2017 Good Deeds

As we get ready to welcome the New Year, we would like to continue our GGFA tradition by taking this opportunity to share some of the extraordinary things that some of our franchisees and suppliers have been doing in their communities. We wish everyone a joyous Holiday Season and a happy New Year!

MU_Marketing_Logo_NEW (4)Muscle Up Marketing makes giving back a priority starting with donating $5,000 to the Rally Foundation to help find a cure for childhood rally-full-logo-400x200cancer. They sponsor several kids through the Angel Tree program to help provide them with a good Christmas. And this year they are making a donation to Toys for Tots for every job done during the month of November.

Jon Butts, Muscle Up President, says “Its always feels good helping out those that need it most!”

 

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Power Systems donated fifteen boxes of Thanksgiving dinners to needy families through KARM, Knox Area Rescue Ministries. Baskets of Hope provides families in need with a complete Thanksgiving Dinner for up to six people.Baskets-of-Hope-Flyer.png

 

 

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Gold’s Gym in Jackson, TN hosted its 13th annual Turkey Day 5K. 800 runners showed up to help raise money for Jackson’s Regional Inter-Faith Association. In it’s history, the Turkey Day 5k has contributed “somewhere in the range of $90,000” according to Gold’s Gym Owner Steve Roten. Watch this news clip covering this tradition and see the special unexpected participant.

 

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Throughout the year ABC Financial partners with multiple organizations to provide gifts and donations to those in need. This year was their 4th year participating in the Arkansas Food Bank’s Summer Cereal Drive. They surpassed their goal and collected 2017 boxes of cereal and raised $1,853. ABC also collected boxes of blankets during their Annual Blanket Drive held on the ABC campus. Items such as blankets, socks, gloves and even jackets were donated to the Salvation Army to those in need during the cold, holiday season. For the 6th year, ABC Financial has partnered with Arkansas Children’s Hospital to raise money and collect toys through their Festival of Stars Toy and Donation Drive. This is a huge opportunity for the ABC family to give back to the community and they say that they truly enjoy participating each year. Last year they collected $4,241 and 415 wish list items during. We can’t wait to see how much they raise and donate this year!

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“Fitness Professionals Must Evolve During An Era Of Rapid Technological Change” By: Bryan O’Rourke, MBA

11.28.17Business as usual in the fitness industry is no longer good enough. In fact business as usual is dead. In a world where choice is expanding and business models are being reengineered there is only one place left to innovate and that place is with you as a professional. You are at the center of a raging storm of change fueled by digitization, mobilization, augmentation, disintermediation and automation. By continually learning, enhancing your skills, innovating your abilities, and opening your eyes to possibilities will you will make a bigger impact during this time of exponential change.

Science fiction is now becoming science fact. Think about self driving cars and computers that can learn and think. The way we work will never be the same and the skills we require will evolve. Success or failure is happening faster than ever before. So how should you respond ? How will you as a fitness industry leader seek opportunities during one of the most transformational times in history ? You must drive change and not be driven by it.

Fitness industry disruption is the new normal and change has become truly exponential. Things that used to be dumb will become intelligent. Ports, cities, farms, health clubs and even our bodies will all be connected and intelligently interfaced. Quantum computing is fueling big data and the Internet of things is fueling machine learning. We are only just beginning and the impact to fitness will be transformational.

The good news is that anything that cannot be digitized or automated will become extremely valuable. Human traits, traits that great fitness professionals like you exhibit such as creativity, intuition, emotion and ethics, will become even more important. Technologies are very good at simulating but not at being. Technology will do more of our work in the fitness industry but this will allow professionals like you to focus on things that can’t be automated.

We all have to start thinking about this future and what might be, not what is. We must immerse ourselves in the immediate future five years out and go beyond technology to gain human insights and wisdom. Technology represents the how of change but fitness professionals  and their clients represent the why. The future is in creating holistic business models. We must be flexible, continuously learn and seek not single improvements but complete transformations; not individual systems but the creation of new ecosystems.

