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 Rigsby’s free newsletter and get his three free business building reports at www.fitnessmarketingmachine.com. Rigsby can be reached at pat@fitnessconsultingroup.com.

Did that title catch your attention? Thought so.

Well, the expanded version of that title is “Are You Easy to Do Business With?” but it doesn’t seem to be as much of an attention-grabber as the abbreviated headline.

So now that I have your attention, give that question some thought.

Are you easy to do business with?

It’s kind of a loaded question because almost everyone thinks they are, but few fitness businesses are as easy to do business with as their owners would hope. And that can cause recruitment and retention problems.

Here are some specific questions that might help you get a clearer picture of how easy it is to do business with you:

1. When someone calls your facility, is the person answering the phone helpful and proficient at illustrating how your business can best serve the prospect?

2. When you’re giving a tour (if you’re in a club) or doing an introductory session (if you’re a personal trainer), are you basing the conversation on the prospect’s wants and needs or are you just telling them why they should choose you?

3. Are you letting people have a real ‘free trial’ of what you offer?

4. Do you continually make your clients and members aware of your new offering and how those offerings can benefit them?

5. Do you over-deliver on your promises so that your clients and members not only want to keep doing business with you, they also refer more business your way?

Answering these questions honestly will give you a pretty good idea of where you stand. If you’d like a few ideas guaranteed to improve the ease of doing business with you, here are four you can implement right away:

1. Offer Free Trials for Everything. Do you want someone to try your gym, fitness boot camp or personal training program? Offer them a free trial. The more enticing your offer is, the more people will take you up on it. And one visit to your gym or boot camp—or one 30-minute personal training session—isn’t enough. People know that they’re going to get asked to buy during that visit, so they don’t see that as a free trial. They see it as a sales consultation. The bigger your free trial, the bigger the payoff is for you.

2. Make Everything about the Prospect, Client or Member. If you want to be easy to do business with, be personal. Personalize sales tours or consultations. Make sure the people you’re serving are empowered to get the results that they came to you for in the first place.

3. Make Things Affordable. For personal training, offer group programs, semi-private training and fitness boot camps. Use EFT billing instead of asking clients to pay for three months of sessions in advance. For club owners, consider waiving enrollment fees, month-to-month memberships and even offer an option granting no payments for a specific time if people sign longer contracts.

4. Make It Easy to Speak Well of You. Keep track of your members. Send them e-mail newsletters and periodic greeting cards. Have staff members call them to make sure they’re getting value from their membership. Have front-desk people greet members by name. Over-deliver on your promises. Be genuinely interested in seeing your members get results.

Businesses are going under all around the United States, and it’s partially due to the current economy. But make no mistake, many of those businesses failed in large part because they were difficult to do business with. If a prospect has an interest in exchanging their money for the services you provide, make it easy for them to do just that.