What value do I add?
This is the fundamental question of business. Note, this isn’t necessarily the same question as “what do you do?”. What you do is “we have a 25,000 sq. ft. gym with terrific equipment and great group classes”, but the value you bring is stated in terms of the customer like “Our on-boarding process, needs analysis, and support system makes it easier for you to create lifelong exercise habits. Members of our gym are twice as likely to achieve their fitness and weight loss goals”.
With budget-clubs rapidly spreading across the fitness landscape the question of value has become more contentious, as they force club owners to justify their prices. This can often be a bitter pill for the incumbents, many of whom site a lack of loyalty among customers, or a devaluing of the marketplace. The reality though, is that if someone can enter your market and offer exactly what you offer at one quarter of the price, your value proposition is broken. You can be frustrated and upset about that, but it doesn’t change the fact that you have to articulate your value to the marketplace if you want them to pay up. What can you offer that these budget clubs can’t or won’t, and that customers would pay more for?
A terrific example of this is the (also controversial) Crossfit model. People are willing to pay way more than they would in a “regular” club to work out in a cheaply equipped gym with no amenities. Why? Because their value is in the results their clients get and the community feeling they create. Like it or not, working out at a Crossfit provides a value people are willing to pay for.
With that in mind, what value can you provide customers with that causes them to believe your gym is worth paying way more for than a $10/month club? What experience will you create in your facility that is unique and engaging? I know that these questions are easy to ask but hard to answer, and I genuinely sympathize with those club owners who are, after many years of providing a solid service at a fair price, struggling to compete in this new world. Nevertheless, these questions, difficult to answer as they may be, must be answered.
Can you be the club with the highest level of service?
Can you be the friendliest and most fun gym?
Can you be the gym that best leverages technology to help your clients stay on track and achieve their goals?
Can you be the gym that always has the newest, most-innovative equipment?
Can you be the gym with the best small-group training?
It seems like the value of a gym membership has more-or-less been set at $10/month. Like it or not, this is now the starting point, and more than ever you have to show unique value if you want to charge more.