January is here, which means all those New Year’s resolutions are about to be cashed in on. As a gym owner, you can expect a boost in brand new clients dropping by in the coming months. We know you’re likely running a number of promotions and free trials to help customers see what you’re all about, but don’t forget these classic tips on how to get them to come back.
HONE YOUR SOUND BITE
Spend some time coming up with a sound bite that succinctly expresses the ethos of your gym and why someone would want to become a member.
“Both Sides of the Table” blogger Mark Suster—who was once an entrepreneur and is now a venture capital investor—suggests, “Develop your 60-second pitch. … Don’t wing it. Practice it and repeat it so many times it gets boring. Your wife, husband, girlfriend, sister or co-workers should be sick of hearing it.”
You’re not the only gym in the sea, which is why you need to be able to answer the obvious question: “Why should I choose your gym?” Don’t be put off by the question. Every gym owner should have a very clear understanding of why they are in fact the best at what they do. Rehearse your response and have it ready, because you will be asked.
New clients can call or pop into the studio at anytime, so Mark’s advice is helpful in that you’ll have your mantra down pat and can quickly and coherently chat with the client—even if you’re about to lead a class or if you’ve got a line full of members looking to purchase hoodies.
DESIGN YOUR WELCOME TOUR
Prospective clients are going to want a tour of your facility prior to signing on, and while some may call ahead and make an appointment, others will likely come in off the street. Take some time to decide exactly what is said and pointed out during the tour, and in what order. Once this is determined, print out guidelines and train all staffers to be conducting identical tours. While you’d like to be the only one doling out tours, having an all-hands-on-deck approach will ensure no new clients fall into the hands of a clueless staffer.
A few rules about tours—they shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Also put your staff on notice to always be polite, energetic and friendly to anyone coming in asking questions about the gym. If your staff sees you or someone else giving a tour, they should go out of their way to say “hello” and “welcome.” A smile and eye contact alone go a long way for someone who is anxious about potentially joining a new gym.
End the tour by suggesting a sit-down to go over specific goals and how exactly your gym would address these goals. And be sure to ask for the client’s contact information—and follow up with them if you don’t hear back in 10 or so days.
IDENTIFY YOUR COMMUNITY
When a prospective client comes in they’re looking for expertise. In order to be able to confidently communicate that you’re the gym for them, we suggest you first take a look at your current members and divide them into categories. Think: stay at home mom, college student, executive, high school varsity student, retiree, first-timer etc. Once you’ve created these categories, write down how you’re addressing the needs of each persona—early-morning classes for executives, team training sessions for high schoolers angling for scholarships, a nutritionist on-staff for moms looking to lose the baby weight, etc.
Once a client comes in, identify the category they fall into and you can quickly and concisely rattle off all the ways you’re able to serve their needs. Breed confidence by referring to members who are similar to them, and how you’re well-versed in their needs and goals.
SEAL THE DEAL
You’ve wowed your new client with a slam-dunk tour and professionalism all around, but they still seem on the fence. This is where freebies come in handy. Consider offering all new members free nutritional counseling for the first three months, or a three-pack of personal training sessions. New members want to feel like they’re getting individualized services, so earn points with one-on-one types of giveaways.
While it’s not an integral part of winning over a client, beefing up your web site will enhance your studio’s overall image—and you better believe potential clients are definitely Googling you before they sign up. Update any stale content, add recent photos from classes, make sure all 2016 schedules are accurate and consider adding a blog portion if you don’t have one already. Same goes for social media—be sure your studio Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts are active and upbeat, and continue to encourage current members to comment and post their own experiences (while tagging your studio, of course).