How often do you workout at another club? When you travel for conferences or roundtables, do you find local clubs for exercise, or do you just use the workout room at the hotel?
When you are in a different city, you should enjoy the sites and sounds, but you should also stay alert to new happenings — in your case, other fitness clubs. Initially you might feel that using another club is unethical, or untrue to your own business. However, if you can’t learn from others, how will you ever grow?
I try to get inside as many clubs as possible. I only hold one gym membership, but I will routinely go to new clubs just for the experience. Every club does something a little different.
When going to a club, you can do one of two things. You can call ahead and schedule a meeting with the owner or GM. Introduce yourself and tell them you are a fellow gym owner. Maybe take the time to really get to know the person and discover their struggles. Maybe you have similar problems, and maybe your new relationship can help you make it through.
Pretend you aren’t an extremely busy individual and let the club take you through the entire sales process. Doing this with a direct competitor may be unethical, but doing so with a club in a different city could be very rewarding for both individuals. In the early part of the sales presentation, you should identify yourself and discuss the club with the sales person. Ask them to give you a club tour. Not only will you get to see the inside of another club, but you’ll also be able to understand a tour from the consumer’s perspective.
Once you’ve experienced another club, you can return to your team and share your insights. You have to be open to the experience and not be too judgmental. If you can’t find one good thing another club is doing, you probably wasted your time. You’re not going to do anyone any favors by returning to home base and holding a meeting where you bash the club you toured.
Take some time after the tour, think about what you saw that was different, interesting or a great idea. Maybe you found something that would be great for your club, or maybe you stumbled upon a new pitch for your sales staff. Whatever you experience, you have to be open to positive experiences. Return to your staff, explain the new club you toured and where you believe you could potentially grow from the experience.
Tyler Montgomery is the Editor of Club Solutions Magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org