Category Archives: Featured

How to turn Clients into Members

A great way to address fitness and health client retention is to offer “Online Memberships”. Offered either before or after the client has actually bought fitness/training services from you this is a great offering that will keep you connected to people over the long term.

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Online membership programs will do the following for you:

  • Keep you connected
  • Promote engagement through content and subject matter
  • Provide an additional platform for selling
  • Cover online costs
  • Build extended communities

WHY?

Your prospects and clients have goals related to fitness, health, nutrition and sports and you know a lot that they will gladly pay for as long as you provide regular, quality and easy to consume information. You can bet that they are out there in the internet searching for it anyway, why not provide it for them as a paid service.

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HOW?

It really doesn’t take much actually! Like most things it is really a matter of setting a goal, allocating time and focus and then executing and being driven by achieving your goal. We have the services for you, but first…….

So….

Charge something, anything

First you’ll be surprised how willing people are to pay for regular premium information that is just not that easy to obtain and second you’ll be even more surprised how much they’ll pay. Take for example a price point of $4.95 per month versus the next level of say $7.95 – if your product is good they’ll pay, remember it is a small transaction loaded monthly on the Visa and they forget about it.

In fact most folks will tell you that they’d rather pay for the good stuff than get spammed for some “free” membership. The point being pick your price point and deliver accordingly.

Also… offer real value for references or new members for e.g. “refer a friend and your next class is on us!”

Make them feel special online

It is well known that once a person feels like they are being let into the “premium space” they just feel better about it. A member login gives you the opportunity to personalize the experience “Welcome Janet” or “Hey Janet, have you seen this?” goes a long way in making people feel special. This will also give you the ability to ask for specific profile information which is worth $$$’s.

Making it mandatory to be a member before you are allowed to comment on content so that existing members feel protected from just anybody crowding out a service they enjoy using because they are paying members.

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Provide regular “member benefits”

Ensure that as paying members folks enjoy the first chance at special pricing, premium events or surprise deals that only they can participate in. They might not always buy but, they will always want to be informed and have the choice. This works especially well when offers are personalized for specific members either by gender or specific interests etc..

Areas where this works very well in include nutrition, sports and technology because the consumption is short term and regular. If you don’t have the info or answers partner with somebody who will.

Ask for input for opinion

Opinion Polls and and surveys always work IF…. you follow up and deliver feedback and/or value. There is a level of learning and art to this element of memberships but, it will be well worth the time when you get it right.

In small groups this works really well when you want to recognize performance and achievement. “Vote for your choice of most improved XYZ” is a sure way to get for e.g. training groups or boot camp members to participate as members.

AND lastly…… as always…… always

Make it easy

The easier it is to become a member….. The easier it is to login and enjoy member benefits…… The easier it is to talk to you and get at information or answered questions…. and so on makes the choice to stay a member so much more a matter of value and choice than of cost.

Use every tool available to you make make things easy for members there are a lot of them out there.

What are some of the “Don’ts” you ask?

  • Don’t charge anything up front
  • Don’t ask for long term commitments, it is your job to secure ongoing value
  • Don’t make it difficult to exit as a member, if you’ve provided value they will return
  • Don’t “over do” anything i.e. spam, sell, ask etc.
  • Don’t leave any member disconnected from their benefits (we’ve all lost our password once or twice)

What do you need to get this effort going and start signing up members?

Not much actually, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get going and how quickly you become comfortable with setting and achieving your membership goals.

We’ll be happy to chat to you about this so give us a call or email today and get going. This is what we are here for, we make technology work for you and your business. Our services are designed as just that “SERVICES” not products that you have to buy and worry about yourself. We’ll make this happen!

Facebook Groups–for those times you don’t need a full Page

As you obviously know having a Facebook Page for your sports/fitness business is pretty much essential. It is a direct link to existing clients and a very real link to everyone in your local or community. The Facebook Page works like a dedicated web site with your details, news and activity on it. You can use it to advertise, to connect people to your web site and so much more.

BUT

1) it takes some additional work & time.

2) sometimes using a Page can be an overkill.

 

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ENTER Facebook Groups!

 

“Facebook Groups make it easy to connect with specific sets of people, like family, teammates or coworkers. Groups are dedicated spaces where you can share updates, photos or documents and message other group members. You can also select one of three privacy options for each group you create.”

