American fitness guru Thomas Plummer gave his first ever UK presentation to a packed audience of independent gym owners at the Independent Operators Unite event held in conjunction with the LIW trade show.
Thomas has over 30 years of experience in the fitness industry and he is using this know how to urge British clubs to change their ways now before its too late.
“Chaos is coming here and it is coming very soon” he said and this statement is based on the pitfalls that has damaged clubs in the USA.
In America budget clubs have dominated the fitness scene for the last few years and they have just started to arrive in the UK. There are clubs in the States that offer monthly membership for less than three dollars a month. If you are the only budget club in your area you will have a good year said Thomas but once another arrives one of you is going to fail. One town in the US had over 85 competitors in a five-year period all competing on price. Once that happens no one wins and unfortunately this situation is going to arrive in the UK very soon.
Thomas still believes that the independent gyms are the future but they must change the way they do things. Most gyms assume that each member is replaceable but what if no new members are out there to join up, which could easily be the case with the emergence of the budget gym. The club then has to think about their existing membership and find ways to generate more money from them.
The gym has to offer better customer service, good facilities, varying classes and most importantly results because this is the number one reason members leave.
He offers seven ‘top tips’ to improve a gyms business model:
1 Don’t discount. When you discount you kill the credibility of your service to your clients.
2 Market the club by offering new members 21-30 day trials, rather than a free one-day pass. This gives them time to get to grips with the facility and start seeing results.
3 Give every single member 30 days of group training.
4 Slow down the process you spend with each client. Spend at least hour and a half with them, so they get to know you and trust you.
5 Often people have no idea what they should be doing and this is one of the main reasons people leave. Therefore put up workout charts and help them whenever you can.
6 Have two separate sales teams, one for memberships and one for training.
7 Think about the ‘power of eight’. If a member drops below eight visits a month they are in danger of leaving so focus your attention on them.