In our most recent entry, I touched on the topic of client motivation and how it waxes and wanes based on how we, as healing professionals, conduct ourselves. In this entry, I’d like to go into greater depth regarding seasonality and how it impacts this process.
Anyone in the fitness fields will tell you January is the busiest month of the year. Between the usual “New Years resolution” crowd and the new calendar years insurance reimbursement allowance (we’ll talk more about this in a future post), it is by far the busiest month of the year. February follows and September is a strong third, as a general rule. In my personal experience, January is a lock for +100% revenue vs December, as an example. And yet, March is slower and by July, the bump is too often negated. Why is this?
We don’t have a tried and true answer here – In my opinion and experience, its what I like to call “The Results Rubicon”.
A bit of history: In 49 AD, Caesar led his Legion south over the Rubicon River in what is today Central Italy. When he reached the far bank of the river, he burned his boats. By doing so, he guaranteed himself status as an outlaw and only victory in the coming civil war could absolve him. From this event, we get the expression “Crossing the Rubicon” which has come to mean the equivalent of crossing the point of no return.
We all know that truly obvious morphological change takes a bare minimum of a few months. When “Jane Smith” signs up at your box or your gym in January she is on fire with motivation. She’s ready to take on the world. In keeping with my last post, you’ve done a great job of motivating her to take on this task but keeping her going past the “Rubicon” is the key. At 3 months – It’s now April 1st – she certainly feels a heck of a lot better. Neuromuscular adaptation has kicked in, her reflexes have sped up, shes lost a bit of weight, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is next in line and yet so often, this is where motivation ebbs. This is pivotal. I’ve worked with dozens upon dozens of fitness consumers who’ve rattled off lists of a half dozen different modalities and yet not one of the half-dozen was applied regularly for more than 3 months. This is far too commonplace. At the four month mark, extremely tangible results will become apparent – That is of course, unless they start to slack in month 3 and their motivation wanes. Give me five months with somebody and I can create meaningful lifestyle change indefinitely! At that point, they have in effect crossed the “Results Rubicon” and there is no turning back. A virtuous cycle kicks in and they are empowered and passionate about owning their fitness. Life = Changed.
This is where a disciplined system can kick in and make all the difference. Our goal here is to empower and in order to do this retention is vital. When we receive a spike in new members, its vital that we don’t lose sight of offering the support that our clients need during this pivotal time. Our mission is NOT a couple strong revenue months. Our goal is retention and community. It is vital that we take our members across the “Results Rubicon”. Here are some tips to help ensure that that happens.
- During the seasonal rush, hire some extra help. Even if it’s simply an answering service or administrative help. If you’re marketing well, you will be inundated. Be prepared.
- Set a realistic expectation. “You won’t look like Channing Tatum or Jessica Biel in 3 months but you’ll be well on your way.” Make it clear that the most visually apparent adaptations to exercise take a good 4 months+ to really get moving, especially as we get older.
- Arrange for regular check-in’s via text message, email, or the like. Remind people why they started so that should they hit a wall, they never forget the goal.
- Hold a summer kick-off event in May. Hold it out as “D-Day” for your resolution crowd. Everyone can take stock of their progress at that point. Laud those who have crushed their goals. Motivate those who haven’t. Tie the whole thing in with long term members and their achievements – In a sense, this becomes a rite of passage!
Converting the resolution crowd into long term members is key to your success. Seasonality within the industry is endemic, When you couple seasonality to the fact that we live in a society of “instant gratification” seeking, the seasonal bump can quickly run its course. If our mission is above all else to empower, then turning this seasonal bump into devoted members is paramount to building a stronger community.
In future posts, I’ll delve further into seasonality. Should you have need of additional marketing to boost your existing lead flow or questions of any kind whatsoever, drop me a line. We’re here to help.
Until next time,
Director of Business Development