5 Mistakes that Stunt Your Fitness Business

You wouldn’t have gotten this far as a gym owner without knowing the value of showing up and putting in the hard work every day. But if building a fitness empire were easy, everyone would do it! And like your clients, who are trying to build a perfect physique, building that empire isn’t just about working hard. You must have a strategic plan that lets you avoid the most common pitfalls along the way.

There’s no magic recipe for success, but if you avoid these most common sales mistakes, you’ll be ahead of the game.

1. They’re not practicing reflective listening with their clients.

This term refers to the practice of active listening, followed by restating your clients’ comments back to them. So you’ll use sentences that start with, “It sounds like what you want to accomplish is…,” or “What I hear you saying is…” In one of their excellent training modules that highlight the importance of motivational interviewing, gym consultancy Virtuagym says this, “deepens the conversation by allowing the individual to hear (again) what they said, which will help them understand their own thoughts better.”

Takeaway: Reflective listening, or repeating your clients’ statements back to them, will instantly increase your credibility, leading to more engagement, and more conversions.

2. They’re not making it personal.

Today’s consumers are all about the custom, and the fitness industry is no exception. Increased competition makes it even more important that your clients feel like they’re getting special treatment. That’s easier to do than you think. All you have to do is listen first and talk second. It’s all too easy to launch into your spiel, spitting it out by memory without letting your potential clients get a word in edgewise. Instead, ask lots of questions about them, listen to your future clients’ goals, and then tailor your pitch specifically to them.

Bonus tip: A really good marketing company (like ours) can help you listen to your customers before they even walk in the door. We do that by segmenting lead sources, and then providing messaging that speaks to their specific motivators. If you want us to help you do that, let’s talk.

Takeaway: You’ll increase conversions by asking clients at least 5 minutes of questions before giving your pitch. Then tailor it to the clients’ specific needs.

3. They’re letting online reviews run amok.

In today’s review-based economy, the internet is a double-edged sword. Develop a great reputation and it can be one of your most valuable lead sources. But if you let it go unchecked, it can quickly turn into a sounding board for your unhappiest customers. In fact, managing your online reviews is so important that we wrote an entire post about it, and you can read it here.

Takeaway: Stop what you’re doing and email your best customers and request referrals. Or, just hire us. You don’t have to do it alone!

4. They’re missing out on referrals.

It makes almost every list of sales must-dos, but as business owners, we still often forget to make the most out of one of our best (and cheapest!) sources of new clients: referrals. Think of your favorite client—that face you love to see when they walk through your doors. How can you make it easy for them to bring in their friends? Are you giving them free visit coupons to hand out? What about a point-based referral contest with a free year going to the winner? How about simply emailing them and asking to refer someone they know?

Takeaway: Referrals are one of the best sources of leads. Don’t be afraid to ask for them from your current clients—and make it easy for them to spread the word!

5. They’re not investing in the whole sales cycle.

It’s not hard to see value in investing in customers that have already walked in your door. But the sales process starts long before that moment. There are a lot of sales funnel models out there, but in general, here are the phases you’ll go through with each customer before they sign on the dotted line:

  1. Prospecting—Finding potential leads
  2. Connecting—Making contact
  3. Educating—Here, your clients are checking you out, online or in person
  4. Building Value—Giving the pitch
  5. Nurturing—Some leads convert right away, but for those who don’t, this is a criminally overlooked step in the process
  6. Closing

Most businesses are used to paying to acquire customers. But are you investing in the other steps? Do you have the appropriate software to track your prospects, nurture leads, stay in front of members and pull reports for conversion and attrition rates? Have you dialed in your sales process to convert at a high level and continually train your staff on it? Are you implementing marketing strategies that help attract, nurture and retain clients?

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the above; the most successful fitness businesses don’t do it all themselves. They outsource marketing and sales development to experts. This allows them to focus on the day-to-day of managing a business and reduce the stress of trying to be an expert at everything. (It’s impossible!)

Bonus tip: If you don’t have or don’t like your current client management software this link will enable you to get a FREE consultation and discount on MindBody® software. 

Takeaway: Maximize conversion by building a marketing & sales plan comprehensive enough to touch customers at each point in the sales cycle.

If you want help avoiding these major mistakes, we can build you a roadmap.

Think of us as a trusted guide, helping you avoid each of these most common pitfalls. If we’re not working together yet, we should be! We specialize in connecting fitness-based companies with their most profitable targets. Your business isn’t like all the others, and you should have a marketing partner who knows the specific challenges you face. A partner like us, for example.

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