27 Jan So what makes you so special?
One of the first questions I ask any fitness or sports business owner I meet for the first time, is what they do better or differently to anyone else they are competing with.
Now if I get the answer “we have the best customer service,” I get a bit nervous as everyone says this and if you didn’t offer great customer service, you wouldn’t be in business for very long.
If I don’t get an answer in the first five seconds or I can see the clogs turning in their head while they are trying to think of something, I start to get nervous.
And if I don’t get any answer at all or worse yet a comment of “well actually we aren’t that much different to the others”, boy I start to sweat bullets.
Whether you call it a competitive strategic advantage, unique selling proposition, core differentiator or just what makes you special, you need to work out what you do better than all the other fitness and sports businesses you are competing with. What gives you the edge over all the other players and ensures you stand out from the crowd?
So why is this important you ask?
Well when a potential member comes to your business, one of the first things that rolls off your tongue is why they should sign up with you instead of the gym down the road, the sporting club around the corner or the PT who trains at the local park. Otherwise, why should they go with you? You have to give them a compelling reason to consider you because let me tell you, there are so many fitness and sporting options available that people are spoilt for choice.
For example, if someone was to ask me why they should use my services, I would tell them right away I have 20 years marketing and 10 years fitness experience, I am an expert in marketing strategies, social media, generating leads and marketing communications. I am not a large agency so I keep my costs down to ensure you get the best return on your investment. And being a small business owner myself, I understand the challenges you face and just how important marketing is for your business to succeed.
But enough of this shameless self promotion, if someone was to ask you the same question, what would you say?
Well think about who you are talking to, what they want and how you can help them.
Maybe this potential member is a Mum so tell her about the creche that no other place offers. Or how you have a special program designed for new mothers who are looking to lose the baby weight.
Maybe this is a doting Dad so tell him about your kid classes and how the whole family can train up and get fit together. And you happen to have the best deals in town for families that sign up.
Or maybe this is someone very overweight and self conscious about joining a gym for the first time but they were told by their doctor to get fit or else. Now tell them about your great introductory program to help people new to the gym use the facilities or your 12 week challenge which guarantees they lose the weight or they get their money back.
Perhaps the person you are talking to is in recovery from surgery or a bad accident and wants to start to train again to build their strength – no problem, you have a program specifically designed by one of your trainers who happens to be an expert in rehabilitation programs.
Or is this person a recent retiree who wants to keep active – tell them about your senior classes and walking clubs which are perfect for those who want to keep moving but can’t run around quite like they used to. And guess what, these classes are unique to your business.
Tell them about your mobile app or the latest technology you use where you can also train from home if you can’t make it to the gym. You can view the class and participate at home if you are running late. No where else will you find this technology being offered. You are the first and only centre in the area to have the latest and greatest equipment and machines to really add an extra dimension to your training.
Training for a marathon? Well you offer regular running classes and nutrition packages to ensure they are properly prepared and in peak physical and mental condition for the race. Look around, no one else has a program tailored for runners like you do. In fact, you sponsor a team every year for the City to Surf.
Make sure they know your social media is the best – you have videos, regular competitions for fans and unique promotions – sure everyone is on social media but you give your fans the best deals around.
Looking for the latest group fitness classes – well search no further, you offer classes hot from the US and Brazil with the best instructors so not only will get fit, but you will have heaps of fun at the same time – oh and we have a bring a friend for free day on Fridays too.
If you are looking to meet some like minded people, then join with us as we put on the best social events in town where you can meet the trainers, instructors and other members and have a night out to remember. And if you are looking to meet someone special, we offer singles nights as well – trust us you are more likely to meet someone through our events than on Tinder.
Let me tell you about the special deals we have with local businesses in the area – join with us and you get a discount on your hair cuts, physio, and nutrition and supplements products to make sure you look and feel your best.
And did I tell you we pride ourselves on being the best corporate citizen in town? We hold quarterly charity drives and are always looking to put back into the community. Our staff have regular talks in schools and local businesses to spread the message of the importance of nutrition and exercise. We are recognised as experts in the field.
So you get the idea right?
A word of warning, don’t say you are the cheapest – you are dealing with people’s health and fitness, the most important thing in anyone’s life – do you really want to race to the bottom with price (I saw one gym do this and it all ended in tears for everyone involved)? Instead position yourself as offering the best value for money – people don’t mind paying extra if they feel they are getting a good return on the money they are spending.
Now these are just some ideas and of course I don’t expect you to do all these things, but make sure you have one or two areas where you are the leader. Decide on what you offer that no one else does or something you do better than anyone else and sell the hell out of it. This should be featured in all your marketing and social media communications so you start to position your fitness business as number one in this area. This could make the difference between someone joining with you or signing up with the guys around the corner.