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Health Club Marketing Tips 
Monday, October 03 2011
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 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.
 
The inside reality encompasses everything you do and everything you are that makes you good.  It's all your skills, your people, your expertise, your service to the customer-before, during and after the sale-your systems, your operational procedures, your commitment to excellence, your passion, and the way you conduct your business.  You might think you're actually better than you are, or, you might not be giving yourself enough credit for the things you do well.  Regardless, there is a reality of how valuable you are to the marketplace based on these things.  That's what we call the inside reality.
 
If you asked your members why they joined your club, they'd tell you something quantifiable, specific, and instantly obvious.  They could point to specific advantages
of joining your club and say, "That's why I'm a member here; that's why I refer my
friends to come here; that's why I'm a loyal customer of this place; that's why I don't mind paying more here; that's why I keep coming back
."  That's your inside reality.
 
Inside or Outside?

You may need to innovate your club so there's a reason for people to join.  Many
popular gurus do a great job of teaching you how to do those things.  But here's the
problem: Just because you've achieved "WOW!" doesn't mean customers are going to flock to your business.  You still have to market your business.  And that's where the "outside perception" comes into play.
 
The outside perception is how customers and prospects perceive your company.  The outside perception is developed by all interactions somebody has with your Health Club.  Customers will draw on their past buying experiences to form their outside perception. 
The industry on a whole has a negative perception. Most of it is not the fault of the health clubs, but more so the members fault.  Most prospects have belonged to other clubs.  When they join and stop showing up, get frustrated, they blame the club.
 
But even if your customer service is great and your members love you, none of it
means squat to a prospective member if (1) they don't know you even exist as an option, or (2) they can't distinguish your value because of your inability to market yourself properly.  They perceive that you are no better or worse than anybody else. 
               
Marketing ineptitude creates a chasm between your inside reality and your outside
perception.  To your buyers, they are totally different.  Take your pride and stick it on
the shelf for a minute.  Regardless of how good you are or how good your "inside reality" is, your prospects can't figure it out based on your marketing.   You appear on the surface to be just another place that sells fitness.  The prospect will more than likely be apathetic at best, resistant or hostile at worst.
 
Most health club owners know what their customers want, but can't communicate their "inside reality" to the outside world.  They can't take their WOW and lead prospects to the conclusion:

      "I would have to be an absolute fool to join anywhere else, regardless of price."
 
Think about your health club.  Your ability to know what your customer wants is
what has made you as successful as you are now.  You have good classes and/or memberships and you fill a market need.  You've studied your market, your prospects and your business for years, and you have solutions that add value to you customer's life.  Why, then, aren't you making all the money you deserve?  Because you're an expert at what you do, not a marketing communications expert.
 
Advertising executive Rosser Reeves once said, "To be effective, you've got to make the product interesting, not just make the ad different."  That's something too many of the books, gurus, and agencies don't understand.  Visit an ad agency or a media sales rep and they'll say, "Just bring me any product or service and a big bag of cash, and we'll guarantee you that we'll spend all of it."  They put all their creative effort into making the ad different, with no thought for the inside reality of the product or service.

It's A Balancing Act...

You've got to work on both sides of your business -the inside reality and the outside perception.  If you concentrate all your efforts on the "inside reality" but you don't know how to market properly, you set yourself up for frustration and failure.   You'll be pulling your hair out trying to figure out where your money vanished to, or you'll feel like the "best kept secret in town." 

Or, if you're focusing all your efforts on the "outside perception," you may have bought some advertising or direct mail books, or you hired a PR or ad agency, or enlisted a media sales rep.  Now you'll have customers, but they'll hate you because you're selling them a lie!  You must balance both sides of your business.
 
Most health clubs could stand some improvement in both areas, but they struggle most with the outside perception.  In reality, they have a good club and offer good value, but they don't differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
 
Look at your marketing and advertising.  Is it instantly obvious what makes you better?  Can you show what makes you unique and different and how prospects should judge your offer, what factors they need to consider when deciding, and how you provide value?  If not, you have some work to do. 

Ensure that your outside perception is an accurate reflection of your inside reality and convince prospects that you are the obvious choice.
 


'til next week...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 03:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 19 2011
Keeping Momentum Up is Your Decision
 
Okay. Picture this.  You just came off a month of high activity, new members, and a pop in sales after a slow August.  Now what.  Most clubs see a drop in sales after a nice burst 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 going away;
Kids are home from school;
It gets dark 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 17 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!
 