Humanity is where true and lasting value will be created in the fitness industry and that means you. People will relate to and buy things because of the experiences they provide. The future is happening and the way forward is to embrace technology but not become it. The future is in technology but the bigger future lies in transcending it. Let’s embrace the change upon us and realize we are in the midst of the greatest opportunity for the fitness industry that has every existed in history and you friends are at the center of it.

unnamed-3.jpgBryan O’Rourke is an advisor, speaker, author and investor, who serves in a variety of executive and board roles in the fitness industry. He is considered a leading expert on technology and recently joined the IHRSA board of directors. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com and for the latest follow him @bryankorourke on all the major social networks.

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“In Appreciation of Our Veterans”

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Ginger CollinsHello Everyone;

We began a new tradition three years ago in publishing a message in honor of Veterans Day, and in recognition of our service men and women that have served or are currently serving in our armed services.

Again this year, we want to honor them through the words of the members of our Gold’s Gym family of owners and managers, our supplier partners and our GGFA family and friends.

We are grateful for the brave men and women and our military families that have sacrificed so much and thankful for the service of our active duty heros and our veterans, which we owe our very freedom to.

We would like to share what some of the members of the Gold’s Gym family of franchisees and suppliers have expressed.

Ginger Collins
GGFA Executive Director

 

As I prepared to submit a contribution to our Veterans Day blog, I came across a powerful definition of a veteran.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to: “The United States of America” for any amount, up to and including my life.

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Three years ago, I shared about my father, Eugene Abt, who served in General Patton’s Third Army, Yankee Division, in the European Campaign of World War II 1943-44.  Sadly, he passed recently at the age of 91.  I want to share that he served in the military and lived his life with veracity, and has instilled in his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, a sense of strength and determination.  We would like to thank the organizations that do so much to support our active duty members and veterans and do so in quiet, humble ways.  In September 2014, my father was able to participate in the Honor Flight Program, which honors our nation’s heroes by providing a trip to Washington DC to visit their war memorials.  The Patriot Guard Riders is a volunteer non-profit organization which ensures dignity and respect at memorial and funeral services honoring fallen military heroes first responders and honorably discharged veterans.  In addition, they lead the processions of veterans to and from the airport for their Honor Flight trip to Washington DC.  I can’t begin to express how appreciative our family is for the expressions of love and gratitude for my father’s service, and how proud we are to be Americans.

Deborah Hancock
GGFA Staff

22780452_1715431078508574_7785166221834080038_nWe will be hosting  “A Salute to Our Heroes” on November 8th. This is event is in honor of all our Veterans, active duty military, and also first responders. We are collecting donations for Corporal Michael Duncan who is a Veteran of the Marine Corps and was paralyzed from the waist down in a helicopter accident in September. Our activities will include tug-of-war contest, obstacle course, pull-up contest, and a special hour and a half ride class. There will not only be activities for the kids, but they will also have the opportunity to see inside of a SWAT Bearcat, firetruck,  Army Humvee and  a helicopter land in our parking lot. So far, every branch of the military will be represented. Chick-Fil-A has agreed to come and donate half of the proceeds to Corporal Duncan and his family.

Toya Jordan
Gold’s Gym Gwinnett

 

kljFirst Credit Services, Inc (Columbus, Georgia Office) is Creating Good Paying Jobs for our Veterans & Their Families

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 First Credit Services newly established office in Columbus, GA has a mission to create jobs for our American Service Men, Women, and their Families.  This office is a Full Service Extended Business Office (EBO) and also operates as a customer service center strategically located very close to Fort Benning in Georgia.

