This is what I frequently hear from gym owners and operators; “I’m working hard, we have a great facility, but we’re just not getting results we need.” Then they look for a marketing silver bullet to help drive some traffic, but that is always short-lived and they still haven’t learned how to properly run their business.
Here are some foundation building items that must be in place in order for your business to have sustained success;
Have A Budget In Place.
This is the starting point. I see way to many businesses just winging it without really knowing the ramifications of their decisions. In addition, even though they talk about needing sales, there is no accountability for production (or even a clear understanding of what’s needed). So, before you do anything else, sit down and map out your expenses, what will it cost to run your gym? Now, ask yourself this question; how much do you want to make? Next, create your various line item revenue centers and how much that is needed for each. You will now manage based on these objectives.
Have A Marketing Plan In Place.
We need to get away from the band-aid approach here. What I mean by this is always looking for the latest social media fad to drive traffic. They never seem to last and you’re right back to where you started. Instead, come up with a marketing plan of action that will blanket your trade area. This can be done at minimal cost of money. In the end, you want to become omnipresent in your trade area — everywhere people turn, they see you.
Have A Sales Process In Place.
Just call it a process if you like (leave out the word sales), but it needs to be in place. I can’t begin to tell you how many clubs work very hard to get people to call, to get people to come in for a visit, but have no process of any kind in place to get them to become a client or new member. First, if you don’t have a telephone inquiry script in place, get one. Second, be sure you log in every call with contact information and sourcing. This can be a start.
Now, when a customer enters your business, you must have a process that puts them in the best position to become a member or become involved with your facility. Too many facilities simply point out all the features and show a schedule of classes or training. Nothing will turn you into a commodity quicker than this. Here’s the key; solve problems for people, provide solutions, and build value.
Have A Nurturing Process In Place.
Once your customer has decided to become a member or take advantage of training, you need to keep them engaged by nurturing them. By this we mean, maintaining interest and desire. This is no small matter as the better you do at this, the less pressure you will have on the sales process. In the end, this is your foundation to help maintain lower attrition numbers.
Have a Follow Up Process In Place.
Depending on how you want to look at it, this is either the biggest problem out there or it’s the greatest opportunity. So much time and energy and time is spent trying to get someone to call or come in and then we don’t follow up. If done properly, this will be a significant advantage for your business. You have already spent the money to acquire the leads, so this can be quick source of low cost results.
Have a System of Recruiting In Place.
The problem here is that we have the tendency to hire only when we need people. The best time to recruit is when you done need anyone. You must have options when it comes to staffing and you will want to prepare a recruiting plan of action. This should have the same focus and that of recruiting new membership sales.
Understand Your Competitive Advantage.
What are you doing that is different than your competition? What are you doing that is better? Why should someone choose to join your gym over all the other options out there? What is your point of differentiation?
Now, go start getting the results you want!
Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomasondemand.com.