So Why Are You 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?" 

Everything!

 
The 5 steps above are the same five steps we ingrain into our clients. 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.
 
Managing is Not Leading
 

We have rolled out great systems in many health clubs of all sizes.  Why is it the exact system has fantastic 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). 
 
The road to success has many disappointments, but the person who rises to the top is the one who NEVER gives up.

'til next time...






Posted by: Profit Partner AT 06:42 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 08 2011
You Get One Chance to Make A
Great First Impression
 
Think of ALLLLLL the new people coming through your doors this week, hoping
and praying you can help them
to get fit and lose weight for the Fall.
 
Where do over 90% of your prospective members first connect with your club?
Who gets the only chance to make that CRITICAL first impression?

  Owner?
  Managers?
  Sales Team?

Nope.  It's your Front Desk Team
.  Most health clubs fill the position with someone who's credentials consist of nothing more than the ability to wake up early.  Big mistake.

Every owner we speak with asks us, "Why is customer service so difficult?" or "Why are most people so bad at it when all it is, is just common sense?"  It's a fact that front line employees in nearly every industry make between $6-$16 an hour.  Yet you typically don't see many of these people flying first class, staying at five-star resorts, or driving a Lexus.  However, you
expect these same people to deliver world-class service  to your members, who often experience these types of things.  Common sense is relative to your life experiences.  Often times the challenge is created when management assumes employees know how to deliver great service in all situations when in fact, most front line employees haven't even experienced real, world-class service before.  

That doesn't mean you are supposed to pay everyone $100k to perform front line duties.  Nor does it mean you need only hire a certain class of people.  The ability to deliver world-class service has everything to do with a person's "service perception." How I define service perception is a person's ability to recognize opportunities and exceed a customer's expectations, regardless of the circumstances.  The key being "regardless of the circumstances."  When an instructor calls out sick, the power goes out, or you are shorted staffed.  It is then that the front line employees need to be able to think on their feet.  It is then that one's true service perception is revealed.

We had the pleasure of starting up with a new client as soon as they returned from an over due vacation.   They were raving to us about the service they received from this island resort.  "We were treated like royalty!" they exclaimed.  As soon as they returned to the health club they had a staff meeting to re-train their staff on customer service.  A noble effort.  The problem was they were trying to explain an experience, not a technique.  Their great message fell on deaf ears.  How can a person who vacations in a cabin understand the ability to make someone else feel like the most important person in the world in a 5 star resort?

There is a high-end hotel in New York City ,which has a database of every client who has ever stayed with them.  When new client books a reservation, they begin to create a report of EVERYTHING they can find out about that person.  The staff is then trained on WHO you ARE, before you arrive.  If you book your room under the name Robert, they will find out what you PREFER to be called and you will be greeted by every staff member you pass with a very sincere "Good Morning Bob".

Health Club Retention is in Direct Proportion
to the Level of Customer Service Provided.

Granted, when selling memberships, customer service ranks very low on a prospects hot button list.  But once the sale is made, renewals are tied in directly to customer service.  If your membership is ready to expire and you feel like the 'invisible member' because no one even says Hello when you arrive, it is much easier to skip renewal and try out somewhere else.  If you belong to a club where everyone knows your name, it is much more difficult to leave a place where you will feel missed. 

It is that simple (yet, the hardest inside reality change you'll ever implement). 
Find out what they want and give it to them.


There is Hope


In order to truly be world class, health clubs have to develop learning and training programs based strictly on service and soft skills that remove gray areas and personal interpretations.  This is done prior to any training specific to the functions of the actual job.  Club's must first settle on what their customer service training program should be modeled upon and stick to it.  Why reinvent the wheel?

An example of customer service training is a Service Boot Camp, which may piggyback new employee orientation.  New (and existing) employees should receive training manuals listing all the company's customer service standards, or "non-negotiables."  All team members should be tested and required to get over a certain score before they are allowed to start training for their specific role and come in contact with customers. This training should be an annual requirement for all existing employees with constant refreshers quarterly, ensuring continued awareness of your company's world-class service standards.

Some of the BEST health club's in the U.S. spend as much money on staff training as they do on advertising.  Why?  It is much easier and cost-effective to get an existing member to last longer than it is to get some lazy slob to turn off the TV and join your health club.
 
