Building a small gym business into an asset and an income generator is no small task. You’re going to work like you have never worked before when you open a gym. That is unless you have run other consumer based membership businesses then you probably have a sense of what you’re getting into. The secret to success is hard work that delivers a club experience beyond the ordinary.
The Basics Always Work Every Time
There are more ways to do the fitness business wrong than there are to do it right. Fortunately, there’s only a finite list of items that you need to get your enterprise on track. You are not the first person to go down this road. In fact, it’s a fairly well-worn path. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s easy, so here are some insider tips to help make your club a great one.
The Eighty-Twenty Rule says it takes only twenty percent of your effort to achieve eighty percent of your objectives. If you want to make quick changes and create a great membership experience for your customers first, look for the easy wins. After that, the extra twenty percent to get to excellent will take the majority of your effort to put into action.
The Rest Is An Investment From The Heart
I recently discovered an old post on the Club Industry blog that’s so universally true it’s worth mentioning seven years after Scott Chovanec wrote it. In that post, Chovanec outlined everything that will get you from good to excellent, and the post is well worth bringing back again.
The points that Chovanec makes focus on creating the right experience for members. The experience has to be exceptional for your customers to make the lifetime value work for you. The better this side of the membership equation is for clients, the greater the lifetime customer value will be to your gym.
Consider The Life Of A Gym Membership
Your relationship with members first begins when they become aware of your business, which might be through advertising or by word-of-mouth. If you are doing it right and excelling in customer service end-to-end, your members will be the best source of new business possible. People follow the recommendations of people they know and trust.
The first contact is the time when new members call or walk in through the door. The first impression should be a clean, professional, and friendly environment. The staffer that first encounters the visitor must acknowledge and greet them; failing to do this is a strong mark against you.
Excellence Is A Source Of Confidence
Have information readily available, engage walk-ins with questions, and ask for the sale. That final part seems to be a source of anxiety for gym employees, but if you build an exceptional experience, you can also instill pride into your workers, which will make closing sales easier for them.
Selling is important, and you do it by finding out what the customer wants from their new membership. The key is open questions that you ask to elicit more information; it is the why, how, what, when, and where questions that tell you how you should explain your value and, again, ask for the sale.
Aspiring To The Never Ending Relationship
Once your members have signed up and paid that is when the real work begins. As I discussed in this recent post about making happy gym members, show gratitude, be customer focused, ask for input, and make the experience rewarding. That is all good stuff, but you have to deliver it consistently and grow the relationship over time.
The management tools that Insight provides are there to help you. Relationships are for the long-term, and we all know how memberships go. People get caught up in other things; they lose enthusiasm, or they just find that the commitment is hard work.
When the attention fades is the time when you cash in on the relationship to bring members back. Track activities with your membership management software and reports, call them up and make it a win to get the routine going again.
Different practices will demand that you adjust the procedures to motivate your particular members. If you operate a CrossFit box, your style of motivation for absent members will be distinct from a studio that offers group activities like yoga, or a boxing studio.
Your business will have unique features, and it’s up to you to create the policies and put them into practice. Just remember to put the focus on experience and make an effort to take the quality levels of your gym from consistently good to outstandingly great every day.
Chovanec, Scott. Putting in Place a Culture of Service Excellence. July 2, 2010. http://clubindustry.com/clubs/putting-place-culture-service-excellence (accessed January 15, 2017).
Fagan, Lawrence. Get Gym Management Leverage With the 80/20 Rule . November 25, 2013. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2204-get-gym-management-leverage-with-the-8020-rule/ (accessed December 9, 2016).
—. Lifetime Customer Value Calculation And Why It Matters. April 6, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3757-lifetime-customer-value-calculation-and-why-it-matters/ (accessed January 15, 2017).
—. Selling Fitness Experiences To Make Happy Gym Members . January 9, 2017. https://blog.gyminsight.com/4170-selling-fitness-experiences-to-make-happy-gym-members/ (accessed January 15, 2017).
Zabonick, Rachel. Industry Buzz: The Difference Between a Good Club and a Great One. September 14, 2016. http://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2016/09/industry-buzz-less-mills-webinar/ (accessed January 15, 2017).