What’s the #1 Problem for your Gym? Obscurity

That’s right!  We see it frequently in clubs.  No one knows that you’re out there and those that do don’t have you at top of mind.

Many clubs are only doing a couple things to drive guest traffic and most do not have a specific plan for retention.  They vastly underestimate what it will take to avoid obscurity and attract attention to themselves.

We received a call from a gym owner recently.  He said he had been going back and forth to our web site and considering hiring us to help him get his gym back on track.  When asked what finally prompted him to call, he said a guest came into his gym the previous evening, was very impressed and joined.  Upon joining, they said, “this club is the best kept secret in town.”

Is your gym the best kept secret in town?

Here is the simplest and easiest way to begin your quest to avoid obscurity, attract attention and stay top of mind;

Get yourself a Club App.  Market and promote to your member base.  Follow up with club guests that did not join.

  1. You must get people to download your app.  Too many clubs don’t have a club app…and those that do aren’t doing enough to get people to download it.   Include a paragraph in your new member letter letting your new member know this is your primary communication tool with members…such things as inclement weather, class changes, special offers, etc.  For people who do not join, let them you provide information on the club app on how to lose weight and stay in shape.
  2. Prime Real Estate.  How many people have a smart phone?  If watching people at the airport or in restaurants is any indicator, it seems like everyone does.  So, your message is pushed to the best of all real estate – right in the palm of the members or prospects hand.
  3. Geo-Fencing.  You set your club app to deliver a push notification every time your member enters you gym with encouragement to take a class, try a personal trainer, bring a friend or maybe a discount on a smoothie when they are done working out.  Or how about this, every time your member gets within a specified distance from your competition, they get a notification reminding them about your gym?
  4. Club Concierge Service.  This is a great way to improve member loyalty (member retention). Notifications to encourage regular attendance.  Celebrate birthdays, membership anniversary dates along with announcements of members who are getting great results.  Use your app as the primary source of member communication for changes in schedule, weather related closing or anything exciting going on at your gym
  5. Resource Center.  This is a great follow up tool for those that don’t join your club right away.  Provide daily tips on exercise and proper eating for those that travel, have limited time, are trying to do it on their own.  This will help with member retention along with staying at top of mind for prospects that may eventually join your gym.
  6. Motivation. Daily affirmations to help keep everyone excited and focused on getting results at your gym
  7. Sell a membership (or anything else).  Of course, links to sell membership, personal training, etc.

Check out Club Apps at www.clubapps.com.  And by the way, our new app will be released soon.  Follow us on Twitter @GymConsultant for details.

Now, go attract attention to your gym!

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net.

 

Should you invest in Sales Training for your Health Club Staff?

Health Club sales training is a must for any fitness facility wishing to secure a competitive advantage in their marketplace. This has always been important, but it’s even more important now than ever.

The ability to sell memberships, personal training, etc. is fundamental to success in the fitness business and the full effort of the sales team is essential. The health club sales team brings in the revenue that writes the check of everybody in the gym from the administrative staff to the cleaning crew to the owner.  Unless a health club can generate membership sales there is no revenue and there is no business.

The only thing worse than training your health club membership sales staff and having them leave….is NOT training your membership staff and having them stay.

Here are some thoughts why health clubs and gyms should consider investing in regular sales training:

  • Improve membership sales and productivity:  Just a 10% increase in the membership sales of one membership rep would offer a quick return on investment. 
  • Gain a competitive advantage over other health clubs: Many fitness facilities do not properly train their membership sales team. Health clubs and gyms that train and invest in their employees are also strengthening their own competitive position. A competitive advantage could mean the difference between success, survival or disappearance. New sales ideas and strategies learned from a proven health club sales training program give your fitness facility a strong advantage against other gyms in your area…even a slight advantage can make all the difference in that next membership sale. 
  • Increase employee satisfaction and staff retention: Everybody wants to feel good in their jobs. Health club sales training develops the abilities of membership sales personnel and encourages them to use their natural talents and abilities in the membership sales process. This helps to establish better relationships with guests and members. 
  • Confident membership sales staff: Confidence is a must when it comes to health club sales. A confident membership sales rep feels good about what they do, speaks with authority about the fitness facilities services and products and transfers the same confidence to guests and members. This confidence is crucial in making membership sales and in getting guests and members to join your health club. 
  • New creative ideas and inspiration: Implementing the new ideas and strategies learned in health club sales training makes selling memberships more exciting and simplifies the process. Working in fitness sales should be fun as well as providing an exciting daily challenge and opportunity. The idea is to create an atmosphere that allows a motivated person to act. Health Club sales training will help to do this. 
  • Motivated membership sales team: Membership sales reps are always more motivated when they can see a positive outcome as a result of their actions. This combination of confidence and motivation is a very powerful mixture in any health club situation. 

