Join our LIVE masterclass with Mel Tempest, Fitness Influencer of the Year in the US, esteemed fitness business coach, podcast host and a whole lot more! This session is to help fitness business owners plan and structure their business for a successful and profitable year in 2022. Mel will uncover what her secret 'USP' formula is and how it could take your business to the next level.
Emily: Thank you so much for coming along today to the Clubworx Academy, Mel. I wanted to run through a really quick introduction, I'm sure you don't need a huge introduction to a lot of the people here today. But just for those who haven't heard of you or met you. So Mel Tempest is the CEO and founder of Ignite Fitness Business Events, host and founder of Gym Owners Fitness Business Podcast, and The Women's Leaders Fitness Business Podcast. So lots of content and great content out there that I myself have had a listen to, really valuable stuff.
Mel Tempest organizes fitness business events, roundtable events globally. You run a Women's Educational Platform, you're keynote speaker, and a full time business ambassador. So quite a mouthful, but all really amazing stuff. Your current focus, our understanding is working with clubs to create those unique niches in the market space with innovation, programming, technology, so that whole spectrum, as well as operational strategies. So that's really cool.
And you currently have your own health club, and you're still active in teaching. And sounds like you're putting heaps of your success down to owning all the assets related to understanding our consumer and not only -- and really not offering the same, same really. So giving them something different, something unique and yourself being an early adapter. So adopter, I should say. So there's a little bit of background for everyone on Mel. And I will also mention Clubworx. Obviously, we're hosting today. We're a fitness business platform member management software, we're a CRM for fitness businesses. So we help you manage everything from your payments, bookings, online registrations, automations, automating your business, getting you away from your computer back to what you love doing, which is helping your clients and automating those day to day tasks. That's Clubworx. This is Mel and I'm going to hand it over to you, Mel, to kick off today's session.
Mel: Well, good morning. And thank you, Emily, and thank you, Rochelle, for organizing today's session. Super excited to be here. But will have to tell you all, what I love the most about my job and my career was actually teaching classes and getting innovative. So it's the only reason that I opened the club, back in 2003, was to teach classes. So the rest of it happened along that way, was a total accident. Still enthusiastic every single day teaching classes, teach 10 to 12 classes a week, love to be innovative ever, as I said, and especially with technology, and putting the group fitness, the technology and the business models together to make them successful, and to help other club owners on that journey as well. So let's start today's session. So every USP, and we know what USP is all about, unique selling point, should be about your PSU. Now, when I advertised that I was coming on here with the team, I was inundated with inboxes that said to me, but what is your PSU? So you guys are going to have to wait pretty much until the end of the session. But I'm sure that you're working out beforehand.
So every USP should be about your PSU. So how I wanna start this. I want to start -- basically what I've done over the last 18 years, that's given me a niche in the marketplace that you can also be doing in your own club, regardless of what your business model is, and regardless of the size of your club. So don't assume that I have got the small club, I can't do what Mel does, or I've got a large commercial club, I can't do what Mel does. Everybody can do what we're doing in our club. All you do is tweak it to suit your demographic.
So one of the things that we notice, about 10 years ago, was that after our early morning classes, our members were always hanging around the weather box at the front of our gym, and they'd be there for 10 or 15 minutes chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter and then they'd go on about their day. So this is like seven o'clock in the morning.
So we thought geez, gosh it look so untidy out the front, all these people having a chitter-chatter, we really should get them interacting with each other inside the club. So this is when we decided to have free breakfast. Now this breakfast on the screen looks pretty cool. And it was. We got tremendous feedback from our members. But what we found was that they would finish a class, they would come into our, what we call our supplement room, they'd sit down and have a chit-chat then have some breakfast or they grab a coffee on the way and they'd be talking with each other. And we have to remember that when people come to the gym, they all come with a common theme and that is to get healthy and to stay healthy.
Now for some people coming to the gym is the best part of their day. They don't like going to work and they don't want to go home. And, unfortunately, that is the truth for some people. So when they come, they create friendships that all have the same agenda.
