5 Key to Successful Gym Ownership

It’s been a busy summer so far.  We have had the opportunity to visit numerous clubs and help them get their business back on track.

While each gym is very different, the issues are always strikingly familiar. The following will include things that we are seeing with clubs that are not reaching their full potential and how to find the solution;

  1. Marketing. This is usually first on the list. The problem is that no one knows who you are and those that do know who you are… they don’t have you at top of mind. Clubs must attract attention to themselves. Far too many clubs are only doing one or two things to attract attention to their business…we suggest at least between 15 – 20 things.  It takes massive determined action to gain the kind of attention necessary to make your gym a success.  Doing one or two things is like tossing a rock into the Grand Canyon.  First tip – get a club app.  It will help with maximizing attention with all members and prospects who have visited your club.  With such things as geo-fencing, you can send a push notification when your member is near the competition, for example, or when they walk in your front door.
  2. Sales training. Now that we’re getting people in the door, we need to be sure we know how to sell and close – 2 completely different things. Let’s address the issue of closing.  Gyms seems to have given up keys steps of the sales process – perhaps it’s in an attempt to provide good service, but unless you close the sale, you’ll never get the chance to provide good service. A couple tips here – be agreeable and be sure to ask for the sale….and be sure you are selling desired outcomes, not just showing features.
  3. Staff training. Sales training is just like a fitness program, if you want the best results, you must do it on a regular basis. Be sure you are using a proven sales process in your club and hold your staff accountable for its proper implementation. We suggest that you hold weekly training session (one-hour each time) for managers, weekend managers and salespeople. The must know the material. Don’t allow them to practice on the paying customer.
  4. Set expectations. It’s interesting how many businesses do not have production quotas for their staff. How many sales are expected each day? How many calls are they expected to make?  How many leads are they expected to generate?  Gather all your key performance indicators and review this daily.  Identify what’s working and what’s not.  Repeat what’s working and fix the other.
  5. Follow up. Follow up.  Follow up.  If you want this to be important to others, you need to show them it’s first important to you.  You simply can’t tell them what you want and then walk away, you must follow up – inspect what you expect.  Your staff must receive feedback. At its simplest, meet with your manager upon arrival at the club each day (by phone if you like) and review expectations and the plan for the day, meet again briefly in the afternoon to check on progress and then before they leave at the end of the evening, be sure they check-out with you on production for the day, what worked, what didn’t work and how many appointments they have set for the next day.  You want to create an accountable “make it happen” culture.

Now, go make your 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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