THINK ABOUT THE BEGINNER
This is the second blog post in our series about the “Life Cycle of a Member.” As we know, our clients and customers do not join the gym or the studio at the same fitness level as everyone else. There are a myriad of levels, and our job is to help clients succeed at every level.
Most fitness professionals get into the business because of a desire to help others. We want to help others succeed, to feel better about themselves, and to help them improve their most valuable possession - their health. However, if we truly want to accomplish this goal, we must think not only about the fitness enthusiasts but also beginners. For example, beginners are typically intimidated by the latest and greatest high intensity program. Beginners will hopefully grow to appreciate these programs later in their “life cycle” as a member, but that appreciation typically occurs much later in the process.
Unfortunately for beginners, the growing trend in gyms today is LESS equipment and more open floor space for functional movement. There is no denying this type of space is important but it’s also fair to say it doesn’t serve everyone at every stage of their cycle as a member.
Think again about the beginner. Many are not confident when they join a gym or studio. They overcome fears and insecurities and muster up the courage just to step into your facility. Their feeling of intimidation is real. You try to make them feel at ease, ask them a bit about their goals and most likely you hear the common answers. They want more energy. They want to feel better. They want to look better. They want to do something about ‘this area’ (patting their belly!).
At this point the enthusiastic trainer or salesperson tells them about all of the great offerings in the club from nutrition, to functional and cardio and cross training programs. They take the prospect over to the ‘turf’ area and see the “expert” members jumping around, hoisting kettle bells and launching medicine balls. Whoa! How does a beginner feel when they see these sophisticated movements? Do they feel like they could do that too? Perhaps. But most likely this beginner sees something they don’t feel they could be successful doing, and their feelings of fear and insecurity come rushing in. Have we increased the likeliness that they will join our club or studio? Quite the opposite. The beginner can feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the prospect of doing all these types of activities that they feel are “beyond them.”
What if instead this same member was taken to an area where there were selectorized machines. Just select a comfortable weight, sit down and push. Or walk on a common treadmill and push START. Or visit the ABS area where they could try a user friendly machine that helps them work ‘this area’ (see above). How are they feeling now? Encouraged. Empowered. Like they could be successful and fit in here. Have we increased the chances of them joining? You tell me.
Now we have a member who can WIN in our facility. We have areas where they can come to the club and be successful. When we have a member who is successful and fits in, guess what else we have? A member who keeps coming back! A member who truly becomes part of our ‘club’. After a member truly feels he or she belongs, then we can introduce them to all the other incredible things inside the facility. Offer them other services, ranging from classes, to group and personal training. Some people may be ready for this from day one but clearly not the majority as evidenced by the fact that PT penetration rates in clubs struggle to top 12%.
We will finish up our discussion about the “Life Cycle of a member” in our next blog post, so stay tuned!