And we found that our community became stronger when we gave them a meeting place. And having free breakfast at the club every day allowed that opportunity to happen. Now, it looks pretty glamorous saying you have apples, banana cake, cereal, bananas, apples, all that sort of stuff. And what we did was, we pretty much just applied these ourselves as a club, and we gave them free breakfast, and they could take it or they could stay, or they could grab a coffee on the way.
One of the bonuses to doing a free breakfast, because your members are hanging around at the club doing this, this allowed personal trainers to come in and have a conversation. And they were able to upsell their services as personal trainers, which then, of course, create the extra income for the club. And that's really, really important, as you all know. And it also created the opportunity for our frontline team to then be upselling other services.
So having a place where your members meet, whether it's for free breakfast, or perhaps just a drink after classes or training gives your team, which is fairly important to your club, the opportunity to go in and communicate with those people. And then they have conversation, and that creates opportunity to upsell. So this is one other things that was very, very successful in our club, and still is today. And moved up a little bit from the apples and the granola, we have members that now come in and share breakfast with some of the other members or that pop something in the mark way. So it's become, as I said, a really great innovative way to create social interaction within the clubs just by creating an area where they can come in and have free breakfast.
So once you move away from the free breakfast, we then-- we're very innovative in our club. And we were one of the first clubs about eight or nine years ago to introduce virtual classes. Now I know a lot of clubs have these, but they don't use the programming the way that we should be using the program to keep your members submitted in your club. So I'll explain the basic way that you can have virtual classes. You can ring a virtual program provider, and you can say, "Hey, I want to have virtual classes in my club." And what we need to remember is that, I know that some of the attendees today are martial art experts and they have clubs that teach karate, and all of those types of things of martial arts, you can actually get martial arts on the virtual classes. So if you're allowing your members to come in after hours or before their training time, this is where they can be participating in some type of martial art class, stretching, Pilates, core strength, or even functional training, boxing. There's like 450 different streams of content that people that come to your business venue can be participating in as part of their ongoing membership.
So we started off with the basics, just come in, do the basic class, the screens on the wall, press the class, the projector would come down and the member would participate in the class. As the years progressed, the product progress, which meant that we were able to become more innovative with it. So then what we started to do was we started to advertise our virtual classes to our nursing community at shift workers, the school kids, the moms with young toddlers that can't get to the early classes, but perhaps could do a class in the afternoon before they do the kinder pickup. And having the virtual classes allow these people to come in on demand, select a class and do a workout whenever they want. Again, included in the membership-- and the classes are run from your group fitness studio. Now in our cycle studio, we also had cycle classes. And these have been extremely popular for shift workers, and again, nursing, even school teachers. And so this meant that people could come in, do a class when it was rostered on the timetable if they couldn't make a live class.
Now you're probably saying, okay, well, that's really great, but what else can you do with virtual program? Well, we now live in a world of COVID. And we still have a lot of members who don't want to come in and be in those tight group fitness situations. They don't want to do the 1.5. They just don't want people around them. But we want to keep them as a member in our business, and our businesses are 24/7. So the great option there is that they can come in and do these at any time.
Now, you're probably thinking well, okay, you've already said that. What else can I do with the 24/7 classes? So your providers give you the opportunity for your members to be able to access these classes via an app on their phone. That means that they don't have to come to the club, they can do a workout from home. So this allows you as the club owner to tap into your unvaccinated market. So you've got your people who love your brand, they don't want to leave your brand, but they've chosen not to be vaccinated. But these people still have to stay healthy and fit, and they want to stay healthy and fit. So this gives you an opportunity to upsell classes through an app where the classes are already provided for you. And this is great if your team aren't those types of people who want to do Facebook Live classes.
So let's face it, some of our team want to teach in a group fitness room, but the moment you go out online, it's like no, I just don't want to be on video. So these classes give your business the option to sell to your unvaccinated market. But then there's a whole unvaccinated market outside of your club. So this means that you can tap into your community who aren't already members at your club. So the bonuses of virtual classes are, your members can come in and do any type of programming. It's not all who are aerobics, there's functional training, there's martial arts, there's boxing, there's Pilates, there's yoga, there's barbell classes, there's mums and bubs classes, there's all the adults classes, they're stretching classes. So these are a whole stream of products that you might not be able to offer in your class that you can actually offer through the virtual program. And again, reiterating, there's a whole lot of people out there who aren't vaccinated, and that's their choice, but you can tap into them. So generally look at our virtual streaming in your clubs, it has been extremely successful for us.