We know that the American Service Person is an extremely valuable resource and has the drive and focus to provide exceptional performance across a diverse spectrum of business operations including Member Services, Credit Card Decline Management, and Past-Due Collections for our health & fitness clients.  Within the fitness business we have witnessed an increased need for our First Party Offerings where many gym operators are choosing a “Payment Processing Only” platform and outsourcing the Credit Card Decline Management, Payment Follow-up, and other important Member Support Services.  We simply integrate our programs and act as an Extended Business Office for the gym. We have quickly found that our Columbus, GA location is filled with talented veterans and their families who already love the health & fitness industry, and are eager to fill these support and supervisory roles.

Fred Landrum (FCS Vice President) is a Vietnam-era Veteran himself, and is excited to be part of First Credit Services. Fred says “I have been on this mission to give back to our nation’s service men and women since 2009. This mission was, and still is dedicated to offering opportunities to our nation’s heroes and their families. FCS not only backs this endeavor but has made it part of the entire company’s hiring program going forward. I am beyond excited!”  Fred is managing the Columbus Office and is eager to continue this mission with the full support of the FCS Corporate Offices in Piscataway, NJ.

famOver the course of the past 3 months, First Credit Services has already moved several good paying jobs to the Columbus Office and we are conducting interviews with a large pool of outstanding men and women who have valiantly served our country. FCS predicts that it will create 50-75 new jobs available to Veterans and families of the soldiers stationed at Fort Benning within the next 12-18 months.

To help us further expand our recruitment efforts, First Credit Services is working with several fantastic organizations. We are building a relationship with the US Army IMCOM and the Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership and we are attending Job Fairs for Vets and military families. We are especially happy to assist with the employment needs of our soldiers as they transition into the civilian workforce.

We seek your support (as GGFA members) in this mission to give back to these great men and women who have sacrificed so much to keep our Country safe. For all of us at First Credit Services Inc. this Veterans Day is proving to be a more meaningful celebration.

Happy Veterans Day from First Credit Services…

 

Hear from Skip Johnson from Gold’s Gym West GA on the Vet he’ll never forget…

 

Precor LogoApproximately 250 ships comprise the Navy Fleet ranging from Trident submarines to aircraft carriers. Every cubic inch of space is valuable. Fitness is deemed “mission essential” by Navy Command and the equipment is used around the clock. Since the introduction of the EFX in 1995, the Navy Fleet has been buying Precor ellipticals for inclusion in their onboard fitness programs. The only ellipticals available for years were built on large, welded, one-piece frames. To get these ellipticals wedged into their desired locations, many had to be completely disassembled, cut into pieces and then welded back together. However, about 15 years ago, Precor partnered with senior management to design an EFX that could be easily disassembled to fit through a 23” hatch. Thousands of units later, this ongoing program can be deemed a success.

Over the past five years, Precor has sold over $6M of cardio and strength equipment to the U.S. Navy via IDIQ and GSA contracts. Precor was, and continues to be, very proud to have been selected as one of the leading cardio and strength vendors for global U.S. Navy Fleet and Shore operations. Precor also has had a long-standing relationship with the U.S. Army. Over the past ten years, Precor has provided over 7,000 pieces of cardio equipment to the Army.

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Gold’s Gym Totowa NJ

Not only does Precor support all branches of the US Military, we also help support veterans who have bravely served and have since retired. An example of this is seen with Gold’s Gym Totowa NJ owner, Jeff Mortman. Jeff is a marine and served for 16 years (10 active and 6 Reserve).  He served with the 11th & 15th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Units) in the Middle East and other locations, Reserve Duty – Admin Chief – for a C-130 Transport Squadron in Newburgh NY, and he also served as a Recruiter in Ft. Myers and Naples, FL.

His Gold’s Gym currently supports  The Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 combat wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities. John is outfitting his Gold’s Gym with Precor cardio equipment for the 1st phase of renovating the club with 26 total cardio with 22 P62 networked units.

True readiness demands commitment on every level, both in mind and in body. Our mission is to develop personalized health and fitness experiences that help people live the lives they desire. Precor is proud to provide the U.S. Military and veterans the quality equipment they deserve as they fight to preserve America’s freedom. Physically ready. Mission prepared.