 

Where would you use Groups?

– When you have a select audience that is already part of your Page community but you’d like to further profile information selectively for them.

– When you’d like to share photos, files and docs with just a select group of people, not your whole community.

– When you’d like to create special events just for a select group of people.

– When you’d like to have a free messaging capability with a select group of people.

For more Q & A on how groups work CLICK HERE.

 

So some examples of you could deploy groups very effectively in your sports and/or fitness business:

  1. Nutrition – Most trainers/coaches will know how important proper nutrition is for a training and fitness regime. They will provides tips, specific recipes and even full on nutrition plans for client and athletes. The Groups functionality is just perfect for this kind of specific interest group of folks in your community.
  2. Classes – You all provide training classes created for specific groups of people or for the likes of Yoga, Spinning etc. Being able to share information, news and updates just for these class groups of folks is and ideal way to deploy the features in Facebook Groups.
  3. Teams – A lot of trainers and coaches provide services for sports teams (soccer, volley ball etc.) and having the ability to create an environment that includes the team members, coaches and parents. Providing schedules, games and training related information as well as recognition and achievements is a great way to enhance that team spirit and camaraderie.
  4. Specialty Training –  “Strength & Conditioning”, “Speed” and many more very specific training environments very often require a much deeper level of knowledge and information sharing. There’s the science behind it all, there’s research work and expert opinions that are just as much part of the work as the actual training and Facebook Groups will assist greatly here.

 

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Now these are just examples of how you could put the Facebook Groups features to very good use in your fitness/training business but there’s more…..

There’s actual business benefit available that comes with the ability to selectively provide information:

  1. Premium Content – It is always a good strategy for growing your client base and paying customers to split the “Freemium” and the “Premium” content. For example, no problem giving away the odd low carb recipe but it is of value to your business to create paid nutrition plans.
  2. Course Material – If you have some services that can be done at home and you provide access to this material remotely be sure to retain control and charge for the important stuff.
  3. Memberships – Creating that monthly membership is something you already do for the actual training and fitness services and you know clients will pay because they trust you and value your product so… do the same with online memberships of any kind.
  4. “Elite Class” – then there’s times when it is always a good thing to reward your most loyal and regular clients with some form of “Elite” status that comes with goodies, bit n pieces that they don not have to pay for but, it comes “By Invitation Only”.

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These are areas where a carefully constructed Group idea can become very valuable to your business and this Facebook feature is ready made just for you.

Having a social media plan that integrates all your social media tools, your web site and your content (pictures, videos and documents) and value for your clients is part of your business day and should be seen as an integral part of your planning and resource (people, time, cash) allocation. Using every inch of the “field” is important and knowing about this hidden gems in all the tools you use, not just Facebook, is going to make a difference in achieving your business objectives and goals.

6 Reasons your Web Site & Social could GROW your fitness/training business.

Do you feel like you are trapped in a game of Monopoly i.e. going round and round collecting the same “paycheck” or monthly income passing “Begin” every time. Your fitness and/or training business is tied to the hours available in a day/week/month which is a finite number so how do you grow? It is challenging to continuously add new clients while training existing clients and then find time to do the extra stuff like networking, skills development and all the back office stuff required to run your fitness / training business – GROWTH IS TOUGH.

 

3D Small People - Statistics Improvement

 

Well, it doesn’t have to be! Imagine having access to a booth at a fitness show 24X7 & 365 with new and existing customers visiting all day long? You would chat to them, give them stuff like “Guides” and “To Do’s”, do demo’s and build rapport with prospects quickly and effectively.  Sounds good but obviously not possible, right? Wrong! Your Web Site and Social Media Tools are the just the tools to get you the same results. People buy from people especially people they have a relationship with and trust. These key elements are the way to reach people and get them interested in your services.

So…. here are the 6 Reasons why your Web Site and Social Media tools will help you reach, engage and ultimately sell to so that you can really GROW YOUR CLIENT BASE, and increase revenues.

#1 – Your Identity

At the booth one of the 1st things people will identify with is your personal identity. Your energy level, your smile and your enthusiasm to meet them and engage with them in conversation and Q&A. Your Web Site should reflect this unique aspect by showing you in a well organized and structured manner that is all you. Your personal profile page and those of your team is a huge asset, introduce your self via video/audio and great pictures.

