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Entries in staff training (17)

Tuesday
Oct032017

To Grow Personal Training Revenue, Teach Staff to Create Positive Experiences

This post is a preview of the October 12 webinar, "Top Tips for Growing Fitness Revenues."

Photo: Healthtrax

When you’re looking to increase your gym’s personal training revenues, your first instinct may be to crunch the numbers. But, while the financials may shed some light on opportunities for cost savings, you may be better off starting with the core of your business—the people.

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Thursday
Aug312017

Creating and Keeping a Killer Membership Sales Team

New member sales still provide the majority of any fitness facility’s revenue, and any health club operator worth their salt knows that you can’t drive membership without a killer sales team.

But creating and keeping a successful sales team is another story.

(Photo: Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness)

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Tuesday
Apr252017

Who Is Responsible for Delivering Stellar Customer Service at Your Health Club?

Ask any health club operator who on their staff is responsible for delivering stellar customer service, and you’ll likely receive this reply: everyone.

They’re not wrong—each and every staff member can make a positive impact on customer service delivery. But when correlating stellar customer service with member retention, data from the IHRSA Member Retention Report series points out the critical role fitness staff—including group exercise instructors—plays.

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Thursday
Mar302017

Empower Your Gym's Sales Force to Increase Revenue

The key to helping your gym’s sales staff boost your bottom line is improved communication skills, said Jeff Houghtaling, membership director for VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa, in a recent IHRSA webinar called "Mastering the Sales Process.” 

And it starts with neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

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Tuesday
Oct252016

What Every Personal Trainer Needs to Know About Sales

Personal training is a large—and growing—source of revenue for many health clubs. But are your personal trainers willing and able to play a successful role in the sales process? 

According to the 2015 IHRSA Profiles of Success, a median of 10% of total revenues at leading health clubs comes from individual and small-group personal training. From 2013 to 2014, member participation in at least one personal training session increased by 11%. 

Clearly, the ability to sell personal training services is critical to the long-term success of your operation(s). And that means making sure your personal trainers are comfortable with and knowledgeable about sales.

It Takes a Team 

Building a robust personal training program is a team effort, and health club operators need to educate their employees on their particular role in the process. 

As Steve Satin, president and founder of Satin Wellness, notes, the focus of the front desk and membership teams is generating new memberships. So they may be concerned that bringing up personal training with prospective or new members comes across as overselling. 

The solution? Understanding the right way to approach the sales conversation. 

"The front desk team is a great place to ask appropriate questions, [and] the membership team can easily provide the option of personal training to an enthusiastic new member," Satin said at IHRSA 2016

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Monday
Oct172016

Health Club Member Retention Is a Team Effort

The average health club has an annual attrition rate of 28.6%, according to the upcoming edition of IHRSA’s Profiles of Success.

Some attrition is inevitable, of course. Members relocate, change jobs, etc. However, chances are your club is losing at least a few members each month that you could retain with some additional effort on the part of your team. And by “team,” we mean every single employee. Each one contributes—either positively or negatively—to each of your club members’ long-term satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with their experience at your facility.

Consider the following, which is excerpted from IHRSA’s Guide to Membership Retention, written by former IHRSA executive director John McCarthy:

Few clubs attach compensation opportunities to improvements in membership retention.

The message that almost every club’s compensation plan sends to its staff is that membership acquisition is more important than membership retention.

One of the ironies of contemporary club management is that almost every club manager gives lip service to membership retention, yet relatively few put hard cash on the line. Even more alarming is that whereas every club manager assigns two to five people to sell club memberships, and each of these people is accountable for a monthly sales quota that is the basis of their compensation, there is no equivalent allocation of responsibility, accountability or compensation for membership retention.

At many clubs if one were to ask who is responsible for membership retention, the answer would be: “Everyone.” Yet, as we know, whenever “everyone” is responsible for something, it means, in effect, that “no one” is responsible.

