|Originally Posted 05/03/10
Most of you
who have been through a workshop during the last several years are current on
my initiative to add layer pricing, through group-style personal training, into
all fitness facilities no matter how big. Layer pricing is nothing more than
creating multiple price points so more people can play in the training world.
retention and the only way you get results is to get people actively involved
in training that works. The only way to do this is to introduce a wider range
of pricing models so that every single member in the club can afford to use a
trainer, even if the person has to share the cost of that trainer with others,
such as semi-private training and group personal training.
Many of the
participants in the workshops need months to get this program going in their
businesses. People have to be trained, or fired, equipment ordered and space
added within the confines of their existing physical limitations. In the mean
time, these owners and managers are losing a great deal of income that could be
generated by their existing membership bases. While they are waiting for
perfect to happen, they stay mired in the 1995 one-on-one model, which
restricts your ability to generate any real revenue from training.
There is a
transitional system you can use now that will quickly affect your ability to
create new revenue from your existing members in training. This system is based
upon offering financing to your members. Perhaps the best practitioner of
training financing is Jeremy Klugerman from Toronto. I was so impressed with
Jeremy’s system that we have invited him to be a guest speaker at this year’s
advanced school in Chicago.
If you have
been to a two-day workshop, but not to a school, put it on your list this year.
We will have 60 of the best owners and a team of instructors that will get some
new ideas into your closed heads. We already have Jeremy booked this year as
well as the kettle bell expert from the RKC, Brett Jones, as well as Graham
Melstrand from ACE, a 20 plus year veteran in the industry who will talk about
trends in specialization for clubs and professional training staff.
The version I
am going to give you here is a derivative of Jeremy’s work. What he does is
another layer of complexity higher than this but I will give you a basic system
here that almost anyone can use and you can get his entire system in Chicago.
Step 1: Set
up a system of assessments
struggled for years with reaching the existing club membership. One of the
reasons trainers fail so often talking to members has been that no matter how
the trainer connects, he or she only has one product to sell, which is too
expensive for everyone but about five percent of the club’s membership.
Financing, which is discussed in the next point, opens up the market to more
people who couldn’t normally afford one-on-one giving the club a deeper
penetration rate into the membership.
you have to get engaged in a conversation. The preferred opening question,
usually directed at members either on a treadmill walking slowly or doing the
same old circuit workout, is: "How long have you been a member here?” This
question is then followed by: "Are you getting the results you hoped for during
your time here?”
We all know
that the answer to the second part of this scenario is always going to be no, I
am not getting what I hoped for as a member at this club. Walking slowly or
doing the same old circuit leads to boredom and adaptation and we know that
what they are doing is going to fail in about six weeks.
If the answer is no, we move on to the second major question: "Would you like
to do a full assessment and let me see where you are right now in your training
and fitness level?”
agree, follow these steps:
• Sit the
person down and take an ACE exercise experience and goal assessment. Fill out a
paper as you do this and take notes. Besides getting good information, you need
to put on a show here by asking questions and inquiring as to where this person
is in their fitness journey.
• The three
major questions you need to ask again here are:
1. What are
you trying to accomplish (goal)?
2. What is your time frame to reach that goal (how much time do you have to get
3. How many days a week can you commit to reaching this goal?
• Take them
through a 5-10 minute dynamic warm up. Nothing illustrates your expertise
better than taking somebody through something they have been avoiding since
joining the club.
the person to 10-15 minutes of strength training introducing a tool that they
might now have used before in the club, such as a kettle bell or rope. The goal
here is to break the old habits and start a conversation about functional
training, getting results and breaking out of their fixed and failing routine.
• Finish big
with a 3-5 minutes blow out at the end. Maybe 10 squat jumps with a small
medicine ball will get it done. You need to let them know that they need a
small challenge each workout to reach those goals. Don’t go silly here and make
sure the person can do this but finish strong with a challenge.
• Fill out an
assessment form (you need to create one) and sit down for a few minutes while
the person is hot and sweaty and give him or her a fair idea of what they would
need to do to reach their goal, where they are at now in fitness, and if what
they want is reasonable. You should also let the person know that what they are
currently doing won’t get them to their goal. Do not discourage the person
completely here and make a few recommendations the person can do to improve
what they are currently doing, such as adding a workout or two a week based
upon interval training on the treadmill.
• Big Idea:
Once you have the sheet filled out, tell the person exactly what they need to
do to meet their goals. For example, a guy wants to lose 20 pounds during the
next three months before going to a class reunion. He is willing to commit to
the club twice a week and do some work at home as well. Your conversation with
him would be: "Well John, based upon your goal, which is reasonable since
losing 1-2 pounds per week is quite doable, I would recommend that you work
with a trainer twice week for three months and I also recommend that you spend
some time with our weight management specialist and have her review your food
intake and supplements.” Tell the person exactly what they need to do even if
you know they can’t afford it. Be the professional here and give an opinion.
• The person
will usually say, "How much will all of this cost?” This is your cue as a
fitness professional to pass the person along to a sales person who specializes
in this for the staff. This person should have some training background as
well. The trainer here can say, "John, I just talk training. Let me turn you
over to Scott, who is also a trainer and sales person for the club and he can
tell you what this might cost to meet your goals.” If the trainer has the right
sales training, he or she can do both parts but sometimes adding another layer
of support looks better.
Step 2: Offer
sales person/trainer can now sit with the person and offer training financing.
For example, our trainer recommended to John that he work out for a total 14
workouts to reach his goal (12 training and 2 nutrition). Let’s also assume
that the club’s rate is $50 an hour for one-on-one training. Do not discount
for packages. Financing covers that much more efficiently.
In this case,
John’s bill for training would be $700 (14 sessions x $50). The traditional
model fails here. John might have the money, or is willing to give you a credit
card, but we know that from 30 years of experience only about five percent of
your members will lay out the cash. The number is simply too much for most of
your members all at once.
this, Scott can state; "John, how about we finance this for you to make it
easier?” Scott can then take the $700 and finance it as a membership receivable
over 3-6 months. For example, $700 divided by six months equals monthly
payments of $116. This would be tracked in a separate account outside of the
membership receivable. At some point, this number might surpass the club’s
Scott can ask
for $116 down and set up payments at $116 a month for five months. The goal is
to keep the payments for John at about $100 per month, which makes it very easy
for him to say yes. In John’s case, it is probably not desire that prevents him
from using a trainer; it’s the cost and the fact that he has to lay out so much
money all at once.
training will be over before the money is paid. Get over it; credit is the
American way. And yes, you might lose a few points a year, but how much will
you increase your total training revenue by over the next 12 months using this
refinances when the training is over. In this case, he might have Scott go back
to John at the end of the training and ask him if he would like to keep going?
John will reply that he still has payments left. Scott will then offer to roll
the last payments into a new program and just extend the time out a few more
months keeping the goal of making the payment about $100 per month. The new
program might include 12 more training sessions but now be financed over nine
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