Dear Mr. Agoglia,
I read your magazine every month and find Club Industry gives me concise, easy to read info. I would like to see more articles targeted to small clubs. I know everyone wants to know what Bally, Gold's and 24-Hour are doing — it helps identify trends, but it would be nice to read about the struggles of small clubs and the creative ways they have dealing with problems.
I also found your editorial in the February issue troubling. For too many years our industry has been criticized for high pressure sales. You seemed disappointed that you didn't have the chance to do the “traditional sales dance.” I'm relieved you didn't get the chance to dance. It tells me there are clubs trying to do things the right way. Our staff, all trainers with college degrees, ask two questions on a tour: 1. Have you worked out in a club? and 2. What are you most interested in? There was nothing preventing you from saying, “It sounds fine. I'd like to join.” The staff at these facilities may have assumed you wanted to think it over. Shouldn't a prospective member plan on visiting several clubs before deciding which one is best for them?
Sincerely, Rob Bishop
Elevations Health Club, Scorn, PA
It is good that the industry is moving away from the traditional sales dance. Getting sales staffs to pressure potential members into sales was not the problem with my experiences — although I believe asking for the sale is not high-pressure.
The problems I found were that 1) unlike your staff, the salespeople never bothered to find out what my interests were and 2) instead of selling the experience and health gained from a membership they were selling the clubs based on the amount/type of equipment.
Too often sales teams in this industry miss the point that they are selling the end results of joining a gym. It is up to the sales staff to differentiate one club from another while convincing the prospect that it is worth it to drag themselves into the gym.
As for your point on devoting more space to the happenings of small club owners, I agree and I'd love to spread the word of what you and your fellow smaller club owners are doing. I invite you to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or a phone call at 508-872-3789 when you have the chance.
Thanks for the feedback, John
Clubs continue to see positive spin on revenues.