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.

 

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

Jim Thomas, Health Club Turnaround Expert, Addresses Most Common Causes of Gym Failures

jim2

In the ultra-competitive world of health and fitness, where less than 50% of new gyms and fitness centers are expected to survive beyond the first 5 years in business, Jim Thomas has many answers to questions most gym owners don’t even know to ask.

Jim Thomas is the well-known founder and president of Fitness Management USA, Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. The tagline for his company is an apt one. “When the going gets tough, the smart get help.”

The health and fitness industry, like so many others, is one in which many businesses are spawned through passion. For example, a personal trainer loves what he or she does so decides to open a gym hoping that the old axiom, “Do what you love and the money will follow” will hold true. Unfortunately, it rarely does.

“Other than being under-capitalized, the biggest reason we see for health club failure is lack of business know-how and lack of proper implementation of sales and marketing strategies,” points out Thomas. “Another common misconception that many new gym owners have is that the gym will sell itself.”

It is rare to find someone that is both passionate about providing health and fitness services and adept at marketing and sales. The result is often that one side of the business falters and may drag the entire operation down with it.

In these cases, Thomas suggests, “If you are not an expert in gym sales and marketing find someone that is. Embrace sales and marketing. Get some training. In an effort to provide good service, you can’t give up key steps of the membership sales process.”

After 25 years of owning and operating gyms as well as speaking and consulting extensively on the subject, Thomas has seen pretty much all the industry can throw at gym owners. When asked what precautions or research new gym owners could undertake to improve their odds of success, Thomas responded, “For people entering this business, be fully aware the biggest mistake is a failure to grasp and implement proper sales and marketing programs.” He also added, ”Keep fixed overhead low. Newcomers need to shorten the learning curve and not learn based on trial and error – it’s just too costly.”

It seems that gym owners – like many entrepreneurs – may be overly optimistic for their own good at times. When asked what the greatest challenge he faces in helping aspiring or struggling gym owners, Thomas was very up-front, “Club owners often wait too long to engage professional help. Instead, thinking the problem will miraculously be fixed without help.”

The lesson to be learned here? Running a health and fitness facility is a high-overhead and sometimes complicated business requiring a diverse skill-set. To ensure the greatest likelihood of success, anyone thinking about entering into this industry should either have the proper skill-set or be willing to work with someone that does.

To learn more about Jim Thomas and Fitness Management U.S.A Inc. please visit:https://108.174.154.48/~fmconsul/ or call 1-800-929-2898.

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!

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 work with 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.

 

Our Other Sites
close slider


Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel

jtod-150-cut
Jim Thomas On Demand

gymsforsale1
Gyms For Sale