Sit back for a minute and think of a business that you could not do without. It is a place where you spend your hard-earned money frequently. Now, ask yourself why you spend money there. Does this place excite? Is it their product, service or atmosphere? How many people do you tell about this place? Do you suggest they frequent it as much as you do? Are you offended if they speak badly about your favorite place? If you answered yes to the above, you are officially a raving fan.
What are raving fans? According to an article by Dennis Brown, raving fans are customers who are so beyond satisfied with a product, company or service that they go out of their way to tell someone else about their experience. Having raving fans is better than any purchased advertisement, especially since these people share their love of your product or service for free. Business owners who do not have raving fans should rethink being in business.
Take a look at your advertising budget. How much are you spending in proportion to how many good leads it yields? Good leads mean sustained results, not someone who signs up for the special deal and then leaves. Instead, good leads are people who purchase supplements, long-term memberships or training. How many of those leads are still with your club and spending money? Now think about someone who has been a member for more than a year and has lost 30 pounds or more. How many people has he or she referred to you? Are they still members? Do they spend money in your club? Those are good leads.
Three years ago, I looked at what I was spending on advertising. It was pretty scary for a business of my size. Then I asked myself if the money justified how many raving fans I had. The answer was no. Some of the advertisements did bring in new members, and we turned them into raving fans, but the majority of them were just looking for the next best deal. I decided to cut my advertising budget by 80 percent (not recommended for every club), and I focused my efforts on creating raving fans with my current population. Some people would think this is crazy, but I knew I was better off spending that money on the people who already support me and believe in my product. It worked. I have increased my business every year since then by a minimum of 10 percent.
Ask yourself, "How does my company create more raving fans?" Here are some tips I have used over the years to successfully create more raving fans and generate more business:
1. Identify your top 50. These are the 50 people who spend the most money in your club. If they have discretionary income to spend on fitness, you can assume they hang out with people who also spend money on fitness. You want to focus a lot of time and attention on these members to make sure you are doing everything you can to make them raving fans.
2. Get results. Nothing creates a raving fan more than getting results. If Nancy drops 30 pounds and feels amazing, how many people do you think she will sing your praises to? If she gains five pounds while she is a member at your club, who do you think she will tell? The bottom line is that you need to create as many amazing results as possible.
3. Show you care. Being in business is about making money. We are in the business of making money, but you also have to show that you care. If you are always trying to sell to your customers, they will eventually shut down on you and stop spending money. The money will come as long as you are doing your job. Always make suggestions based on their goals and your expertise. Do not sell them anything they don’t need just to hit your numbers.
4. Create an experience. No company does it better than Disney. My daughter talks about Disney World at least twice per week, and she has never even been there yet. She is a raving fan. From the time people walk in your club’s door to the time they walk out of it, you want them to have an experience, not just a workout. The way they are greeted when they walk in should be warm and friendly. Help should be offered without waiting to be asked. When they leave, they should feel like it was the best part of their day. Create an experience, and they will truly enjoy coming to the gym.
Create raving fans and your business will grow. Neglect your customers and watch what happens.
Nic DeCaire is the owner and founder of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, DE. He is a graduate of Wilmington University. DeCaire has 14 years of experience in the industry. He started working the front counter at a local fitness center at age 14, and his success and passion for fitness have grown since then. A former competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter, DeCaire has won many awards in the sport. He is the chairman of the Main Street Mile, which benefits the Newark K-9 Fund, and serves on the board of Kids with Confidence. DeCaire can be contacted at 302-738-4580 or [email protected].