Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing some articles that hold similar lessons and themes to that of the content we'll be covering in the upcoming TRX Training Summit. In this week's blog, we'll explore the idea behind Creating a Deliberate Experience Helps Your Gym Stand Out from the Globo-Gym Crowd.
As the fitness space becomes ever more crowded and competitive, it’s increasingly tough to stand out in an authentic and compelling way. In the past few years, gyms and fitness studios have tried just about everything, from creating a cult-like following to slashing prices to going all in on the latest celebrity-endorsed craze. And yet few of these tactics are sustainable. The brand cults eventually alienate people with their cliquey and dogmatic attitude. The bargain basement crowd puts themselves out of business unless they’re doing crazy volume. And the fad-followers eventually crash and burn when whatever short-lived trend they’ve bet all their chips on abruptly switches from boom to bust.
So if you’re not going to try any of these short-lived or failed tactics (or have already and got burned), then what are you supposed to do to keep your hard-won clients and attract new ones while achieving sustainable, multi-year growth? Well per the legendary Jimi Hendrix album, the real question is, “Are you experienced?” Or, more precisely, are you delivering an authentic, engaging experience to each and every person who walks through your doors?
If you’ve attended a TRX Education Course, you’ve probably heard an instructor say that people either have experiences by design or by default. What this means is that people are going to have some sort of experience at your gym or studio. It’s up to you whether this is intentional, designed and repeatable, or haphazard, by default and random. Think about some of the best and most successful brands on the planet. Let’s take Apple, for example. Consider the experience of opening an iPhone, iPad or, if you’re a bit older, that classic Jonny Ive-designed click wheel iPod you wish you still had. The packaging is easy to get into, your new device is fully charged and it’s so simple to use you don’t even need to read the concise little manual. Plus everything is beautifully presented.
Apple puts just as much care and thought into the experience you get at every one of its stores. The focus is on simplicity, from the layout to the design to the uncluttered displays. Plus the sales people can actually help, rather than harassing you into either purchasing or leaving, like far too many shops. Even if you’re not an Apple fanboy or girl, you can likely appreciate the way you feel in the store.
And such experience by design doesn’t just apply to high-end electronics. Think about Starbucks. Ever since founder Howard Schultz first traveled to Italy in 1983, he was captivated by the aesthetic and sensory experience he got at Italian espresso bars. These weren’t just places to get a hot cup of Joe, but rather community hubs where people came to meet friends and family, close business deals and more. He recognized the absence of such a place in the US and other countries he’d visited. Not only was there no comparison between cheap, tasteless burner coffee and craft espresso, but there was also a lack of care taken in the layout, furnishing and visual elements of the typical coffee shop. So he did something about it, growing Starbucks from a single Seattle store to a global giant that spawned the craft espresso craze, hipster mustaches and all.
OK, we know you’re not peddling phones, tablets or coffee. But the principles embodied by Apple and Starbucks still hold. You have the opportunity to create something special, a place where people don’t just meet their health and fitness goals, but also have an intentional, positive experience every time they show up. While we touch on these principles in our Education Courses, we will be doing a deep dive into this stuff at the TRX Training Summit (Austin, TX | May 5-6). We will breakdown how to design such an experience that will keep your current clients coming back for more - and even better, we’ll show you how to leverage those current clients to bring in new clients.
Here are a few areas to consider as you move from creating experiences by default to those crafted by design:
Walking in and out: Do members walk in and out without any staff interaction, or is there someone to greet each client and make them feel welcome when they arrive, and to bid them goodbye when they leave? What first impression are you creating by cleaning and organizing the training area (or not)?
Attitude: Do you and your fellow coaches have a positive and upbeat demeanor? Are you approachable (this is a biggie)? Do you make yourselves available for questions and two-way feedback before and after each session?
Programming: Are you helping clients feel a little better, stronger and more capable after every session? Is your programming intentional and goal-focused, or are you merely making it up as you go along and trying to get people as sweaty and worn out as possible?
Lighting and music: Is the training area brightly lit or dingy? Are you choosing the volume and playlist appropriately for warming up, the workout itself and cooling down, or just letting Spotify do all the work for you?
Having effective, science-based programs and workouts delivered by well educated and prepared coaches/instructors are going to become “table stakes” very soon. Having a way to let your facility stand out as a place where functional training meets an authentic community and culture is what will make you stand out and create sustainable growth. Lucky for you, all of us at TRX have done a lot of the hard work for you. With well designed and developed training tools, a Movement-Based training philosophy which is scalable for all levels of coaches and members alike, we provide an great platform for fitness professionals to do what you do best: use your motivation to create compelling experiences to change lives and keep your customers happy and coming back.
To learn more about achieving success in your business and coaching, come to the TRX Training Summit this May 5-6 in Austin, TX. You’ll walk away with a whole new template for your business and your coaching.
Attention Club Owners & Advanced TRX Coaches
To learn more about running a successful business and/or getting TRX Certified, consider heading to Texas a few days early - we have some special events in store for you.