This is a guest feature by Chantal Brodrick Host of the Fitness Business Podcast

1. Make a great first impression.

First impressions are everything! In this digital age, your online first impression is just as important as your in person first impression. The inverse applies too. Lacking in one or the other is the quickest way to turn prospects off, and into the hands of your competition.

Imagine being an interested customer who sees all the right things on your website — real results and testimonials, exciting classes, friendly faces, and a community vibe. They pull up to the parking lot filled with the hope that they will get to join this community and begin getting the results they have always dreamed of. Instead of the warm welcome that they had been picturing, they walk in and can’t find anyone. “Hello?” Someone comes from the back stuffing french fries in their face. “Um hi. I wanted to get some information.” The staff member lays down a price sheet and continues eating. The visitor has questions and wants to learn more, but feels like an encumbrance. “I’ll just come back another time.” And we all know how it goes from there. This is why first impressions are key in person too. A smiling, welcoming, warm face ready to help this person truly change their life is what you want behind your front desk, right?

2. Always be training.

This leads to the next point. Every person on your team represents your brand, your image, and your company. Don’t be afraid to invest in quality tools for training and developing your team. Daily sales training is key. Role play every scenario, and practice until it is perfect. Have checks and balances in place, and perform regular “secret shops” to keep people always striving to do their best with every interaction.

3. Keep it interesting.

Be creative in your marketing, promotions, events and training. You can avoid getting stagnant by always coming up with new and exciting approaches to every aspect. It goes without saying that you want to keep consistent in the main areas of importance — like providing awesome workouts and top notch service. The creativity comes in support of these key factors.

4. Be a solutionist.

Staying engaged with your members goes beyond replying to Facebook comments. If you have been able to create the level of community and camaraderie among your members, you (or whomever you have deemed as the face of the company) should feel like the mayor of your gym or studio. What this means is you need to be able to constantly diagnose your customers needs and provide a solution. Are people complaining that the TVs are hung too high so they end up  with a crick in their neck after spin class? Is there a demand for a 6am class? Maybe it is time for the equipment to go through a deep spring cleaning. If you can stay ahead of the curb and nip these things in the bud before they become a negative buzz in your fitness community, you can keep the focus on the positive! Exciting events, friendly competitions, and awesome workouts should be the talk of your town. It is also important to strike a balance and remember to make changes based on the overall good of the majority of your members. If this means someone doesn’t get their way, see what you can do to offset it and keep them happy too. Happy members equal long term members.

For more tips like these, tune into Fitness Business Podcast, featuring some of the best minds in the industry. Get creative inspiration and learn from experienced experts in fitness, business, and communications.