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IHRSA EUROPE UPDATE


NEWS


Are you selling, or compelling? • Bill McBride • President & COO, Club One / IHRSA chair


R


ecently, I’ve been trying to reconnect to the basics of this business in a more insightful way.


The core question: What’s happening at the consumer level when individuals are deciding whether to join a club? My inquiry was aided by the book


Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioural economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and by an article, Getting Customers to Choose You, on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, written by Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas. What I found interesting is that people


generally make buying decisions on the basis of ‘comparables’ – attributes, qualities, data and other factors they can use to compare one product (A) to another (B). The process is informed both by facts (for example, ‘car A gets 24 miles per gallon; car B gets 32’) and personal preferences and beliefs (‘car A looks like grandad’s; car B looks cool’). Comparables, moreover, come in


two distinct forms. Products have alignable differences (ones that can be easily compared, such as the price of a club membership) and non-alignable differences (ones where there’s no simple


match-up of major details – for example, a large multi- purpose club versus a CrossFit ‘box’). Similar properties are


easy to compare. The challenge for any given club is to demonstrate the ways in which it’s special – to pinpoint the things that make it the “right” choice. Here are a few ways to do so: • Describe the common features shared by your club and the competition in a way that emphasises your enhanced offerings. • Help prospects identify the elements that are shared by your club and other facilities, transforming non- alignable into alignable differences and, in the process, better positioning your brand. • Explain how your club’s unique features address the prospect’s needs, wants and desires, and are critical to their exercise success. • Educate them about any new features or programmes you’ve introduced.


Ask the experts: 24-hour opening


What are the pros and cons of keeping a health club open 24/7, and what other factors do you need to consider if you do decide to go


this route? Steve Krum, general manager of Spectrum Clubs in El Segundo, California, US, offers his thoughts:


“The fact that you are asking these questions shows that you are doing the proper due diligence. “First of all, don’t do it just because


the competition is open 24 hours a day. We recommend a cost-benefit analysis in which you study the demand of your market and, obviously, the direct costs associated with 24-hour operation.


“The other cost to consider is the Opening 24-hours is not right for every club “In particular, you will measure the


variable costs of payroll, utilities, supplies, and even check insurance costs that may be associated with a 24-hour operation.


20 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


intangible opportunity cost of not being open all night. Determine whether or not your market includes a significant number of customers demanding to work out around the clock. This will be somewhat of a gut feeling based on your knowledge of the area. In addition, conduct a survey and do some research on the competition in your area that is open 24 hours a day. How many people are actually taking advantage of this offering? “The dilution factor is also a real


concern; as we all know, sometimes less is more, and trying to be all things to all people is not the right path.” Read more answers to this question at ihrsa.org/industryleader


February 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


T e challenge for any club is demonstrating exactly why it is special


• Encourage them to appraise clubs on a personal, individual level, rather than relying on an evaluation that is based solely on comparisons. Ultimately, knowing more about how


people make use of comparables can help you make better decisions.


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