'til next

Posted by: Profit Partner AT 09:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, July 30 2011
Have Postcards and Direct Mail Died?
 
How to Create Marketing  that Get People to Take Action,
Become Your Prospects and Join Your Club
 
Remember the good old days of health club marketing?   You would have your printer throw 5,000 over-sized postcards out into your community and then watch people come thru the front door over the next week or two.   You would tour them and they would join that day. Sadly, it's not so easy any more.
 
What changed over the past 10 years?
 
In a word - EVERYTHING.   People get 5 times more junk mail today than they did 10 years ago.   Worse yet, there are more gyms today from which to choose in your area.   Even the way people look for a club has changed, thanks to the internet.   As a result, there is more "noise" and distractions causing people to have a shorter
attention span
.   How can we possibly get their attention?

Let's start with your typical prospect and what goes through their heads each day.   What do they do with their mail when they get home?   If they are like most of us and probably you, they sort it - bills, personal, magazine and "junk" for recycling.  What goes in junk?   Flyers. Ads . Bulk letters. Other crap; and all that other NOISE.

Guess which pile your postcard goes into
...
 
You are praying that of the 5,000 people who get your expensive postcard, 1,000 don't put it in recycling right away.  You are then hoping of those, 100 are even THINKING about joining a health club.  And finally, you keep your fingers crossed that 25 of them either call your club (to likely ask you "how much does it cost?") or maybe
actually come walking through your front door.
 
So, I ask you - How's that working for you these days?  Not so good, I imagine.
 
For most clubs with limited advertising budgets, I would stay away from postcard mailings all together.   There are better ways to drive traffic and sell more memberships than postcard mailings.  For some clubs, postcards may prove to be part of a well constructed and integrated marketing strategy.
 
So if you are going to do postcard mailings, at least give yourself a fighting chance to break through the noise, get your marketing noticed and get people who are actively seeking a club membership on your radar screen.
 
Here's how to do it:
1. Keep your postcard simple.  The goal is to get people to take
the next low-risk step of getting to know your club better.

2. Highlight the benefits of membership; not the features of your
club.  People want to lose weight, get fit, have fun and feel
energized.  They could care less about your club or you.

3. Have one (1) offer that requires someone to register or download
it from your website.  Not 3 offers.  Not 5 offers.  Just one.

4. Set up a landing page to receive the people who log on to your
site.  Ask for their Name and Email address only.  Deliver to them
their coupon to redeem your offer (7 days free, Free Training
Session, $100 of Enrollment Fee, etc.).

5. Make the offer time sensitive.  Create a sense of urgency.

6. Drip market on them.  Encourage them to come experience your
club first hand.

7. Monitor your web sign ups and be patient.
People who get your postcard and are ready to join this week will come in right away; regardless of your offer.  Your postcard may be enough to get them to drive over to your club.  For the other 97%, you want to capture their information, give them something of value and let them go through the typical buying cycle.
 
Old marketing is dead.  You must adapt your marketing to the way people want to buy. 
 
Remember, people HATE being sold, but they LOVE to buy.  Do it on their terms to crush your competition. 
 
Until next time...



Posted by: Profit Partner AT 06:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 13 2011
How to Win the Health Club
Membership Game

 
This week's newsletter only applies to the "professional" health club owner; "amateurs" can stop here.  You are in a competitive game.  How well you play will determine your outcome. 

There are 2 types of players in this game:

  1.  The Amateur: "Plays the game for enjoyment"
  2.  The Professional: "Plays the game for money"

Like any game you play the first thing you want to know is "what are the rules?"  Let's say some friends came over and pulled out a board game, each of you were to put $50 in the pot and winner takes all.  You're brain would automatically ask "how do I win?" and then "What are the rules?"  If you get both of those answered, you size up the competition and if you think you can win, you begin.  If you don't, you decline the invitation or ask to try the 'amateur' version of the game.

Play to Win
You are reading this newsletter because you chose to play.  Since you are the owner, you didn't worry too much about the rules.  You figured as the owner, you have the right to make them up as you go along, right? 

Now, after playing this game for a while, you learn a big part of winning this game is to have good marketing.  You may have noticed some competition gaining and advancing and said, "I'd better do what they're doing", and hence the confusion in the industry.  It has become a ridiculous price war. 

You all sound the same and look the same from a prospects eye.  No one can figure out which club is better or different so you all share the marketplace.  Profit Partners chose this industry to plant our feet.  Why? Because you are all playing the same game and not winning because no one knows the rules.  The one who learns them and implements them first is guaranteed win this game.
 