Wearables. I'll stick with Myzone on the wearables. Although I do have a WHOOP and I love my WHOOP, Myzone has been a great asset to our business because it's made our members accountable to their workouts. Wearing a wearable also creates more social interaction and community within your club. If you go on to look at getting a wearable for your members, ensure that it's something where you can offer challenges, it has an app where your members can interact with each other, compare workouts, make sure it's got all of the basics that you can offer your members in your club. Challenges is a really great way to kick off each season. So summer, spring, autumn, winter, the New Year.
Again, a Myzone challenge within your club is a great opportunity also. We launched this program, we launched the wearables, sorry I read about eight, nine years ago, we were one of the first clubs in Australia to do so. It's just a strap that you wear around your chest, you have TV screens or a big projector in your group fitness room or anywhere in your club, and your members can see where they're working percentage wise or heart rate wise on the TV screen. And again, it creates conversation within the club and the members interact with each other. Definitely something to look at. You don't have to go with my site. There are lots of wearables out there. But it's definitely something that will create that social interaction within your club.
This is my favourite innovation. I am that club owner that loves to challenge the status quo and loves to do everything different. I jump into the frying pan, I jumped into the deep end, and I hope that I'm going to swim to the top and survive. Again, some of the success related to our club is going out onto the internet. I haven't looked that-- what's happening globally? What are other clubs doing in the UK? What are the club's doing in the US? How can I bring some of these business back into my club and tweak it for my own demographic. So some of the things that we've done just in the last six months, this is our group fitness room that you can see in the background. And you can already see that it has a lot of product in there. It's not just a room that you walk into, and there's just a stage and there's barbells in the corner. So what we decided to do was, we saw that wellbeing was becoming extremely popular. Throughout COVID People wanted to go and do workouts while it's stressful. So we were already offering yoga, we were already offering Pilates, but we saw that the Barre product is becoming extremely popular.
So if you have a look in the background there you can see where we've installed Barre products. And we launched these onto our timetable. Fingers crossed that was going to work because it was a, it wasn't a big investment, but it was still an investment. And the demographic that came and signed up to the club was amazing. It was women and men, women and men 35 and over. And so what we found was that through COVID, a lot of people obviously hadn't done exercise, and they are wanting to restart their health and fitness journey. And the Barre programs were a great place for them to start. But we also found that out, and we've all got these people in our businesses, the people who aren't very good when it comes to coordination, and they don't know their right, and they don't know their left. The Barre classes offered them the opportunity to come in, and it didn't matter right from left, it didn't matter if they had an injury, we were able to do, because it's a low impact workout, we were able to change the content of the class to suit these people.
Now the other benefits to installing these bars in your class, your group fitness room, it's not just about the class. But let's say some of you still run old fashioned tummy, hips, and thighs classes. What a great opportunity for them to be using a different piece of equipment as opposed to just doing your old fashioned Jane Fonda aerobics and getting down on the floor and doing the ABS and the leg extensions. The exercises on the bar, you can use those as a component of your tummy, hips and thighs classes. I also know of a martial art studio in my own town, they then install a couple of these for strength and conditioning with some of the members that come and do their programs. The bars are great for your older-adults class. So you're over 55, you are over 60s. Do you run veteran programs in your club? Again, a great opportunity for your veterans to be using the Barre product. So when you see this in your publications, or you see the Barre programs on the internet, don't push them to the side, the other to belay experience, it's not going to suit my business model. Because there's just so many different ways that you can use the product within different types of programming.
Recently, we just purchased the fit benches that you can see there. And it's a bench that has hand weights, it comes with bands and slamball. And we decided that, we've got a functional training zone, which I'll show in a moment. But we found that some of our members didn't want to use a functional trainings zone, but they still love the HIIT classes. So we went out and purchased these fit benches not knowing how successful it would be. We only purchased four of them. And we utilize the fit bench with the SPARC trainers that you can see there. And we run a class and it's just called HIIT GX, HIIT Group Exercise. It runs in the group fitness room. We use the benches, we use the SPARC trainers, and we also use our steps. And we also use kettlebells and weights.