#2 – Your Skills and Specialties

People trust folks who clearly communicate and demonstrate their sills and expertise. You have the knowledge and experience to help them with their goals and challenges. Web pages and posts that effectively communicate what you can do and what you are good at will convince prospects that you and your gym are worthy of further time.

#3 – Your News, Events and Communication

Clients and prospective clients always want to know what happened, what’s happening and what’s going to happen. Evidence of an active community or “a great community buzz” is evidence of a great place to be. Sharing information and regular communication demonstrates an environment of value and benefit, where people learn and enjoy success.

#4 – Your Product

What exactly is your product? Memberships, pricing, special offers, terms are all parts of a full product picture that prospective and new clients need when making buying decisions. This information is not simple and needs to be presented in just the right fashion to motivate folks to buy from you. Non-Core or additional products are also important so that members/clients don’t have to go elsewhere to buy.

#5 – Client evidence or Testimonials

When clients, especially prospective clients, can see evidence of your existing clients achieving their goals, having fun and remaining committed to your business they are 60% more likely to buy from you. Clear cut and well presented evidence presented directly by actual clients using your products and services will be the strongest communication tool for adding clients – no doubts.

#6 – Easy action

Finally, once you have presented prospective, returning or existing clients with all this great information and communication make any action easy i.e. make it easy for them to contact you, make it easy for them to buy from you and most importantly make the “action process” a welcoming one. Follow up an interaction or purchase with a “Thank You” or “Welcome” or “We’re excited to have you onboard”.

 

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Take a look at your current Web Site and Social Media tool and evaluate if they deliver on these 6 aspects because if they don’t……. these are the 6 reasons you will find growth difficult to achieve. Simply put go and make sure that you deliver on these 6 reasons for client to choose you and your gym/facility.

Add Facebook to your blogging options.

All you fitness and sports training professionals out there already have regular blogs on your web sites right? And.. on your web site is where your blog posts should be, it’s the best place for you clients to find the information you are sharing with them, no doubts.

BUT… here’s another option.

Just last week Facebook announced some very cool – “Updates for Facebook Notes”. Now, “Notes” has been around for a while but honestly never really cut it for any serious or useful writing. These updates however are a notable step in the right direction for Facebook because as we know they are taking YouTube head on with video management and publishing and now it seems they’ve put a “toe in the water” with CMS (Content Management System) as well.

With this update, you can add a cover photo that represents what your note is all about. You can caption and resize photos, and format your text into headers, quotes or bullets. You’ll will also be able to create these new notes on the web, and they’re fully viewable on mobile.

 

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How does it work you ask?

Pretty simple actually, which is good…. Facebook assume every note/blog post is written by a human being by name so they have added the “Notes” feature only to personal pages. You can then choose where and how you would like the note/blog post to be published including those company pages you are an admin user of. So, if you have created your gym’s Facebook page and maybe one or two more product pages you will be able to choose what to write and for which of the pages you manage. Gone are the days of trying to decide how many words to put into a normal Facebook “update” with pictures and web links added in. This feature allows you to add nicely formatted and content rich “blog posts” on Facebook.

WARNING – this is not a replacement for web site blog posts. Your web site is the key location for clients both existing and new. Your web site is your dynamic digital store front and signature and therefore should represent you, your services (classes, programs, camps and sports), your team and your facility in a unique. Remember Facebook looks exactly the same for everyone i.e. blue & white and their logo, not yours and that’s Ok because that is what your clients expect.

So, be sure to use this option to attract your clients back to your web site with the appropriate links and features. Hint – write a “Part I” on Facebook and “Part II” on your web site blog OR write 1/2 on Facebook and add a “For more read here.” link back to a complete blog on your site. The intent here is to provide Facebook users with a more useful and feature rich way of writing “notes”. You have all those hard earned “Likes” on your Facebook page and you can now share info with them in a more complete and professional manner.

Here’s the Facebook news post announcing this feature. READ HERE

Complex Training

Complex Training is the pairing of a Plyometric movement (a type of exercise that uses explosive movements to develop muscular power) with a biomechanically similar strength movement. Although complex training methods vary in exercise order and rest intervals, for the purpose of this article focus will be on a low RM strength exercise followed immediately by a similar plyometric exercise. Additionally, focus will be on the long term chronic effects of complex training as a training parameter and not the acute effects on performance.