If membership retention is as important as everyone affirms, and if it is measurable, and if it is a responsibility that can be allocated, then there is no reason not to provide financial incentives to those who are accountable for improvements in this arena. 

Accountability continues to be the missing link in the way most clubs approach this issue. In this respect, membership retention stands in the sharpest possible contrast to the way in which most clubs approach membership acquisition in which accountability is standard practice.

The bottom line with respect to membership retention is ownership. Who owns this opportunity/challenge? Until someone senior in the organization takes ownership of this opportunity, and until compensation opportunities are attached to it, and until budgets reflect a commitment to success in this arena, creative solutions and significant improvements will continue to be unlikely.

The front desk is on the front line for combating attrition.

A friendly, welcoming, hospitable and efficient front desk is an important piece of the membership retention puzzle. Conversely, a cold, unfriendly, unwelcoming or hostile front desk can be a major factor in accelerating membership attrition.

Whereas a warm and welcoming front desk is no guarantee of rising retention rates, a cold, impersonal and hostile front desk is almost certainly a leading indicator of a club that is destined to have higher membership attrition. If there is any single litmus test for the personality of a club and, in particular, for the personality of a club’s general manager, it is the hospitality (or lack thereof) of the club’s front desk.

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Thursday
Sep222016

6 Actions Health Club Leaders Take to Develop Emerging Leaders

Identifying and nurturing emerging leaders continues to be a challenge in our industry.  

It’s also one ofif not the most importantchallenges we face. In his IHRSA 2016 session, “Extraordinary Leaders: Develop a High-Performance Team,” Eddie Tock of REX Roundtables said, “research shows that improving leadership behavior has more impact on your company performance than any other investment.”

So, in looking at the leadership traits of many of our industry’s leaders, I’ve distilled those traits into six common actions leaders use to foster leadership in both their own organizations and throughout the industry.

To develop the next generation of industry leaders, current club leaders...  

#1. Lead by Example 

Most everyone replied that leading by example is by far the most important trait. Basically, the leadership traits you want to see in your club staff are the same ones they want to see in you every single day. Any form of leader should be professional, ethical, communicative, supportive, display a high work ethic, and be willing to share knowledge and experiences.  

Jim Worthington, owner and president of Newtown Athletic Club, who is known for “walking the talk” has said that being a leader in the industry has given him the chance to mentor employees as well as colleagues at other clubs.

#2. Are in Perpetual Learning Mode  

According to Leadership Hospitality, it is important for leaders to ‘be visible about their own need to learn. Great leaders are never more powerful than when they are shown to be in a learning mode.’

Our industry’s leaders are some of the best at sharing the fact that they are information and education-hungry. Allison Flatley, CEO of Corporate Fitness Works, has shared that she loves learning growth strategy from successful entrepreneurs and training techniques from experienced personal trainers. And Janine Williams, vice president of human resources at Leisure Sports, said that the most important leadership trait is “to ensure that you continue to expand the depth and breadth of your knowledge; not only in the health club industry but in business and financial acumen as well.”

#3. Cross-train to Develop Across Skills or Knowledge Gaps  

Our industry already understands the value of cross-training to build endurance, flexibility, and skill. The same applies for leadership learning as candidates that are rotated through various jobs gain first-hand experience and new expertise in many different roles. They also develop a broader vision of your club and exposure to staff dynamics and member concerns.

In his IHRSA 2016 presentation, "Developing NextGen Leaders," Brent Gallagher discusses the practical steps involved in establishing a team of next-generation leaders, including the need to train across areas to create a healthy leadership pipeline.

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Thursday
Aug252016

How to Empower Your Health Club Managers and Engage Your Employees

One of the consistently reported challenges to owning or managing a health club is finding and retaining quality staff—and even more challenging can be hiring effective managers.

If your tireless recruiting has paid off and you now have a promising management team, how do you make sure they stay and grow with you? 

The key is empowerment. 

Enable Your Health Club Managers to Take Ownership 

Empowerment starts with clear communication, continues with nurtured relationships, and carries over to the next generation of your management staff.

