Strategies to Bring Non-Exercisers into Your Club

Most people know they are supposed to exercise. Many of them probably drive by your facility and think just that; yet, they don’t. They are sedentary, and many of them are overweight or even obese. Your club offersthe thing that could change their lives dramatically for the better:exercise. So what keeps them from coming in? More important, what can you do to get them into your club?

The key to getting sedentary adultsto exerciseis understanding the fears and anxieties that paralyze many of them atthe thought of setting foot in a gym,and then taking action to help them address these feelings.

Concerns about lack of time

Most adults try to do too much. Betweenjobs, the children and household responsibilities, they start every day behind schedule. They view exercise as just another item on a to-do list that they “just don’t have enough time to do.”To overcome this, you need to show these busy people that exercise doesn’t have tomean twohours at thegym every day. Consider producing a handout thatdescribessimple ways to improve fitness,such as parking farther from the store or taking the stairs. Theimportant message isthat exercise doesn’t havetotake a lot of time.

Also, make it easy and convenient for new exercisersto use your facility and to purchase products. Does your check-in procedure resemble a line at the post office on April 15? Is it really necessary to ask for two forms of ID when they want to buy an energy bar? Send the message that when people use your club, they’re in, they’re out, and they may even enjoy themselves.

Fears of appearing incompetent

One of the major barriers that keeps inactive people out of health clubs is the natural human fear of appearing stupid. Fitness professionalsare so comfortable around dumbbells, strength machines and high-tech treadmills that they sometimes forget that many people are intimidated by them, or just don’t know how to use them. Train your staff membersto appreciate these feelings, and to address them by assuming that most new exercisershave never usedthe equipment before. Whentraining new members on the use of equipment, staff membersneed to be careful not to act as if they are talking to three-year-olds:These are intelligent people who are payingmoney to use your facility.

Inaccurate perceptions about what it takes

Many people avoid exercise in general, and health clubs in particular, because they believe that they will be expected to do things beyond their ability. Everything about your club should say, “We understand that the best approach to achieve improved fitness is a safe, gradual approach. We understand that every person is unique and, therefore, improves at his or her own pace. We also understand that, while fitness is for everyone, different people enjoy different forms of exercise. We want you to find what works for you, and we’re here to help you be your best on your terms and inyour time frame. You’re in charge.” When they give tours of your club, your staff members should saysomething similar to this toevery prospect who comes in the door. They need to eliminate fear and anxiety about being forced to do things that are too hard, too scary or too boring.

There is a huge untapped market of people who would benefit from regular attendance at your club. Bring these people in by using empathy and good communication to give them the good news: Fitness is for everyone, and you do have the time!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 at 11:45 pm and is filed under Communication. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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