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Watch for the bottom line!

Only gyms with steady growth can survive the intense competition on the sub-continent

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Members are the heart and soul of every fitness studio, health or sport club worldwide. Even with various business models followed globally, the topic of discussion is, at any given point of time, always about members, member retention or member growth.

My stint in India for the last 3 years, after several years of experience in the American and European markets, made me realize that fitness is a worldwide requirement. The Indian fitness industry is in its nascent stage when compared to the Western markets.

Primarily, all fitness clubs, irrespective of their geography, have committed and still commit the same kind of mistakes. With huge scope for growth in an ever-expanding market in India, the efficacy levels can be increased by avoiding mistakes made in other markets.

The Indian sub-continent proves to be more advantageous due to its tremendous speed and profitability, proven particularly in the service sector, alongside the advantages of low labour costs, high productivity and adaptable geographical conditions.

Many domestic and large international brands will soon be competing in the market. The only consequence of this is the survival of the fittest! But, according to my estimation of the current situation, the Indian market will develop its standards closely to match those in the West in just another 5 years.

Diverse aspects

The best clubs, or gyms with long-term success alone will survive in the long run, as seen in the last few decades in the American and European markets. They key to this is steady growth in membership, a very sensitive and multi-faceted challenge with diversified aspects to it.

All these aspects will have to be taken into consideration to have a solid and long-term plan of generating qualified leads to keep the growth of membership steady and successful. Here are some useful and important aspects to help you; if you find yourself lacking in any manner, it is the right time to make changes in your existing system!

Branding and positioning  starts well before the gym’s opening, by defining one’s business model. What is my positioning? What & who is my target group? Where is the best location? Moreover, there will be aspects such as lease, rental and other fixed-costs, along with in-house expenses, which are often underestimated.

There are hundreds of different sales processes followed world-wide and none of them are wrong. First of all, it is important that you have a philosophy or a sales process imbibed into the system. It is then important that this sales process is the perfect fit for your business model.

Low budget clubs will definitely have a different system as opposed to premium clubs, and these in turn will have a different system when compared to a crossfit studio. Get the right advice here to find the right model for your business and implement the same for a seamless operating system. The devil is in the details!

Building base

The most significant aspect of lead generation in any sales process has to be referrals. In most cases this is the core of any good system of membership growth and also is the cheapest way to acquire new qualified prospects and members.

What is the right time to ask for a referral? What is the right way to do so? How often to ask members for their recommendations? It is better, and perhaps safer, to always get external advice from industry experts.

Which contracts or membership forms should you offer your prospects? Short time-contracts? Long time-contracts? Or a combination? Should you have a renewal system or not?  Should the payments be collected on an annual basis or monthly?  Do you have the correct pricing for all the different options?

Questions and more questions! If you have already considered the above mentioned questions along with your client target group and the business model correctly, then you have already won half the battle for a steady growth of membership.

If not, you have a very big problem to be solved even before you even start. This article is to emphasise on the importance of having a steady stream of qualified leads flowing in to keep your membership growth stable. I hope you already have all these aspects under control and thus have a strong foundation of member growth, resulting in tremendous operational and financial success.

If not, don’t worry.  There are many wannabes that don’t have all the answers. But there is help aplenty! There are experts and industry consultants to help you on your way. Exposure to trade fairs, such as the bodyLIFE Expo (1-3 October 2015 in Mumbai), is a must. In addition, I suggest IFAA-India, the international licensed academy for your instructors, personal trainers, service teams, managers and gym owners for aspects of your business.

There are hundreds of different sales processes followed world-wide, and none of them are wrong. It is important that the process is the perfect fit for your business model.

– Martin Klein

 

fitness and wellness magazine

The writer is with IFAA-India and an international business consultant. For details email [email protected] or [email protected]

 


 

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