2 April 2022

First impressions - dress for the members you want

Put down your coffee for a minute, and come on a journey with me...

Have you ever gone through the exercise of stepping outside of your gym and re-approaching it from the car-park with the mindset of a potential new member?

The reality of the world is that first impressions count. This is particularly the case when you're trying to attract high-calibre, high-ticket members, because our industry has a particularly strong stereotypical reputation embedded in people's minds.  This might not be fair, but pretending otherwise doesn't change the situation.

Start from the car park. Is it clean? Granted it might not be "your litter", but that discarded old sofa someone has slung in the corner is the first thing that your high-end prospect is going to see.

Parking is a bugbear for many gyms. So few have decent parking, and rarely enough of it. Where is your wealthy client, willing to pay £300+ per month, going to park their precious Tesla? It is obvious which spaces are yours, or are they going to get an angry note from a neighbour left under their windscreen?

Now, which building is yours? Which is the right door? Many of us have our gyms in industrial units. They offer good space, often at a reasonable price. But, does it look inviting? Is the signage clean, clear, and professional? Is it actually big enough to be seen and, if you have multiple doors, is it clear which is the way in.

You want to move all barriers to engagement along with any undue stress that the prospect or member might feel when they come to your facility.

Let's assume that our well-heeled prospect has now managed to get in through the front door. They're now coming into your facility. 

What are they presented with? Are they straight into the training space? Is there a reception area? Is it actually obvious where the reception area is?

Having made it as far as reception, who or what greets them? Many small group facilities cannot afford a dedicated receptionist, and you shouldn't necessarily need one.  However, standing in an empty reception just feels awkward. Do they wait? What are they meant to do?

If your reception is not manned all the time, it is incredibly simple just to have a small sign welcoming the guest, and advising someone will be with them shortly.  Better still, if they cannot be seen from the training area/office etc., a basic wireless bell is a good solution for being able to let people know they're there.

Now they have your attention (or that of one of your team), how do you present yourself? Are you dressed in a branded uniform, or are you readily confused with another member? Assuming you've remembered to put a smile on, what other vibes are you giving off?

Many blokes in the fitness industry are, unsurprisingly, "big old units". For those uncertain about training, and certainly women, a large man lumbering towards you can be quite intimidating.  It is crucial that your appearance and demeanour put them at ease before you are even in close proximity.

In lots of small group facilities all of the staff are coaches. Have you just entered reception from a training session? Are you smelling sweet, and have you dried-off any excess sweat from your face, hands and visible body? Nobody likes a sweaty, clammy handshake!

Having got a first impression of your facility simply by parking up and walking into reception, the prospect's assessment of you (or your colleague) is now adding to their overall gut feel about the place - and you're yet to speak!

The marginally overwhelmed person stood in front of your mutters something about "I'm interested in getting fit". What is your response? What would your colleague's response be?

Do you know your products? Do you know how to engage with the prospect to i) understand their needs; ii) recommend the right product; and iii) explain to them why you believe you are a good fit for their continued fitness journey.

Are your key points and topics in line with the nature of the individual with whom you are dealing? Is there is an age disparity between you and them, how do you overcome that - particularly, for example, if you're a younger male speaking with an older female?

There is plenty more of the journey I could continue with, but you understand my point.

First impressions do count. You are being assessed as to whether you are a good fit for the individual's personal needs, and whether they feel that they could "fit in" at your gym. For high-ticket memberships, it is all about community.  If you cannot establish and maintain a strong, mutually supportive member community, you likely will not manage to maintain high-ticket members.

SGPT Infinity from Quoox is a comprehensive package to support small group training facilities operate professionally, efficiently, and, most importantly, profitably. Our entire offering is based around strength-of-community and the need to i) sell and ii) maintain high-yield membership dues.

Our team of expert business & industry advisors meet with you monthly to work with you on your specific 90-day; 1-year; 5-year plans.  Your account manager then supports you weekly towards meeting your goals, supported by a first-class system (designed specifically for the SGPT sector); "ready to use", branded resources; processes; workflows; and automations - all delivered through one, cohesive platform.

New resources are released every month, including full, pre-written training programs; newsletters; nurturing programs; advertising campaigns; etc.

If you are seeking to raise your gym to the 'next level' and wanting to deliver a premium service to your members that may command a premium price, you need SGPT Infinity in your corner.

Learn more about how SGPT Infinity can help you grow.

Written by Chris Windram.


Quoox provides the system, resources, and practical advice & support that gym owners need to operate a profitable, "high ticket" membership, small-group training gym. Discover the ultimate "SGPT toolkit".
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