Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Be Happy and Successful in 2011

2010 is nearly over; a good time to reflect on the year that passed.
Unfortunately, lots of people look back and think about everything that went wrong. The things they should have done. The goals they should have reached. The progress that didn’t come.

You will learn much more if you turn this on its head. Here’s a suggestion for a new-year’s exercise in happiness and success. The best way to be happy and successful at work in 2011 is to find out what worked for you in 2010 and do more of that.

Think back on your 2010 working life and answer the following 10 questions. It’s important that you write down your answers - it helps you to reflect more deeply about the questions.

  1. What went really well for you at work in 2010?
  2. What did you do that you’re proud of?
  3. Who have you helped out?
  4. How have you grown and developed professionally?
  5. How have you grown and developed personally at work?
  6. Who has really appreciated your work?
  7. Who has helped you out and been there for you?
  8. Who have you admired at work in 2010?
  9. What have been some fun moments at work in 2010?
  10. Which 5 things from 2010 would you like more of in 2011?

Thanks to Alexander Kjerulf, The Chief Happiness Officer – www.positivesharing.com

Monday, 20 December 2010

SMART Goals (Part 6 (of 6)) Commitment, Responsibility and Motivation

Once your member/client/customer has set their SMART goal(s), it’s important to check their commitment and motivation to reach the goal, and to ensure that they take responsibility for achieving it.

This is a link to the Technogym Aspiration Finder, a tool which helps clubs understand more about what motivates their members. Feel free to try it for yourself

Discussing how they will feel when they have reached the goal is important to assess motivation levels. It may also be worth talking through what they will lose as a result of achieving their goal, and ensuring the balance is still positive.

Finding out what could delay or get in the way of the end goal is another good way of checking commitment. If the client knows how they will manage these set-backs, it helps them to focus on the goal and adds motivation.

Finally, it’s imperative that the client takes responsibility for the goal. Sure, you’re going to help them along the way, but responsibility lies with them. If they have the option to blame you or someone else for not reaching the goal, then they are not fully committed, and you should go back over the previous steps.

We hope this short series of blog posts helps you understand more about your members, and helps them to achieve their fitness goals. Please let us know if you have any comments, stories or useful tips below.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Rewards could hold key to retention war - Workout Magazine article

REWARDING loyal members with incentives if they bring in referrals could help independent gyms to win the war on retention, it has been claimed.

Energie Health and Fitness’ Innes Kerr spoke to independent operators at this year’s Leisure Industry Week – sharing his top tips for clubs which want to improve their retention figures.
His advice was to recognise members who show loyalty towards their gym – and reward them for their efforts.
His tips included:

  • Try upselling to give people more value from their membership packages – encourage them to take add ons such as personal training and products which generate secondary income.
  • Offer guest passes so members can bring friends and family to try your facilities for free – then try and convert these into memberships
  • Reward loyalty by offering incentives for members who stay longer – examples include loyalty cards, booking priority for studio classes and free personal training taster sessions.
  • Drive people towards areas in your club where they could spend more money.

The Retention People’s Mike Hills also urged gym owners to look at their members’ experience as a journey – and aim to make this journey as long as possible.
Mike – who works closely with clubs to help them retain members – added that it is easy to look at retention as the end result but operators should also look at the other factors which encourage people to stay – or leave – a gym.
He explained: “Look at the customer experience as a journey – we need to make that journey as long as we possibly can.
“It is critical that we engage with new members and add value in that early stage so people will stay.
“Take a sample of members who would recommend you. You will also get struggling members who are not getting value. One of the best ways to turn that around is to have a good conversation with them and target who needs help the most. You will get people who want to leave, but see why they are leaving the gym. Look at the inputs which go into retention and focus your efforts where it makes the biggest difference.”

Consultant Guy Griffiths from GG Fit added that clubs – particularly independents – should also be using retention systems in order to keep track of their members.
He added: “Use a retention system – it can be a card file system or a sign in book. It doesn’t have to be a computer. Gyms with a few hundred members can manage retention manually.
“You should also be recording visit history and members’ goals and writing them down. Staff goals are also important, so are working towards targets.”

