Let’s face it: It’s really difficult to change eating habits and fitness habits. Even though we know that our health should be the top priority, even though we understand that even a little bit can go a long way, even though healthier habits could literally keep us from dying earlier — many of us still fail to make improvements.
Knowledge only goes so far. Action is an whole different beast, it seems.
This is especially important for sports facility owners to understand. Getting our clients to make lasting change is key to our own business success.
The fact is that many of our clients can’t or won’t take the steps required to make healthy changes without someone encouraging them and holding them accountable — both when it comes to getting started and then when it comes to keeping at it.
We should be the ones to provide that extra “kick in the pants” for them. We can do that by understanding and empathizing a little more with what they’re dealing with. Then, we can give them the tools they need to actually make lasting change.
Recognizing the Role of Routine
The truth is that people need extra incentives to stop doing the same things that they’re used to doing. Our lives are established around routines.
For example, there are a million reasons that you stop by McDonald’s for lunch and get a Big Mac instead of bringing a salad from home. Want to make a change? It won’t be as easy as just telling yourself to avoid fast food. Even the best intentions won’t help if you can’t make it to the grocery store to get greens, for example. And when you fail on a resolution, you’ll end up feeling more discouraged than ever.
That’s why many times, making change is less about sheer willpower than it is about careful planning. If your clients can be honest with themselves about the demands on their time and make it easier to make fitness a part of their existing routines, that’s when they’ll see real success. (For more on how routine factors into willpower, read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.)
If you want to make this happen for your potential clients, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to build their routines to include your fitness services.
Moving from Knowledge to Action
Many of our fitness marketing materials focus too much on the “knowledge” stage and not enough on the “action” stage. We tout the benefits of fitness and the expertise of our trainers, for example. We forget that the reason that a majority of people don’t sign up for a fitness services has nothing to do with lack of knowledge. They know they should exercise.
But there are many other factors that influence whether they’ll sign up for a gym membership. These are factors like worrying whether they’ll fit in with the group, whether they’ll be able to arrange it with their schedule, and whether they’ll enjoy it.
Shift your services and marketing to address these issues. Empathize with your potential clients. What would make it easier for them to sign up? What would make them feel more comfortable when they start out?
For example, a few tactics could include creating a class for total beginners, starting each potential new member out with a personalized tour and a free trial, creating a money-back guarantee, or providing child care for adult classes.
Ask potential clients about why they haven’t been getting to the gym consistently, or haven’t gotten any results with the at-home workout routines they’ve been using. Emphasize that your role isn’t just to teach them proper technique; it’s to encourage them, give them personalized attention and guidance, and provide the accountability that they need to actually get to the gym on the days they don’t feel like going.
Practicing What You Preach
As a general rule, sports facility owners already love sports and fitness. They don’t generally have a too much of a problem fitting exercise into their own routines. But you know what they do struggle with? Prioritizing some of the essential, CEO-level business functions that are critical to business growth.
As business owners, we all tend to stay in “head-down” mode by default. In fact, most of the sports facility owners I talk to regularly display the same kind of behaviors that they might criticize their athletes and clients for: They “should” work on their marketing plan ahead of time. They “should” create a better loyalty plan. They “should” develop sponsorship packages for their teams. They “should” follow through on the idea of opening a pro-shop to diversify their revenue streams.
If you’re going to sell the power of habit and accountability to your clients, then you need leverage its power for yourself, too.
Staying accountable to your business goals isn’t quite as simple as finding a personal trainer. But it’s easier than you might think. For example, you can use an app that has built in accountability and goal sharing. Another option is to join a mastermind group, online or in person, industry-specific or locally based. You can approach a partner or a friend and decide to hold each other accountable. Check in each week at the beginning to share your personal goal for that week with the understanding that you’ll check back in mid-week and again at the end to look at each other’s progress.
Or, if you need help with a certain area of your sports facility and want a jump-start, you can sign up for one of my consulting packages.
What are you doing to do to build time for big-picture business into your routine? Leave a comment and let me know.