The Way We See The Problem Is The Problem

I’m guessing you’ve heard this Stephen Covey quote before. Do you agree with it?

What if I told you that there are clubs that are breaking company sales records? What if I told you there are clubs that did better revenue and profits in 2020 than they did in 2019? What if I told you there are clubs that are getting 20+ prospects a day on a consistent basis? What if I told you that there is a new 15,000 square foot independent club being planned for New York. What if I told you there are clubs in California that have done more sales while conducting workouts outdoors than they did when they were indoors?

I was being interviewed by a major U.S. Newspaper and I shared this information with them and the response was, “how can that be?”

Now, before I begin, I want to first recognize the devastating effect the pandemic has had on the fitness industry and businesses throughout the U.S. By no means do I want to make light of that. I simply want to bring some success principles that have been followed with amazing results. I hope you find them beneficial. Based on what I have experienced, here you go:

  • Play the hand you’re dealt. Yes, you have to wear a mask. Yes, you have to honor social distancing. Yes, there are occupancy limits. Yes, we have more hand sanitizer than ever. With that said, we have no control over this, so instead we want to focus on solutions and what we can control, not continually talking about what’s wrong.
  • Get our head right and know that people will still buy. It all starts with us. Unless we’re positive and are sold on the fact that people will still buy, then it will be a struggle.
  • Create certainty in the community, with our prospects, our members and our staff. This has been done by creating doctor led advisory boards and a commitment to do more than what the state is requiring to remain safe. And then promote it.
  • Know that the sales process and business fundamentals are more important than ever. Staff training is right at the top of the list on how to properly handle a telephone inquiry, how to greet a guest, the proper way to use a needs analysis, how to ask for the sale, the proper way to ask for referrals, etc.
  • Understand that now is the time to advance and expand into the marketplace. This is the single biggest problem most gyms have is no one knows who you are and those that do aren’t thinking about you. Get known! There are no shortage of no and low cost ways to promote your gym.
  • Be innovative. There are many “free agent” members in the marketplace. We have had great success promoting to bring in proof of membership at another club for a special discount. We have also had great success marketing to clubs in individual trade areas looking for owners that would like to make an exit. This has created immediate member growth for the acquiring gym and some cash flow for the departing owner (something they may not have had otherwise).
  • Over Communicate with our members. The first goal is to keep who we have and the initial strategy is to over communicate. Such things as pulling member usage reports each day, creating new and existing member nurturing programs. We want to view ourselves as a resource center to help our members get the results they are seeking.
  • Creating new revenue streams. We want upsell opportunities at point of sale for personal training and retail. We want recurring opportunities for such things as supplements. And, we want to create the membership ladder whereby we can offer add ons and upgrade opportunities to existing members. All of these will help increase revenue without requiring and additional foot traffic.

Now, let’s focus on solutions.

AnOutsourced 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 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 at: or

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