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Health Club Marketing Tips 
Saturday, October 31 2009
Fix Your First Points of Contact for a Successful Fall & Winter
Can you even remember your goals and New Year's Resolutions from 10 months ago?  You are a goal setter aren't you?  Well now it's time to look in the mirror, so to speak.  You must take a day or two and look at where you are today vs. where you were on January 1, 2009.  Are you growing, or not growing.

If You're Not Growing, You're Dying

Change is difficult.  You are still reading this because you want to be better at
effectively running your health club.  That is great.  Many owners who subscribe
don't even take the 10 minutes it takes to read this.  You are committed to being
better than the rest. You may even be better already.

The problem with having so much competition is that, in the minds of the prospects,
you all look the same and sound the same so you must all be the same.

That is why it becomes a price war.

The way to win that war is at the First Point of Contact; your four (4) points of contact are truly the key to your marketing success.  If you become better at marketing than your competitors, you will lead the pack, by far.  We work with clubs all over North America because we offer the only integrated and complete marketing system in the fitness industry.  More importantly, we bring 3 benefits they don't get on their own:

  FOCUS - We keep the owners focused on the main thing.

  ACCOUNTABILITY - You are accountable to someone other than yourself.

  SYSTEM - Nothing has ever succeeded, long term without a system.

We have worked with some very creative owners, who are good at marketing, but
have no system.  They send out great messages to the right people, just at the
wrong time and it bombs. The time is near when you'll have to make a tough
decision - fish or cut bait.

You Can Only Expect What You Inspect

A few months ago, we offered readers an opportunity to test your knowledge of their prospects against our real member surveys. We asked you to take the survey as if you were a prospect.  The result - you failed miserably.  It was no surprise to us, because we know how hard it is to run your health club.  You have many hats to wear and need to be all things to all people.

You must survey your members at least once a year.  Don't just ask a small group
milling around your front desk, survey a couple hundred. You'll find gold nuggets
in those surveys.  We guarantee you will find ideas for new ads, retention improvement and up-selling opportunities.

Perception is Reality

The outside perception of your health club is what your current members, past
members, prospects and the local community thinks about your health club. Perception is reality.  Right or wrong doesn't matter.  If you are perceived to be a run down dumpy gym, and you're really a state-of-the-art fitness center, you will get the results of a run down dumpy gym.

In fact, we venture to say that the crux of all marketing problems, including yours,
can be wrapped up into one simple statement:

   Most health clubs' outside perception
       is NOT an accurate reflection of their inside reality.

The inside reality has to do with all the things your health club does that makes you
valuable to your customers from a product, operations, and management standpoint.
The "inside reality" is about what you do and what you are that allows your club to
perform better.  It's what gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
The reason we call it the inside reality is because it's the reality of what you do, and
the customers' perceptions of what you do, aren't necessarily the same.  These two
words; reality and perception are vital to this process of winning in business.

Try Something New

Look at your health club from the prospects point of view.  There are 4 ways for
prospects to choose you over the other health clubs, gyms and fitness centers
in the area.  We call these the First Points of Contact.

You must be better at the first point of contact to win the business:
1.  Call In: Stooge call your own club and listen to how your staff
     sounds.  Now call your competition.
2.  Website: Look at your website carefully. Is it talking TO the
     Prospect or ABOUT You?
3.  Ads: Look at your most recent ads.  You may be doing it
     bassackwards.  Is your ad full of hot buttons and solutions
     or a list of what you have with a discount?  What's more
     important to 'Jim Joyner'?
4.  Walk-ins: What is the impression of your club when a prospect
     stops by?  Are they standing around waiting to be greeted?
     Is the place clean and inviting?  How are they greeted?

If you become great at these 4 area's, you will begin to take over your market.  
Prospects sign up for memberships mostly on perception.  Your first points of contact create those perceptions.

