Training staff to provide the best client outcomes and experience has always been my focus and passion as a consultant. So far in this series, I have covered administrative excellence, outstanding customer service, and educating and closing the client as key tenants of this training, but there is still much more to learn.
Throughout the past 25 years, I have worked with hundreds of gyms, and I have discovered some undeniable truths. The most recognizable truth is that each and every facility is unique. You have unique demographics, unique individuals providing care and customer service, and unique personalities. But in the light of this truth, I have also discovered many similarities. I have developed my 6 Components Necessary for a Successful Business to address the areas of importance that universally affect every business.
- Standardization of All Processes
The standardization of all processes applies to both administrative and clinical aspects of the business. Once processes and protocols are standardized, implemented, and managed, you have laid the groundwork for growth and success in the gym. These processes should follow a step-by-step protocol to ensure that the goal is accomplished.
Administrative processes include:
- Phone scripting,
- Multi- and prescheduling,
- New client recall/rescheduling,
- The Business Report of Findings,
- Client surveying, and
- The generation of referrals.
- Effective Communication
We communicate with others for the better part of every day, but we rarely focus on the quality of our interactions until there is a misunderstanding.
To master the art of communication, you must work diligently and practice awareness in every interaction. In a successful interaction, you maintain open body language, comfortable eye contact, and engage in open questions and active listening.
Effective communication requires you to be proactive and not reactive; use open communication and avoid closed questions; be assertive, not passive or aggressive; and practice active listening, not passive hearing.
Proactive and Not Reactive
Proactivity in communication, rather than reactivity, is the anticipation of needs and situations with the focus on solutions rather than putting out fires. Being prepared will facilitate a smoother flow in open communication, ensuring that your message is received with more clarity and enabling you to guide and lead the client through the treatment process. When you are proactive, you control the scheduling and the rhythm of the gym rather than letting the clients dictate the flow.
Open Communication, Not Closed Questions
Open questions lead to stories and descriptions and are the heart of communication. Unless you are trying to fact check or get a specific answer, such as “yes” or “no,” remember that the answer and communication is always limited with closed questions.
Avoid phrases like:
“Do you want to schedule?”
“Does that work for you?”
These are clearly closed questions that provide you with a “yes” or “no” answer. It is very easy for a client to give a negative response to these types of questions.
Instead, guide and lead the client by saying:
“The trainer has suggested a three-day-a-week workout plan for you. What three days work best for you?”
Follow up with:
“Do you prefer morning or afternoon?”
Do not ask the client any further questions. Your interaction with the client should be well-scripted and clear and free of communication-blocking snags in order to facilitate open and unrestricted communication.
Be Assertive, Not Passive or Aggressive
Being assertive means that you can express what you think, feel, and believe and talk about yourself comfortably, no matter the company. Assertiveness is about owning your thoughts and opinions and taking responsibility for your words and actions. It is about respecting yourself and others and expecting others to treat you with respect in return, holding them accountable when they don’t.
In the facility, being assertive requires you to take control of each situation through guiding and leading the client. For example: You do not let the client dictate his/her schedule; you lay out options for the client and control the situation in a measured and confident manor.
In order to cultivate an assertive personality and mindset, we must be able to identify behaviors that do not fit into our assertive ideal. Passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive personalities and behaviors are damaging to our relationships, communications, and environments.
Practice Active Listening, Not Just Hearing
One of the most important elements of conversation has nothing to do with speaking. The art of active listening is essential in two-way communication. When someone starts talking to you, it is an invitation to engage, and you need to stop what you are doing and actively participate. Face the person, make eye contact, and listen to the message and meaning they are trying to convey.
With time, effective communication strategies will become second nature as you see an increase in your overall success in client interactions.
Accountability is the willingness to claim 100% ownership for the results produced as a consequence of your involvement, both individually and collectively, with others in your workplace.
This breaks down into personal accountability, team accountability, and managerial accountability. When all is in place, a network of accountability is created.
Personal accountability means holding yourself responsible for achieving your goals, completing your job duties, and following through on your commitments. But in order for the business to run cohesively, all members of the team must hold each other accountable for job performance and meeting of goals. In addition, for those in management roles, it means holding those you manage responsible for achieving goals, completing job duties, and following through on commitments.
Holding yourself and others accountable is merely one step within the greater process of managing by objectives. Therefore, holding yourself and particularly others accountable for anything can only be done when specifically identified objectives are set and communicated, when job descriptions are clearly defined and communicated, and when systems are in place to measure goals and objectives.
What creates an environment of accountability?
- Specifically identified objectives are set and communicated.
- Job definitions are clearly defined and communicated.
- Standards and systems are in place to measure goals and objectives.
- Regular staff meetings are held, following an agenda.
- Successes are acknowledged as well as failures.
- Statistical Tracking and Analysis
Statistical tracking and analysis is the act of recording and reviewing your gym’s activities. You can track anything you want, but at the very least you should be tracking the following:
- New Clients
- Prescheduled Appointments
- Total Training Sessions
- Missed Appointments
- Rescheduled Appointments
- Reactivated Clients
It is not enough to simply record statistics. Stats need to be tracked and analyzed, and both management and staff must be aware of individual and team statistics so everyone understands how to maintain or improve to reach goals.
Stats should be posted prominently in the facility in a place where all staff members will be sure to see, for instance, a breakroom or meeting room.
At your weekly staff meeting, statistics should be shared and discussed. This is the time to develop the action plan to improve down statistics and maintain up statistics.
- A Strong Team with a Positive Attitude
In order to grow and support the team culture and mentality, the gym must:
- Foster effective communication,
- Set clearly defined plans and goals,
- Define job descriptions and objectives,
- Hold weekly staff meeting and daily huddles,
- Acknowledge successes as well as failures,
- Promote positive reinforcement, and
- Use rewards and motivation.
Team Building allows us to:
- Improve communication,
- Work toward common goals,
- Foster healthy competition,
- Strengthen relations,
- Break down barriers & reduce conflicts,
- Improve problem-solving skills,
- Recognize and appreciate each individual’s contribution,
- Get to know each other better,
- Identify & capitalize of each individual’s strengths,
- Create a motivating & enjoyable environment, and
- Have fun!
- An Expansion and Development Mindset
Successful gyms do not stop at the front door of the facility. If you are not proactively marketing your services to current, past, and potential new clients, your growth will be slow and unpredictable. In order to maintain steady growth and profitability, a solid marketing plan needs to be in place to maximize revenue opportunities.
All staff must be of the growth and expansion mindset; marketing is not an island by itself.
The plan for marketing your business should include:
- A referral program,
- Client appreciation,
- New client orientation,
- Community and corporate outreach,
- Surveying and lead generation,
- Testimonials, and
- Internal events (holiday celebrations, charity affiliations).
Remember, the best source of a new client is an existing or past client. These marketing programs give you access to a wealth of new clients, but only if everyone in the business is focused on growth and expansion.
Through the implementation of these 6 components, you have the keys to increase your volume, improve retention, reduce turnover, improve efficiency, grow your business, and maximize revenue.
For more info on products mentioned in this article or for info on current product specials, please contact your personal Elivate Account Manager.
If you don’t know who your Account Manager is, please call 800-537-5512 to find out.