#038: Most Common Pitfalls That Keep Gyms in Struggle-Mode

#038: Most Common Pitfalls That Keep Gyms in Struggle-Mode

Every day, thousands of regular, passionate gym owners are looking at their struggling gyms and are wondering why it’s so hard. They can’t seem to break out of that startup mode even many years into their businesses.

Are you one of these gym owners who are:

  • Trying different tactics you hear work great for others but then don’t seem to work for you
  • Finding yourself dealing with the same problems of win-some/lose-the-same-amount shortly thereafter
  • Worn out and don’t know what to do

It’s actually quite possible to avoid these common traps that so many gym owners have fallen into.

They key is to identify what they are (listen to this show) and avoid those mistakes as if your life and every other current and future member’s lives depend on it. Because in a very literal way, they do depend on you to run a successful business.

Join us every Friday at 10 a.m. PT on The Network where we’ll be airing live. Be sure to stick around for the live Q&A session at the end of the show so we can answer any questions you have.

This show was recorded live in The Network on Friday, June 29, 2018. Click the video to watch. 

In this article:

Image Credit: CrossFit Active Performance

1:00 Pitfall #1: Focusing on growth before your sales and intake process

The #1 thing we hear is, “we need more leads. If I get more people through the door, everything would be fine.”

Getting people into the gym is important but if you’re doing that before you’re addressing your sales process, on-boarding, service suite, and are making sure that everyone who comes in as a lead actually has a great experience and the value is appropriate for what you’re looking to accomplish, you’re going to spend a lot of time, resources and energy on processing and managing these leads in an extremely frustrating way.

This leads to burnout almost every single time.

There are a lot of programs that do a great job at bringing in a lot of leads which usually have to do with a 6-week challenge. If you’re looking for a larger lead flow, these can work great. But if you’re not working on putting the time on these people to shift their perceived value – not treating them as if they’re a discounted group that comes in – you’re setting yourself up for serious problems.

You’re going to have a big drop off from the 3-6 month point. Don’t focus on growth before your sales and intake process.

Image Credit: CrossFit Active Performance

4:00 Pitfall #2: A fear of selling

We rarely remember the great sales experiences, but the bad ones tend to really stand out. And because most of us didn’t get into the gym business because we loved sales, sales in our industry is a pretty ugly word to most business owners.

But you shouldn’t be afraid of selling your services. Here’s why.

When you opened your business, you did so because you knew you could do it better than anyone. You knew you could improve a person’s life dramatically.

Every single person who reaches out to you is doing so because they have a legit problem that they cannot achieve on their own.

They all have something that you can potentially fix if you can connect with them in an authentic way and show them the actual path to get them there.

Reform how you’re looking at sales. It’s not a bad thing. It couldn’t be a more important area of your business. You’re responsible for their first impressions and need to get them to see past their own patterns.

Image Credit: CrossFit Active Performance

7:00 Pitfall #3: Worrying about what your local competitors are doing

Too often we get caught up in the need to be a little cheaper, a little faster, a little something in comparison to our competition.

While there is some benefit to knowing what’s happening around you, you really shouldn’t be too worried about what they’re doing. Most of the gyms who look like they’re doing great on the surface, they’re not actually doing well at all. Just because gym owners and staff appear confident and successful does not mean that they are. Chances are, they’re just guessing too.

Focus on who you are, who you want to serve best, and design your service based on how you can continue to do that for decades to come.

Image Credit: CrossFit Active Performance

9:00 Pitfall #4: Not having clearly defined brand heroes

What you do isn’t really for everyone.

Even though everyone could technically benefit from it in some way, the best way to market your business is to identify your niche demographic of people that you have a unique ability to serve better than anyone else.

Narrow down your top 2-4 people who you love having in your classes, can afford your services, have great attendance, buy and rep your swag, etc. Interview them and get to know them intimately. Why did they join your gym? What do they love about it? What are their goals? What was it that made them join in the first place?

With that, you’ll be able to better understand the language you use to market your services in the future.


Newsletter for gym owners

Jessica Depatie About the author

Jessica is the marketing maven here at Gymwright. She's a business consultant and holistic marketer for fitness businesses. She specializes in the decision-making psychology of what makes everyday people want to optimize themselves. She dives deep into how people seek out growth in the pursuit of living happier and healthier.

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