by Greg Lawlor
The shift in fitness is similar to the shift other industries have experienced recently. Photography, book retailers, music distribution are all examples of industries that have experienced massive changes in the last 5-10 years. What worked 10 years ago in these industries, is not working today. Just ask Kodak, or Chapters, or anyone in music. A similar shift is going on in fitness, have you thought about this?
What is the shift? Offering fitness is no longer the main criteria for sustainability. Your fitness offering must include sharp business strategy, impeccable customer experience, and execution to survive. The evidence is all around us. Fitness businesses are not surviving. Most are barely keeping their lips over the water line. A few have made the shift and have sustainable thriving businesses, but many are paralyzed into doing the same old thing.
When you think of it, it is quite the crossroads, is it not? Our society has never needed fitness leadership more than they do today. Yet, those in the business of fitness are struggling to survive. So how do you start to work on the business side? You are busy just surviving. How do you get from barely staying alive to thriving? How do you create the business success that you aspire to?
The first step is to understand that we are in business. Profit is the lifeblood to survival. Without profit, you will not survive. Since many are not surviving, we need to evaluate how to aspire to profit.
The second step is to move from a pusher of fitness to a fitness magnet. More specifically, are you pushing your services or are you pulling in interest in your services? Which sounds more appealing?
Pushing refers to pushing out your agenda, selling on price, following the concept “here we are, you need to come see us”. Pushing means selling what you have, it means one message to the masses. Pushing means you need to a push a lot, and hope you find some people at the right time for them to consider buying from you. Pushing means one, maximum two revenue streams.
Pulling in interest means you are positioning your expertise, your services, your fitness experience as the solution to the challenges of your target market. Pulling means your information is relevant, up to date, are focused and use multiple channels to engage and speak with your audience, it means building an audience. Being a magnet of interest means your target market thinks of you first when the time is right for them. Pulling is creating new revenue streams.
Pushing your agenda is the philosophy most large retailers, the big box stores that advertise in the paper and on the radio. Pushing means using traditional media – newspapers, radio, billboards, and those silly neon coloured side of the road signs.
Pulling means sharing information that is designed to build a bridge of trust with your audience and warm them up to using your services. For example, organizations that have a newsletter are pulling in interest, building readership and a trusting community. It has never been easier to engage your audience with the availability of technology. Those offering free information through their website as a means of connection with their audience and building a database of friendlies, are attracting interest.
Other examples of pulling in interest and positioning your business to attract interest include:
– Establishing your target market(s) and engage with them. Creating content and messaging that shows you understand the struggles of those in your target market.So many professionals talk a language that does not connect with their customer. The fortune is relaying your expertise in a way which people can connect.
– Positioning your website where your target market is looking.
– Being visible on social media to help position your messages, content, and services.
– A staff training program and overall approach that is designed to escort people through a process where the next logical step is to acquire your services.
These are 4 examples, there are others. They all start with the understanding of what it will take to be successful in offering fitness in a modern age, competing not only with other providers but for the attention of your target customer. The good news is some fitness businesses are succeeding. To serve people better your business needs to be sustainable, it all starts with a shift in mindset and strategy.
Greg Lawlor is Chief Customer Officer of STAK Fitness Int’l Inc. a supply and education organization. STAK Fitness works daily towards becoming a magnet for ongoing business, and making your life easier in providing fitness services. Greg’s new book “Crisis in the Gym- why those offering fitness are struggling, and how to ensure success” – is due out in May of this year. You can connect with Greg to find out more on how to take action on at www.greglawlor.com
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