TRACKING FOR DUMMIES
If you don’t keep tabs on key figures in your business, how can you adjust your systems and make necessary improvements, asks club owner and consultant Rick Mayo.
‘What gets measured gets managed’ management consultant Peter Drucker famously said. Truer words have never been spoken – yet too few business owners actually track numbers as closely as they should. Time and time again when asking gym owners that we are consulting, ‘what about your specific numbers?’ we are either met with the sound of silence, or with what’s known as a SWAG answer – Systematic Wild A#$ Guess! I would challenge you with this question: if you don’t know your exact numbers, how can you adjust your business and make improvements where necessary?
We develop our yearly marketing plans based on the success (or lack thereof) of our previous years’ marketing efforts, combined with our goals for the following year. Over the course of our 20 years in business we have developed a simple yet effective tracking system for our marketing and business performance. We break our analysis into four basic categories:
2. Trials (the 30-Day Personal Training Experience in our case)
Each basic category reveals information about the performance of our company in different areas.
You must track the number of leads to your business as well as the source of those leads. We define a lead as an individual that reaches out to our club. This can be accomplished via walk-in, phone enquiry or through email sent via our site. It is important to determine what qualifies as a lead in your business: ‘cold’ leads such as lead boxes and sign-up lists at events are hard to quantify. We can look back on the week/month/year and easily determine which of our marketing efforts was successful by the number of enquiries we received as a result of a particular campaign. If you don’t track this aspect of your business, you are wasting your marketing money.
Our business is a hybrid, personal training-centric facility, so we use the 30-Day Personal Training Experience as our hook. This trial offer is simply a sampler of all of our personal training services as well as an in-depth induction process into our systems. We compare our total enquiries with the number of trials that we sell in a given week/month/year. Our goal is to convince 60 per cent of all leads to purchase the 30-day trial. If we don’t meet our percentage goal in this area, we know that we need to work on our phone scripts, email follow-up and tours of the facility. In many cases, just contacting our facility is the most difficult step for a potential member. If they contact us, they are seriously considering joining a fitness facility. It is then up to us to convince the prospect that we are the right place for them.
Once a potential member has contacted us and made the effort to come in and ‘test drive’ our services through the 30-day trial, all we need to do is convince them that we can service their needs. At this point they know our rates, services, culture and every other aspect of our business. It is simply a matter of creating a positive experience. We strive for a conversion rate of over 70 per cent. If we drop below this percentage, we review our communication skills, sales techniques and our overall induction process.
It goes without saying that it’s going to be hard to grow your business if you’re dealing with a revolving door scenario. Retention is the key to long-term growth in your business. Increasing competition and saturation in your market makes new member acquisition more difficult with each passing year. We strive for an annual retention rate of over 80 per cent. This is not easy, but we manage to get 8 out of 10 folks re-signing an annual agreement. We don’t have open-ended agreements because we believe you must be willing to ask members the question, ‘Am I doing my job?’ at the end of their 12-month agreement. If you are uncomfortable with this concept, maybe you already know the answer! If we drop below 80 per cent in any given month/year, we will revisit our training techniques, programming, communication skills and facilities in an effort to plug the leak. Normally, communication is the challenge (over-promise and under-deliver) and some simple coaching can correct this.
These four steps may be basic, but they are invaluable for your business.
Rick is the owner of North Point Fitness and North Point Personal Training Systems in Georgia, USA. He is a frequent presenter at national and international fitness events and has featured in numerous publications, including Men’s Health. Rick currently spends his time consulting to other fitness professionals and gym owners, writing and teaching, as well as managing his own facility. For more information visit www.northpointpt.com