Understanding The Industry

I’ve explained to many of our associates that being in the fitness business is like playing hardball, not city league softball, where everything you do counts towards your success. An old friend told me, “the fitness industry is one of the most challenging businesses to succeed

The fitness industry has continuously operated on three basic premises, Sales, Service, and Cleanliness. However, to master these three, you need first to build your facility on a solid foundation,and for many of us, that means an excellent commercial lease, a place you can call home to your business, and a place you can hang your hat long-term. 

It has always been my opinion club owners do not get what they deserve; they get what they negotiate! Many landlords across the country may welcome a discussion about lowering your rent, offering you a rent concession, or possibly renegotiating your lease. However, there are no guarantees. Remember this one important point before you visit your landlord - You wouldn’t golf for money against the clubhouse pro, why would you negotiate your lease against a seasoned realtor or landlord who negotiates leases every day for a living? Get professional help. 

Now let us move on to the three basic premises that our industry has functioned around for the last fifty years or so, Sales, Service, and Cleanliness. What are they and how do they work? 

Sales - The club industry will routinely experience cycles where members flow into the clubs as if it were high tide; and other sparse times when we’d give anything to get a prospect. Every potential member is of great value to your club. Your actions (Attitude) have a big impact on your success, so be ap-proachable (People Skills), provide excellent service (Technical Knowledge), be a team player, take pride in your work, and most of all, know your product (Selling Skills), and you will likely succeed. In addition, a well-thought-out formula for getting the guest to register, how to give a proper tour, present a non-confusing price presentation, and knowing how to overcome objections are as important. 

Service - Effective service begins immediately after the sales presentation, when you call or write to say, “thank you” or schedule their first work-out. Remember, a long-term member or customer is more important than merely closing a sale. Research shows it costs six times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Beyond this, there are several effective ways for you and your staff to follow up that ensure your fitness facility is always on the customer’s mind. Focus on retention, not just making sales.

Cleanliness – Your members are picky, and they should be. Coordinate general cleaning, maintenance, and repairs of your facility like clockwork. There’s no excuse to have a dirty, broken-down facility, one that your members will talk about to their family and friends.

To learn more about GFA and the valuable resources it provides for this growing and challenging industry, be sure to visit many of the other categories on this site.