It's the most wonderful time of the year. I'm talking about January in the fitness business. People are joining gyms. Everyone is motivated. Our jobs are easy. This year, New Year's Day is on a Sunday, so we have to be ready to hit the ground running on Monday, Jan. 2.
Are you ready to handle the volume to give a great experience and fantastic customer service? Will every member get started properly to get results and get hooked on fitness? The goal in January is not to sign up as many people as possible, the goal is to keep everyone who does sign up year after year once their motivation wanes. How can we do that?
Here are four steps you can take that will help:
1. Let's start with first impressions. Is your fitness studio ready? Do you need new paint? Are there any pieces of equipment that need replaced? Do you need to add equipment to handle more people? Walk through your studio and look for anything that needs to be updated, fixed or replaced. Every three to five years you should give your studio a facelift with new colors, new flooring and a new look. If it's been longer than five years since you've made any changes, at least get a fresh coat of paint up before January.
2. Next, let's dive into the experience. Your people make or break your culture. Do you have the right people on board your team? Are there any holes? Do you need to hire anyone? Do you need to fire anyone? We find that this time of year usually brings change. With the end of a year and the start of a new one, many people reflect and make big decisions. This is a great time to sit down with each of your team members for a one-on-one meeting to connect and discuss the game plan for 2017, to talk about where their role is and to set goals for each of their positions.
3. Once you have made sure the right people are on your team, it's time to look at your operations and, most importantly, your systems. You should create a written standard operating procedure for everything in your gym. Start with the most basic system of opening the gym. Make sure you have a written checklist of how to open the gym and make sure it is being followed. Then, move on to how we greet members, how we answer the phone, how we start a training session. No matter who is working that night, the same steps will be followed to ensure that every single member who joins will get the exact same experience.
Three ideas for a January promotions are:
- Put on a transformation contest recruiting new members to join in.
- Consider raising your prices, letting everyone know that prices are going up on X date so join now. We never raise prices on existing members but would let them know to refer their friends and family before the prices increase. An offer like this creates urgency to lock in at the old prices for anyone on the fence about joining your gym.
- Recruit past members to return by sending them an invitation in the mail including a VIP pass before January when you know they will most likely be thinking about coming back.
Follow the above steps and make 2017 the year you change more lives than ever.
Rachel Cosgrove is the co-owner/operator of Results Fitness, voted one of the top 10 gyms in the United States by Men's Health Magazine. She and her husband, Alwyn Cosgrove, own a second company where they coach and consult with top gym owners to model what they have done at Results Fitness through ResultsFitnessUniversity.com. They are on a mission to change the way fitness is done. Learn more at www.resultsfitnessuniversity.com or join them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/resultsfitnessuniversity. Cosgrove is also an AFS community expert for the Association of Fitness Studios.