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Tuesday, 29 January 2013 16:09

Commitment versus interest

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Commitment versus interest


Manti Te’o was interested in having a girlfriend.  So much so, that he either invented one, or at least developed such a level of credulity that allowed for his believing she was real for four years.  He definitely was committed to dating someone he had never seen.  I mean, like unbelievably committed. 

Many overweight and out of shape people are interested in losing weight and becoming fit.  I would argue that if you asked 10000 fat and unfit people if they were “interested” in losing weight and being fit, that 10000 of them would say YES!. 

But are they all committed? 


If you have sold memberships for at least a week, you are familiar with the following scenario:

45 year old woman walks in alone.  You give her a tour.  It goes well.  You ask questions, and she answers.  She seems interested in getting started.  You KNOW that you are the gym for her, because after she joins, Stacy, your awesome assessor/trainer, is going to show her some exercises, maybe offer a session or two and she will be on her way.  PLUS, you have an awesome online weight management tool to help her with 80% of her problem:  food. 

She joins.

60 days later, she calls to cancel.  You inform her that she signed a 12 month agreement, so her two options are:

1)      Keep the membership and USE IT.

2)      Pay an early termination fee of $199.00

She pays the $199.00 over the phone and the relationship ends.  Now, I am sure you asked her why she is terminating.  And she responds something like this:  “Oh, I just don’t have time right now. My job is requiring more hours and it’s hard to get in there.  I will probably come back some day when work settles down.”  You may even have a conversation about freezing her membership.  But it eventually becomes clear that she wants nothing to do with your gym any more.

Why?  Why does she feel this way?

We may never know the answer for everybody, and I predict many people who have been a gym employee/owner in the situation I just described would say things like:  “She is lazy.”  “She wasn’t committed.” 

And you may be correct.  Or at least partially correct.  But there is also a good chance that you are wrong.

This woman may have actually been committed to her goals, but the club FAILED to agree with what her goals are and/or should be.  AND I predict that the club did not properly induct her into the new family.

Rather than espouse a couple hundred words on what clubs do wrong when it comes to new members, let me give you a small list of the right things to do:

1)      Within 48 hours of her joining, she needs to meet with the assessor.  The assessor is a trainer who now only sells training.  The assessor cares about people’s goals and is skilled in getting realistic and honest goals to come out of the mouths of members.  The assessor has a plan in place for everybody, including those who say NO to a training membership and only want the 39 dollar per month simple access membership.  This would likely include trying out the fundamentals class at no additional charge for 30 to 60 days.

2)      The salesperson is going to follow up with this new member.  Emails, voice mails, and member conversations.  The salesperson is going to remind the member about the weight management software that is available and the salesperson is going to always encourage the member to work with a coach. 

3)      The entire staff is going to celebrate small victories, including ending the fundamentals class with a group hug.  The environment needs to be positive and energetic all of the time.

Even if the member doesn’t reach her goal and only loses a few pounds, she will continue to come to the facility if the facility:

1)      Is full of positive people who give FREE advice and instruction.

2)      Teaches her that core strength, overall strength, balance and cardio health is important regardless of body composition.

You can’t save them all.  But you will continue to lose people like the woman I am describing if you:

1)      Sign people up.

2)      Sort of maybe try to get them with a professional who may or may not have the enthusiasm to show them some boring exercises.

You all know what I mean.


You own a gym.  You haven’t changed much of your approach since 1998.  You have independent contractor trainers, and your mind is always focused on the membership count and how to get it up.(how to get the membership count up.  Not something else.  As I was re-reading, rather than change it, I decided to leave it as it made me chuckle, as immature things like that often do.)  Yet you market sporadically, hire young people and spend most of your days cleaning, and collecting debt.

Then you stumble across a book, e-book, or blog post, written by a fitness industry consultant.  Or maybe it’s a video.  Or you go to a workshop.  Your interest is piqued.

You pick up the phone, or go to your email and reach out to the consultant.  He or she spends a couple of hours telling you where the industry is going, and how you can get there. 

You are interested.  “keep talking”, you say.

He or she goes on to tell you that it really is pretty simple, but it does take daily effort.  It does require you to spend a little bit more time and money than you are accustomed to.  It requires you to CHANGE.  Yes, that dreaded word.

45 year old mother was interested.  She may or may not have been committed, however.  But here is what I can tell you about her:  If she truly was committed, could you help her? Could you help her get to her goal? 

You all know the answer, and you all know that you could.

If you want to take your gym into the future of this crazy industry, if you want to become training centric, I have a question for you:  Are you committed? If you are, then I(or a consultant who is NOT of the “I can get you 100 members in 30 days” ilk) can help you accomplish two things:

1)      Make more money

2)      Dramatically increase the probability of ensuring that the next time 45 year old overweight mom gives up after 30 days, it will NOT be because of your systems and processes.  It will be because of her commitment level that you did everything in your power to increase and support.

Now, go change some lives.

Jason Linse

Jason has a passion for the industry, follows other industry experts, attends workshops, speaker schools, reads, reads and reads.  He enjoys imparting knowledge and ultimately affecting the bottom line of business.  He lives in uptown, Minneapolis, exercises almost daily, and lives by the motto:  “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Website: jasonlinse.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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