Large facilities offer the best environment to develop a specific niche, as the membership base allows you to observe and pick out those people who would fit into your niche easily. I’ve developed a specialisation in injury post-rehabilitation in my facility and within my community, and was able to begin this by watching members who had an obvious limp, mobility impairment, or other concern that may not have been adequately addressed, and approaching them to discuss it. It would normally start off with “Hey, I noticed you limping on your way in. Are you okay?” or “Your shoulder seems to be giving you some problems. What’s going on?” By asking these open-ended types of questions I was able to strike up a conversation with people in the environment where I could do the most good for them, and eventually turned them into paying clients.
In addition to this, having a large facility is great because it pays for advertising and marketing, which can enable more people to know of the presence of your facility versus a simple training studio. It can also help out to set up facility-wide programs, or even multiple facility programs, that may specialize in one thing or another. For instance, I developed a medical advisory board within my company that involves 20 health clubs and over 100 allied health professionals who refer their patients to us and we in turn refer people out to them when applicable. We have them come to do clinical educational talks to our trainers and members, and we educate our trainers by having them shadow on clinical hours so that we can create a bridge in the knowledge gap between clinical and gym based health promotion. The clients love the multidisciplinary aspect, and it helps to improve our bottom line.
With new memberships coming through the door, many of them will be screened based on goals, interests or medical complications. Depending on your niche, you can have the membership consultants funnel specific people to you for training much easier than if you were in a small studio. Whenever anyone walks through the door with any kind of cardiac, musculoskeletal, or medical disorder, they are essentially sent to me first or another of our qualified trainers who have chosen that specific career path. This works as a passive recruiting tool that can add up pretty quickly.
– Dean Somerset