What Comes First - The
Chicken or the Egg?
Surely it must be the
egg? You need an egg to produce a chicken? But wait... how can
there be an egg until the chicken has laid it?
Hmmm ... confused?
We face a similar problem in some of our fitness centres... however,
luckily this one has a more reasonable answer.
The problem is when deciding whether to employ a membership consultant (or someone
focused solely on the sale of memberships).
So what is the dilemma?
Do I employ a membership consultant once business has picked up
sufficiently to allow me to afford this new employee?
Do I employ a membership consultant and rely on the increased number of
membership sales to pay for this new employee?
In short, do I improve my business performance and then employ a sales
consultant, or do I employ a sales consultant which will improve my
The answer... act NOW!
What is the difference between the most successful fitness centres and all
those that aspire to be the best? A well designed and implemented
sales system. If you do not believe me view it for yourself. Go
to one of the larger, more recognised fitness centres in your area and
try to enquire about a membership. You will (hopefully) be taken
through a well organised professional sales process to overcome all of
your objections and encourage you to join.
I know... you "can't afford a salesperson", or "your centre is too small to
dedicate someone purely to sales" ... I have heard it all before, and
generally speaking you are wrong!
You can't afford NOT to have someone focused on sales at your centre. If your
consultant sells ONE more membership at your centre per week than you are
already selling without him or her, then chances are they have paid for
themselves (this is based on the theory that you are charging your members
suitably for the service you are providing!). If this consultant
sells FIVE additional memberships per week then your centre is making a
considerable amount of additional revenue.
The other familiar reply to this issue is "all of my staff are trained to
handle the sales", or "I handle the membership sales myself".
Unless your staff member can take time out uninterrupted to sit down with
a prospective member and go through a complete needs analysis,
qualification, tour and the other aspects required in a good sales process,
then you are going to 'close' a much lower portion of prospects that
arrive at your centre. Additionally, if your staff are constantly
being interrupted during the discussion it is very unprofessional and
often irritating and can convince the person NOT to join.
Right, we know we need someone focused purely on sales.
However... do not head out tomorrow and immediately employ a sales
consultant. Before you even consider this it is imperative that you
have a sales system in place to make the most of this new resource.
You must have a system for tracking incoming enquiries, whether via walk in
or phone. You must have a system for converting enquiries to
appointments. You require a process to encourage your prospects to
join when they do arrive and finally you need a system for following up on
those that do not join during their first visit. Once the systems
are in place you will get the best value for money out of your new
For more information on sales systems see the Business Club section of our website.
Gym - A Case Study
This month in ClubMarketer we profile one of the fitness chains in Ireland
to assist you in gaining ideas for the development of your centre /
The centre in question is one of the Crunch fitness centres in the capital
Dublin. You are probably familiar with the chain Crunch. They
are famous for developing weird/unusual group fitness classes such as
strip aerobics in the US. Crunch fitness in Ireland is the largest
chain of fitness centres in the country however they bare no resemblance
to the American chain other than in name itself.
Lets start with appearance. Outside, the signage looks clean, new,
and is easy to find from the road. The facility itself looks like a
small underground dungeon, however on entry to the facility I am pleased
to find that it is very modern and well set out.
As I approach the front desk I am amazed to see that the long front
counter is also actually converted into a large aquarium with a multitude
of fish of all colours. On the wall beside the counter a
projection of an old film plays which, in the dim setting, is very effective.
The front counter and surrounding areas are clean, tidy
and free from cluttered paper etc. In fact anything out of use is
filed away out of view.
I sit down in what is referred to as the 'juice bar'. To me it looks
more like an up market nightclub with modern seating, low lighting, a bar
in the corner and even a small fire. Sky sport is
playing on a large screen on the wall and there is a wide selection of
papers available to browse which are neatly stapled and filed in a rack.
Moving down to the club we arrive on the mezzanine floor which overlooks
the large cardio area. There is a wide range of equipment which
appears clean and well maintained. The staff are all decked out in uniforms,
in fact front desk and sales staff all wear shirt and tie, where as gym
staff adorn a smart uniform more conducive to conducting fitness training. As
we move downstairs there is a glass wall that leads through to the group
exercise room and another wall shows the smart looking swimming pool.
Each room has low lighting but is surrounded by candles which creates a
lovely atmosphere to exercise in.
ClubMarketer Appearance Rating: 4/5
I try to get some information from the web before approaching Crunch,
however their website is currently under construction.
A quick phone call and I am left slightly disgruntled with the way in
which I am handled. I am unable to have the questions that I have
asked answered and my message left is never returned. Hopefully not
an indication of the typical service received but unfortunately all I have
to judge on here.
On arrival I am greeted nicely and asked to take a seat in the juice bar
upstairs. Perhaps to be shown the seating area would have been a
nice touch however probably not a necessity. Now I proceed to wait a significant time for my appointment,
generally I would consider an unreasonable delay. A couple of times I
am told that I will be attended to shortly which eases my mind slightly.
Once greeted the meeting goes well and I am pleased with the way in which
I am treated.
ClubMarketer Customer Service Rating: 2/5
All the equipment looks very new and is well set out. Cardio
equipment is well supplied, good quality and there is a large screen which
acts as a cardio theatre. However, up at the weight training area is
where things get interesting. Firstly at the programming area there
is an touch screen where you can view your individual programme.
Simply key in your pin and view. Print it if you wish. What's more is when you arrive at
the machines, you again key in your pin and it tells you - at the machine
- the number of repetitions to do and how many sets. It also advises
if you are lifting too slowly, fast, too high or low. Then it will
advise the next machine to move to. Now this may
be simply a gimmick - but for a beginner I think a very useful tool. However, for
other more advanced members this is where the equipment may be lacking.
There are limited free weight areas, and the machines are perhaps not everyone's
'cup of tea'. There is a spin room with 13 bikes, and a small group
exercise room that may be limiting should the classes become extremely popular.
The classes offered however are reasonably standard, not too much of interest here.
The one notable omission in terms of services is the complete lack of
personal training. Fitness instructors complete initial training and
then any re assessments 6 weekly, however there is no personal training at
the chain. Amazing considering the volume of personal training
evident in NZ and Australia. Also consider the fact that their
equipment seems set up for the beginner, a group that would benefit most
from the addition of a personal training service.
ClubMarketer Facilities Rating: 3/5
Payments / Sales
I enquire about the options when it comes to payment. Apparently I
can pay by direct debit or cash / card upfront but 'most people pay cash'.
If I want to pay by DD then I must pay on the 28th of the month - this is
the only option. The prices are presented to me on the yearly
option, then broken down to the monthly option as a last resort.
Perhaps the weakest part of the facility for my part. I hear other
prospects presented only cash upfront options, and to my dismay even saw
one person, while I was waiting, left to complete the paperwork themselves
and take it down to reception. Needs some work in this area!
ClubMarketer Payment / Sales Rating 1/5
Overall, a very nice facility in terms of the appearance, and facilities,
perhaps needs some work on the development of systems.
Overall ClubMarketer Rating: 3/5