’re having a hard time filling classes, offer a 2-for-one special. This means two friends can join and each pay half price. This type of offer gets more people into your gym and increases the chances of signing on new members.

Build Your Community

In the end, what separates CrossFit from other gyms is the community. From the lingo to the social media hashtags, everyone knows that CrossFitters exist in their own fitness world. And it’s that sense of community and membership that drives people to CrossFit every single day. Here are some ways to instill that sense of community in your gym:

  • Cut negative talk: This is just good business practice, but in more casual environments like a gym it can accidentally go by the wayside. Make sure your staff never, EVER, talk negatively when they are anywhere within earshot of your clients. Whether they’re talking about business, competitors, or clients, keep the negative talk out of your facility. Enforce consequences for anyone who neglects to follow this simple but important rule.
  • Motivate and encourage: We all know some friendly competition can be beneficial, but a good CrossFit coach understands that it is better to motivate and encourage members than to provoke competition. Classes should be focused on uplifting members, even when they have bad days and just can’t make it through the workout. Positive coaches lead to positive vibes, which makes your facility feel more like a community.
  • Members-only events: Make your members feel like VIPs by hosting nutritional and fitness seminars and events at your facility. Offer freebies during the events such as water bottles and t-shirts, and have giveaways like free annual memberships or new shoes. These events really instill a sense of community and help members feel like your facility is a part of their lifestyle, not just a place they go a few times a week.
  • Open-house: Open house events are great for getting members and potential members into your facility. These can also include giveaways along with information about the benefits of CrossFit. Free min-classes during open houses are also great ways to give potential members a taste of what they can expect from CrossFit.

A successful CrossFit facility boils down to a place that offers their members great fitness and a sense of community. Start incorporating these elements into your new or existing CrossFit center to stand out from the competition. For more information on how we can help you open your new gym, contact us.

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