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Stuart's Sessions, Part I

I probably attended more sessions at this show than any other show so far in my brief fitness industry trade show career.

Rather than write extensively about each one, I‘ll give a few highlights of each one here:

Prepare for Success: Creating a One-Year Plan That Drives Revenue and Increases Retention, Angela Cuocci. Cuocci has spent the past 16 years running Ladies Total Fitness in Bel Aire, MD. She talked about being confident and having no fear in your voice when talking to a prospective member. The top three ways of generating business are postcards, stake signs and referrals. Stake signs are something new to New York-area operators, and sometimes stake signs (on the side of the road, near office buildings, etc.) are not permitted. Some clubs even have fines as part of their budget.

How to Create a ‘Culture of Service‘ that has Bottom Line Impact, Scott Chovanec. All I kept thinking about while listening to Chovanec was that I wanted his shirt and tie. He had on a lime green shirt with a white collar and white cuffs. He even had his initials on the cuffs. Not bad for a school administrator. Anyway, we talked about bad customer service, and more than one attendee (including Chovanec) mentioned a club that one of my colleagues visited the night before. There was no response at the desk, and apparently no one offered a price list for the club. One attendee even cited Club Industry for a lack of customer service yesterday. Chovanec stressed the importance of body language when greeting members and remembering the beginning and the end of a visit.

Current Key Metrics for Club Operators, Rick Caro. This is the first time I sat in on a Rick Caro seminar, and he sounded a lot like he does when we chat on the phone about stories or topics in the industry. The term “metric” is another way of saying “measure,” and Rick outlined a variety of ways to measure a club‘s success--percentage of revenue per club, per “same store” clubs, per region, per company or per industry standard. There are a number of ways (more than I can count or realized) to measure revenues. Rick encouraged operators to analyze their data and try and understand why their data is different from industry data.

Group Fitness for Profit, Sara Kooperman. Most group fitness classes are at their fullest at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., says Kooperman of SCW Fitness. She suggests moving your best instructors to off-hour times. As for those 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. classes, “a duck” could teach them, she says, and they‘d still be full. Club managers or owners should evaluate their instructors every six months, Kooperman says, even to the point of videotaping them as part of their evaluations.

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