We didn't invent these rules.  We just systematized them and now we get paid to teach that system.  These rules have been around since Henry Ford invented the car building system (not the car).

Here are the rules:
Rule # 1    Perception is Reality
Rule # 2    Know Your Competition
Rule # 3    Understand Incremental Growth
Rule # 4    Develop Your Unique Selling Points
Rule # 5    Find Out What Your Members Want
Rule # 6    Give it to Them
Rule # 7    ALWAYS Follow the Marketing Equation
Rule # 8    Know What Makes for Great Marketing
Rule # 9    Focus 95% of Your Time on the 3 Ways
                        to Create New Revenue
Rule#10    Marketing is a SYSTEM.  Install one
.

Let's size up your competition.  They are in the same boat you are. There is NO rule that says: "You must spend $50,000 a year on advertising".  If your competitor is, they're stupid and you'll beat them.  No, they are reading this too.  They have their life savings in their club and they are trying to beat you.  One of you is going to "get this" and run with it.
 
Now to the "how do I win?" question.  The owner who creates a system which brings in new members every month, gets their current members to stay longer and gets their current members to spend more than their competitors is the winner. 
 
Since it is a system, the winner doesn't have to be in the club everyday.  The winner sees revenue growth every quarter.  The winner is known around the community as someone who 'made a difference'.  The winner is know as the health and fitness expert. The winner can open other locations which also succeed. 
 
The winner can take their model and franchise it across the country. The winner makes enough money from ancillary sales to put their kids through the best university in the country, go on great vacations and have more time for themselves.

Compare Your Skills to Other Owners
The other players remain stuck in this trial and error, poke and hope stagnant revenue world.  It is a decent living, but if you want more than that you have to break out from the pack.  Here is the starting point.
  
Take ten minutes and take the Health Club Owners Marketing Rules Exam.  You have been given ALL the answers over the past eight months in our newsletters.  We used our newsletter to not only give you the rules, but to also teach you how to implement them all into your system. 
  
GOOD LUCK. 
  
Until next time...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 10:05 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, April 30 2011
How to Crush Your Local Big-Box Gym

This week's message may very well help you and your club from being crushed and pounded by the next big-box gym to hit the area.

We want you to be encouraged and excited to realize that, YES, you can and will not only compete with the newest game in town; but you'll be positioned to grab more than your fair share of memberships.

We recently discussed the important differences between MARKETING and ADVERTISING. We strongly encourage you to build out a systematic marketing strategy to create lots of great things to say about your club, say them powerfully and get the messages out often. Once this strategic component is built, you can focus on the tactical resources you'll need to advertise.

As a student of great marketing, you have come to learn that a great ad will do a heck of a lot more than scream "Low Price!" with a photo of a world-class athlete ripped to the max. You will build advertisements that follow the Marketing Equation:

Interrupt with hot buttons,
Engage with benefits,
Educate why you're better, and
Offer something of value and low risk.

What we are saying is that you first need to "call out" to your prospect. You first and foremost have to grab the attention of those even thinking about joining a health club. Second, you need to immediately let them know that you are the solution to
their needs; to announce the benefits of your club. Third, prove to the reader that you are their best option; we call it 'differentiation'. Lastly, you need a call to action; a step that someone can take that is low risk to see if they can really trust you and what you're saying.

9 Simple Steps To Crush Your Competition

For every 10 gyms and clubs that fail in the US, the first sign of the Grim Reaper is a drop in response to your advertising. We aren't talking about the typical seasonal drop you may get at times during the year or a 10% fall-off from the month before. What we are talking about is a real stretch of flat-lining; you know, a couple of months back to back torture where making payroll is not so certain.

We hope you've never been there. It ain't pretty. Let's make sure you never experience it, or if you have and managed to swim to shore, you never get that gut-wrenching feeling again.

Step #1: Use present tense, second person.
Don't say "Members look and feel great at Fran's Fitness Factory"
Say "You will look and feel great at Fran's Fitness Factory"
When we review your ads we look for you - you - you!!

Step #2: Use sub-headlines.
It catches the attention of 90% of your readers who are just
glancing your postcard or ad. It is great spot to highlight your
low risk offer.

Step #3: Say it in plain English.
Successful copy copywriters employ the KISS system -
"Keep it simple, stupid". When it doubt, leave it out.