Now, you might be saying, well, that's great, I can't afford some of these pieces of equipment. You can most certainly improvise. If you don't have the benches, use your steps for your HIIT classes. If you don't have the SPARC trainers, maybe you've got rowers in your club, where they're not getting utilized all the time. Push your rowers into your group fitness class for your HIIT classes. Battle ropes are very popular still within the HIIT programming. So there's lots of things that you can be doing in your group fitness room, if you don't have a proper functional training zone.
So these classes have become quite successful. I found that my cycle classes were getting a little bit quieter when we reopened for one of our closures. So I took four spin bikes out of our cycle room, put them into the group fitness room, used four SPARC trainers, four fit benches, four spin bikes, and four steps that most of you would have in your clubs, and we use some of the weights for our barbell workouts. And then I was able to create a different experience in our HIIT workouts, as opposed to some of the stuff that everybody's been doing for the last six or seven years. Hit programming is still very, very popular. If you have an older demographic that you feel no, that's too hard for them, we've got an older demographic in our club. All you need to do is to improvise with the physical execution that your instructors are teaching, bring it down a couple of levels. You'll find that those people will still love to have a go on this equipment because it makes them feel young and doesn't make them feel like they can't do the stuff that perhaps the younger generation is doing.
So and these are classes that if you've got trainers that love to do Facebook Live classes, you can also be offering this type of training to your unvaccinated market. But getting them to make a step at home, getting them to purchase a bell robe or a kettlebell, and you can be teaching Facebook live classes with functional training or HIIT workouts. And be recording those classes and then upskilling them and uploading them perhaps to a closed group page where you can have your unvaccinated people sitting and they can be attending that live classes in your club and even the martial art studios. You guys can be doing the same thing. You can be filming your sessions and then uploading them to close groups where you're unvaccinated people who haven't been able to come back they can still be part of your business model by participating in those workouts.
So this is our functional training area. And it looks a little bit unique. And it is because as I said, I love innovation and I love doing different. I hate replicating what every other business in town is doing. And I encourage coaches that are out there, when you're looking for something different, please don't replicate the business down the road, have a look at what other people are doing globally in other countries, and take from there and then tweak it to your own demographic in your own community.
So we used, we purchased some BoxMaster. So for you guys that are doing martial arts, there's probably quite a few of you that have already got the Boxster in your clubs. These are great for HIIT workouts. So if you are just teaching martial arts and you're not doing any other type of group fitness, perhaps look at HIIT training by using the BoxMasters, using weights, using kettlebells, doing your old fashioned functional training moves. Again, a great way to expand the product that you're using in your club. Just because you're a martial art studio doesn't mean that you can't tap into the group fitness arena. Kids love using the BoxMasters when we run kids classes. And for those of you that have a group fitness clubs or large commercial clubs, definitely have a look at the BoxMasters. Another great product to have a look at is the HIITMill. So have a look at the HIITMill. That's a great product. It's like a HIITMill, runs on the energy of the participant and also has a farmers carrier attached to it. So it's a very multi-skilled product that you can use.
One of the things that you need to understand about your group fitness and your programming, irrespective of what type of business model you are, your product has to relate to your demographic. So if you don't understand who your demographic is, or you think, hey, we suit everybody, it's highly likely that you've got it wrong. What I tell most club owners to do, if not all club owners to do is to get up at the sea and work your business and walk your business, work your business and walk your business. So walk around your business, have a look at the demographic, have a look at who is coming. Understand the age, the sex. Understand, is it married people? Is it single people? Is it the gay? The gay market that are coming into your club. Once you understand the full demographic of who your people are, you can work your business to suit them. Don't try and attract demographic that don't come into your club. Stick with what you know. We've been in the business now for, will be our 19th year in September.
When we first opened our club, I went in there with the thought, hey, we're going to open up a business, because were only 450 square meters back in those days. And it's going to be suited to the corporate market. And on the day that we opened, this massive amount of people came to join our club, tracksuit, pants, Daggy T-Shirts, I was like, "Oh my God, where were all of these people?" Because they weren't the people that I was teaching at another club before I left to open my own business.