Health club membership sales reps that have the motivation and confidence in themselves will sign up new members who are not only satisfied members but members who will also refer their friends.  We all know that there is no better way of marketing your health club than word of mouth advertising. We instinctively have more confidence in a fitness facility when it has been recommended by somebody we know. This is particularly the case where the health club we are selling is a more expensive one.  For those of you competing against lower-priced competition, this can be the difference-maker.

Now, go get some health club sales training!

Fitness Management & Consulting Launches My Fitness Career Job Web Site

New fitness industry job website benefits both employers and job seekers.

Dallas, TX – October 16, 2013 – Fitness Management & Consulting announced today the launch of its new web site at www.fmconsulting.net/myfitnesscareer for job seekers and employers in the fitness industry. The new web site is designed to provide job seekers and employers from all fitness verticals with tools and resources they need to build their business, career, or both.

While working with club owners and fitness experts through the years, it became evident to Jim Thomas, president of Fitness Management & Consulting, that the uniqueness of the fitness industry did not lend itself to traditional staffing outlets such as Monster or CareerBuilder.com. “Our new MyFitnessCareer job site offers all fitness verticals additional resources to find the right employees as well as helps the job seekers search out the ideal career opportunity,” states Thomas.

Personal trainers, fitness teachers, gym managers, and sales consultants can post their profiles and submit their resumes for free on the site. Club owners and other employers looking for experienced fitness personnel can post job listings for $35.00 for 90 days.

Fitness Management & Consulting offers several programs to health clubs, fitness centers, gyms and other fitness verticals to help expand their market bases and keep the facilities productive and profitable. “Now,” says Thomas, “We’re excited to deliver the MyFitnessCareer site to the fitness industry to address needs at many levels. It’s an ideal complement to our health club consulting services, while offering career opportunities.”

About Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting                                                         

Fitness Management & Consulting is a firm specializing in health club business consulting, turnarounds, new club start ups without franchisee fees, and sales training.  Its founder, Jim Thomas, has over 25 years experience in all aspects of health club sales, club ownership and management. Fitness Management & Consulting is a privately held company based in Dallas, Texas. For more information on Fitness Management & Consulting, please visitwww.fmconsulting.net.

 

Media Contacts:

Fitness Management & Consulting

jthomas@fmconsulting.net

www.fmconsulting.net/myfitnesscareer

Skype: jtmanagement

800-929-2898

###

How to Spot a Potential Star Health Club Salesperson

After having interviewed thousands of potential salespeople over the years on behalf of client clubs…and after having hired and helped to supervise many of them…and after having trained them and worked beside them, I have found there are certain qualities that every star health club salesperson possesses.

One of the secrets is…don’t be tricked by what they know relative to fitness or the health club industry, and don’t be blinded by how they look. Instead, concentrate on who they are. Here you go:

1. Will they do the right thing when no one is watching? Do they have integrity?

Members and guests appreciate and want to deal with honest people. Fast talkers will come and go. Hard closers will get some sales, but will create some ill will… experts in fitness will help us understand, but the thing that draws us to do business with a person, more than anything else, is that person’s integrity. We know that we will be dealt with fairly and honestly.

2. Do they have a high energy level? Are they a self starter? What kind of work ethic do they have?

Whether we like it or not, it is still true, to a large degree, sales, in the health club business, is a numbers game. Every health club sales person must talk to a certain number of people in order to sell one.

So, the element of volume is very important to a successful health club sales person. Given two salespeople of equal skills, experience, intelligence, product knowledge, etc., the one who works the hardest will be more successful.

There is no substitute for hard work. Sometimes, the difference between one sales person being successful and another being unsuccessful comes down to quantity of sales efforts.

3. Are they coachable? Do they have the ability to learn?

I’m not talking about the kind of knowledge that you get in school. For the successful health club salesperson, the ability to learn means the ability to evaluate a situation, and then to modify or make adjustments in the way they do things as a result. Can they think quickly on their feet?

In today’s health club environment, there are a number of areas in which a good salesperson must continually be inquiring, learning, and changing their behavior.

The first of these…are their personal sales skills. Health Club sales is an area of endeavor where a person is never as good as they could be. There is always some skill that can be learned or improved upon. The successful health club salesperson never considers themselves to have arrived, but is constantly looking for ways to refine and improve their sales skills. It’s a continuous learning process.

The health club salesperson must learn how to change their behavior to meet the needs, drives, and personalities of the club guests and members. The successful health club salesperson is a chameleon. They change their behavior and, to some extent, their personality, to meet the ways in which different guests and members need for them to behave.

