The economy is uncertain right now. (That’s an understatement…)
Gas prices, interest rates, bank closures.
Inflation, recession, uncertainty.
Another election right around the corner.
The list goes on. We’re hearing some concerns about the economy, and we’re coaching our CPs through how to get ahead and wanted to share some information and some things to think about with you.
So here are the questions we directly asked our certified Fitness Business Coaches: What are the concerns your CPs have had and how have you been talking to them about them? What recommendations have you had? What are you suggesting they be thinking about?
And here are their responses:
Asa: So a couple things I have been discussing with my CPs regarding the economy conversations are:
1) Starting to educate their client base now on the importance of looking at their fitness regimen as a fixed expense vs flexible expense. What I mean by that is starting to create content that supports consistency and outlines the financial strain of medical expenses for those that do not prioritize their health and wellness. So in essence they are trading their fitness expenses for medical expenses down the road.
2) Also discussing how to create add-on options to ascertain more revenue out of current clients that are consistent. For example, one on one personal training or nutrition.
3) If a client has a “high ticket” offer (for example PT or semi) adding a lower barrier offer as an FEO or adding a lower priced tier group option to generate leads in order to convert them to their higher ticket offer down the road. This low barrier service can also serve as a “downgrade” option if a higher ticket client has a cancellation request due to financial strain.
Kelly: The most important thing that I can say here, is now is the time to be aware of, thinking about and deciding what you need to or plan to do if the current economic situation begins to impact your prospects’ and clients’ buying behavior.
What you don’t want to do is be reactionary and implement changes under stress that you haven’t had adequate time to think through and plan for.
Some of the concerns I’ve been hearing are client cancellations due to cutting costs and leads being harder to find and convert. Here’s what I’d suggest you do in response to these concerns:
- Review your Client Care program. If you don’t have one, now’s the time to put one in place. You can start simple, but keeping clients in uncertain times like these is your number one priority. Make sure your clients know how important they are to you and you continually remind them of the value you provide to them. Think of Client Care as internal marketing. Even though these clients have already made the choice to work with you, they have to continue to make that choice every time they are up for renewal or choose to continue working with you. Are you giving them reasons to choose you?
- Make sure you don’t have all your Lead Gen in one basket. We’ve talked about this a lot lately, but it may be time for you to review your Triple A Marketing Plan. Do you have at least 3 lead channels in place? Are you executing your plan consistently? You already know how important Marketing is. Now is the time to review your plan, optimize it and then make sure you’re executing consistently. It takes time to convert leads into clients, so if you let your marketing efforts lapse, you’re creating an even longer timeline from start to finish.
Pamela: One of the big items for me in most of my coaching sessions is making sure current clients are being taken care of and that they understand the impact and value of their fitness coaching from your program.
By this, I mean making sure that all long term Core Offer follow-up is happening with consistency; birthday wishes, checking in clients who have missed sessions, getting a formal status check from clients on their progress toward goals, etc.
While doing this, I want everyone to be mindful of not over-committing or over-providing based on the service and price point you offer. One of the many things the pandemic taught us was that when you over-provide, clients expect more on an ongoing basis without needing to pay for the additional service. Be mindful of your cost to provide additional services if you likely won’t be charging more for them.
This is also a good time to add a service that compliments what you offer, like lifestyle coaching or nutrition accountability, as a few examples. And, not to feel like you might be overdoing it with your offerings, you should very much have a downsell option for all prospects who can’t afford your main CO as well as for any current COs who are considering nonrenewal.
There also should be a mindset shift from the business owner right now as well. There is a chance that lead volume could slow down, that sales conversions to new COs won’t be as high as they are now or have been in the past, etc. Be aware of these possibilities and have your marketing strategy executing in all three areas; online, offline, and internal.
Keep frivolous spending to a minimum.
Have your staff trained well and everyone speaking the same language.
Grant: The ongoing uncertainty of the economy is definitely a concern for gym owners. They’re worried about their clients cutting down on expenses, which could mean fewer renewals or new sign-ups. Here’s my advice:
Position fitness as an investment, not a cost. I’ve been advising my clients to create engaging educational content. This content should highlight the long-term benefits of fitness and the potential health expenses that could arise from neglecting one’s health.
Consider creative ways to boost revenue from existing clients. This might involve offering add-on services or products that they might find valuable. For example, branded merchandise, specialized training sessions, or personalized nutrition plans.
Introduce more affordable offerings to attract a wider audience. This could be group fitness classes or short-term memberships. This can serve as a stepping stone to your premium services while providing a cost-effective option for those facing financial difficulties.
Chris: During these uncertain times, gym owners need to be proactive and think strategically. Here are my recommendations:
Strengthen your client relationship management. If you haven’t already, consider implementing a Client Care program. This can involve personalized check-ins, recognizing client milestones, and consistently communicating the value they get from your service.
Diversify your lead sources. If you’re heavily reliant on one channel for leads, it’s time to explore other options. Could you collaborate with local businesses for cross-promotion? How about hosting community events to draw in potential clients?
Keep the communication open with your clients. Check in with them regularly and show genuine interest in their progress. Celebrate their wins, and support them through their challenges.
Don’t forget to leverage your internal resources for marketing. Your existing clients can be your best ambassadors. Consider a referral program or incentives for client testimonials.
Finally, maintain a lean operation. Be mindful of your expenses and ensure every dollar spent is contributing to your growth or client experience. Now is not the time for extravagant spending, but wise and calculated investments.
Similar Coaches’ Corner topics:
- How Can I Be A Better Leader In My Fitness Business?
- How Many Lead Sources Should My Gym Have? I only have one, is that ok?
- How do Gym Owners Recognize, Deal With, and Prevent Fatigue and Burnout?
- What Happens When Gym Owners Let Emotions Guide Decisions?
Have something specific you’d like to hear from our Fitness Business Coaches about?
Our Ask a certified Fitness Business Coach Guide has more articles that address common questions and roadblocks like this, for fitness business owners just like you.