Step #4: Choose simple words.
Use short and simple words to express what you mean. Everyone
understands short words and do just as good a job.

Step #5: Give away free information.
Remember this one rule - Free information first, sales speak
second. It is a good way to get interest in your club.

Step #6: Arouse curiosity.
The best ads arouse curiosity instead of satisfying it. Don't
"give the secret away" before someone shows interest.

Step #7: Do not say "call to speak to our salesperson".
The kiss of death. Especially in our industry. You want to put
the membership purchase on their terms - not yours.

Step #8: Make every ad a complete sales presentation.
Many times owners are afraid of too much copy in an ad. If you
follow the marketing equation, the ad will cover the first and last
word needed for someone to take the next step.

Step #9: Urge the prospect to act!
This seems so obvious, but it is widely overlooked. You want your
prospect to do something...tell them! Tell them what to do. If you
can give them a definite reason to do it now, all the better.

What we are suggesting is that you can apply all 9 of these principles to every form of advertising you create. To have a system. Think of all the different ways you advertise today - newspaper ads, magazines, flyers, banners, letters, postcards, your website and any other means you use to get people to read your marketing and to join your club.

Take some time this week and review your advertising [might as well grab some of your competitors' ads, too]. Does it follow the Marketing Equation? How many of the 9 principles do you use in all aspects of your club advertising?
 
Need help or a second set of eyes on it?  Send it to us info@myprofitpartner.org for
a complimentary critique and suggestions.
 
'til next time...



Posted by: Profit Partner AT 05:17 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 22 2011
14 Money-Making Marketing Ideas,
Programs and Tactics You Can Use
Right Now!

 

Need some new marketing ideas to take your club from good to great?  Profit Partners has 14 money-making programs and tactics that have been tested and proven throughout the USA, Canada and abroad.

 

Take 5 minutes NOW to watch this brief video.  See how many of these 14 time-saving and money-making strategies would work in your club.  So shut your door, mute your phone and focus on new health club marketing ideas for the next few minutes.
 
                       

Until next time...
















Posted by: Profit Partner AT 08:31 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, December 19 2010
How to Sell More, Keep Your Sanity and Grow Your Club 


Have you ever been fishing? Our offices are about 1 mile from the Atlantic
and occasionally, we see those Day Trip boats at the marinas.

You know, the ones where you just show up with about 100 other people
and they set you up for 4 hours on the high seas. They give you the poles
the bait
...everything. Then you go out and bob around with 100 lines in the
water
. All of a sudden, it seems like 20 or 30 people have there poles bent
over with fish on!

Selling Memberships is Like Fishing on a Party Boat

The more lines you've got in the water, the better chance you've got to
hook an evasive fish (or prospect). Seems logical to me. We've seen it on
the boats and in the clubs. Think of all the ways we can actively pursue
new business and improve member retention
. Just like if we have more than
one line in the water, we'll catch more fish
. We can treat sales the same way.
 
Throw Out At Least A Dozen Lines Off Your Boat

Until someone comes up with the magic formula to have people flocking through
your door, you better have a lot of lines in the water. When we say 'lines' we
mean things like educational brochures, tip sheets, seminars, guest trainers,
newsletters, follow up systems, member referrals and many more.
 
If you use a wide-range of of approaches every month to increase your sales,
I promise you'll have great results. Will all of them work all of the time? Heck NO!
All the more reason to have as many 'lines in the water' as you can to catch
more fish
.
 
The secret to selling a lot of memberships is to have as many 'lines' in the water
as possible. Make sure you're doing a lot of different things to make sales. When
some don't work well in any given month, it won't matter. Other things you are
doing to make sales will be working for you.
 
Do More Things to Make More Sales
 
Here is a list of offers and promotions to get your brain going. Don't overlook the
simplest and most obvious. Sometimes they'll have the most powerful effect and
make you the most money, quickly. Here you go:

Client testimonials
Free trial passes
Nutrition tip sheets
Fitness tip Sheets
Diet tip sheets
Powerful website
Member referral program
Educational brochure
Special reports
Sales person closing guidebook
Front desk prospect tips
E-Newsletter for members
Automatic follow up for prospects
Contact management for members
Seminars
Guest instructors or trainers
Bundling of services
Low risk offers
Direct mail campaign
Business partnerships
Corporate marketing program
Using Unique Selling Points
Press releases
Community programs
  
We could list 20 more, but you get the idea. How many lines can you fish with?
First, make your list. Then, determine if you have all the 'poles and bait' you
need.

