Do You Operate Your Gym with a Sense of Urgency?

A quick check showing the definition of urgency to be; 1) to act promptly; 2) act with intention to make things happen; 3) doing what needs to be done immediately.

So, here’s what I see frequently in gyms…many time there are lots of good things going on but the business and staff have become stagnant because of a lack of urgency. Here’s the deal, without urgency, it simply doesn’t matter when something is done…it could be tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month or even next year. By simply acting with urgency can make all the difference in getting your business back on track or maximizing the opportunity.

Here are some things to consider if your gym needs a kick-start with urgency:

  1. As an owner, manager, department head, sales person…make your own smart, quick decisions with confidence. It all starts with you, right? This is a way of thinking you want to act on immediately and your behavior will help train your team to act accordingly.
  2. Identify obstacles to your staff’s progress and quickly remove them. Take a look around for obstacles that are getting in your way of acting with urgency. In many cases, I have seen the commission schedule or the lack of one being an obstacle. In the end, a simple process is usually a successful process.
  3. Establish a culture that is focused on outcomes, not individual tasks. Here’s the bottom line on this, effort without results is meaningless.
  4. Communicate consequences for inaction; clarify what happens if desired outcomes aren’t met. Too many managers think consequences mean they fire someone, not so. My favorite is to role play the telephone inquiry script in front of the group — if we’re not setting phone inquiries or not getting shows….that will normally get them to memorize the script. Or in the sales process, many times we will roll out a Love at First Sight Offer.
  5. Identify what systems work for your gym and eliminate the systems that no longer serve you. Don’t keep old, tired ways of doing things in place just because “that’s the way you’ve always done it.”
  6. Announce and celebrate small success to demonstrate what happens when desired outcomes are met. For example, break a sales record; the entire team goes out to dinner together to celebrate. Or celebrate when members sponsor in a new members and receive their gift before the deadline.
  7. Agree on deadlines and provide reminders. Final day for a membership special. Final day to sign up for a class. Final week on the referral contest. You get the idea — then be sure to communicate across many different platforms….in club signs, email, phone, social media….
  8. Keep meeting short by always providing an agenda. Always have a planned, crisp agenda for each meeting. Don’t allow the meeting to drag from the original intent.
  9. When speaking, get to the point quickly; encourage your team members to communicate in a similar manner. Say what you want, when you want it and get to work — no long drawn out explanations necessary.
  10. Demonstrate leadership by example by meeting your personal deadlines. This one should be simple enough; leadership by example.
  11. Hold one-on-one meetings to secure each staffer’s buy-in to the team. Meet with EVERY team member and communicate the expectations and their understanding of each — you must get 100% acknowledgement and buy-in before you can get started…..and then be sure you follow-up.
  12. Follow up. It will not be good enough just to express your expectations, you must continue to follow up and train where necessary. The culture of urgency will never be important to you staff until its first important to you.

Now, go get it done…now!

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 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 at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.

How to Bootstrap Your Sales and Marketing for your Gym during the Pandemic

The pandemic is affecting every gym operation differently — some gyms are going to go out of business, some will manage through it and be okay, some will benefit hugely from it simply due to the kind of gym or service they offer.

However, we simply can’t stop marketing and communicating with our members and prospects, and now is the time to think about what we can do, with what we have, where we are (play the hand we’re dealt).

So, with that in mind, here are some ideas for effective marketing activities you can do that cost little or no money, and that every gym should probably be doing more of anyway.

Some may work for you; some may not, but take a look and see what you think:

1. Reach out to past telephone and web inquiries that never bought

Try reaching out to potential members that have made inquiries previously but never joined or never went through the full sales cycle.

Your email database is going to be a great asset for you right now, so leverage your database to communicate with all of your prospects.

2. Leverage your gyms vendor network

We can’t go to networking events right now. Therefore, we have to do what we probably should have been doing a lot more of anyway: proactively reaching out to our top vendors and our top contacts and communicating with them more.

If you’re a gym owner or manager, if you’re in a sales role, now is a great time to be reaching out to your main contacts anyway — and finding ways to add value and help them solve some problems can make your relationship even stronger.

3. Write more blogs and articles, publish more

If you have a website, which you all do, this is going to be your single, main asset, so you want to double down on it.

You should focus especially on anything related to how you are safe place to work out and how you can get results for your members.