 

WHY INCORPORATE COMPLEX TRAINING INTO YOUR TRAINING?

 

The logic behind these matched pairs of exercises is that the resistance work gets the nervous system into full action leading to a greater training benefit. Complex training takes advantage of post-activation potentiation (PAP), which is the transient increase in muscle contractile performance after previous contractile activity. The increase in performance is due to greater Ca2+ sensitivity in the muscle and greater recruitment of muscle fibers. PAP increases the rate of force development and thus increases speed and power.  The rationale is that by repeating PAP exercises, complex training will produce long-term changes in the ability of a muscle to generate power[i].

To develop the rate of force development, and therefore increase strength and speed, the Type IIb muscle fibers need to be targeted as these are ones that produce force most explosively allowing for maximum power. Additionally, PAP itself is greater in type II fibers. The sorts of exercises that develop the Type IIb fibers are:

  • Speed strength exercises, e.g. weighted squats jumps

Plyometric exercises, e.g. bounding.

WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY?

There have been a variety of experiments done on the result of complex workouts. Because of the differences in experimental procedures, there have been a range of outcomes. However, when the relevant experiments are narrowed down to those using experienced athletes and using a consistent workout plan of a 3-6 RM (at least 60% of 1RM)[i] followed by a similar plyometric exercise, there does seem to be a consensus. One study conducted at the University of Utah by Adams et al. (1992); utilizing 48 male subjects, found that those who trained using a combination of squat exercises and plyometric exercises increased their vertical jump significantly (10.67 cm) over those who trained on squats (3.30 cm) and plyometrics (3.81 cm) alone, over a six week period. This seems to be the only comprehensive long-term experiment done on Complex training; the benefits of complex training to sport performance is unknown.

Additionally, research found that complex training can increase the 1RM of traditional lifts.[ii] This is also seen when plyometric is preformed before traditional.[iii]

Complex training has been shown to increase vertical jump in both acute and chronic adaptation, and may have the most benefit in sports that involve short-term power events.

HOW TO INCORPORATE

There is evidence that complex training only increases plyometric ability in strong, well- trained athletes[iv],[v], so it should be reserved for experienced lifters and performed near the end of the off-season. As complex training is most beneficial to type II fibers, it is not time efficient to perform complex exercises for predominantly slow twitch muscles, and results may not be seen in individuals with a greater percentage of slow twitch. In addition, females may not show significant strength gains from complex training and prepubescent people should never complete complex training.

Complex training should be done fresh (first in a workout), on a rested body that has not recently performed exhaustive aerobic exercise. Avoid static stretching before or during complex training (reduces force production potential). Always go for quality: all reps should focus on explosiveness with enough rest.

Complex training is usually done in the specific phase just prior to season. The exercises are specific to each sport. Typical complex set: 5RM squat (at least 70% of 1RM) immediately (10-15 sec, longer you wait, more PAP dissipates) followed by 5 jump squats, then rest for 3min.



[i] J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):135-9. Short-term effects of selected exercise and load in contrast training on vertical jump performance.

 

[ii] J Strength Cond Res. 2001 Nov; 14(4):470-476

[iii] J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb; 17(1):68-71

[iv]

Chiu LZ, Fry AC, Weiss LW, Schilling BK, Brown LE, Smith SL.

Related Articles, Links

Postactivation potentiation response in athletic and recreationally trained individuals.
J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):671-7.

 

[v] J Strength Cond Res. 2003 May; 17(2):342-344

 


[i]

Hodgson, Matt; Docherty, David; Robbins, Dan

 

Post-Activation Potentiation: Underlying Physiology and Implications for Motor Performance.[Review]

 

Sports Medicine. 35(7):585-595, 2005.

 

Wearable Devices, Training and Data – Part I

Wearable devices in general is one of the most exciting pieces of technology today. They are a lot cheaper, a lot easier to use and track a lot more data than in the past. BUT…… are they useful in the greater scheme of the sports and personal training arena? In this first piece we will look at the aspects significant enough from a training point of view and then in a “Part II” post we’ll look at it from the business point of view.