If you are short on good ideas, get help. 

'til next week...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 12:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, November 13 2010
Get Your Club Filled in the Afternoons 

 
Is your club missing members from 2:00 in the afternoon until the after work crowd rushes in?  Do you have a sales associate who could use a kick in the pants?  Looking for something to put wind in your sails this winter
 
If you have answered yes to any of these questions...read on.  We'll show you how to get a 2,000% ROI or more in less than 3 days.
 
Market to Your Target Market

Profit Partners works closely with their clients to focus on very specific and targeted markets with their advertising.  Your dollars are few and precious so we advise you to spend them wisely and where you will get the biggest bang for the buck.

If you have a few sales associates who could use either a kick in the pants or just a change in routine or if your gym is too quiet and sparse during the afternoons, you can fix that.  And here is how.
 
Follow These 10 Easy Steps

A target market program does not have to be rocket science.  Actually, we have found that the simpler we can make it, the more effective it is and the easier it is for you to track your results.
 
The steps below will help you get started.  Your sales team will be busy, your club will become busier and you'll pocket some more cash.
  
    Here is What We'd Like You to Do...

Step One:  Identify your target.  Get a map of your community.  Draw a circle around a 3 to 5 mile radius.  That is your geographic area.  Any marketing and advertising outside that area is money flushed down the toilet.
 
Step Two:  Who could work out in the early and late afternoon?  We suggest teachers, administrators and staff.  Also possibly municipal workers, local businesses and shift workers.  Branch out here.  You need to think about public schools.  Private schools. Vocational and technical schools. Colleges and universities.  Secondary, middle and elementary.  Get the picture.
 
Step Three:  Pick 2 or 3 to start.  Make them big ones.  You want schools that employ at least a few dozen teachers, staff and administrators.
 
Step Four:  Prepare a powerful, one-page letter that follows the Marketing Equation addressed to the Administrator or the Principal.  Make sure it Interrupts, Engages, Educates and gives a Low Risk Offer.
 
Step Five:  Create a flyer to be read by teachers, administrators and staff.  You will want to make it powerful and very simple for these people to take the next step to try your club.
 
Step Six:  Have 100 flyers printed for each school to go with your letter.  Your 'package' should look professional and neat.
 
Step Seven:  Have your sales associate role play with you.  You pretend you are the Administrator.  Have them rehearse a 1 minute speech that would be given to the Administrator explaining who they are, why they stopped by, what they have and why they should distribute the flyers to each person's mail box.
 
Step Eight:  Have the sales associate hit the road, stop by the school unannounced (late morning before lunch is the best time of day), and ask to speak to the top dog.  If they can't get the top dog ask for his or her assistant.  Make a short and professional presentation with a lot of smiling, thank them and then get back to the club.
 
Step Nine:  Track activity.  Make sure you have identified some way to capture the calls and drop-ins from people from the school.
 
Step Ten:  Calculate your results.  You should know how many people called or stopped in, how many toured, how many joined and what the ROI was for this program.  It should take all of 30 days.
 
How One Club Made Over 15 Grand in a Week

As you can see from above, any health club, owner and staff can nail these ten steps in 3 days or less.  It is a matter of whether you want to or not.  Will this be just another good idea that sits on the shelf?  That is your call.

One of our clients had a very nice return on this program and they only spent about 7 days on it.  This club is located in a suburban area and had over 12 schools to choose from within a 3 mile radius.  They needed afternoon activity in the club and they wanted to take one of their best salespeople and get them exposed to Corporate Sales and this program was a perfect training ground.
 
Here is the breakdown of the results:
   3 letters and 300 flyers delivered
   11 Calls and 29 drop ins
   33 tours
   26 memberships sold
         Revenue produced:  $15,600  (26 x lifetime value of $600)
         Cost of materials:    $89

The question to ask yourself is: "Do you want more afternoon activity in the club and can we make your sales team better and stronger?" 

'til next time...


Posted by: Profit Partner AT 12:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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?" 

Everything!
 
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
Monday, July 31 2006
Demand Full Fees: 
Never Discount Again


It may sound like a wish and a prayer, but owners who understand selling value
and have worked to establish their unique selling points (USP's) never have to
discount enrollment fees or dues.  In a few minutes, neither will you.
  
