In this blog we continue with operational strategies for your affiliate gym and discuss using an Introductory Guest Pass for new prospects who want to try. There are a few different strategies on how to approach new visitors which we will discuss. We will also discuss a follow-up system for all visitors after they take their first class.
Most large big box gyms like 24 Hour Fitness or Gold's Gym give their visitors one day or free week to try out the gym. Since affiliate gyms have smaller footprints vs. on-your-own it is difficult for most affiliates to give a week free. Making the issue even more difficult is the fact that the workout requires a certain skill set most prospects don't have walking in the door. When we first opened West Hollywood, we offered a free trial week to anyone who wanted to experience our WODs. No appointment was required, and visitors could sign up for almost any class. We offered a free week since we had multiple programs and wanted new visitors to experience more than just one type of class. The negative to offering the free week was that visitors, with no intention of signing up, would milk the week and take up precious class space. In addition, we found it was harder to close those visitors with the free week, as they could come once or seven times during the trial period. In today's blog, I have outlined a few basic strategies for introductory guest pass people.
Reservation for Class Model: Here is a strategy that we adopted earlier in the year. Rather than allowing anyone to drop-in for any class we created an appointment system. This requires that ALL new visitors call and schedule their first class, regardless of the referral source.
- Ability to pre-qualify them before they take their first class.
- It allows you to build rapport and gain information about whether they have tried WODs, Fitness Goals, Fitness Level, How they heard about you.
- It also gives you the opportunity to pitch them on the benefits of the workout, your box and your memberships.
Having information about someone’s goals and needs before they come in, plus getting them to commit to a class on a specific date and time, greatly increases your odds of converting them from a visitor to a member. We adopted this system earlier in the year, and we have seen our closing ratio increase by +30%.
Note: Make sure you are keeping detailed notes of your conversations, this will help you close the sale.
Before/After Class- In future blogs we will discuss sales strategies, but before and after class gives you two additional opportunities to pitch the potential member on the benefits of the workout, your box, and your memberships. Since you pre-qualified the member over the phone, you should have an arsenal of good information to close them. One thing I highly recommend is to let first time visitors know what to expect after their first class, like soreness and mobility issues. Explain how it is normal to feel sore and tight, as they’re doing movements and using muscles they probably never used before.
Follow-Up After Class- Every potential lead who walks into our gym is called within 48 hours after taking their first class. The follow-up call consists of a few questions. How do you feel after your first class? What did you think about everything? Is this the type of workout you could see yourself doing? Any feedback for me about the gym, ways we can improve? The follow up calls are a great way to get feedback about your box. Most of the time the follow up calls answer questions potential members may have about memberships, fundamentals/on-ramp, schedules, but forgot to ask. If someone says to you, “I loved it, I will be in next week to sign up,” a week goes by nothing happens, that person should be called a second time.
There’s more strategies that we’ll touch on in blogs to come.