As a current or aspiring gym owner, there are more than a few balls you've got to keep up in the air - but all of them revolve around getting people walking through your doors and staying as lifelong members. The best education, and the best location are great starting points for success, but only two pieces of the bigger puzzle.
The elephant in the room is that your potential clients are getting more and more opportunities to make other choices when it comes to joining a gym. The CrossFit® Affiliate is blasting out of the 'underground' and is becoming more mainstream. With this explosion of popularity and the number of facilities popping up, you've got to be even more on your A-Game to increase the appeal of your facility and training.
First impressions are going to play a major role in getting clients. And we can help you make that golden first impression to those that will consider your facility.
In many respects, your business model aligns with ours. All things being equal, we are both promoting three main points to set us apart from the competition - our Quality, our Experience, and our Results.
Quality in Your Facility - You don't want potential clients shopping solely for price when it comes to where they will train. Neither do we. Making decisions based upon price alone usually favors the lower price. And with lower price normally comes lower quality. So how do you promote your quality? Provide your clients with personal attention and have top notch, serviceable equipment in your gym. The facilities that we've seen have the most success are those that are clean and that look well put together.
Experience - Most everyone is willing to give you a chance when it comes to a month-to-month membership. And when you continue to provide them a great experience, they stay. Passing on knowledge of movement techniques is expected. It's when you go above and beyond that you set yourself apart. We talk to gym owners all the time and one conversation that recently came up was regarding nutrition. What your clients are eating plays a huge role in the level of success they can achieve. And class time is usually devoted to movement. Can you separate yourself from the crowd here? Sure. Write weekly blog posts with recipes or nutrition topics. We blog almost every day on our equipment. We might write about what new products we are developing or on what we've seen one of our clients do that really inspires us. And if we run short on ideas, more topics come from gym owners and athletes that have called or written in with a question. If someone asks you a question, chances are someone else has it too. Write a blog post about it. Give your athletes that great experience that's above and beyond the next guy.
Results - Everyone wants to see results. That's why they are knocking on your door. And here's two things you can do together to really set you apart and motivate your athletes. The first one isn't new, but I've seen CrossFit Headway use it very well. The PR Bell. This is a brilliant idea and I'm sure you can see where to go with it. Go buy one. Put it up in the gym and take some pictures of your athletes ringing it. And here's the second idea - hang up a whiteboard that your athletes can use to keep track of their progress on certain benchmark WODs and strength movements. When they see their improvement, just like you, they will get motivated to continue to train and will love to share the great news with all their friends. Remember when you got that first Ring Muscle Up? I do. And I couldn't find enough people to tell about it. That's the good stuff.
When we really sit back and think about both of our business models, they are really quite similar. You want to stand out and so do we and with quality, experience and results we can.
Gear Tip - One great question to ask anyone that comes through your door is - "What Brings You In Today?" If you aren't asking this question, try it. The great part about the response you get is that you will know exactly what advertising or marketing process of yours led them to you. And if this question doesn't get you a response on how they found out about you, ask them directly. Maybe they saw a t-shirt or maybe one of your members referred them to you. All that info is super important to remember. Go get a notebook with those two questions on the front cover and record the responses you get each time. When you begin to see a trend, increase your efforts in the one that drives the most traffic through your door and stop spending money on the one that isn't working.