Recently, I learned a brand new term that relates to both Fitness and CRM. But, first, a little background.
Yvonne Cummings has 23 clients who have been training with her, consistently, for 10 years. And, some even longer. In 2006, when she moved 30 miles away to open her new studio, half of her clients made the 30-mile drive almost every day.
This is NOT normal, at all. Most people go to a club or studio out of convenience. Ideally within a 3-mile radius. Never 30 miles!
What’s the Secret..?
When I asked her the secret to this incredible retention and loyalty, she replied with this:
“I don’t advertise, promote or teach ‘flash fitness.’ My business model is the same as my life… a never-ending journey where we face challenges and work our way through them, together.”
There It Is….!
There it is: “Flash Fitness.” What a great term. I’ve been looking for a succinct way to describe this niche business model. And, she just hit the nail on the head!
Don’t get me wrong. I totally understand the other half of her response. Yvonne is 180 degrees the opposite of a flash fitness model. For sake of this post, I’m going to label her business as the “Process Model.”
But, it makes for a great comparison. And, it demonstrates there’s more than one way to own and operate a fitness business.
This Model vs. That Model
Before I get into describing the difference between “Flash” and “Process”— let me make this perfectly clear. Both models work.
There is no “right” or “wrong.”
These are extremes.
There are plenty of ways to run a fitness business that fall in between. But, at a certain point, we all have to decide how we want to run our businesses.
Also, both are valid protocol for two very different types of clientele or members.
The Flash Model
Just as the moniker implies, the Flash Fitness model is a fast, dynamic model whereby potential clients are lured with offers to lose weight.. fast.
Or, to get in shape… fast. It’s intense. It requires focus.
It’s typically a HIIT protocol.
And, if a person is motivated and conforms to the model, well, it really works!
Look at all the boutique small group training studios.
Look at Orange Theory. Look at F-45.
And, of course, many big box clubs run this flash fit model as a subset within a larger framework.
The Flash Fit Model is all about creating a physical change in the body in the least amount of time.
The Process Model
Some might wonder if the Process Model has anything to do with fitness whatsoever.
It is often perceived as more like a social club or cult that just happens to include exercise and nutrition.
That’s because the focus is more about holistic and intertwined relationships.
- There’s a relationship with the owner or manager.
- There’s a relationship the studio or facility, itself.
- There’s a relationship with other members.
- And, there’s a relationship with the entire fitness lifestyle.
- Without getting too philosophical, here, these relationships all morph, converge and grow stronger over time.
Different Strokes for Different Folks…
Just as you’re not going to find a hand-holding, mantra-chanting “kumbaya” session at a boutique HIIT programming studio, neither will you find a caffeine-crazed Banshee instructor screaming “suck it up” at Yvonne’s studio.
They attract two different types of clients.
- The flash model almost always attracts a younger client (18-40) with an almost even skew of female and male participants. They tend to be “achievers” in the first place. So, protocol with lots of physical benchmarks and goals is in their “wheelhouse.”
- The process client is almost always age 35+ and most often female (although it’s shifting) and often includes members in their 60’s and 70’s. More than “looking good” this segment pays attention to ligaments, tendons, energy levels, etc with metrics based more on “feeling healthy.”
Another big difference is where marketing time, energy and money are spent.
In a nut shell, flash models lean toward new client/member acquisition while the process model focuses on client/member retention. They are radically different strategies that require very different tactics.
Demographics are Driving New Models
Clearly, there are way more flash models than process models. There are lots of reasons for this but, it would be a distraction to discuss it here.
What’s really important is that the process model is GROWING. It is a huge opportunity for “early adopters.”
Demographics, alone suggest it.
Numbers Point the Way
Since the age of the process model candidate is older (35+) then, it is important to look at some interesting numbers (age 35 -75) and what is occurring among this age bracket.
The “Golden Cinderella” Client/Member
Let’s start with (Women age 35-55): This is a fairly wide age range, and includes GenX, GenY and some of the younger Boomers.
This demographic includes: single moms, married moms, married women (no kids), and single women.
They tend to be more strategic in their decisions. They compare products and services. They consider their friends’ opinions as a determining factor in the purchase process.
They are wary of offers that sound too good to be true.
These women hold tremendous spending power. If, as a process model, you gain their trust and complement their busy lifestyles, you’re golden.
If you treat them with respect (show empathy toward their feelings) and can have the patience for a sometimes longer sales process, then, a process model will dominate this market.
While the above is primarily talking about women, make no mistake. Men, especially those who’ve become de-conditioned over the years due to office work, family and some warped idea that playing golf was a workout… are also a prime market in this age bracket. And, without much difference in attributes.
Yes, men have “feelings” too!
Beginning January 1st, 2011 every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers reached the age of 65. This is going to keep happening every single day for the next 9 years.
Here’s a dirty little secret the politicians don’t want you to know. In a recent Gallup Poll, more than 76% of Americans reaching retirement age… ARE NOT GOING TO RETIRE.
They simply can’t afford to retire in this uncertain economic environment. So, in their minds, they need to stay healthy in order to participate in the workforce… either part-time or full-time.
They know that staying healthy will require exercise and nutrition.
Yes…. the process model is perfect for them. (And, don’t get sucked into believing that this group is only going to go for Silver Sneakers programs). They want MORE..!
The Process Model CRM
The concept of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is all the buzz among forward thinking companies like Zappos, Amazon and even Walmart.
Every minute of every day they work at the “customer experience.”
In fact, at a recent Walmart shareholders meeting, they revealed that… “over a lifetime, EACH Walmart customer will spend on average over $250,000 dollars in their stores.” Wow!
So, while Flash Models concentrate on new client acquisition, the Process Model must absolutely focus on CRM. It’s the bread and butter of their success.
For Yvonne, much of her “process model” just came naturally. She’s a nurturer. She’s a “big sister.” It’s just how she “rolls” and it obviously works for her clients.
When I asked her about her services and what she provides for her clients, I was surprised to hear about a few things that go way beyond the normal fitness paradigm.
Yvonne is a “wheeler – dealer” when it comes to working trade outs with local merchants and business professionals.
In an upcoming post, I’ll reveal (with permission) some of her “relationship tactics” including:
- Field Trips
- Restaurant Workshops
- Discovery Night
- 3-Day Water World
- Room Service
… and many other “Paid Activities” that keep her clients spending more and coming back for more….
It’s a relationship!
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