by Christy Pusz Decatur
So, you’ve decided to open a fitness studio!
As you begin the process of building out the perfect space in your ideal location- the most important resource you can put in place is a robust member list ready and eager to take classes with you the moment the paint dries.
One of the most beneficial steps a studio can take as they prepare to open their doors is to offer Founding Memberships at an attractive discount (usually somewhere from 20-30% off of their full price). These founding rates are sometimes called a “Lifetime Membership”- which means your member pays one rate to lock in their contract until the studio is opened. In exchange for being an early adopter, your members are guaranteed the lowest rate available for the “lifetime” of their membership at your studio.
But, how do you sell these founding memberships to your community if they have not taken a class at your studio yet? Whether your concept is brand new or you are opening a franchise studio that is the first in your area, you may run into some challenges closing a sale on a service before anyone can use it.
There are 5 pre-sale secrets that will convert your leads into members and genuinely set your studio up for success. If you keep these in mind while engaging with your clients you will grow that member list well into the hundreds before the doors open.
Give them a test drive.
When your concept is brand new to your community your potential members might be hesitant to commit before knowing that they will enjoy the classes. If you’re finding this to be a consistent response during a sales conversation you may want to create some pop-up workout events in your area.
Hosting these outdoors is always the easiest option when the weather is on your side- but don’t let that stop sales in the dead of a Chicago winter. What local businesses might want to partner with a brand like yours? If they have enough space to accommodate at least 10 people they may be a perfect partner. Retailers who sell activewear are a great place to start- a class in their shop before or after their normal business hours along with some exclusive shopping time is a huge draw.
This is a win-win for the host business and yours! Building business relationships is a great way to expand your marketing efforts and get word-of-mouth clients. In fact, you may find your members right there among the staff!
Other locations to consider- coffee shops, smoothie shops, book stores, or even a common space in a nearby apartment complex, office building or mall.
Once your community gets a taste for what you have to offer they will be eager to secure their membership. And don’t forget to bring your laptop so you can get that agreement signed right on the spot!
Show them a sneak-peek.
If you’re conducting a presale while building out your studio space you can still give your members (and potential members) a feel for what they are investing in. If it’s safe to do so- you can host a hard-hat tour of your space.
Add in coffees or smoothies from the shop next door on a Saturday morning or beverages of choice during a weekday “happy hour” to turn it into a truly welcoming experience.
Even hosting a Facebook or Instagram live tour will create an exciting peek-behind-the-curtain feel which will drive some excitement and a greater urgency for the sale.
Engage with them genuinely and consistently.
Take the time to really get to know the people who show up on your Loyalsnap dashboard. They have found their way to you because the other options in town aren’t a fit or no longer work for them. With the help of Loyalsnap you can track every interaction you have with your clients and take notes to remember key facts about them which will help you shape your sales approach and connect with them in an authentic way.
Our email and text automations can be customized to your unique voice so that every person feels a human connection at every stage of outreach. Our dashboard is set at a cadence that has proven to be effective in lead conversion and makes the lead flow manageable for any employee to tap in and take over where you left off - seamlessly.
Highlight their role as a founding member! The success of any institution, organization or fitness studio is built on the foundation created by those who invest early in the vision.
More importantly- they have a greater voice in the culture of the community.
It’s very important to highlight this when selling pre-sale memberships. Empower them by finding out what is on their wishlist for an ideal studio. You may find your community is desperate for a high intensity workout before 6am. Maybe most of your clients have longed for more nutritional support or they are desperate for more recovery tools.
This will not only help you when it comes time to create the schedule- it will help you make decisions on everything from what retail would sell to which teachers are the right fit.
Allowing your members to lead you in this way will begin to shape the brand identity for your studio as one that knows how to serve your community in the ways that matter most to them.
Keep that connection going!
Once you have converted that lead into a Founding Member- DO NOT FORGET about them! Make sure you are setting aside time to update this devoted list on your studio's progress. Plan on regular email blasts (bi-weekly) to keep that connection alive. You can use these communications as a way to share fitness tips, link video workouts, introduce new staff you've hired and invite them to upcoming events. This is also the ideal time to invite them to refer a friend who will be their workout buddy once the studio opens.
You've put in the hard work to win them over- it takes little effort to keep them excited about their new fitness home. Enjoy creating your community from the ground up- these early members are truly the foundation your new studio will be built on. Know that once you are open and see these faces coming to class every day it will all be worth it!
* Loyalsnap combines automated email/SMS marketing outreach, email blast functionality, and a client management dashboard to help you reach your business goals. If you'd like to learn more about this tool, visit loyalsnap.com.
Christy has over a decade of experience working on the frontlines of the boutique-fitness industry. Utilizing her background in event planning, consulting and story-telling, she helps unlock her client's creativity and unique brand voice so that they can serve their communities
authentically. She lives in Denver, CO with her kettle-bell-throwing husband and two mini-ninja warrior children.