A Pro Tip For Small Gym Business Client Acquisition

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  • A Pro Tip For Small Gym Business Client Acquisition

A Pro Tip For Small Gym Business Client Acquisition

If you look at your small gym business from the broadest perspective possible, client acquisition is the one central function that drives your operation. Arguably, everything else is a detail.

Of course, some of the details are critical, but they address the members you pick up as part of the acquisition process. However, the cost to acquire new members isn’t as useful a measurement for you as the lifetime value of those new memberships.

Everything other than that drive for client acquisition is a refinement or facilitated by it. Your income depends on it. To have a business you have to pursue customers, but that’s not the secret to successful client acquisition, there’s something more profound behind it.

A Gratuitous Movie Reference For A Good Cause

The movie Glengarry Glen Ross is a classic in my opinion. The action was all in the dialogue, which dramatized the tension and conflicts in a real estate sales office. The main characters squabbled over the available sales leads. The critical quote was, "Always be closing," which was the catchphrase of Alec Baldwin’s super-salesman character in the movie.

The truth is that closing is the heart of the process for any campaign for client acquisition. Whether you’re an independent trainer, the manager for a big box gym brand, or anywhere in between, you have to work continuously to win new members for your gym business.

Refine Your Strategy By Improving Your Retention Rate

As a gym owner, executive, or manager, your goal has to be to keep bringing in new members. The club membership business model means that for every new client you close on a membership you should be getting a monthly flow of revenue for months or years in return.

The membership revenue model focuses on the lifetime value of each member. So obviously, if you retain each customer longer the higher the lifetime value to you. However, getting the numbers right and increasing your efficiency isn’t the ultimate secret to making client acquisition work better for your business.

The Wrong Clients Might Be Worse Than None

Have you ever sold one of those online offers where hordes of discount-seekers pile in for cheap? How’d that work out for you? Sometimes recruiting lots of new members at a discount rate isn’t worth the trouble, even if they attend once and never return.

The right sort of customers are the ones who value your offerings, pay sufficient membership dues to generate a positive return on investment, and turn up often enough to reap the benefits and buy premium services. Still, if you collect clients just to get the numbers right, something’s missing from the equation.

Find The Why In Always Be Closing

The pro tip here is that client acquisition will go a lot better if you understand why you’re doing it. Having a Why is the key to choosing the right business and pursuing the right clients for your services. Your prospects and members will sense your drive when you’re clear about the Why.

Why you’re doing it is the most fundamental motivator in any business. Your Why has to be more than paying bills or maximizing return (Sinek 2009), it has to transcend numbers and reports. All of those things will work out better for you when you have a truly compelling reason to commit to the fitness profession. Your Why comes directly from your core values.

If you’re like me, or any of the fitness pros that I know, you do it out of the love of fitness. The most significant reasons are to help others get fit and to make a positive impact while providing a descent way-of-life for your family.

Successful Small Gym Business Management Has Meaning

The fitness leader has more chance of success than the business owner who has the cash to invest and the numbers alone guided the choice of profession. I’ll grant that your sensible financial decisions do matter, they matter a lot. But if you’ve got the passion for sticking with it through the lean times, the enthusiasm to close every opportunity, you’re at a winning advantage.

If you know why you’re doing it and choose to operate a fitness club based on the values that guide your reasoning you’re way ahead of the competition. You’ll massively increase your client acquisition and max-out on your ability to "Always be closing" when you understand the "Why" behind your commitment.


Fagan, Lawrence. Know Your Gym’s Mission Pt. 3. May 5, 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2643-know-your-gyms-mission-pt-3/ (accessed October 24, 2017).

-. 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 October 24, 2017).

Glengarry Glen Ross. Directed by James Foley. Performed by Al Pachino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin and Jonathon Pryce. 1992. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104348/?ref_=nv_sr_3

Sinek, Simon. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York, NY: Penguin (USA), 2009.

Taylor, Lisa Lorraine. Client Acquisition. February 26, 2014. https://www.fitnessprofessionalonline.com/articles/business/starting-a-business/client-acquisition/ (accessed October 24, 2017)