Any fitness studio or gym owner knows how important it is to bring in new leads and paying members every month. And through working with over 80 different fitness studios, we’ve found that if you want your advertising and marketing to be successful, you need to put yourself in your customer’s’ shoes. Think like your members to attract more members.
So let’s say that someone — we’ll call her Liz — sees your location’s offer and immediately wants in. This might be a free first class, week, or unlimited month for $XX. She redeems the offer online (through an ad, your website, etc.) and then waits for someone on your team to reach out schedule her for her first class.
But keep in mind that 92% of people use their cell phones to search for fitness studios and gyms online.
That means not only does she expect you to call her … but she already has her phone in her hand. She’s never been easier to contact.
But the more time that goes by between Liz claiming that intro offer and her hearing from your team, the less she expects your call.
When you call her back an hour later (or worse … the next day), she probably won’t answer because she doesn’t recognize the number. Or she’s just busy.
According to a study by Dr. James Oldroyd, a professor of management at MIT, this response from people like Liz is the norm for companies that aren’t on top of their sales process. The study analyzed the response time to more than 15,000 leads from 6 companies over a 3-year period. Here’s what they found ….
When to Reach Out
Your best chance to reach a lead (someone new who shows interest in working out at your studio or gym and gives you their contact info) is within the first 5 minutes of them redeeming your offer. The study’s data shows a 60% contact rate during this time frame.
But you’re 10 times less likely to reach someone if you wait 10 minutes, and after 30 minutes, you’re 100 times less likely to get in touch them. There’s also a chance they’ll be less interested at that point.
The numbers get worse the longer the wait. You’re 10 times less likely to reach someone if a fitness studio or gym waits an hour before reaching out to someone who has shown interest in working out at their place. And after 2 hours, you’re 42 times less likely to make contact.
For the average fitness studio, these rates have a pretty crazy impact. Here’s why:
Imagine that you and your friend open separate indoor cycling studios. You lease spaces in the same neighborhood, hire staff with the same level of experience, invest in the same equipment, and advertise on the same platforms. Each of you gets the same number of people who want to visit your studio for a an awesome, first time spin class.
Everything about the 2 studios is exactly the same … except you call every lead within the first 5 minutes, and the other studio calls within half an hour or the next day. Or worse … they don’t call at all.
Which cycling studio do you think will be bigger after a year of this?
It’s your studio, obviously. But let’s do the math ….
If you call your leads within 5 minutes, you should be able to reach 60% of them, according to the study’s numbers. If each gets 200 leads you would be able to contact 120 of them. And if you sold a membership to just 10% of those people (that’s the average close rate that our fitness studios and gyms see), you’re looking at 12 new members that month.
But your friend’s studio is a different story. If he calls within 30 minutes instead of 5, he’ll only reach 0.006% of his 200 leads. That’s about 1 person whom he’s able to reach … and only 0.12 people who purchase a membership.
After a year, you’ll be ready to expand your studio to a 2nd or 3rd location. Your friend would be on a totally different page.
Your main goal here is to transition those new students into paying members, and that’s what calling within 5 minutes works toward. That’s where stats like these make it easy to want to implement more sales strategies:
How to implement
So you’re probably wondering how to call every lead who redeems your offer within 5 minutes of them redeeming it.
Here are some of the best strategies we’ve seen to stay on top of incoming leads so that nobody falls through the cracks.
Delegate that responsibility entirely. Choose a member of your staff (or hire somebody) whose only job is to respond to incoming leads and follow up with people who haven’t yet purchased. They won’t be distracted by any other duties, and you’ll have the freedom to focus on your paying members.
If that doesn’t look like something you can do right now — we know all about salary caps — see how you can make this work with a couple of the trainers you really trust. This responsibility might even be something they’ve been looking for to get more involved with the business.
Even a dedicated salesperson may not notice right away when someone fills out a form. That’s where alerts are awesome. Make sure your salesperson has the company email set up on their phone and has administrator access to your studio’s Facebook page. Have them keep their phone on them (and turned on) as often as possible so they never miss a notification.
And remember that there’s no such thing as being too careful. If you don’t have more than one person following up with new leads, set up all of the same notifications on your phone. That way if your sales staff ever does miss a lead, you’re there to catch it.
You can automate some of the outreach to new leads to save time. Use Infusionsoft, Mindbody, or another CRM to create a series of emails that send out automatically when someone claims your offer — maybe the first automatic email welcomes them to the studio and tells them what to expect next, the second reminds them to come in and use their pass, etc.
Texting your leads is another huge time saver if you have permission. You can follow up with leads from anywhere as long as you have your phone.
And if you use text replacement shortcuts, you can reach out to a lead within seconds of them filling out a form … seriously. Text replacement allows you to type one word that, when saved, will automatically fill in an entire welcome paragraph to your lead.
So let’s recap. If you want to get serious about growing your membership base and filling all of your workout classes:
- Call your leads within 5 minutes of them redeeming a workout or offer,
- Have a clear understanding of who is responsible of reaching out to these people,
- Save your team time by automating some of the follow-up process,
- Get used to texting.
One of the biggest challenges we’ve seen studios face is converting new students into paying members. Keep these strategies in mind and really watch how your sales process shifts.
Let us know of any struggles that you face using these methods and other things you’ve implemented in addition to these suggestions. We’ve spent a ton of time learning and researching ways for studio and gym owners to hone in on their sales, so check out those tips below:
Mike Arce is the CEO and founder of Loud Rumor, a lead generation company for fitness studios and independent gyms that supports their customers with sales training and techniques to grow and scale.
Mike has spoken for companies like Infusionsoft, the Better Business Bureau, ASBA, and Local First – all on the topic of Local Business Internet Marketing. He has a passion for local businesses and helping them grow. You can get fresh, updated tips from Mike here.