Monday, 30 October 2017

How to Outreach for my Gym or Leisure Club

I work with a range of different fitness clubs from Hotel leisure clubs, private gyms and franchised fitness clubs.  When I first start working with most the key challenge is not their sales techniques (although this is often a challenge) but the volume of new prospects they are generating.

There is no point implementing a world class tour and prospect follow up process when the club cannot generate leads in the first instance.

The most common excuse is that the marketing isnt working, "we've tried Facebook", "We have sent e-mails", "We have sent out Flyers" but nothing is working!

The first thing I always ask is "how much outreach have you done?"  The answer is is usually very little or it doesnt work.

Well, I have news for all of you out there who say this doesnt work, IT DOES! the key is how and where you do it.

What outreach isn't:

  • A waste of time.  Any activity that is well planned and done well that enables you to gather potential new customer information can never be a waste of time
  • Leaflet Distribution. Your team are there to get prospects name and numbers and not to simply hand out flyers
  • An annoyance to the public.  Your team need to want to angage and therefor ecourage the public to want to engage with you too.
In order to ensure you get the most from any outreach activity, the following rules need to apply:
  • Activities need to be planned.  Where you are going, what tools do you need, do potential customers need informing prior to your arrival
  • How are you going to attract customers to you or getr them to stop and talk to you.  Do we have freebies to give away, a prize draw, a competition, an activity to try out
  • What are your goals for the visit? how many leads are your planning to generate
  • Do you have permission to go to the location you are planning to be.  In the UK some councils require you to buy a promotions pass in oder to do outreach on the street
  • Do you need to get insurance for conducting activities such as bootcamps and fitnes activities away from the club
  • Enthusiasm, a smile and a team who is energised.  No will will talk to an introverted team standing in the middle of the street waiting to be approached.  It is your job to make things hapen.
Some examples of activities that have been proven to work.  Please note, every market is different and so you may need to adapt these ideas to suit your area.  The key is always to make it fun, make potential clients want to find out what your are offering.

  • Corporate Outreach - By contacting local businesses you can often arrange to take a stand to their site.  Usually located in the canteen you have the chance to push corporate memberships.  the best way to do this is provide blood pressure, heart rate and body fat measuring to employees.  Take a Bosu ball, Battle rope, exercise bands, something they wouldnt normally see and make it a feature.  get potential clients to try the equipment and if possible get colleagues competing
  • Street activities - With the right permit a great way to show your club is there is to get onto the street.  Anytime Fitness do this well by dressing their team members in a Purple Running Man suit.  A great way of being visible and memorable.  Whilst you don't need a suit, you need something to make you stand out.  This could be flags, a stand or a banner.
    • Street activities can include: Competions, beet the instructor challenges, charity fund raising activities, free gifts such as water bottles, t-shirts etc
  • Free Bootcamps - Why not try running a free bootcamp once or twice a week in the local park or town square.  Works well for clubs in pre-sale who don't have a gym to show off but do have some amazing staff
  • Supermarket Stands - This is a great option to reach large nuymbers of people in a short space of time.  Supermarekets have huge volume and whilst prospects focus is often on their stomach and not exercise, its a great way of hitting volume.  Other ways to make this more focused is to do bag packing for charity or havinga  spin bike in the main foyer and getting people to help ride for charity.
  • Train Stations - By doing outreach outside train stations at commutter times you have a similar opportunity to the Supermarkets due to the large commutter numbers.  Try having fruit or water to hand out to clients as its either the start or end of their day and they will appreciate the gesture.  Just add a flyer or guest pass to them and give them a gift once you have their name and number.
  • Link or sponsor to local sports clubs. Not only should you be able to get a banner on their pitch side but they will also often allow you to go along and talk to their fans.  Whilst a premier league football club is great. Often the best ones are the local league clubs who get 500-1000 fans.  People are more likely to be local and being supporters of their local sports club be more likely to support small local businesses.
  • Sponsor or offer to do the warm up at your local running, cycling, obstacle race.  They are often keen to have others do their warm ups as this means the organisers can be free to manage the event.  in exchange they are happy to let you flyer to their participants.
  • Primary schools - These are a great way of getting flyers out to parents.  Whilst you wont get names it is a good way of increasing awareness.  To add to this offer to support the schools healthy food and exercise week.  Most schools have these now, if not then maybe suggest they do!
  • Farmers or X-mas Market stalls - For the small outlay these markets often require, they are a great way of getting in front of local people.
  • Lead boxes - work with other loacl business outlets who are willing to allow you to leave a drop box in their business. Essentially you should run a competition that encourages their clients to fill in the entry.  
As a rule, a club should be doing atleast 20 hours of Outreach a week and look to gather 70-100 leads.  Whilst this is not the only solution to achieving your prospect numbers it is a great way of putting your club out in front of your local community.  It has been proven that people respond best and more quickly to marketing conducted in person, what better way will you have than getting out in front of people.

For more information on how to improve your membership sales and your club performance log onto

For all Anytime Fitness Franchisee enquiries, please contact 360 Degree solutions

Monday, 23 October 2017

Take advantage of your quiet times

Dont be caught out by the Christmas Joys!

November and December are notoriously quiet for the Health and Fitness Industry as prospective clients shift their focus from personal wellbeing and joining to partying and Christmas purchases.

So with this in mind in never fails to escape me how many clubs join this Christmas spirit by switching off and relaxing.  In fact this is the perfect opportunity to prepare your plans and train the team ready for the New Year.

Whilst it is not as vital as it once was, January and February are still the busiest time for membership sales and a failure in this early period will have an impact on your clubs performance all year.  It was not uncommon for many hotel leisure clubs to back load their budgets so that any poor performance did not have an early impact and any big success put the clubs on a real footing for the year ahead.

So what should you be preparing?

1) Your Budgets
2) Your sales and Marketing plans for the year.  These can obviously change as you go but having an annual plan allows you to to deliver rather than be planning as you go.  Adapating to changes is far easier than having to create a new plan every month. Especially if its busy.
3) All of your internal and external marketing material. Book your leaflet drops, create and print your mail drops, create newsletters and media adverts and press releases.
4) Train your team.  This is a perfect opportunity to take the team aside and work on any operational challenges, retrain the sales process and the customer journey.  Work on customer service standards and instill new practices.  It is also a great time to send team members on CPD courses, first aid, pool lifeguard and pool plant as the club will be quiet allowing for skeleton staff shifts.
5) Carry out club audits and ensure any preventative and essential maintenance is carried out now.

I still remember the old saying FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL

This quote ring so true when it comes to the New Year for most leisure Clubs.  This rings even more true for those in Hotels where traditionally November and December will be one of the busiest times for the hotel.  Come January the hotel business dies off and leisure pics up.  Its therefor easy to get caught up in the hotel's hecticness and fail to put in place what is needed for the clubs busy period.

Working hard now will pay dividends in the New Year!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Vist the Franchisee Show

Ever wanted to own your own exciting Fitness Business?

If so come and speak to Anytime Fitness at the Franchisee show at the NEC

13th/14th October

360 Degree Solutions will be there to discuss how we work closely with Anytime Franchise owners to achieve great success