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“How to Use Social Media to Build Gym Membership this Fall” By: Angela Walker, ASF Payment Solutions

Legs of an unrecognizable runner.Social media is a powerful marketing tool for all industries, but for the fitness industry it can gain audience engagement and gym memberships by inspiring and building community. The goal of any post on social media should be to connect, inform and engage with your gym members and future gym members. Here are some tips for incorporating social media into your fall gym membership marketing.

Which Social Channels Should You Use

The first step in using social media to build gym memberships starts with determining which social networks are right for your club. Typically, B2C or business to consumer industries like gyms or health clubs should put their time into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat.

Facebook is a great place to showcase any blogs or videos that you would like to share, or class updates and gym class changes. Twitter is a favorite channel for quick connections with your members and influencers. And like Instagram, it’s the perfect platform to tweet fun images of your gym classes, new equipment or a meme.

If you already have a Pinterest account, you can build on that by re-purposing those images to your boards. However, if you are not currently on Pinterest, it’s not a good way to spend your time. LinkedIn is a solid business presence to have, but again, your potential gym members and current members are not looking to find class schedules or announcements of a new star trainer on LinkedIN. Instead, leverage LinkedIN as a resource for running your business. Look for the latest technology in gym management software or trends in fitness.

What Type of Content to Share and How Often 

Treat Facebook like a cocktail party. About 80 percent of what you share should be something that benefits your members and 20% should be bragging about your services. For instance, share your blog once a week and the other content should be a mixture of images, tips on HIIT classes, recipes, healthy eating…you get the picture. And speaking of picture, Instagram and Snapchat should be where you share those videos and images you have been taking at your club.

Encourage your members to share their fitness challenges, wins and experiences. It can be a great way to build club community. Many people are apprehensive about joining a gym, and hearing from others with similar fitness challenges and solutions can be both inspiring and encouraging.

What Type of Promotions to Run

If you plan on running any specials or promoting a class, spend the money on Facebook to boost that type of content. Facebook and Instagram offer ways to target these ads to the demographic you are trying to reach such as city, age, sex and interests.  For instance, if your gym is mostly female and your gym is in Denver, you can target that audience and those demographics for as little as five bucks.

Social media is an integral tool to connecting with your members and boosting memberships. Get creative and don’t sweat trying new ways to reach new customers.

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Visit ASF’s Website here.

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“9 Tips for Supercharged Sales Presentations” By: InTouch Technology

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At InTouch, we understand that the sales presentation plays a major role in membership and PT lead conversion. We want to help clubs develop a disciplined, “leadership approved” approach to their sales presentations so club management can be sure that leads are receiving engaging, personalized presentations. To help with this, we’ve put together the below 9 tips to help you supercharge your sales presentations.

InTouch Presents: 9 Club Sales Presentation Tips

1. Personalize the presentation

You might care a great deal about your club, but when you’re presenting it to a prospective member, keep in mind that it’s all about them. Your club’s sales presentation should focus on how they are going to achieve their goals with your club. Make your presentation as customized as possible, addressing your prospect’s wants and needs specifically. You could also try to incorporate the club membership level benefits which are most suited to your lead.

2. Don’t discuss features. Discuss benefits

A good approach to discussing your club’s many features is to choose the features whose benefits relate to your lead’s lifestyle and fitness goals. This method creates a personalized, engaging experience for the lead. For example, if your salesperson is presenting to someone who has a busy schedule and works close to your club, they could describe the benefits of attending one of your club’s 30 minute express fitness classes. In doing this, the salesperson relates one of your club’s features (express classes) back to the needs of the individual lead (time limitations).

