Pat Rigsby is the co-owner of several businesses in the fitness industry including the Fitness Consulting Group. He also serves as an industry consultant focusing on the development of profitable personal training departments. To learn how you can improve your club’s retention, referrals and profitability, sign up for his free newsletter at www.fitnessconsultinggroup.com. Pat can be reached at pat@fitnessconsultingroup.com.

Health club marketing is an area that has long been studied and perfected by fitness professionals and health club owners looking to be more successful. Over the years, a number of techniques have become truths that all club marketing pros adhere to.

Health Club Marketing Truth #1. It costs six times more money to gain a new member than to keep one you’ve presently got. Members who are already doing business with you will be more inclined to continue doing business with you. It takes effort to search out a new fitness environment and find something that you can be comfortable with. Most members would rather stick with the status quo, whether that is a supermarket, doctor, plumber, health club or hair salon. What this means for you is that more time and energy should be spent on pleasing the people that are already doing business with you rather than spending marketing dollars on acquiring new members.

Health Club Marketing Truth #2. People who have already bought from you once are more inclined to buy from you again. Once you have a person established as a member, and he or she is pleased with your facility and your service and trusts your judgment and recommendations, it is easier to sell additional products and services. It is much harder to sell anything to a person who has never done business with you before. Capitalize on add-on sales with your current member base. Once a person is a member or client, suggest products. Once that person is comfortable purchasing products from you—suggest additional services.


Health Club Marketing Truth #3. It’s easier to increase a sale on the spot than try to sell someone at another time. Do you know people who buy beauty supplies at the grocery store or food at the drug store? Once consumers have their wallets out, it’s easier for them to keep buying than for them to make another purchase-decision later on. Our society is so time-stressed that consumers are looking for any type of convenience that will make their lives easier. You can capitalize on this by suggesting additional purchases when your members are checking in or leaving the club. If they’ve just finished a workout, suggest a recovery drink. If they just purchased a membership, suggest tanning. If they’ve just purchased a weight loss product, sell them nutritional coaching. Strike while the iron is hot and the member is ready to invest in their heath and fitness.


Health Club Marketing Truth #4. Education and information sell. The more information you give your members, the more likely they’ll make a purchase. People are afraid of the unknown. For example, a member may want to use your club's trainers but is afraid that it will cost too much. A simple conversation such as, “We can develop a program that will be personalized to your goals and your budget. You can use a trainer more in the beginning to build momentum but meet with your trainer just enough to continue that momentum after just a few weeks” can help with this. Consumers want to feel that they have made an educated decision, and giving them as much information as possible (in terms that they can understand) helps them make that decision.

These truths, if applied, will help you not only become more profitable, but they will also ensure your members have a better experience at your club.