Every Guru has Told You to Compete on Price
  
Go to every website of our competitors.  All you see are tactical pieces
(postcards, banners, flyers, etc.) that slap your logo on materials that are
emblazoned with "Special Price"... "Lim*ted Time Offer"... "Join for $1"...
You get the point we are making.

Recently, we discussed the HUGE disconnect the fitness industry has created
with the type of advertising you see across the country and in every market;
regardless of size and demographics.  You learned that we confuse our prospects
by first telling them we are great, the best club to look and feel great and have
the best x, y and z.  We then get them scratching their heads as to why are we so eager to just discount and diminish the value of what we have to offer.
 

Why The Heck Do You Do This?

You resort to discounting for a number of reasons:
Fear- If we don't keep up with all the $19 a month gyms out there, we'll lose
   our membership base.
Herd Mentality- If everyone is doing it, it must be the right way to market. 
   You remember what mom told us about this logic "If Jimmy jumped off the
   bridge would you jump off behind him?"
It's Easy- Lazy marketing and advertising resorts to discounting on prices. 
   There are a number of ways to fix this quickly for a club owner.
No Other Solution- Our minds are so cluttered with an overload of marketing,
   offers, promotions, campaigns and specials we can't think straight.  Trust me,
   this "writers block" is common, but it can be overcome.
  
Your Prospects Are NOT Seeking Lowest Price
  
One fact that we cannot emphasize enough is for you and your team to
understand what your prospect is thinking.  Their motivations, fears, concerns
and objections change over the cycle of determining who is going to do the
best job of helping them look and feel great.
  
Do not confuse selling memberships with being the place where your prospects
can look and feel great.  You are not selling memberships.  The membership is
merely the vehicle to help your member look better, feel better, relax and reach
their personal health, fitness and beauty goals. You are selling benefits.
  
It is not about the money.  Whether you charge $39 a month or $79 a month
or more, it is the last thing that is of concern for 98% of the people who walk
through your front door.  What is critical to your prospects is:

Convenience- They want to be assured that you are close to their home or office. 
   This is more a decision about time commitment than a financial commitment.
Great Service- They want to feel important and not a number.  You are in the
   hospitality business whether you like it or not.
No Hassles- They want to get in, get fit and get on with their day.  If you do
   that better than the gym down the street; you'll be more successful.
Results- They want proof.  Proof that you can help them reach their goals
   quickly and safely.
Value- Not price.  People will pay more if all their needs are being met.  You can
   charge $150 a month, but you better back it up with great value.
 

Selling Your Memberships On Value
  
We were speaking with an owner earlier this week who has historically priced her
club at $39 a month with a $199 Enrollment Fee.  She explained that one of
her tactics was to run discounts each month; each month with a different theme. 
The bottom line, she tried to make the prospect feel like they were getting a "deal"
for acting quickly.  The problem was she built her business on a model that
assumed $199 plus $39 a month.  Because of her discount strategy, she only
averaged $79 in Enrollment Fees for each new member.  That is a 60% reduction
from her business model
.  No wonder she was only taking home $89,000 a year
as the owner!  She was giving all her margin away.  She was committing one of
the Cardinal sins in the business today.  She had lazy sales people, lots of
competition and she was petrified she would lose out to the gym down the street
once people knew they were cheaper.
  
Incentives...Not Discounts
  
Remember we discussed the confusion in the prospects mind?  They are told you
are the best thing since sliced bread, but it really isn't that great so we'll chop the
 price down.  There is a better way.
  
Apply incentives to the mix and you can sell at full price, project a great value and
make membership at your club the experience your members want it to be.  All it
takes is a thorough understanding of what makes you better, unique or different.
You can develop a number of great incentives to encourage your prospect to take
action and join.  It can be encouraging and motivating, as opposed to a feeling of
diminishing worth and value through discounts.
  
You will find what you need in a number of critical places:
Your Unique Selling Points
Your Competitive Advantages
Your Members Comments and Opinions
Your Inside Reality
  
Just like we showed you that you do not need to advertise to make a lot of money
in this industry, you also can avoid the Price War mentality.
  
Remember:
   1)  Results are best achieved through targeted marketing, plus prospect hot buttons,
        plus competitive intelligence, plus USP's.
   2)  Market to a target audience for best results.
   3)  Use incentives to encourage and eliminate discounts that de-value. 

Until next week...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 01:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, June 05 2005
The Magic Bullet Doesn't exist.