'til next time...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 12:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 23 2008

Okay. Picture this.  You just came off two months of low activity, missing members, your summer vacation and a reduction in sales.  Join the club.  Most clubs see a drop in sales several times a year for of a list of reasons:
It's getting nice outside;
It's crummy outside;
It's vacation season;
The ______holiday (you fill in the blank);
People are away;
Kids are getting settled in school;
It gets darker earlier.....
You've heard them all.  Better yet, you've said them all.  Here is the bottom line. If you think this month will be slow or if you think this month will be busy... you're right. 
Speed of the Boss is the Speed of the Crew 

You don't need 7 excuses on why it is slow, you only need one. Just pick the one you like and tell it to your staff and we're done. See you next month.
Hey, what are you doing still reading this?  Oh, I get it, you must be one of those 10%-er's.  The cream of the crop.  The owner who wakes up everyday with a knot in your stomach.  The type that got into this business to do something special.  To be someone in the community.  To bring value to people.  To make a difference on this earth. Well join the club.  I'll keep going then...

Be a Leader! 

People NEED to be led. We are all born dependant. Some people stay that way and others choose the tougher road. If you accept the fact that you are already a leader, because of that choice, then you can accept the fact that people will follow your lead. Good or bad, they will follow. So here are the rules:
  Set a Goal:  Make this month the best month EVER! 
  Make a Plan:  Spend 10 minutes (right now not later) being creative
  Get Your Whole Staff on the Plan:  You will need EVERYONE to break a record.
  Create an Event: (Sell it like it is the invention of toilet paper)
  Commit To It For a WHOLE Month: (Remember speed of the boss...)
Now some of the 'leaders' who are reading this, clicked off and said "I get it" and they are off manufacturing the greatest month in their history.  Others are still looking for more direction and help.  Others are saying "What the hell does this have to do with marketing?" 

The 5 steps above are the same five steps we do for every client we work with. Substitute this current month with the next 12 months and you'll get the picture.
But you say, "I don't need you... I can do it on my own."
True.  But you won't.  It is a lot of work and time to go from good to great. Great leaders are great at delegating.  If you could get someone to do this for you, month after month for a year, you'll go from good to great.  If you follow baseball, a good hitter ends the year with a .280 batting average.
A great hitter ends the year with a .300 batting average.  The difference?  12 singles over 600 at-bats.  That is mind blowing.  A dozen little singles are the difference between good and great.  The .300 hitter takes the most batting practice - everyday. The .300 hitter hires extra coaches and trainers to push him, motivate him and help him stay focused.
It is okay to be just "good".  The world needs a lot of "good" health and fitness centers. It is not as hard to be good and you're still better than most if you're good.  But if you want to be great... You have to tune up your leadership skills and work smarter, everyday.
Have a Marketing System

We have rolled out great systems in many health clubs of all sizes.  Why is it the exact system has killer results in some, average in others and mediocre in others?  The answer is leadership.  Remember step number 5 above.  COMMIT to it for a month. A leader commits.  They go all in.  They sell out.  First in and last out.  A manager doesn't.  They say things like "I like it but my staff won't do it".  You can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink. (No, but a leader will figure out a way to make them thirsty).
Ten (10) Leadership Rules:

1)  Treat People Well - We see too many owners manage with fear and intimidation. Macho Management is from the 80's. Replace Quotas with Incentives.

2)  Build Personal Relationships - This is opposite of corporate America, but it works. You want your members to feel like they have a second family when they interact with your staff.

3)  The Secret: Praise and Recognition - Everyone has weaknesses, ignore them. Focus on their strengths and praise them for improvements. What gets rewarded gets done.

4)  Total Commitment is the First Step to Greatness - Look at your breakfast - the egg was committed, the bacon was a total commitment. Your staff must see you are totally committed.

5)  Develop a Positive Attitude - One of the hardest things to develop on this earth is a positive attitude. Fortunately it is also contagious. Your staff is a reflection of you.

6)  You Get What You Expect - People will rise to the standards you set for them. Expect the best and encourage people to set a standard of excellence.

7)  Get Your Priorities Straight - If your personal life is out of balance, your business life will be too.  God 1st- Family 2nd- Business 3rd works for us. Do you have yours?

8)  Don't Be Afraid to Fail - Fear of failure holds more people back than anything. It's okay to fail as long as you track it and learn from it.  Failure is the seed of success.

9)  Build with Quality - If you're going to build anything, build it right. Don't shortcut your future by skimping on quality that will last longer and produce more.

10)  Never Give Up - No one can ever truly be defeated until they stop trying.
The road to success has many disappointments, but the person who rises to the top is the one who NEVER gives up.

'til next week...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 12:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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