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Price Discounting

The Tailor stood there with tape measure in hand and starting taking my measurements - outside arm, waist, outside leg... then a brief interruption as the phone rang at the counter.  She scuttled across the floor and answered the phone, within earshot.  "Yes we can have that ready by [date] the price will be $400, although I can give you a 10% discount".

I was confused.  Why can you give them a 10% discount?  Why didn't you just quote the lower price if you were going to give it away?  No point having the higher price if you give away a special without someone even asking.  I hope I get a 10% discount too.  In fact I think I will ask for one right now!

That started me thinking.  Why do we discount our services?  Particularly in the fitness industry.  I am not 100% free from blame at doing this either on rare occasion, but why?  It's not like we have end of line stock that we desperately need to clear... or a poor selling product that is gathering dust on the shelf.  Our product / service - achieving your health and fitness goals - some might say is priceless... yet we are still often giving it away at a discount.

Discounting destroys trust.
If you walked in the door one week after paying $800 for your membership and saw it on sale for $650, you would not be best pleased I would hazard a guess.  And if you saw the same discount sale, at the same time of year every year, I would also suggest that you would never pay full price for a membership and you would be loathe to join at any other time of year ...for a higher price.  Kathmandu is an excellent example of this as they are so renowned for having a huge sale every year, that myself and any of my friends, will never buy there until sale time.

People will pay for quality.
People WILL pay for quality.  You do not need to offer a low price to attract members.  If you show that you are providing a quality service, that achieves results, and present it in an affordable way then people will join.  In New Zealand at the moment people are paying up to and beyond $30 per week for a gym membership.  What are they offering that you aren't?  If you need to consistently discount your prices, perhaps have a look at the way you are running your facility and the service that you are presenting to clients.


Its Mystery Shopper Time

Your centre provides fantastic customer service doesn’t it.  Your staff are always friendly and courteous to members, no one is kept waiting for too long …  how do you know?  Unless you are watching your staff every minute of the day you really do not know what is going on.  Have you ever analysed your centres level of customer service?  Better yet why not have someone else analyse your staff and centres performance.  Why not employ a “secret shopper” to give you an objective analysis of your customer service.  The following questions give you an idea of the type of things that you may want them to report back to you on.

How long does the phone ring for before it is answered?
When making an enquiry do staff give out prices readily over the phone? 
When making an enquiry do staff attempt to make an appointment with the enquirer at the centre?
How convincing is the staff member in justifying the need for an appointment with a consultant?
How is the staff telephone manner?
Does the staff member take down details from the enquiry – name, address, phone number for future follow up?
What is the overall level of telephone service?
Are staff well presented?
Are you greeted in a friendly manner (eye contact, smile etc)
Are you kept waiting when making an enquiry?
When making a membership price enquiry does the staff member refer you to a membership consultant or staff member who can sit down with you and talk to you about your requirements?
Is the membership consultant / sales staff member friendly, do they attempt to build rapport?
Do they attempt to understand why you are looking at joining a fitness centre – understanding/ identifying your needs and goals?
Do they offer a solution to your needs?
When touring the centre – do they show you HOW parts of the centre will assist you in achieving your goals?
Do they uncover any potential objections early on?
How effective are they in handling objections?
How effective are they in attempting to close the sale?