3. Have clear and transparent pricing levels

Few things will set off “warning bells” in a prospective member’s mind than if they feel like a club is trying to hide its rates, fees, or membership levels. Try to include clearly-labeled charts or graphics in your promotional materials that make the prices/features explicit. Also, organizing the membership levels clearly can aid in sales, since prospects will gravitate towards whatever level best matches their own desires and lifestyle.

4. Incorporate plenty of great visuals

High-quality visuals are generally more memorable and engaging for leads than walls of text. Afterall, humans process visuals 60,000 times quicker than text. Integrating visuals into your presentation is also an effective way to portray your club’s culture during the sales process.

Also try to include anything distinctive about your brand, including club logo, font, colors and images with all your official materials. Integrate your brand’s color palette into the presentation’s design in the form of text, background and border colors. This helps to create the impression of brand strength.

5. Embed videos into your slides

Video is a hugely effective sales tool that’s easy to incorporate into your club’s sales presentations. It can help create an engaging experience for leads and can be a powerful communication aid for your sales teams. You could incorporate a clip for a popular class giving leads an insight into the energy and flow of the session. Staff interview videos are also extremely effective presentation add-ons allowing management to highlight club amenities, differentiators and culture.

6. Include member testimonials

Testimonials are still winners when it comes to making sales because they give tangible examples of members achieving their fitness goals in your club. We love video based member testimonials which can be easily embedded into sales slides and played during a sales presentation for maximum effect.

7. Use your conversation as a guide

We are big fans of the conversational style of presenting. Using this style, the salesperson asks questions and then tailors their responses and presentation to the needs and goals expressed by the lead. This creates a highly personalized and engaging experience for each lead. If you choose to adopt this style, try to use your slides to guide the conversation rather than using them as the focal point.

8. Go digital

Go digital. It’s the advice we give to all of our customers because vibrant, well designed slides create the impression of professionalism that you want your club to portray. Powerpoint, SlideShare and PDFs are all effective ways of displaying your slides and can be easily updated and maintained by your leadership team.

9. Practice, Practice, Practice

Hone your sales team’s delivery with interactive training sessions and lots of role-playing. You want them to be very comfortable with all your sales materials so they’re able to really connect with their prospects. Ideally, you want them listening and seamlessly modifying the presentation to create a highly customized experience that incorporates the prospect’s personal goals. The result? Much higher conversion rates.

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Need more advice on sales tactics, or more info on how InTouch empowers your sales staff?  Contact us today!

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“In Our Business, “F” is for Failure” By: Bill Jackson, VP of Sales and Business Development, First Credit Services

bbb fI must admit, I am a little taken aback when I see a business operating in today’s “all access” world with a sub-par Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Reputation Management matters, and it all starts with the good old BBB.  I recently conducted an online review to see how we ranked in comparison to our “Collection Agency” competitors, and I was absolutely amazed at what I uncovered. I honestly thought I would find some B’s and C’s, but to see several collection agencies operating with an F-Rating really did surprise me, but also solidified my confidence in how we serve members here.

We operate in the Health & Fitness Market where the overall MEMBER EXPERIENCE is the single most important aspect of doing business, and for a collection agency to simply ignore what we feel is so important is unsettling.  Maintaining an acceptable BBB Rating is not a very difficult thing to do, so I am wondering why so many agencies would simply ignore all of the complaints and concerns filed by gym members.

As a Member of the GGFA Supplier Partnership Network, it is our responsibility to maintain a professional handling of all gym members, and the GGFA does an amazing job of vetting the suppliers lucky enough to be part of the Association’s SPN. So take advantage of the hard work the GGFA Team does in finding the best suppliers in the industry.

Think about it, if the agency is failing to deliver on their duties, then the members will get increasingly frustrated with the agency’s lack of communication, and the member will ultimately complain to the gym staff and voice their concerns to other members or go online to file complaints. These unaddressed issues will likely escalate, which will ultimately hurt your reputation and business. Honestly, this is the agency’s responsibility to handle, and these complaints should never be thrown back at the gym operator to handle. A reputable partner will handle these issues promptly, so they should not have any impact on your business.

