The biggest surge in Fitness Club memberships is always January! After resolving to become more fit and healthy, many people will rely on the assistance of a health club to help get in shape. Unfortunately, according to IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sports Association, 35% of people who join a fitness club quit each year with the most common reasons being the gym is overcrowded or they are not satisfied with the staff or the programs. So…being prepared and having what your potential new clients are looking for should help you increase your member base during this very important time in our industry!
Here are some things that your potential new clients should be looking for when choosing a new gym! Make sure you are ready!!
- If your potential new client notices every piece of equipment is being used and there are lots of line-ups, they may consider shopping around. If your potential new client takes a tour during a very busy time….make sure to let him/her know that and see if there are not so busy times that would fit his/her schedule. Also, make sure your equipment is in good working order…they will be looking!
- Since the top reasons clients cancel memberships relate to the staff, make sure your staff treats potential new clients (and current clients of course) very well. If you or your staff speed through the tour and don’t paying attention to the needs of your potential new client it is true that they probably won’t join!
- Here is a little more I like to tell clients to look for when shopping for a gym: If you feel at all pressured in your initial visit, it’s a good bet they’re more interested in getting the sale rather than keeping you as a member. The staff should encourage you to use the facility, not just belong. They should ask you questions regarding your current fitness level, health history, goals and interests and they should point you towards programs that will help you achieve your goals. Check to make sure that a certified fitness trainer will be available to show you how to use the equipment – after all, you won’t get much benefit from equipment you don’t know how to use. On that note, ask about the qualifications of the trainers and fitness instructors. They should all be certified through a nationally recognized organization – look for framed certificates on the walls. Staff should also be trained in CPR and Fitness First Aid. It’s also a good sign if a club belongs to a professional fitness organization like IDEA or IHRSA – look for stickers on the front doors. While you’re touring, keep your eyes on the fitness trainers and instructors. Do they appear approachable, personable and qualified? Do they seem to offer alternatives for different people? Overall, you should feel welcomed right from the beginning and you should notice that this sense of service is extended beyond the initial visit.
Members and Atmosphere:
- Potential new clients are always going to be asking themselves. Will I fit in? Do the members appear welcoming and fun? Am I comfortable with the common attire and sound level? How does the facility look, feel and smell? Would I enjoy coming here on a regular basis? Be as welcoming as possible and do everything you can to make sure your potential new client feels comfortable.
- As we all know…the programs you offer are important to potential new clients. Make sure you have a good variety of classes available and talk with your potential new client about which class looks like a good fit for him/her. Your staff should be prepared to answer questions about all of the different programs on your schedule.
Get references and testimonials:
- Be prepared to provide references and testimonials from current clients and allow your potential new client to ask members questions about their experiences at your gym.
- Everyone will be looking for something different and you have set up your pricing based on your style of facility and that is OK! Some fitness facilities’ business model is to attract a high volume of members and therefore can provide lots of equipment at lower rates. Other facilities offer a more boutique-style experience and rates can be higher. There are potential clients that will want what you offer! Have a plan to discuss your pricing and what is included.
Overall, you should provide lots of top-notch, well-maintained equipment, personable and educated staff, cleanliness and a variety of excellent fitness programming. Then it is up to your new client to take the responsibility to use the facility and its services. Spend some time to ensure you and your staff are prepared so that potential new client chooses YOU!
Yours in health, fitness & business,
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