The reality is that the fitness industry is growing at a rapid rate. New entrants into the market of boutique personal training studios, and the increasing number of franchises for commercial health clubs has seen the industry experience exponential growth over recent years. For fitness facility owners, competing for the business of local gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts is becoming more and more fierce. However, there are a few things you can do differentiate your club from others, and establish in prospects’ minds that you are undeniably the club for them.
Does this sound familiar; You can easily speak highly about your club’s amenities, but fail to sell how your club is different from others down the street? You attempt to create differentiation in your marketing messages, but often forget to do so on the tour with a prospective member. Learning how to create and deliver these messages is a key ability of sales staff and is vital when attempting to convert prospects into members of your gym.
If you are not the only club in your suburb or area, then it is safe to say you'll have a fierce rivalry with "the club down the street". A gym-goer on the hunt for a new facility will see many points of parity when making up their mind on which gym to sign up with, yet it's the points of differentiation that will ultimately guide their final decision.
You will be able to create some differentiation in the buyer's mind with the following 6 steps:
1. Define your "onlies"
Although this is not a word that you'd find in the dictionary, these are the factors and features of your gym that ONLY you have, and are the things that makes your gym special and different in the market. It is critical to know what you "onlies" are, and that you endeavour to market and sell these to potential members. A good exercise to do this successfully is to make a list of what is unique in your facility such as your equipment, programs, staff, services and business philosophies, and then sell these features to prospects by outlining why they would be beneficial to them if they became a member.
2. Establish and use your USP
Once you have your list of "onlies", you will then be able to determine your USP (Unique selling position). Without outlining why your unique elements will benefit a prospective member, you are not creating value for the features of your facility. It is therefore extremely important that you are using benefit statements in your conversations with prospects to create your unique selling position. Combined with other differentiation strategies, you will the not only be able to sell your clubs features to a prospect, but sell how your club is different - and better for the prospect - than competitors, and insure in the buyer's mind that they need not look further.
3. Utilize the 4-chain-link tool
The 4-chain-link tool involves ensuring the conversations you are having with prospective members are informative, inspirational and persuasive, with the end goal of closing them as a member. This is done by linking the following 4 conversation points:
- Feature: Talk about a feature (or "only") of your club
- Benefit: Outline the benefit of that feature for the particular person you’re talking to
- Differentiation: explain how using that feature is different from anything they could do at another club
- Trial close: Ask the prospect if this feature has value to them, and attempt to close them as a member.
4. Know your competition
True business people know not just their business well, but they know the market as well - this is market intelligence. The purpose of analysing the market is to understand what your competition does and does not do well, and how you can create distinction in your gym to gain a competitive advantage. When recruiting members, your sales staff can then sell the differences between your club and the competition in a more educated and professional way.
5. Create consistent authenticity with staff, service and programs
Your business philosophy reflects who you are and what your trying to achieve, and represents your core values, your principles, and your promise. Each club has a different purpose, whether that be to focus on body-building, be a female-only facility or be a centre for general wellness, and it is often this purpose that is the main point of difference of your gym. It is then vital that you hire staff who share this vision, and they must be trained to effectively communicate the club's philosophy when dealing with prospective members, in an authentic and consistent manner.
6. Create consistency and depth in marketing.
It's safe to say that your competitors may be marketing their facility as a whole, or marketing their low price (price is a good thing to market if you're the lowest in town), but there are much more effective and successful strategies. Marketing the solution's you provide, and the programs and services you offer communicates the fact that you provide something that gym-goers have never gotten before. Marketing your "onlies" and your points of differentiation will play a much larger role in earning a prospects business, and since members want to know how choosing your gym will benefit them above all, their decision will favour you much more than "the gym down the road".
Matrix Fitness has made available a one-hour webinar presented by Karen D. Woodard, President of Premium Performance Training in Colorado, USA. Karen has owned and operated clubs since 1985, and she now consults with and trains club staff throughout the world. You can view the webinar here.