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Lead Generation and What Works

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lead generation

According to 2019 cencus.gov, Piqua, Ohio has a population of 21,332 and a median household income of $43,468. Also according to census.gov, the state of Ohio has a median household income of $54,533.

Our facility was shut down for most of March and all of April due to the pandemic. For the past two months, we’ve averaged a total of 29 memberships at $67 per month (according to IHRSA, the average fitness-only gym membership in 2018 was $38.96) and had close to $30,000 in personal training sales.

What kind of lead generation allows us to charge 42% more than the average fitness-only gym, and sell $30,000 in personal training in a town where the average household income is $11,000 less than the average for the state of Ohio? Between Planet Fitness, YMCA, CrossFit and F45, very rarely do we get a walk-in inquiry about joining. The data is here to prove a point that lead generation is possible, but you have to work differently.

First of all, you must have a niche. You need to identify who you do your best work with, then specialize in that area. Meaning all certs, all books and all workshops you as an organization choose to take or read have to help you further your specialty in that area. Our area of expertise and the people we do our best work with are the ones who are living and struggling with metabolic syndromes. What supports our vision is our core offering, our unique selling proposition (USP), which is catered for those folks who are affected by metabolic syndromes.

Which brings me to my second point: you must have a USP — something very different you do that solves your ideal client’s (your niche) problems better than anyone else. Every single line item on our USP is designed to increase hope, erase doubt, build a sense of security and hopefulness to know this time around, it can and will be done because finally a medical professional, a Registered Dietitian on staff, is teaming up with a fitness professional to create a plan that works.

Because our focus is metabolic syndromes, we are able to show health outcomes, through fasting glucose, total lipid panel and cognitive testing, which is imperative to do in order to be considered the experts. As long as you have a niche and a USP, you are ready to target the right audience who is willing to pay more money because finally there is a perfect solution to a lifelong problem. 

One of the ways the numbers above were achieved is through six-week wellness programs, not weight loss programs. Running diabetes, heart disease and lifestyle wellness programs generates leads that are booking at a rate of 65%-plus, show at a rate of 70%-plus, and close at a rate of 70%-plus. Although there is nothing wrong with three, four or six-week weight loss programs and challenges, in our market they simply don’t work or generate enough leads, and the few leads that are generated don’t show.

No, you don’t need to have a Registered Dietitian on staff to run these programs. What you need to do is focus and read a book. Put together content, such as a power point and handouts, that can be taught in a group setting, reference the book you are reading, and even give away a free copy of the book to all the people who take your six-week wellness program. Over the past 18 months, these six-week wellness programs averaged the following:

  • $500 ad spend for two weeks on Facebook
  • 50 leads generated
  • 32 book
  • 22 show
  • 15 new clients
  • Six-week program cost = $499
  • Average amount generated off of two weeks of advertising is $2,200 because most people get flipped into a 12-month personal training program at point-of-sale. We bill bi-weekly so the down payment on a 12-month personal training program is the first bi-weekly payment, plus a processing fee.

The other source of lead generation that seems to get put on the back burner is referrals. Here is what we found works really well with getting referrals:

  • Asking for referrals at the right time during the sales process. For us, it’s as soon as the prospect agrees how they are going to do their down payment. The very next thing we do is a buddy referral presentation.
  • The offer to the friends of your prospect must be something you as a salesperson can get excited about giving away. It needs to be something with a ton of value. We give away 15 of unlimited personal training to the friends of our members and clients as long as their name is on the VIP guest list. Our 15 days comes with a ton of perks like getting access to a Registered Dietitian, cognitive, glucose and full lipid panel testing. It truly is something very special that we do only for referrals.
  • Finally, the person who’s referring needs to get incredible value as well. We give 30 days of unlimited personal training to a member or a client who refers a friend if that friend joins. The friend must join in order for the member or a client who referred the friend to get the 30 days of unlimited personal training.

Beyond that, two times a year running referral promotions is one of the most effective ways to boost your new member/clientele base. Especially now, if you can, support your local businesses that are open by doing a “Taste of … (insert your town).” Go to local restaurants, bars and breweries, and buy $10 – $15 gift cards. Put them all in a basket with other decorations and make it look nice. Members can win this “Taste of …” by giving you a name and a phone number. The local businesses benefit because you are sending the customers and you benefit because you are getting referrals, and it’s fun.

Other referral drives that generate quite a bit of leads are:

  • Give away a trip (must have min qualifiers of referral)
  • Give away bikes, canoes, workout gear, supplement or wellness package
  • Raffle off a boat load of personal training sessions (must have a min qualifier for people to enter, meaning three names will earn one raffle ticket)

In conclusion, although the pandemic has kicked all of our butts, some worse than others, it is still possible to generate high-quality leads. Look into doing wellness programs and tap into your current membership/clientele base to pull you through this difficult and challenging time. They get it and they will support you.

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Mike Gelfgot

Mike Gelfgot is the co-owner of Anytime Fitness in Piqua, Ohio.

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