A gym’s reputation depends on how their partners treat members, so if your partner is in contact with your members, do some extra due-diligence to get a better understanding of how this interaction may affect your reputation.

Bill Jackson

Bill Jackson
Vice President of Sales and Business Development,
First Credit Services

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First Credit Services, Inc. was recently selected as a “WINNER Best Call Centers to Work For 2017” marking it the 4th year in a row being recognized with this distinct honor from insideARM (2014-2017). The program celebrates excellence among call center work environments in Care, Collections, and
Outsourcing. The award program is designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in the call center industry. This award makes a positive impact on First Credit‘s ability to recruit and hire a very strong work force as we continue to expand our product offerings to our valued clients and partners.
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“Scheduling For Dollars” By: Stephen Wilson, Marketing Manager, ASF Payment Solutions

 

iStock-491362614.jpgBeing efficient with your time and your member’s time should be synonymous. By creating better scheduling efficiency, you’re meeting member expectations when it comes to helping organize their busy lives. Let’s look at several ideas on how that can affect your bottom line when it comes to member scheduling.

Lost revenue through the Internet

People do most of their business online these days. 86% of the U.S. population uses the internet. 72% of those people make purchases using a mobile device, which generates 68% of all web traffic. This includes purchasing and scheduling classes or training sessions. Furthermore, clubs must realize that they are not just competing with other clubs for member revenue, but with all online purchases a member or prospective member can make. Having a strong online scheduling presence, including the ability for member purchases through a robust gym mobile app can make a difference with class size and training revenue.

Time is money

People generally know what they want and when they want it. When it comes to the Internet, people are developing a shorter attention span that translates into losing patience and moving on. These days, gym members expect immediate gratification when it comes to scheduling classes and training sessions. Having quick and efficient online scheduling software to use by instructors, trainers and members not only keeps your day on track, but also keeps everyone on the same page and at the same time. Having push notifications is also a major convenience for appointments and helps to keep members and staff up to date. By having fast online check-in, a simple click saves valuable time with instructors and trainers that can be better served working with their members. ASF offers Rapid Class Check-in as an additional feature to the scheduling software that helps to check-in class members more quickly. “Select all” check-in is available, or it also conveniently checks-in the unscheduled class drop-ins.

What are the possibilities for the future

Beacon technology is promising many future benefits for the fitness industry. What if clubs were able to track member usage patterns in the gym through their mobile devices and determine which equipment was being most utilized, or under-utilized? Clubs would be able to make necessary adjustments to their future purchases, maintenance and areas of approachment for trainers to sell sessions. Other future enhancements with Beacon technology for health clubs may include a member journey experience: welcome/goodbye notifications when members enter and leave the facility; automatic emails and notifications triggered by beacons and other devices within the facility; progress and statistics reporting; motivational emails automatically sent at the right moment; and the member having their own health team network to communicate with through a closed chat. Don’t be surprised to see these possible advancements.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, when you’re competing for your member’s purchasing ability, time is indeed money. It seems like the world is speeding up and technology is setting the pace. Being responsive to your members requires being available anywhere, anyplace and anytime when it comes to purchasing, scheduling, or for that matter any other area in your business. Staying in front of your members with the right technology requires that you keep current with the latest gym software trends and advancements. Be sure to check-in with a gym management software representative about more possibilities with an efficient scheduling software system that meets your member’s expectations.

 

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Stephen Wilson
Marketing Manager
ASF PAYMENT SOLUTIONS
steve.wilson@asfpaymentsolutions.com
Steve joined the ASF team as a veteran of marketing communications where he was Director of Creative Services at an advertising and public relations agency focusing on branding and strategic communications. He has worked in a wide variety of industries and concentrated on health and wellness for a number of years. His work on national marketing and advertising campaigns has earned him many accreditations and awards.

 

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