This is an extract from Workout Magazine - December 2010

click here for a 4 minute video of Guy's talk

Friday, 10 December 2010

The IOU guide to retention - FitPro Business Article


At this year's Leisure Industry Week, five experts gathered for The Independent Operators Guide to Fantastic Retention Results. With Dave Wright of Creative Fitness Marketing leading the debate, the panel discussed their views about what the industry needs to be doing to improve retention standards.

RICHARD BLACKMORE – Marketing director, Fitness Industry Association
“Retention is about a consistent member experience and consistent member communication. Letting members know that we care about them and want them to succeed is absolutely crucial. This can be done in all sorts of ways – from interaction on the gym floor, to investing in new equipment and technology."

MIKE HILLS - Retention director, The Retention People
"Retaining members could be compared to holding on to water. It's not an easy process, and one that needs a lot of time and effort dedicated to it. Start by looking for the evidence of what really works. Look at the journey from when a member first signs up, right through to when they terminate their contract - the marketing, sales structure, and induction. Each stage needs to be planned carefully and the member engaged with. Add value where possible too. We overestimate how many self-motivated people are coming to our gyms and health clubs. Are you giving them any support? How many of your members would actually score you 9/10 or 10/10? You need to work on getting up to that score."

GUY GRIFFTHS - Director, GG Fit
"Use technical systems, to record as much information as possible about your members - visits, visit history, goals, etc. Communication is vital throughout the whole process, from encouraging members, to listening to their goals and aspirations, and providing them with a good journey. Remember to keep your staff happy too - if the people in control are dissatisfied, this will reflect on your members who are looking to be inspired and motivated."

INNES KERR - Operations director, énergie fitness
"If a member doesn't lose weight from going to the gym, who will they blame? There needs to be constant member communication and they need to be educated on subjects such as nutrition, so that they come to realise it takes more than exercise alone to get the desired results. When a member decides to leave, you need to spend time getting to know the real reasons. It is typical for the level of service to come down for long-term members; you put all your efforts into acquiring new members, and forget about the people already paying for your service. Offer existing members rewards for being with your club over a certain period - you can give them priority booking for classes,free PT taster sessions, multi-buy offers for sunbeds, free guest passes, or a loyalty card for retail or beauty purchases. The list is endless."

MARC JONES - Head of commercial sales, Aquaterra Leisure
"Joining fees have come down lately but you need to have confidence in your gym package and stop offering discounts. Stop trying to fix people too, but instead provide a service that facilitates change - it's the only way to increase the 12% penetration figure. Customers join and say "fix me" and so we give them a programme and tell them to do it three times a week. That's a big ask. We need to be supporting people through this huge lifestyle change. Contracts are there to tie people down, often as the only way of holding on to them (or their money). If members were given a good enough experience, gym contracts wouldn't be necessary. People continue to go to pubs even though prices are increasing. They'll save money for this pleasure, and they don't need to be tied to a contract to do so. The fitness industry needs to get to this stage. You need to be identifying customers who are at risk of leaving and then interact with them, before it's too late. Evaluate the effect your fitness team is having on retention, and empower your staff to seek out customers who need help and to take the responsibility to help them."

This is an extract from FitPro Business Magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 issue

click here for a 4 minute video of Guy's talk

Saturday, 4 December 2010

SMART Goals (part 5) - Listening

There’s a reason we have 2 ears and only 1 mouth.  A key skill for a coach or fitness instructor is an excellent listening style.  Questioning techniques can help this, but to really get it right, you have to totally focus on the other person. You need to block out all of your own thoughts and subconscious desires to try to identify with the other person.

Listening to a member or client takes a lot of practice and does not come naturally to most people.  Social nature and wanting to ‘connect’ makes us want to share experiences, and before you know it, you are talking about yourself rather than listening to the other person.  And when the other person is a paying client, this is not good.

The other problem that fitness professionals (and coaches) have is that they are seen as the ‘expert’.  They are expected to give (and also want to give) advice and direction.  However, without first listening to the client’s situation, and finding out what they want, it’s very difficult to set goals and help the client work towards them.  Doctors are also experts, but seldom do they leap to conclusions.  They will usually spend time asking about symptoms and listening to the patient before the diagnosis.

In workshops and team coaching sessions, we often spend time developing listening skills through exercises and role play.  More effective listening helps fitness professionals from PTs to instructors, as well as sales, management, customer service and reception staff.  Try listening more yourself, and let us know how you get on in the comments below.