By: Jim Thomas
President/Founder of Fitness Management and Consulting
We have seen many frustrated gym owners, managers and salespeople; many of whom are working hard and can’t understand why they are not more successful. They are doing all the things they know to do, but the results are not there.
Before we start to look at the sales process and fundamental, and before we consider any operational issues, we should first consider the following;
- Obscurity. This is problem number one. No one knows the gym even exists and if they do, they aren’t thinking about it. As a gym owner, not only are you competing with other fitness options for your customer, but you’re also competing against all the noise your customer hears each day. Most gym owners significantly underestimate what it will take to attract attention to their business….and then when they try to attract attention, if they get a complaint or criticism, or if it doesn’t work like they think it should, they stop. That’s the one time we can guarantee results. The answer is to take massive, determined action. How do you know if you are taking massive action? You create a new set of problems. Commit to everything. Look for ways to say yes.
- Uncertainty. This works both ways as a challenge for the gym owner. Your customer is uncertain. Will they stick with it? Will they fit in? Can they afford it? More than information, this is what your customer really wants. Certainty. Same for the gym salesperson. They are not always sold themselves which creates uncertainty in the sales process. This is where training and staff development is crucial.
- Persistence. We don’t follow up on leads like we should. That person that inquired 6 months ago – are we still in contact with them? We have found that clubs can increase their business by a minimum of 15% if they simply handle their lead follow-up properly. We don’t ask for the sale and we become discouraged and stop our outreach program. Being persistent will also help you earn trust. Here’s what happens: you get an objection, you get a complaint or you get criticism and you stop. You must have the determination to continue to push forward. You must understand there will be obstacles, have a plan B ready to go and don’t quit. When is the last time someone commented on the strength of your follow-up?
Do this and you will be well on your way to success, but you must first commit. The first thing I hear when we discuss this is…”I don’t have time to do all that.” Sure you do, just commit to it.
Want to be the best? Go for it!
Now, go overcome your gym’s biggest challenges!
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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