You can stop looking for it. There is no such thing. We have tens of thousands of
advertising results to prove that. You have tried, we have tried, and corporations
which spend 100 million dollars a year on ads have tried. There ain't no such thing.
If there was, you could buy it for $50,000 and it would earn you $100,000 every time
you used it. We have ads that we have used in markets which have yielded the lucky
owners over $50,000. We rush that money maker right into the hungry hands of an owner
in different market, only to see it barely pay for itself. Why is that? It was a
perfect ad.

Here's why: NOISE. Every market has its own noise. This is created by the messages
used by all the companies which are competing for the same dollars which people spend
on health and fitness.

Listen to it... HOME GYMS, WORK OUT TAPES, DIET PROGRAMS, GYMS, HEALTH CLUBS, PILATES, PILLS, FITNESS CENTERS, 30 MINUTE WORKOUTS, 24 MINUTE WORKOUT, COSMETIC SURGERY, YOGA, WELLNESS CENTERS etc. etc. etc...   Get it? This noise creates confusion. When consumers are confused, they freeze. Do nothing. As consumers, we've all been there.


Make Money With LESS Advertising

Huh?  What marketing company in their right mind would tell you to stop advertising? 
Well, Profit Partners may do just that upon an examination of what you are doing today
to develop new business in your community.

You are probably asking yourself, "Why would we stop advertising and risk seeing all of
our prospects dry up and stop coming through our door?"  Good question.  But we want you
to think about WHAT you are actually sending as a message to your audience.  The notion of advertising "memberships for sale" breaks every rule of why someone wants to belong to a
club in the first place.


What Are You Selling?

Ask 100 owners of health clubs what products and services they are selling and 3 out of
every 4 will tell you they are selling memberships to their club.  Respectfully folks,
you are dead WRONG.  You are not selling "memberships"; you are selling a way to LOOK and
FEEL GREAT.  Your club is just a vehicle for people to achieve their health, fitness and
beauty goals in a way THEY believe are going to be most effective.

Think about the HUGE disconnect the fitness industry has created with the type of
advertising you see across the country and in every market; regardless of size and
demographics.  Picture this, every owner works hard to be the "best" club in their market. 
You want to hire top talent, have great equipment, and offer tremendous classes in a clean
and exciting atmosphere.  Those lucky enough to be members can look and feel great while
having a good time, too.


Now read your ads.  The first half will normally talk about how great the club is, how much
the members love belonging to such a fine establishment, etc., etc., etc...  The second half
of the ad will scream "Now taking anyone who reads this ad!  And, we'll even discount it for  you!!!  Hurry!!!"

Do you get what we are saying?  Belonging to a club or having a membership is considered an association, a common attachment, exclusivity to a degree, an alliance of people with similar goals.  Yet, we have confused the community by discounting it and diminishing its value.


The 4 Places Where You Should Spend Your Money

I wish I had a dollar for every owner who has asked us "Hey, can you guys write a great ad for us?"  Unless you understand where you are really getting your members from, anyone would make this request.  It is hard to get angry at owners who want "great ads" yet don't understand where there clients have come from and where their hard-earned money is best spent.

Here is where to  spend your marketing dollars:

  • Aggressively market our club in the community as "the" place for fitness and wellness events.
  • Sponsor local activities that emanate from inside our club and join up with other complimentary businesses.
  • Launch a well constructed Member Referral Program to encourage a client to "sponsor" a prospective new member.
  • Make our club more exclusive with benefits and resources only available to full members and not those on trial.  Make being a member something special. Establish a 12 month plan of internal and external target market oriented campaigns to promote value and incentives.  Eliminate discounting and demand full fees.


"Market to Your Target"

Don't advertise.  Identify narrow and specific target markets (want a few ideas?  How about
Teachers, Healthcare Workers, Student Athletes, Stay At Home Moms and Dads, Municipal Workers) and build a campaign and message that speaks DIRECTLY to that target.

No more broadcast radio or cable TV, no more ValPack Coupons and no more "let's throw this out there and see what sticks" approach.

Take that good money and focus.  Let your competition spend their budgets rattling the cages and waking up those sleeping on their couches.  We'll work with you to make more money in less time.  But, if you still believe there is a magic bullet ad out there. 

PLEASE don't call us. There are plenty of companies and sales reps out there to sell it to you
(it's right next to the pie... in the sky).




Posted by: Profit Partner AT 05:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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