Enabling your managers to take a level of ownership of their contributions to your team will allow them to be more motivated, productive, and engaged in your club. As each individual is motivated by different things, it’s important as an owner or senior manager to get to know your managers and what methods of coaching and recognition will lead them to feel most empowered. 

During his session Strategic Culture: Three Keys to Creating a High-Performance Culture at the   2016 IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show, Rob Lewis of RBS Holdings, LLC said, “Professional development and career progression are among the most important things for employees when looking at jobs.” Lewis explained that owners and managers often only communicate the end result, when what is more important is to communicate the behaviors that produce that end result. 

Communicating your health clubs mission, vision, and values to your managers and enabling them to pass that along to hourly staff and club members, will keep your club culture alive and thriving. “Employee engagement is reflective of a good culture,” Lewis said. 

Clear Communications Set Employees Up for Success 

Another industry leader—Allison Flatley—offered her expertise in keeping your staff engaged in her 2016 IHRSA Institute session, “Staff Hiring, Training, and Retention.” 

The Corporate Fitness Works Chief Strategy Officer and IHRSA Board Member discussed the importance of clearly communicating job responsibilities, what the expectations are, how and when employees will be evaluated, where to find the tools they need to succeed, and how they can overcome obstacles.  

Whether you’ve just hired a brand new manager, promoted a stellar employee, or have a seasoned staff of fitness professionals on your management team, these are essential elements to fostering a sense of empowerment. Flatley also suggested using Gallup’s Q12 survey to help assess the level of engagement in your staff and identify areas for improvement.   

IHRSA’s Professional Development and Management Video archive is full of sessions and recordings from industry leaders, discussing many aspects of successful management skills, training tactics, and culture-creating strategies. These training tools and more are available to IHRSA members at up to 50% off non-member prices, online at the IHRSA store.

Friday
Jul152016

5 Ways Health Club Managers Can Lead with Confidence

Trish Blackwell, author of The Skinny, Sexy Mind: The Ultimate French Secret kicked off the MACMA conference in Annapolis, MD this week with an inspirational message on leading with confidence.   

The opening reception at MACMA on Wednesday.

During her session, “Confidence Sells: How to Use Confidence to Increase Sales, Reduce Attrition, and Create a World-Class Facility,” Blackwell shared a number of ways to lead with intention and build a culture of confident employees. That message was reinforced by long time IHRSA members, Mitch Wald, Roger Ralph, Allison Flatley, and Bill McBride during their leadership panel discussion.  

What can you do to lead with confidence?  

  1. Be Available: Make sure your staff understand that your doors are always open.
  2. Build Trust: Do what you said you’ll do, when you said you’ll do it!
  3. Affirm Success: A-players need feedback, oftentimes more than anyone else. Say it out loud—don’t assume they know they are doing a good job.
  4. Measure Your Staff Engagement: Use Gallup’s 12 question survey to better understand your staff.
  5. Invest in Your Staff: Give them the knowledge and skills they need to advance their careers.  

Learn how other health club operators recognize their top employees in our “Best Practice” blog post on hiring and staffing.

Wednesday
Jul132016

6 Ways Attending the IHRSA Institute Will Turn a Good Manager to Great 

There are several barriers that can keep a good health club manager from becoming great: perhaps they aren’t able to take a step back from their daily tasks to see the big picture, or maybe they just don’t have the resources and skillsets to reach the next level. 

But, no matter what challenges are standing in your manager’s way, sending them to the IHRSA Institute, Executive Education for Club Professionals will help them reach their full potential. 

The IHRSA Institute, which convenes August 2–5, at the Rizzo Conference Center, at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, is designed to provide a strong overall base for anyone working in the fitness industry. 

The faculty includes both industry experts and professors from UNC. Classes are small and intimate. Through classroom discussions and social activities, the attendees learn not only from the faculty, but also from their peers. 

Here are six ways attending the IHRSA Institute will turn a good manager into a great one. 

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