10 Reasons Your Gym Business Has Become Stagnate

We work at both ends of the fitness industry – with those gym owners who are just starting out and want to shorten the learning curve and those who have been in business are in need of a turnaround (and everything in between).There are many reasons why some gyms grow and others become stagnate. Of course, there are factors like market size, competition and consumer demand. But there are also other factors that have to do with operations, leadership, accountability and systems.

Based on what we’re seeing across the country, here are some thoughts on why gym owners and their business become stagnate.

1. Success apathy. Just because you have had success in the past, it doesn’t guarantee success in the future. Simple complacency…we take our eye off the ball. . An independent gym is usually a reflection of the club owner’s needs, desires and personality.

2. The right staff. You cannot build a successful gym without the right people in place. This requires both the proper hiring and training process and the willingness to make the changes that become necessary as the business grows. This is easier said than done for many gym owners. It takes dedication to the process.

3. The lack of standards, systems and controls.  It’s not enough to have high standards in your gym without implementing the control systems that assure those standards are met. Without the controls, you will have good intentions accompanied by bad results.

4. The member attitude. Not the member’s’ attitude but the gym’s attitude toward its members. There is nothing more destructive than gym staff who dismiss difficult members as “nutty” and conclude that there is no way to make them happy. The problem is that most nutty members have not so nutty friends, and word of mouth travels fast these days.

5. Technology. New technologies can do many great things but can also be overwhelming and time consuming for gym owners. Acquiring the financial, technical and staff resources necessary to solve a technology problem can be very difficult for a small gym, but there’s not much choice; the marketplace does not stand still.

6. Marketing. This includes everything from branding to advertising to market analysis. How your gym executes may be the major driver of its success, but how your gym is perceived is also crucial. The other reality is that small gyms can have a difficult time finding resources to help them with this critical part of their business. That means that the success or failure of a small gym’s marketing frequently comes down to the abilities of the club owner. Few people are good at everything.

7. Stale fitness services. Whether you are talking about fitness products or members, the market is always changing, and your products and services have to change with it. If you are fortunate, the changes are slow and subtle; sometimes, they are dramatic.

8. Lack of investment. Whether it is for more new gym equipment and accessories, new technology, a bigger facility, or more employees – growing gyms require more cash than non-growing gyms. Getting this cash may require borrowing money, finding more investors or using up whatever cash is on hand. It’s ongoing. Some gym owners tire of the demands and decide to slow down the investments — and that slows down growth of the gym.

9. Stubbornness. It is stubbornness that helped the gym owner get the club off the ground, get through the learning curve, survive the recession and cope with every problem along the way. At some point, though, focused adherence to what you know can limit a gym’s ability to adapt to change and get to that next level. Policies and strategies that might have worked when you had 10 employees can hold you back when you have 30 — a common example is when you start to hire higher-priced managers who have different expectations than a $10-an-hour employee.

10. Leadership. This includes vision, courage, fortitude, attitude and gym culture — all of which should create an inspired staff. And of course there’s the often-used word that is many times called the secret to it all, passion. Here is the real secret: passion is critical, but it can’t make up for deficiencies in the other categories. I have seen many owners struggle in the gym business that had plenty of passion. It will not be enough.

Jim Thomas | Fitness Management & Consulting | 800-929-2898

An Inexperienced Health Club Sales Staff and Their Seven Most Common Mistakes

The heart of true customer service is a commitment to deliver your members and prospects the most professional sales and service possible. But, there are some pitfalls. In working with many health clubs across the country, we find many facilities with new or inexperienced salespeople, which may or may not include the front desk staff serving as salespeople.

We recently completed a study for a health club that was struggling with its newly hired membership sales reps. As you read our findings, think about your team stacks up:

  1. Thinking small. Want bigger sales? Think bigger. Ask these questions: “How high is high?” and “What is my maximum potential?” Over and over I see the new or inexperienced salespeople only selling the lowest price membership the club has to offer. 
  1. Lack of preparation. There is an old saying: “Success happens when opportunity meets preparedness!” We find that too many health club owners are just throwing new sales reps in the fire with little or no training.  I asked one sales rep to see her price presentation sheet and she informed me that she just writes the membership prices on a back of a piece of paper. Not exactly a prepared recipe for success. 
  1. Failing to establish and/or maintain rapport. All too often the new sales reps just dives in for the sale. The key here is to talk about something you may have in common, be respectful, do some fact finding on the prospect’s goals and why they are important – and THEN move toward the sales message. 
  1. Failing to really commit and establish themselves as experts in their field. Again, this is about preparedness. Naturally, you wouldn’t throw someone into sales for your club who knows nothing about fitness. Even a person who knows a limited amount, though, can be bolstered with information so as to exude confidence when talking about the club. 
  1. Not listening. 90% of salespeople never listen, and are doomed to ineffectiveness. This one is a biggie, particularly when we’re rushed or feeling pressure. When new sales reps do nothing but talk, talk, talk, they most certainly will never find out much about the health club guest. Feature-dumping will only encourage the guest to check out other clubs. 
  1. Failing to ask for the order. This may be hard to believe, but only 70% of all health club sales folks NEVER ask for the membership sale. Do yours?  Such phrases as How does that sound…What do you think…Do you have any questions, don’t count.  This isn’t asking for the sale.  Asking for the sale requires decent boldness: “Let’s get you started today, Mr. Smith.” (Then be quiet). 
  1. Poor or no follow up. Follow up and follow through truly sets the great salespeople apart from the mediocre ones. The ongoing responsibility of the health club owner is to continually come up with new reasons for the sales rep to call back previous club The club needs to have a plan to continually reintroduce the sales rep with the non member. 

