How to Get the Most Out of Facility-Management Software
Heather Peavey, Associate Editor
"Almost any prospect will be reassured by the presentation of quantified progress data in a high-quality format during a sales presentation," says Mark Brittingham, president of BSDI, Califon, N.J. "It is simply human nature that we'll trust someone more if they seem to have hard data on their side."
This hard data can attract prospective members with a competitive nature. "Prospects who are committed to exercise [and] are simply looking for the right club will be drawn to the competitive aspect of assessment," says Brittingham. "Thus, 'How fit are you?' programs will generally attract the committed exerciser."
On the flip side, assessments can also be appealing to people who aren't athletic or competitive. "In contrast, prospects with a history of failure in either adhering to a fitness program or to their weight-management goals will be attracted to programs that use assessment as a means of establishing credibility and building confidence," Brittingham says.
The Idaho Athletic Club, Boise, Idaho, uses fitness assessments to appeal to an ever-growing and desirable demographic: older adults. "This documentation is a great resource for selling memberships and the hard actual results of progress in this ever-growing population," says R. Dale Irvin, corporate aerobics coordinator at Idaho Athletic Club. "Our [older adult] program is a growing market. They are serious and sincerely excited about improving their health, both physical and mental."
Irvin says that assessments are the perfect way to market to older adults, and retain their business. "This group of people has pretty routine schedules, and doesn't always see the gradual changes going on in their lives," Irvin says. "As instructors, we see it and are excited about it. And now with a baseline, and [by putting data] on paper, they will see the improvements, as well."
Selling assessmentsAssessments are an essential tool for any fitness center. But, when it comes to marketing, you're not selling a print-out of percentages and numbers — you're selling excitement. "Fitness assessment is a window through which people can see their personal improvement," says Brittingham. "Done right, it is the proof that all of the hard work completed at the facility is really paying off. When it comes to marketing to prospective members, however, the key is to leverage the prospect's imagination: to help them understand themselves as they will be once they have made improvements in the key fitness metrics. To do this, a club must be able to provide high-quality sample materials that illustrate change over time, and show progress toward goals in a credible and professional manner."
Sparking a member's imagination is key. You want them to be able to envision how they will look in three months — and you want that to be a pretty picture. For this reason, says Irvin, "it's important to tie the assessment program into a structured exercise prescription, or a specific program or event. Offering assessments to people who aren't actively improving their fitness will only highlight their lack of progress, and work against what you're trying to do."
This means fitness assessments — though comprised of hard data and analyzed by software — will be most successful if they have a human touch. "The main key to selling an assessment program is the trainer or manager helping people understand how important charting progress is," says Irvin. "We all need help and encouragement. This is the perfect, non-threatening way to get people started on a plan to either hire a personal trainer or start a program that will get them living a healthier and happier life."
Facility of the Week
Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center