Write Ads That Attract Pre-Qualified Buyers for your Gym

Writing the perfect advertisement for your gym or health club for sale is an art. Here’s what you should reveal and what you should not.

Advertising your gym can result in more leads and a higher ultimate selling price, but revealing that you are selling can cause problems with employees and give your competitors something they will use against you. The key to advertising your gym is walking the line between effective marketing and preserving confidentiality is a well-crafted online ad.

Writing business-for-sale ads for health clubs, fitness centers and gyms is an exercise in fine balance.

  • You have to entice prospective buyers about the current and potential strength of your gym without even slightly stretching facts, which you’ll have to warrant as accurate at the time of an actual purchase.
  • You have to tell enough about your gym to make buyers think they’d like to know more, but you can’t tell so much that readers—particularly competitors—can piece together the facts into a description of your business.
  • You have to keep ads short yet build enough interest and trust to prompt prospective buyers not just to respond, but to respond with information about their financial and business capability to make a purchase.
  • You have to indicate enough about your gym and business size and price to attract interest from those qualified to make the purchase while allowing those who don’t match up with your asking price to rule themselves out.
  • And maybe most importantly, you have to make your gym stand out from the crowd of other gyms listed in the same place, whether it is on an online business-for-sale marketplace, a classified ad, or an ad in an industry trade publication

Here are some easy-to-follow tips on what to know and what to do as you develop your business-for-sale ads.

Step 1. Provide a concise yet thorough description of your gym offering.

In a matter of sentences, your ad needs to provide an overview of what your gym is and why it’s an attractive purchase opportunity, all without stretching the truth or presenting information you can’t later warrant as true and accurate.

Here’s what to convey:

  • What your gym is and does. Be clear and specific. Instead of “Fitness Center” say “Profitable 15-year Fitness Center in growing metro area serving a roster of regional members.”
  • Where your gym is located? If your business is in Dallas, say so, but if it’s in a small town with only a few other gyms that fit the description, stating your exact location may give away your identity and sale intentions. Especially online, buyers search for gyms by location, so you can’t avoid the location issue altogether. Instead, give a general description. Instead of “Tyler, Texas,” say, “Located in Texas,” or “Located in a vibrant Texas college town.”
  • How long you’ve been in business. Buyers want to know if your gym is established. You can convey this information in your description (profitable 12-year old health club) or in your statement of strengths (serving regional consumers and corporate clients since 2002).
  • The strengths or attributes that make your gym attractive. In your ads, feature your strengths. “Profitable and growing,” “in highly desirable location,” “strong earnings,” “well-known, highly regarded gym name,” “loyal staff and clients,” “strong online and social media presence,” “good growth potential.” Just be sure every adjective you use can stand up to scrutiny, as you’ll need to warrant accuracy when signing a purchase offer.
  • Your asking price. Not everyone agrees about stating an asking price, feeling it might scare some buyers away. Most advisors agree, however, that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Consensus is: State your asking price and most recent annual revenues. For one thing, online buyers shop by price category and if your price is missing your gyms won’t appear in the results. For another, if you don’t list a price you risk inspiring inquiries from those without the capabilities to complete a deal of your size.
  • Why you’re selling. While it’s not required, a description of why you’re selling often inspires trust and increases response rates. Keep in mind that some reasons are very understandable; i.e., “retirement” or “death in the family,” while others will discourage buyer responses; i.e., “burned out,” or “declining business.”
  • Business sale advisers agree on one point above all others: The less specific the gym description presented in your sale ad, the more your gym looks like any other. Your job is to compress the facts and strengths into a short ad that makes a buyer want to know more.