Like all business owners, I’m sure one of your major goals is to make money. You may think your exceptional personal training staff and top-of-the-line equipment is sufficient to continually hit revenue goals, but is it really?
Achieving results is the number one goal of every member, and working out in your club helps them with that. But, what happens when they are done exercising? The vast majority of your members will leave your club and crave food, or sustenance of some sort. Maybe no one ever discussed supplements with them, or maybe they simply don’t know where to purchase a supplement. Whatever the reason, are you helping them figure our how to get a quick, nutritious meal, or are you sitting by as they go buy a protein drink at the gas station on their way back to work?
According to Josh Harwood, the senior vice president of operations for Titan Fitness, Fitness Connection, education of your members begins and ends with your staff. If your staff doesn’t understand the basic necessity of supplements for great results, the chance your members will understand is unlikely.
Harwood said that developing great relationships with members helps the individual member understand how supplements can benefit their results, thus putting the marketing department in a good position to push products. “Supplemental marketing efforts include sampling products, testimonials and product highlights advertised on our close circuit entertainment and messaging system — ClubCom — and through social media.”
“Most consumers are not aware of how effective many of these products are,” explained Robert Kuypers, the director of marketing for New Whey Nutrition. “Gym patrons should know that muscle catabolization is occurring after workouts. Unless they consume amino rich protein products within 30 minutes of lifting, they are losing some of their hard earned gains.”
Marketing the advantages of supplements can happen at all points in the gym. However, many clubs overlook many opportunities. Here are few marketing opportunities for pushing supplements pointed out by Kuypers:
• Cling wraps advertise on support poles in the gym.
• Cling advertisements on mirrors.
• Cling advertisements in showers.
• Footprints leading to supplement area.
• Ads on in-house TV’s.
• Elevator door wraps.
• Racquetball class door clings.
• Backboard advertising on basketball courts.
Supplement presentation has been a major factor in the sales results for the club. “We in the health club industry get caught up too much in just selling memberships or selling products,” explained Harwood. “A systematic method of selling a solution for the member is where we have been moving as a company. Supplements are a critical part of that solution for most people. It starts with introducing this issue in context of the member’s diet and health goals early and often in our relationship with them. This requires multiple departments to be educated in this strategy — sales, training and the front desk.”
Understanding how your different positions in the club can influence the sale of supplements and building relationships with your members can drastically alter how much you do, or do not, make in selling supplements. Kuypers listed a few suggestions that clubs could use to potentially increase the sell of supplements:
• Feature a different product each day by the register at check-in.
• Utilize unique displays, such as gravity feed racks and hanging racks, to give better line of site to products.
• Have classes — just like cardio and cycling — on nutrition.
• Have trainers suggest supplements in house — or at least give a tour of the section.
• Give sample packs of products the club sells to new members.
• Have samples of products within the changing rooms.
• Create combo packs of a number of products (weight loss pack, muscle building pack — make the process simpler for those that don’t know or understand).
Harwood concurred suggesting that clubs keep the offerings minimal. The offerings shouldn’t confuse the member out of not buying, but they should actually help them understand how they can assist in reaching great results.
A nutrition consultant could also provide a possible solution developing a strategic plan for members. “Hire a nutrition consultant to build the program,” suggested Kuypers. “Many nutritionists would be happy to build the product list for the gym in exchange for notoriety, free PR within the four walls of the gym. It will be a mutually beneficial relationship for both sides, which in the end, will build brand value for both. Other than that, most major distributors, such as Europa and Lonestar, would happily assist retailers with maximizing each set based on target gym consumers and historical consumption patterns.”
Building a relationship with your members can influence your clubs’ ability to sell supplements. When you decide to use supplements to improve your bottom line in the coming months, think about how you believe in what you’re selling. Would you use the same supplements you’re supplying to your members? Also, is your relationship with your members strong enough that they will trust your recommendation? As you prepare to sell supplements, work on building a solid relationship with your members and take the ideas from this article to develop a full-proof plan for selling your members on results — results through nutrition via supplements.
By Tyler Montgomery