4. Repurpose your articles onto LinkedIn, Medium or AmericanTowns

Obviously social media platforms are free to use, but they’re really noisy. We have to find ways to cut through that noise.

The one way to do that is to republish your top-performing articles on your website currently (and the ones that you’re writing) onto your personal LinkedIn profiles, Medium or AmericanTowns as articles. This gets them in front of your network, your vendors, and your audience.

5. Embrace video production across your entire team

We want to create video. We want to get out there and we want people to see our faces, to hear our voices. Want people to see our body language.

You don’t have to have all the gear. A Smart Phone, a low cost microphone, a tripod, etc. It doesn’t matter, really. Balancing your Smart Phone on top of a pile of books and being able to do a video right now is good enough.

Keep it specific. Address main questions, fears, and anxieties. Do some walkthroughs or demos. Keep it short and just get it out there. Perfection is not what we’re aiming for. We want to get it done.

6. Create a proactive plan for saving member cancellations

We need to get ahead of concerns before they become problems. Proactively reach out to your members at risk.

Put yourself in a position to understand how the pandemic is affecting them. This gives you the opportunity to think about how you could provide more value at this time.

It may mean that you have to think of a new service or a new product or a new way to provide value. This just gives you that chance to get ahead.

7. Proactively reach out to prospects

The first thing to remember here is that people will still buy, so you want to be communicating with your database. Member referrals, former members, missed sales, internet leads; telephone and web inquiries, corporate accounts, etc are some quick opportunities.

Instead of waiting for them to move through the buying process, call them, text them email them and create a personalized connection with them. Reach out proactively instead of letting them go through the process organically.

8. Follow up quickly and personally with all gym inquiries

Give all your inquiries super service as much as you possibly can. In other words, not only are you going to act quickly and get back to people in good time, but use video when you do it to make a personalized connection. Do everything you can to make your buyers feel special (because they are).

9. Publish content where your prospects are

You need to be leveraging social media platforms, wherever your prospects are hanging out at the moment: current members, potential clients, and potential members. Let go of the need to have all the content on your website.

Put the content on the platform where your prospects are. It might mean publishing whole articles on LinkedIn, Medium and AmericanTowns and link back to your website

10. Ask for referrals. Who do your members know that could join?

You should communicate with people who are either current members or current clients of yours, or people who have been previous members and really liked what you did for them.

It’s always good to reach back out to them, with a personalized touch, to see if you can help them in any way.

Also, you can ask them for a testimonial or a case study, and then ask them, if they did enjoy what you did for them, is there anybody else that they know right now that would benefit from working with you?

11. Embrace live chat for your website

Finally, live chat. Get Facebook Messenger onto your website, so your members and prospects can communicate with you directly. I have seen member and prospect interaction go up as much as 4x by using Facebook Messenger as the live chat feature.

This is going to be especially important for gyms that used to rely on prospects coming to see you in your studio or in your gym.

Let’s get back to the basics — to what gym sales and marketing’s all about. That personalized communication with members and prospects in a way that’s going to help them to feel like they want to be part of what you do at the gym.

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 at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

How To Be Great At Gym Membership Sales

As seen in Club Insider News

Jim ThomasJim Thomas

Are you a gym owner and would you like to improve the sales performance in your club? Are you a membership salesperson or personal trainer that would like to improve your sales performance? I think most would say yes to these questions. However, we continue to see many gyms and individuals struggle to improve their membership sales numbers.

Of course, there is a tendency to blame things like the economy, the competition, the price, the marketing or just that people aren’t buying. Have you considered that perhaps the problem is… you are not completely sold yourself? After all, that’s the only thing you have complete control over.