And the light club went off in my head. My community was shouting for a non-intimidating environment, a place that was comfortable, where everybody would come and work out and didn't feel that they were on show. So that day was the day that I said to my team, and remember this is going back nine years ago, our team don't wear crop tops anymore. If you're teaching in our club, you wear a tank top. We banned crop tops throughout our team.
And we found, by creating that non-intimidating culture, non-intimidating workouts, we attracted this very, very big community out there that weren't being accommodated for. And that has worked really well for us. And that has created success ongoing in our business over the last 18 years. So though the equipment may look fancy and innovative, we ensure that the content that's in the programming suits our demographic. So understand your demographic, get out, walk your business, then come back and work your business to suit those people.
So moving on from that, secondary spend. There is so many products out there that your community are buying from other businesses. They get online as you know, and they buy their active wear, they buy their supplements, they do their beauty services elsewhere etcetera, etcetera. We decided about seven years ago to open up a beauty salon within our club. Now, in all fairness, I'll disclose it was my daughter's business, but she had already been working elsewhere in Ballarat, and we thought this is really cool. She wants to set up her own business.
Let's go in there without [00:25:56 –inaudible] for her, let's set this up to create an opportunity for her and create an opportunity for us. So we set up a beauty salon in there to have waxing, eyelashes, nails, everything that the ladies go to do, spray tans. And besides having her own clientele follow her to the business model, we then met the needs of some of our members. So we not only have female members booking into the beauty salon, we also have male members booking into the beauty salon. Yes, men do go get certain things done. And they were booking into the Deliciously Good Beauty salon to have those things done.
So what was happening was, remember, we've got the free breakfast happening that's creating social interaction, people in our six o'clock morning time slots were meeting together and staying together as a community. Then there are nine o'clock people in the morning, majority of the ladies after they do the class or something, or before they do the class they'd go and get a beauty service. Again, spending more time within our business model. And again, of course, the beauty services were sold through to our members five days a week, right until six or seven o'clock at night. They're also attending the group fitness classes that were in their Myzone belts, where they couldn't attend live classes, they're coming in, and they're doing their virtual programming. So we're meeting the needs of our community by creating other options for them, and keeping them within our business so that they don't go online and purchase from elsewhere. So we're working really hard to keep that income within our own business.
For many, many years, we were selling supplements in our supplement room. You know, amino roots, protein powders, pre workouts. Are we that community and culture, the big bicep curls down the back of the gym doing the Instagram pics? Absolutely not. No, we are not that culture. But there are still people out there that want to purchase these types of supplements, because that's what they want to do. So instead of them going into, say a club that might sell supplements and exposing them to another gym, or having them go into a nutrition, same warehouse or another supplement store where the people behind the counter might offer them a seven day pass for another gym, we put the product into our club. Again, creating a place where members could go shop spend and keeping the income within our own business. So we've found that all of these little bits and pieces that we have added to our business has created success for us. And we've been deriving a very, very strong income from it.
But the most important thing behind all of this, and the most important part of your business is this. It's your team. So if you don't have a great team, you're going to have to work twice as hard to have an amazing business. And at the moment, we have to be quite honest, a lot of us have lost staff, because they've decided that through COVID, it's given them appreciation for life, they don't want to work as much, they want to go off and do things. So as businesses, we're struggling to find staff. And even with our members, some of our members have moved away or moved in to stay. But the most important aspect of your business is your team.
So one of the things that I do within my business and the majority of clubs do this anyway, besides getting a free membership, we also do a lot of free educational stuff for our club. So we do a lot of sales training. If there's fitness business events happening throughout Australia, I've got a team of 20. So I might say to my team, "Okay, you five this year, I'll pay for you to go. Anybody else that wants to go, you'll have to finance yourself there, but next year, it'll be your turn." And we do a rotating thing with the roster of staff so that all of our staff can attend national events.
We get people in to do sales training at the moment, they're having to do that online because some of the presenters can't obviously travel. So we're doing a lot of that online. So when people give me free product, they might give me supplements or they might throw us some hoodies or towels. I hand them out to the staff. Because your staff help you derive income and your staff probably have more access to your community than what you do as a business owner. And your staff help create the culture within your club.
