Spending the last 3 weeks on the road, I made a number of notes from what I saw in local fitness offerings in the places I visited across country and into NW USA.
As I look back, many of the notes seem very similar. All rolled into one , they represent our industry’s biggest challenge.
The challenge is this – the business practices, specifically in sales, marketing and services offered are creating a bit of a monster in the market place. Have you noticed the low price special offers to join the local gym or fitness outlet lately? You know what I mean $10/month, or 2 for 1 special ? 50% off or something like that ?
Our industry’s biggest challenge is not to fall prey to the lowest common denominator – price.
Surely fitness operators understand that offering low monthly payments only appeal to those already converted to going to the gym on a regular basis. Referred to “the race to the bottom” , and with only 15% of the population in this market, surely this is not a sustainable business model?
Our industry’s biggest challenge is to step back and look at how to raise the bar in offering fitness services so we can appeal to more people , keep more people coming back and not fall into the lowest price trap which hurts us all.
To address this challenge, we need to establish programs that are results driven. Results for your clients, results for your staff and results for your bottom line.
There is a reason why Bootcamps and Crossfit have experienced a boom in the last few years. Same can be said for personal training studios. Many doing very well. They focus on getting results. They don’t advertise $10/month I will guarantee you that. However, Bootcamps and CrossFit, as good as they are – are not for everyone.
If you are a larger gym, recreation center or fitness center that offers access to your fitness room for a fee, how can your offering focus on results and not just selling memberships? How can you widen your appeal and avoid the race to bottom?
Here are 7 ways to overcome our industry’s biggest challenge:
1. Understand that times are changing. What got us to this point is not necessarily the recipe for prosperity in the next 18 to 24 months.
2. Offer a great product and service, a great experience for the people you serve. Being different is only a good thing if you are much better than other options. What makes you much better?
3. Offer a free trial – minimize the perceived risk, let people try the facility, the programs.Roll out the red carpet and take them through a basic assessment and get them started. If some regions, free trials are perceived as too good to be true, so offer a minimum fee for full access for 30 or 60 days.
4. Offer different results based programs at different price levels. Basic access to the facility can be your minimum rate/month, then other programs available for a higher price. You can then tier according to those who want the services.
5. Tap into a proven marketing program/system that uses modern day strategies and is not stuck in 1987. (FYI a newspaper ad offering a special price per month is 1987 marketing).
6. Tap into a sales system that allows your staff to follow proven success steps for getting prospects to see the value and commit to the offered services.
7. Use an Equipment Optimization Strategy around your programming and business. Too many businesses line equipment up in a room without thought to integration with the programming and results. We have a good connection to help you here! (smile).
Results driven programming, Equipment Optimization Strategy and fee structure supported by proven modern day sales and marketing systems will increase your reach, keep more people, generate more revenue and help you overcome our industry’s biggest challenge. This will also ensure that you don’t get caught in the race to the bottom, as the title of being the cheapest in the marketplace comes with no crown, or award…just challenges to make it sustainable.
At STAK Fitness, our business is to recommend specific solutions based on proven results.