Let’s “lay down the rules” – for any technology to be useful and significant it has to:

1) be affordable

2) be practical

3) be easy to use in a training and sport specific scenario

4) deliver data in a meaningful way

these 4 components are critical for success and adoption.

Nailing our colors to the mast we’ll lead with the statement that these devices and the data they deliver will change training significantly. Will it revolutionize training? It may be too early to properly assess but they certainly are here to stay.

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Using our partners at Push as an example (see HERE for more details) and the application of a device in the Velocity Based Training scenarios we see some really good evidence for the statement that they will change training significantly.

  • In the team setting it is extremely useful to have exercises sent to players for the day and have the results back for evaluation, comparison and goal or parameter monitoring.
  • Being able to look at data without the pain of dead weight paper and the ability to share the data is really useful.
  • Setting targets for measurable aspects such as weight, intensity, speed etc. is just not attainable without having a device strapped to the athlete.
  • Testing – for 1RM, weight vs. speed and many other scenarios has not been possible in definitive terms until now.
  • Preventing injuries in the weight room. Understanding fatigue, setting parameters accordingly and having appropriate training programs is HUGE.
  • Athletes come of the field often “beat up” and tired which requires meaningful/measurable adjustments to the training program and having a data based platform to assist can be significant.
  • Patterns highlighted in the data provides actual evidence of the training parameters that are moving.
  • Coaching/Training follow up is an essential part of personal training and being able to sit down with the athlete looking at real results, measured by week/day/session or even routine is “revolutionary”.

Now as time goes by those adopting, applying and developing training programs with this technology will also ultimately also benefit from the vendor’s research, knowledge and product development. Which in turn will enhance training knowledge and skills in applying real data to real training results. It seems almost common sense to have access to definitive feedback/data that shows the reality. Coaching 101 – real feedback is critical.

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Common feedback from trainers using this technology today is “The more we talk about it (real data), the more it becomes integral in our training”.

Common feedback from the athletes using this technology is “The fact that it (my training) is being measured counts mentally towards my effort and approach.”

Sport and training is all about competition, split seconds and inches wouldn’t you want your athletes to know and hit their numbers? 

Don’t do manual systems! 6 reasons the “long run” is shorter than ever.

You’ve heard the expression “I can run my business on the back of a napkin”? Well, not quite that bad these days but, it is still pretty common to hear people tell of how they “can get along just fine” with Excel and/or Word to keep everything in their small business running smoothly. Now.. as with many things just because you can doesn’t mean you should. This is especially the case with a modern 21st century fitness and training facility / business. It will cost you in the long run, a long run which is substantially shorter today.

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There are 6 KEY REASONS why you should commit to formal systems that are specially written for the health and fitness industry:

1) Cost – Software is not only much cheaper today than it has been in the past but mostly it is also available as an ongoing service type arrangement or “Software as a Service” as us technical folks like to call it. Pay for it as you use it and ensure your vendor is actively engaged in your success as you do so.

2) The Cloud – You no longer need any material hardware and physical technology to use or consume your software services. Most leading systems today are available from the cloud. All you need is the laptop and/or tablet you probably already have. This aspect also obviously makes point #1 more compelling.

3) Ubiquitous Connectivity – It is rare these days for anyone to be without a connection to the internet and therefor your cloud based systems. Whether it is an incidental connection at your favorite coffee shop or in your gym or home you always have access to your systems. Historically this was not possible unless you had connections into your facility exposing your systems to the outside world.

4) Security – The vendors of all cloud based system are really focused on providing secure private systems and data for hundreds and in most cases thousands of clients and their users. This means that they invest heavily and constantly in high level security platforms way above and beyond what you would have as a small business with limited technical and financial resources.

5) Ongoing upgrades – The competitive landscape demands that leading software vendors ensure that they are always abreast if not ahead of their competitors and retain a high percentage of their existing customers. Keeping existing customers happy is cheaper than finding new ones. So, for the same monthly price you are assured that you are never left behind on an old version of the software and become outdated or worse unsupported.

6) Clients expect it! – The big one, most clients deal with many of these aspects in their daily lives in some way, shape or form and know what’s possible AND expect the best from you. It’s a competitive aspect because if you don’t have it “the guy down the street” will.

In short… software is now not expensive, available on vendor hardware not yours, always available to you no matter where you are, very secure and certainly more secure than you could have provided for and your software is always up-to-date. Win win win win win and #6 WIN!

