You’ve been plugging along, doing fairly well. Your facility offers a variety of programming and a solid group of employees who are genuinely liked by your customers. Your pricing is reasonable, and your staff does not experience too much push-back from their prospects when trying to grow your membership base. Suddenly, you find yourself faced with a new competitor; one of those high volume low cost models has set up shop in your market, generating a buzz with their cut-rate, loss leader pricing.
Now your sales personnel are asking questions. How can we compete with them? Our members are going to go there to save money, or ask us to lower their dues, etc. You start to worry about the competition and what they are doing, completely forgetting what you do best. The first couple of cancels come through, and you hit the panic button – we have to match them with price.
In most every instance, this is the worst thing you can do. Unless you have been running roughshod over your current and potential customers, delivering shoddy service, questionable sales tactics, and alienating your market, you do not need to lower your price or standards. (If you have been doing these things, you’re already dead in the water). Think of the things you provide that the HVLC model does not, and emphasize these. Create some new programming or add an amenity such as a group training program, specialized cycle, etc. Remember – if fitness was simply a race to the bottom, there would not be such a proliferation of boutique locations charging $150 per month.
It’s going to take leadership to distinguish your company now, not just advertising. Employees must value your product and pass this feeling on to your base, as well as your prospective clients. Members do not quit relationships, but they do quit machines. If you have a strong personal training program and group exercise program, the HVLC model does not have to impact you long term. I have seen too many operators panic and discount their pricing, only to destroy their brand, antagonize their current members, and ultimately end their operations. Stay strong and have a plan – don’t lose your dream to a model that promises nothing, and delivers less.
BASE offers a free, one-hour consultation to discuss your business needs – contact us today to schedule