With competition at a peak, you must know how to sell effectively. Let’s start here:

Seven Tips On How To Be Great At Gym Membership Sales

Here are seven tips that we have used in club after club to immediately improve sales performance:

  1. 1. You must be sold yourself. If you’re not sold, how can you expect your prospect to buy a membership or personal training from you? You must be sold on the fact that you have the best gym, best service, best equipment, best opportunity for client results and you’re the best person to help them. Unless you genuinely believe this, then you’re not sold.
  2. 2. Passion. Belief. Conviction. It’s been said the core definition of sales is a transfer of enthusiasm or a transfer of feelings. Your job is to bring the prospect up to your level of passion, belief and conviction. If the prospect is convincing you of something else, then you are not sold.
  3. 3. Be unreasonable. You must be so convinced and so sold on the fact that your gym is the best solution for solving your clients’ problem that you refuse to be swayed on all the excuses you are always hearing about why the prospect is not buying. You know… “Let me think about it, I need to talk to my spouse, I don’t have the money, I want to check out other clubs and the like.” This does not mean we are disrespectful. Quite the opposite, we are always agreeable, we just won’t be convinced otherwise. For example, “Mary, I understand. Many of our members say that; however, adding time to the decision will not help you lose the weight and get off medication. Let’s get you started.”
  4. 4. If you’re not hitting your numbers, at some level, you’re not sold. Numbers will tell the truth. It can be membership sales, outbound calls, follow-up, prospecting, getting referrals, daily appointments, etc. If you are not hitting your numbers, then at some level, you are not sold. Go back and evaluate where you stand on this. You must get yourself sold if you want to hit the big numbers.
  5. 5. If you have excuses, you’re not sold. Excuses like: “We’re always slow this time of year. Our price is just too high. They don’t have any money. They didn’t have enough time. It’s too long of a commitment. No one will come out in this rain. What a nice day, I’m sure we will be slow.” Here’s a favorite, “Oh, Jim, we’re different than all the other clubs.” You have a choice. Either get sold on your product or service or be sold on the excuse.
  6. 6. This is the most important sale you will ever make. I’m sure many of you reading this have sold many memberships, personal training or other products or services. However, I can promise you that the most important sale you will ever make is to yourself. Make this sale first and start right now. Review your production numbers. What are they telling you? You must avoid uncertainly. In most cases, this is what causes us to not be sold. Take a look at your own areas of uncertainty when it comes to your sales production performance.
  7. 7. The idea of your being sold must be 100% and you must work at it. Uncertainty comes at us every day and in many forms. Stay focused on overcoming and even avoiding uncertainty. Work on keeping yourself sold.

Now, go be great at gym membership sales!

Big Box Gyms Still Work

I read it all the time and I’m sure you do as well, big box gyms are a thing of the past. Do you think this is true? Not based on what I see.  Let me explain why.

Yes, when you read the survey’s and talk to owners, you hear tales of struggle, but when you dig deeper, you see something completely different.  The survey and the story of a struggle are, many times, just the end result of many things that have been missed.

We work with many big box gyms that flourish and the opportunity is available for any club owner to get the results they are seeking if they will integrate the following;

  1. Overcome the issue of obscurity. This is the biggest problem faced by gyms, no one knows you’re out there and those that do aren’t thinking about you. Too many gym owners significantly underestimate what it will take to gain attention.  It requires a massive, determined effort and not just doing a few things to accomplish this.
  2. Get a club app and actually use it. You are literally in the palm of the hand of your club members and prospects.  No club should be without one.
  3. Become a digital media company.  I don’t see many really taking advantage of this incredible opportunity. Blogs, Video, podcast, email, social media and salesperson resource center.  This is significantly underutilized or even truly understood.
  4. Turning cost centers into profit centers. The days are long past whereby the monthly dues can underwrite every area of your club.  Your front desk, nursery and group x must product (at minimum) enough to cover their cost.  In the end, this means training and development of staff.
  5. Sales Process.  These are the proven steps of the sales process.  Every guest, no matter what  the circumstances, must receive a membership presentation.
  6. Sales fundamentals.  The two biggest areas of improvement are being agreeable  with the customer and asking for the sale.
  7. Learn how to follow up on existing leads.  So much time and effort is placed on getting the phone to ring and people to call and then the ball is dropped in follow up.  Salespeople need training on how to properly do this.
  8. Keeping the club as new and as trendy today as it was the day it opened.  Much like the restaurant and nightclub business, your gym must stay on top of the recent trends in order to stay relative in the marketplace.
  9. Install a strategy to grow and develop member loyalty.  This is the foundation of your member retention success and it can’t be simply “we provide good service, it must be quantifiable.
  10. Actually define a unique selling position.  Most gyms we go into cannot answer this question.  Quite simply; what makes you different, why should I join your gym?  And you can’t say because you’re friendly, have great service and have the best equipment – everyone says that.

Now, go make your big box gym a success!

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.

 

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