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Making a Great and Lasting First Impressions

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First Impressions

Benjamin Whitman shares why first impressions matter, and how to make sure you’re creating a great experience during the first member interaction.

Everyone knows the saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” and it’s absolutely true. 

Looking deeper into the impact of first impressions, you discover how it can also influence long term and even permanent feelings and thoughts. This means not only future members and guests can be left with early positive or negative sentiments, but existing members may still be harboring or appreciating the first impressions they had when they first joined your club.

Of course, everyone has different tastes, preferences and criteria when choosing a club, but there are some staples that are, for the most part, universal. Here are a few areas where first impressions can be made and controlled. 

Greeting and Interaction: Friendly and professional staff will enhance everyone’s visit to a club. Every staff member should look professional, act professionally and represent their club in the best way possible. They should be identifiable, available, knowledgeable and helpful to every visitor and member. 

Atmosphere: Lighting, colors, layout and overall “vibe” are often a deal maker or deal breaker the moment someone walks through your front door. Know your audience and be sure to pay attention to meeting their expectations. 

Convenience and Details: When a prospective member is doing a walkthrough of your club, they are evaluating as it relates to their needs, previous experiences and other options available to them. Ask the question, “What’s important to you?” and then show them how you have addressed those wishes. Be prepared by offering amenities that will have an immediate positive impact on their experience and separate you from your competition. Focus on aspects that will make your club convenient for them to use on a daily basis and be sure to reinforce these during the tour. 

Cleanliness: More than ever, and understandably so, cleanliness is associated with health and safety. In addition to providing a clean and sanitized environment for your existing members, new ones will be looking for a club that gives them peace of mind when it comes to a germ-free space. There are many products available that can be used in the fitness areas, nurseries, locker rooms and offices that will demonstrate your seriousness about everyone’s health and well-being. Show everyone what you are doing and broadcast it at every opportunity you get to reinforce that message. 

So, evaluate your goals in terms of making positive first impressions. You’ll be surprised how focusing on addressing the perceived needs of potential new members will also greatly affect the experience of your existing members and even staff.  

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Benjamin Whitham

Benjamin Whitham has been in the health and fitness industry though Petra Hygienic Systems and PetrA-1, which he co-founded over 30 years ago. He can be reached at benjamin@petrasoap.com or visiting WWW.PETRA-1.COM

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