So, how do you and your team stack up? How can you help them make the changes they need to become a professional salesperson and provide value-added service?

Ask yourself how you fare on each of these areas. Would you give yourself a passing mark? Which ones would need a little work? How will you change to make sure you give your customers the most professional service possible?

Give your team a chance to win by reminding them of these success tactics. Remind them to keep focused and keep working toward their goals of helping the client make a decision that is good for the client and profitable for the company.

Health Club Turnarounds Continue Through Membership Sales Success from Fitness Management & Consulting

Fitness Management & Consulting announces the steady increase of gyms and health clubs nationwide that are experiencing a business turnaround and revival in their revenue.

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The key to all success is to take action.

Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) April 28, 2014

As the second quarter of the year continues to unfoldFitness Management & Consulting announces the steady increase of gyms and health clubs nationwide that are experiencing a business turnaround and revival in their revenue.

Jim Thomas, owner and president of Fitness Management & Consulting, remarks, ”During our consultations with fitness club owners who are struggling to keep their business afloat is that their problem doesn’t necessarily lie in the club vision or operations. The root cause, actually, is a lack of solid and consistent membership sales that keep fitness enthusiasts coming through the door.”

As the sales training leader in the health club industry, Fitness Management & Consulting presents Sales Success seminars onsite at the club, designed with the skills needed by the sales team to close more sales.

Fundamental sales techniques merge with interactive, creative scenarios to bring applicable skills to salespersons of all levels.

Some of the topics covered in the two-day Sales Success seminars include:

  •     Overcoming price objections
  •     Uncovering the Super Objective
  •     Encouraging club guests to buy faster
  •     Eliminating the fear of prospecting
  •     Differentiating your club from all the others

 

Before finalizing a membership sales curriculum, Thomas enacts a detailed consult with the fitness club owner to verify that the club has enough underlying “health” so as to ensure true sales training success. “You must look at key factors such as a structured approach, available cash flow, and enough time before any hard deadlines prevent the turnaround from happening;” he says, “but it’s exciting to see how a club can really begin to thrive again once you give its motivated salespeople a fresh knowledge about closing a sale.”

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 visithttps://108.174.154.48/~fmconsul.

Media Contacts:
Fitness Management & Consulting
jthomas(at)fmconsulting(dot)net
https://108.174.154.48/~fmconsul
Skype: jtmanagement
800-929-2898

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Feeling Successful with Your Club? Let’s Keep It That Way.

Club owners sometimes tend to think they are successful at the health club business because of a Jedi-like expertise or a super-instinctive understanding. They are “good,” and if they’ve done it once; they think they can do it again and again. Eventually, club managers or owners start eliminating some of the key elements that make the club run well – and they becomes a little apathetic to the ultimate detail and fundamentals that made the clubs successful in the first place. Time goes on. They take things for granted. They don’t plan and train their staff quite as hard. They forget that success is guaranteed to no one. For example, key items such as the master appointment book, daily phone contacts, daily appointments, regular sales training and prospecting for new leads can be taken for granted and even overlooked. We become reactive in our approach instead of proactive.

If you haven’t done so lately, now is the time to freshen up, liven up, and essentially reboot your club’s operations to keep it moving in the right – and profitable – direction. Start with these key areas:

1. Accountability. This means defining the job, who is going to do it, and when it will be done. This should be in writing and confirmed so that everybody involved in this area of accountability has a complete understanding. You should understand that everybody needs to be held accountable for completing their assigned job duties on time and effectively.  As you go along, you’ll notice specific areas for accountability: generating reports for salespeople, reviewing reports, ordering supplies, or coordinating an open house. One of the things I hear is, “I was way too hands-off, way too easy going, way too concerned with being a friend to my staff and not holding them accountable.” Earn their respect, not their friendship. Inspect what you expect.

When we go into a facility and conduct an Operational Analysis, we interview

key staff members. One of the questions we ask is, “What is your job description?” We ask the club owner the same question regarding that particular staff member’s duties. It’s always interesting how often the answers differ. Be sure you’re on the same page with what’s expected. Your silence will be interpreted as acceptance.

2. A System. We all know that the most valuable asset in any facility is the people; however, one of the keys to avoiding success apathy is to manage the system. We may be talking about a long-term employee or a new hire, but the system should remain the same, with your implementation and follow-up occurring every day. Don’t simply assume they are going to do it. Everyone needs leadership and direction. Have a plan for your membership sales, a plan for advertising and marketing, a plan for recruiting staff, a plan for resolving conflict, etc. Be sure you are following a proven system….and follow up.

3. Communication. People listen in different ways. Some people like to read, some people like meetings some people like to look at their email, some people like to receive a phone call or text message, etc. I suggest that you come up with several different ways to communicate with your employees (and members, of course). Make sure you follow up to get confirmation that they received the message, and don’t expect one form of communication to get the job done. Experiment with the best forms of communications: signs, communication log books at your front desk, office banners, emails, text messages, newsletters, phone calls, formal training classes, informal training, and so forth.

One of the common statements I hear from club owners and manager’s is, “Well, I told them.” What they mean is, they told them once and then expected it to be done.

If communication were only that easy, the job of management wouldn’t be necessary.

4. Fun. We know that the health club business should be a tightly-run operation, but we also want to treat people well. We want to make sure that they enjoy their work and that we provide an environment that allows a motivated person to act. At the same time, the club business can be too much fun if you’re not careful. Other health club businesses can be too dry; so somewhere in the middle you, as the owner or manager, holding people accountable, need to have all of the processes in place. Think in terms of “we want it all to be done, but we want it to be enjoyable as well.”

Now, keep up the success!

www.fmconsulting.net

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.

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