It was Socrates, the Greek philosopher, who said "Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have laboured hard for." I can tell you for a fact that I have laboured incredibly hard to get to where I am today. Thankfully though from this hard labour I can pass on what I've learnt from all of my experiences of being a business owner in the fitness industry to you in 5 simple steps so that you can get it right from the start!
1) Decide on your target market.
Having a target market is the foundation on which you build your business. If you don't know who you are trying to help then you will end up helping no one. Right now you might be thinking that you appeal to everyone and that you don't want to alienate any potential clients but let me ask you, if you had a problem with your vision would you go to a GP or an optician?
Your target market have a common problem that you solve with your service. That common problem distinguishes them from the market at large enabling you to 'target your marketing' to a certain type of person instead of having to market to everyone and having to spend lots of money "shot-gunning" advertising everywhere!
To find your target market, profile your current client base and see who the majority is then they you have it. If you are new to the industry or want to create something new ask yourself who do you want to help?
Once you've defined your target market then you need to start to understand them better. I recommend doing a market research exercise like creating what they're typical day looks like. This exercise gives you an insight into what what your customers feel on a daily basis and you can create marketing messages that speak to their daily lives.
2) Create the best possible solution for that target market with a business name that touches on what your target market want.
Once you have decided on who you are going to help, you have to come up with the best possible solution for their problem. Think about all of the aspects that are going to help your target market solve their problem. In my target market, women between 30-50 years old with a couple of stones to lose, I split their problem into 4 parts using my LENS system. That stands for Lifestyle, Exercise, Nutrition and Smash It Out, or motivation. We have a multitude of systems in place to help them overcome the problems they face in all of these aspects to get them as healthy as possible.
As you are creating your target market's solution you will want to come up with a name for your business. I see and hear a lot of fitness business names and to be honest the majority of them don't mean anything to who they serve. Your business name has to be something the target market desires. So if your target market is to do with weight loss for the general public please don't have anything to do with a primal or paleo lifestyle within the name. People don't want to live like a caveman, even though it would benefit most people to do so, they want to lose their unwanted pounds of body fat. All in all, market to what the customer wants and then give them what they need!
3) Have a no or low obligation marketing hook to get people through the door.
After you've created the service that will change your target markets lives for the better, you have to get lots of those types of people through the door. Health and fitness is very personal and emotional for people so people need to try before they buy from you. Take Apple for instance, with their stores they have 100's of their products out for people to try for free so they can have the Apple experience before they buy.
4) Make a sales system driven towards preventing objections and a plan to overcome objections that arise.
Objections arise in any sales process but the best sales systems are designed to prevent those objections from coming up by dealing with them during the sales process. For example in my business we offer potential customers a free trial week to experience our service before the buy. It's a simple try before you buy process but it's important it's done right.
During your low obligation offer it's important that they speak or see other customers success stories through either talking to other members or with a success stories book you can show them. If you wanted to be flash you can even have promotional videos to show potential customers. Once they see people like themselves have achieved success through your systems it's pretty much a no brainer for the customer.
Unfortunately you will always have objections arise from time to time despite a slick sales system and the most common objection is money. The best response to this I've found is "I understand it seems expensive, but how much do you think you've invested in being unhealthy? And for a small amount of that number you can get your health back with us."
5) Keep the client experience enjoyable, educational and entertaining to retain people for a long time!
The way to retain customers isn't by locking them into a 12 month contract, it's about creating an amazing experience that people will chase you up to pay for. The experience needs to be enjoyable, effective and educational. When an experience is enjoyable then customers will want to come back above all else. Secondly it has to be effective, that means that your system has a proven track record of lasting results. Finally, you need to educate your customers to improve their knowledge on how to live a healthy life. When you put all of these in place it's a sure fire way to have your customers consistently and persistently stay with you and enrich their lives.
If you'd like to find out more about what we do at Smash The Fat Fitness & Fat Loss Boot Camps you can watch what a typical day looks like for me below :)
Follow Sam Feltham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/samfeltham