Examples of the types of systems available include Gym Management software (training schedules, billing, classes, training resources etc.) and ii) Emailing and “Customer Relationship Management” software. Also available are services companies like Xperformm Inc. who specialize in Web Site and Social Media services specifically for the health and Fitness industry.

All that is left for you to do? What you do best – providing 21st century fitness and wellness services with passion and energy that clients will love.

Our technology and services are aimed at you the very fitness coach referred to above

Technology

Services

Experts Outsource, it is that simple! The 5% rule.

“Dot it myself, its cheaper and I’ll learn vs. get an expert to do it for me?” It’s a reasonable question no doubt BUT not a clever question. Sounds harsh well…. Imagine if your fitness clients went down the same road – “I can learn to train myself. I’ll get on the web and I’ll do the research. I’ll start as a beginner and grow into advanced”

Would you suggest anyone trains themselves or does their own nutrition? You know the pitfalls, the problems and dangers involved because you are an expert right? Same goes for almost everything in your health & fitness business.

Inhouse-V-Outsourcing

BUT… it goes much deeper. Experts live, eat and sleep their passion and specialty. We become experts because we live the job everyday and constantly look for ways to learn/improve, to become better and bring the best to our clients. In fact you’ll often here the saying “I spend 100% of my day dedicated to training and my clients fitness goals”. The result is constant learning, constant change and most importantly constant improvement and clients know this. When you’ve trained with a specialist you’ll never go back to the “weekend warrior” way of fitness. Clients regularly pay 15%-20% even 25% more to train with a trainer that is highly skilled and good at what they do. They live it!

So, the question is why would you spend anytime in your fitness business doing something you’re not GREAT at, you’re not a EXPERT at? The 5% rule states – “DO NOT do anything for more than 5% of your day that is not CRITICAL for YOU to do.” It just takes away from the time you have for your clients and expertise. Sure you’ll get it done but, how good will the result be? Sure you’ll save a little money but, how much revenue or investment are you actually giving up on? Would you rather not be on the client side of getting it done?

Then there is your virtual team. Having more people vested in your business success is a sure way to ensure you distinguish your fitness business from your competition. Every time you engage an expert to deliver an aspect for you business you are in fact growing your team, a team that is ultimately dedicated to you and your clients. More people means more time, more skills and better results. Spend the 5% of your day making sure this team is focused and delivering on their promises. Also, the nice thing about being the client is that you benefit from a professional relationship where your agent or vendor wants to keep you as a client and will ensure they act accordingly. Let them work hard for you just as you do for your clients.

It’s simple “Experts outsource” that’s how they stay experts.

Our technology services are designed to make sure you spend no more than 5% of your day doing what you do best!

Web sites

Social Media

Content Management

What to look for in Gym Management Systems

Ask many trainers or gym owners today “what do you look for in gym management SOFTWARE?” and you may find the typical or traditional response – “what’s it going to cost me?” Unfortunate because today the capabilities and benefits far outweigh the flat dollar value in fact, critically analyzed you are more likely to find that it is not an “if” rather a “which one” type question. Not having a management system is flat-out poor business sense.

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So then, how does one approach the selection of a system that will take care of and manage your gym/spa/studio?

Well…. let’s start off by putting the client first, just as you do when engaging a new client. What are their fitness goals? How important is reaching these goals to them? The “client” being your business! How important is success? What are the business goals? How important are these goals ranked in priority? This type of discussion you’ll find places the cost element or question near the bottom of the page.

Our suggestion is view the process in order of your gym business process:

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  1. Engage clients – present your business, it’s strengths and differentiators.
  2. Sale/Sell – make it easy and painless to deal with the actual sales transaction.
  3. Onboarding – get your new client feeling welcome and “part of the family” providing all the important info they need.
  4. Deliver/Train – This is the part your so good at but, your system should make this a premier experience with progress reporting, scheduling, communication and motivation.
  5. Retain – This is usually the tricky part, keep them coming back, provide ongoing value.

When we unpack this process you will begin to focus on system features and capabilities that enhance your gym’s profile in the eyes and experience of your valued client.

Our system partners are world-class and have software that delivers on all fronts so please check out:

MindBody Online

amStatz