4. Do they have the ability to build positive relationships? Do they have a winning attitude?

The successful health club salesperson is the individual who can quickly build trusting relationships with all sorts of people in the community and inside the club. That requires empathy, the ability to listen, perceptiveness, and the ability to mold themselves into the kind of person the prospect and club member needs.

Those are relationship-building skills. And the most successful health club salespeople are relationship builders.

5. Do they have a self-image of success? Do they see themselves capturing every sale?

People tend to live up to their image of themselves. We all understand that.

Every one of us can think of people in our own lives who have lots of ability and potential, but who never live up to that potential because of their poor self-image.

Somewhere, they developed a poor self-image, and began to think of themselves as incompetent, unable, or unworthy.

6. Do they really want to be in sales? What is their personal motivation?

The best health club salespeople all have within them a drive to excel, to be the best. They have a desire to persuade others.

They have a desire… to get you to see their way of thinking.

It’s that internal motivation that drives all the other qualities of the superstar salesperson. And that drive to succeed is far more powerful than any of the other qualities. Given a strong internal motivation, sooner or later the health club salesperson that is driven to success will succeed. It’s only a matter of time.

Now, add that internal drive, with an ability to learn, an image of success and achievement, a high energy level, personal integrity, and add the ability to create strong business relationships, and you have the ingredients of a superstar health club salesperson.

And should you find a salesperson like this, get ready, because they will make your health club the most interesting it has been in a long time…and, oh by the way, profitable.

Now, go find that health club superstar.

Death of a Salesperson

The new health club salesperson was ambitious and eager to learn all he could about the health club business and the technique of selling in the club industry. However, despite all of his efforts, new membership sales were few and far between. Sales effectiveness eluded him. Finally, after many futile months of working, coaching, prodding and guiding, his club manager confronted him with the bad news, “I don’t think you are cut out to be a health club salesperson,” the manager said.

The salesperson responded, “That’s just not true. I’m selling all right. It’s just that our membership prices are too high. People need to think about buying a membership. It’s important that they talk to their spouse. I’m not getting any walk-ins, and these prospects aren’t buying.”

It sounds childish and absurd, but there are health club salespeople out there who would do anything — or blame anyone — to avoid personal responsibility.

“If it is to be, it’s up to me.” These words should be permanently engraved on every salesperson in every health club across the country. “If it is to be, it’s up to me” is the attitude that epitomizes the most professional health club salespeople I have ever met.

It’s that attitude that shows up when a sales rep takes personal responsibility for everything that happens in his or her club. The real health club professional immediately acknowledges and deals with every adversity that comes his or her way.

So, what is it that causes good health club salespeople to struggle or even fail? What causes the “death of a salesperson?” Here are six thoughts:

1. Prejudging. Thinking we know what the outcome will be before we even start is a huge problem. When we take a club guest, when we pick up the phone or do any outside prospecting, we can’t cut corners assuming that we know how things will turn out. Whether you think you can — or think you can’t — you’ll always be right.

2. Believing in “be-backs.” I was speaking with a chiropractor friend of mine recently. He had retained the services of a consulting firm to help his business. I asked him was what the No. 1 thing that he has learned from his consultant. He paused and then said, “If I don’t get them committed to being a patient when they first walk in my clinic, I’ll likely never get them.” Here’s what you want to remember when your prospect has walked in your door: Their enthusiasm is at its peak. If they leave without getting started, their enthusiasm has nowhere to go but down.

3. Not following a proven system. Too many health club salespeople will cut corners or determine that certain parts of a script are not necessary. By following a proven system, you will get results, be able to take specific action when you’re slumping, and you’ll have something you can use to train and teach others.

4. Not asking for the sale. The key here is decent boldness. If you want something, you must ask. Don’t become confused and think you’re asking when you’re not. Such weak phrases as, “How does this sound,” “What do you think” or “Do you have any questions?” will not qualify as asking for the sale with decent boldness.

5. Failure to plan. If you want to stay in control of your sales career, you have to plan. Otherwise you’ll find yourself the victim of crisis management and have to react to your particular set of circumstances. Be proactive and set your own course.

6. Be honest with yourself. Take a look again at the previous five tips. Were you really honest with yourself? It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.

Can you control every possible problem in the sales department before it occurs? Of course not. Can you be responsible for every problem that occurs in your membership sales department? You don’t have a choice.

I remember many years ago listening to a health club sales manager talking to a salesperson about a raise. He said, “Your raise will become effective when you are.” Being a salesperson in a health club is like your own personal business, and if it is to grow, it is up to you and no one else.

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