The non-active segment of our market is why most of us are in the industry. They are the ones we want to change the lives of. Their results are what motivate us to work harder and they end up being our club testimonies and success stories.
For years the archetypical non-active prospect has been Mrs. Jones. However Mrs. Jones is no longer a 55-year-old baby boomer with two teenagers. She is now Ms. X, an asexual 25 to 65 year-old, but the constants are procrastination, excuses and the need for a lifestyle change is more prevalent than ever.
Her challenge is getting started. She has procrastinated for years, previous bad fitness experiences linger and only a life changing moment driven by solid marketing gives us an opportunity to be the help.
In this day and age, gyms nationwide have the knowledge, resources and systems to ensure that the new Mrs. Jones, once started, will enjoy it, get results and in-turn live a longer and happier life.
The first visit and tour of the club is the critical sliding doors moment. Handled poorly and Ms. X and her family and friends will be paying for our sins for years to come.
With this being fact, why is it that time and time again our industry completely annihilate this opportunity. Within the last month I have had 3 people close to me have horror tours at gyms they were interested in. All 3 were self-motivated and ready to be the best they can be, until untrained, unmotivated gatekeepers dropped the ball. Each and every time the museum tour was in full swing, with insults and laziness being the motivational tools of choice.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Within the last months we have seen a guy in NSW, who had 3 heart attacks finally make a positive long-term commitment. After each heart attack his doctor told him he had to start exercising regularly, however he still could not and would not get started. After an hour and 20 minutes of genuine care through motivational open ended and hard-hitting questions, he finally took the plunge. Another in Western Australia yesterday a guy battling motivation and depression finally took a positive step and he was so motivated he joined his entire family by the end of the day. Or in Queensland last week, a woman who on Facebook had written to the club that she would never commit to 3 months or longer, turn around after an hour plus of a caring deep and meaningful tour and take the lifestyle long-term option, and bounce in excited each morning since.
The power in the hands of the gatekeeper is immeasurable. It’s people’s lives at stake.
As clubs we have a duty to ensure the person who is our first port of call is up for the opportunity. Are they both motivated and motivating? Are they well trained and fully aware of the difference they can make? If either of these are No, then WHY? Teach them, motivate them, pay them accordingly, or rehire.
If you are lucky enough to be at the coalface then treat it as nothing short of a privilege. You are their gateway to a healthier, happier life. Like He-Man or She-Ra, you have the power! Each time a Mrs. Jones or Ms. X come in, are you treating them like your mother, father, sister or best friend? Someone whom you would do anything to help become a better version of themselves? Are you asking deep meaningful questions that will motivate this person to take a huge positive left turn on their life journey? Are you putting yourself in their shoes, and helping them through their intimidation and fear? In 6 months time, on a cold and gloomy morning will they think of your face and NOT hit the snooze button?
One bad tour puts Ms. X back years. It deflates her confidence, her motivation, and history tells us it will snowball into years of non-activity. Conversely one good tour can change the course of her life. The positive spin off of a first tour that goes right has no bounds; Ms. X lives a longer happier life full of fun and activity with her family, and for the successful motivator, it can form the crux of a career. It did mine.
Don’t abuse the privilege. Harness the power.
Written by: Liam Robertson Director