We spend a lot of time on marketing, lead generation, and business growth strategies.
And rightfully so, leads are one of the lifelines of our business.
However, something I don’t think we spend enough time on is the product itself.
What do people see when they walk into your facility?
What do they see when you’re on Facebook Live or posting a picture on Facebook?
You may not realize it, but they’re making buying decisions based on what they see before they even step foot in the door, or at the first impression when they walk in.
Remember, for most us, we’re trying to sell to the people that don’t like gyms, their scared, nervous, and hate to exercise.
Our programs have to be great (safe, fun, results, etc), and that’s another post for another day, but what about the look and feel of your facility?
Here are a few things that I always focus on to make sure the vibe in the facility is strong.
Now, before I go on, this probably falls under that catchy word of “culture” and I understand that each culture is different, and there are plenty of gyms in dirty dingy warehouses with no windows doing just fine.
I also know that some of these may be limited by your landlord and you have to again tweak it to your business.
I’ll share what I try to focus on and you take it and see if anything applies to your business.
What Do They See From The Street?
When they drive by do they see a well cared for landscape?
Is it welcoming or is it dark, no lighting, and the paint chipping?
Do you have clear signage that tells people exactly who you are and what you do?
Whether you like it or not, people are making judgments based on the outside of your facility.
I have stories of people driving by dozens of times, too nervous to walk in the door and check out the facility.
One lady, in fact, told me that she pulled into the parking lot and sat there for over an hour before she mustered up enough confidence to walk through the doors and check us out.
Imagine if it was dingy, dirty, and not welcoming.
What are the chances of that person ever walking in?
But having a bright, clean, and welcoming facade definitely increases the chances.
What Do They See When They First Walk-In?
Do they open the door and step right onto the gym floor or do they have a clean and organized spot to sit, change their shoes, and store their stuff.
Again, I know every situation is different and some of us are limited by square footage, but I think it’s important that there is a separate space for clients to be that is not “gym space.”
It’s clean, has some well take care of flowers, freshly painted walls, maybe some nice photos/testimonials of clients, and ideally, they’re greeted within 3-5 seconds of walking in the door.
There’s nothing worse than walking into a space that is dirty, cluttered with papers everywhere, and there’s nowhere to “settle in.”
Again, I’m not talking a huge space, I think the size depends on your facility size and goals of the space, but I do feel it should be a part of the design.
Once you have the space, keep it clean and organized.
It’s almost worse to have a “lobby” that is dirty, papers stacked everywhere, and your leftover chicken container on the counter then to not have the space.
Side note: This not only applies to the first impression of someone walking in but also all of your social media content. Make sure you pay attention to what’s in the background and that it looks clean and organized.
What does the gym space look like?
Do you train mostly women, but have dark colored walls with holes in them and chalk dust everywhere?
If that’s the vibe you’re going for that’s cool, but If not, it’s worth the fix.
Freshly painted walls.
Client recognition plastered everywhere (posters, chalkboards, bulletin boards, etc).
The purposeful design of the equipment placement, everything has a specific place, is stored well, and clean.
Something I challenge you to do…
Every day when I walk into the gym the first thing I do is walk the path that the client would walk.
I come in, change my shoes, head to the front desk, check the bathrooms, proceed to the warm-up area, make my way to the strength area, walk the edge of big metabolic turf, and go back into the lobby.
Almost every day I notice something.
A cobweb in the corner, a piece of toilet paper on the bathroom floor, or a piece of equipment that needs maintenance.
These are the things our clients are noticing.
Can you put a quick coat of paint on the walls to freshen things up?
Can you put a nice arrangement of flowers on the front desk?
Can you better organize the equipment so it looks cleaner and flows better in a session?
Can you have an artist come in and paint some cool graffiti on your walls to add some energy?
The answer to all those questions and any of this stuff is dependent on what kind of culture you’re trying to build, but I do think every little detail matters.
Mark Fisher says “Culture should bleed from the walls.”
I think a lot can be perceived about your facility based on the look, feel, and cleanliness of the space.
Your External Stuff
What I mean by that is anything outside of the facility like social media, website, print material, etc.
Does it match your brand?
Does it match what people will ultimately see when/if they walk into your facility?
Use the same header for all your print material, consistent branding.
Do the colors on your website match the colors of your brand, which matches the colors of your facility?
I could go on for days, but I think you get the point.
Everything is a representation of your brand.
If you’re going to charge $300 a month at your facility the brand/look needs to reflect that.
It sounds small, but it all matters.
By Doug Spurling