Nutrition services are often lumped together with a variety of other things at health clubs. Sometimes it is even under the heading of “Spa Services.” According to recent studies, including some by IHRSA, nutrition consulting is deemed too expensive by many members, who also perceive spa services as too expensive. What’s wrong with this picture?
The main problem, as I see it, is that we, the fitness industry, have a long way to go in building value for nutrition products. Despite the fact that so many people join a health club to lose weight, they are still not being given the opportunity to change their nutrition to achieve that goal. Consequently, we are losing a large segment of the population that could provide a significant revenue stream.
We know that members don’t like it when we bombard them with additional expenses or they perceive that we’re charging them for things they expect to get for free. But nutrition consulting is a premium service that deserves the same price point as personal training. It requires a qualified individual with specialized training and particular skills. Apparently, that is not a persuasive enough argument.
So let us say that your club does offer nutrition consulting and you are still not seeing the profits. What could make the difference in capturing a greater penetration of that market segment? I think it comes down to connecting with members and forming relationships. In order for members to buy additional services, we have to build the value in our relationships with them and their trust in us.
Since we don’t want to come across as too “sales-y,” we need to engage our members one-on-one in the club where we should feel very comfortable. If our attitude is that we are establishing an emotional connection with the member on their terms, then we can start a conversation about anything and eventually ask them how things are going. By actively listening to what they say, we can begin to deliver the value they expect from us as professionals.
This may not be easy, but I do think that engaging our members individually can transform a conversation into a relationship that will allow us to turn that trust into a great service. Get to know your members without a hidden agenda first and then watch it evolve into a better experience for both you and them.
I hope that I have given you, my readers, a lot of helpful information about nutrition services, and maybe some other things along the way. This is my last blog of the week, but I am looking forward to being a part of your experience with Club Solutions Magazine in other ways in the future. Thank you for your time and the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
Judith Samuels, M.A. is a certified nutrition and wellness consultant and master personal trainer at Sport&Health Clubs in the Washington D.C. Metro Area. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.