Joining a gym is scary!
No matter what shape or size a person is when they walk through the door to inquire about a gym membership, the same fears go through their minds:
- Is this going to be any different than places I’ve joined in the past?
- Am I going to feel comfortable here?
- Is anyone going to be available to help me?
- Can I actually reach my goals?
- And the list goes on and on.
These are probably some of the reasons you don’t operate a general purpose gym, right? You want to cater to a specific niche and the type of clientele you attract is not looking for a a gym, they are looking for results..
The biggest difference between niche studios and the competition is that you’re INDEPENDENT. You don’t have a manual or big brand to fall back on. And it’s precisely that freedom that makes your facility stand out.
Now,with the proper tools and the right mindset your facility the the potential to knock the socks off your competition! Here is my list of 5 must haves for any niche fitness facility:
#1 A kick-ass online presence
Your mission statement should be elegantly and deliberately plastered all over the web!
It’s no longer enough to have a website + Facebook Page, your business needs to use these tools, along with a selection of the other social networks, to help each and every prospective client see who you are and what you are all about.
Your current clientele should be a welcome part of your online marketing efforts — using their profiles to tout their love for you and your business is the 2014 version of word of mouth advertising… powerful stuff.
Maintenance and growth of your online presence must be part of your daily and weekly calendars. In order to stand out, be sure to carve out time for blogging, social media updates and email newsletters. The exact combination of these will vary in time and seasonally but never, not for a day, should your online persona be ignored!
#2 Trainers who “get” the niche
It’s not enough to be a good trainer. Your clients are going to gravitate towards you because you understand them, relate to them and can work from the inside out in order to get them the results they think they are seeking.
Take Sally Symonds down in Australia for example, she has an incredible weight loss story (BMI 40 to BMI 19) and attracts the obese and morbidly obese. She understands the “I’ve tried everything” and the “loss of confidence in the ability to lose weight and keep it off.”
Or, Lisa Druxman who started Fit4Mom after the birth of her son. Her mission, to help moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life, has blossomed into a network of mom-owned franchises across the country who employ hundreds of mom-instructors to teach fitness classes to moms. Her passion for fitness and motherhood shine through every program that she puts together and offers.
#3 The desire to continue learning and improving
Nobody is born an expert. And nobody should expect to open their business doors with all the answers to every prospective client’s situation already figured out. Being a great trainer is knowing that this is a journey.
I recommend finding a note-taking solution that works for you. It could be pen and paper or a smart phone (or cloud-based) system. Just start taking notes
- During initial consults & assessments
- During or after a training session **only pen and paper during a session, please!
- While cleaning the equipment
- During marketing times
- And of course, take notes when not working in the business
Without taking these notes it’ll be far more difficult to track the needs of your clients, the desires of your community and the direction of learning that would best serve the business.
So, in addition to paying for your certification agency CEC/CEU requirements, plan to set aside additional funds for personal development and business development opportunities. The skills and education you need should show themselves in the trends that come from your note taking!
#4 An open door policy
We hear about it in the corporate world, bosses who have an “open door policy” where any employee, no matter how far removed from that boss, can freely speak with the boss. This allows for any employee to discuss what they see with the boss.
Not only should this be implemented with your staff (or Independent Contractors) but also providing a forum for your clients to voice their opinions about the business is extremely helpful.
In the comments below, I’d love to know how you’re implementing a client feedback system at your studio!
#5 The trust factor
Seeing is believing. So everything that a prospective client sees and hears about you and your business should resonate with your core values.
Most people don’t like to work out (geez, why not?) and so they need to believe that their interests and goals are in line with the studio. They want to see results and transformation stories and testimonials and community and belief in all that you do!
Highlight the things that make you and your studio awesome and how your core values serve to help your clients to achieve results they seek.
Not all clients are going to be coming to you because of your niche.
It may surprise you to know that just because you target and gravitate towards a specific niche, you will actually attract people who resonate with your business even if they don’t fall exactly in line with your niche.
That’s okay. In fact, it’s good… it means your marketing efforts are working!