So our philosophy has always been that it is a privilege to be a part of somebody's health and fitness journey. And it's really, really important that your team share the same vision that you do. I also tell my team believe it or not when they start with me, this is where you create your foundation. You are not allowed to stay here forever. Create a foundation, get a lot of skill, grow yourself as a professional so that you can go out there and create your own business model. And we have had a lot of staff that won't bow, I've tried, but they will stay with us. But then we've had staff that have left and set up their own businesses. And we're very proud to say that we're part of that journey.
So who are we all? Not just me, but you guys watching also. We are business models that need to create community and culture through social interaction. And social interaction is created by all the meeting points that you create within your business, all of those upsells that you do, personal training, small group training, your Myzone belts, your free breakfast, your challenges, your supplement room, your beauty services, all of these little bits and pieces, having veterans come in and do workouts in your club, your all the adults, your mums and bubs classes, these all creating unity within your club. And if your members are getting a fantastic experience, they then take that experience out on social media, and share with their friends, which in return brings more foot traffic into your club. So creating community and culture through social interaction is the most important component along with your team in your club.
So you need this, and this is one rule where I have never moved away from, cut the umbilical cord of anyone who is not united within your club, staff and members. In my term as a18 year club owner, I have cancelled the memberships of about five members who I felt didn't share my vision and my philosophy. They were the wrong culture for the club and I didn't want them in the club, so I cancelled their memberships. And I've also done that with probably three staff members. I've just said, "You know, we're just not on the same page, this is not the place for you." And I've actually picked out other clubs in our area, where I felt that that's probably the best place for them to move on to. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with cutting the umbilical cord. Without unity, without culture, without community, without social interaction, you cannot succeed in business at all. It's just I can't go on about it so much. It's just so, so important.
So your USP, this is what you were waiting for. Your USP should be about your PSU, people, service, and unity. Your people, including yourself and your members are your community and your culture. What you provide to them is part of your service, and coming together as one unites you all to create a successful business. What I wanted to share with you in closing is this, my business thoughts for 2022. Of course, everything that I've just spoken to you about, but these also, because I think that these will help you in business.
So for 2022, instead of using the word yoga and Pilates in your business, start using the word group wellbeing. Because everybody has a different understanding of wellbeing. You don't want people to condition themselves when they see the word yoga, or the word Pilates. So if you're doing some marketing go out there and say, we offer group fitness, we offer group wellbeing. Don't allow people to condition themselves in what they're reading about your business. Market your yoga, Pilates, and Barre programs under that banner, group wellbeing. Compile these three programs into a 20-second video and drop it onto Facebook and market it to women aged 35+ with an opt-in.
So go into your group fitness room and these classes are on, get a little bit of video footage of each class, edit, put it into a 20-second video, because people on Facebook and even on Instagram, 20-seconds is about the length of their attention span, even 10 second videos, drop it onto your platform that you're using, and then market it to women age 35+ in your area and give them an opt-in to come in and perhaps have a group wellbeing day where they can come in and perhaps do a free class or make it a women's day in your club where they can come and tour the club.
The other thing is you can do exactly the same thing with your martial arts and with your circuit classes that might include boxing or functional training. Then do exactly the same thing and market these to your males in the 35+ market. Because we have found in our club through COVID, every time we reopened, reopens, it's the 35+ market that they're seeking out better health and better fitness as opposed to the demographic under that. So there are some ideas that you could be doing to bring more foot traffic into your club. Again, go out there, group wellbeing, 20-second videos, hit the female market, do the same thing for your martial arts, your boxing your, circuit programs, and hit the male 35 class market.
Something else that works really well, family nights. Whether you got martial art studio, or you got commercial club, create the nights where mom and dad can bring the kids to the gym, you do a workout together in a group fitness room, the kids get to see where mum and dad work out, instead of complaining every time mom or dad go to the gym, and your members will be great role models for the kids. Just some facts here, 8:30, 4:30, 5 o'clock classes, 30 minute formats are extremely popular now.
People are working flexible hours, and they're working from home, which means that the times that they want to work out, and the content that they want to do has changed compared to prior to March 2020. You need to challenge the status quo, and you need to look at different programming within your club. Our industry is flooded with some amazing programs at the moment. With all due respect to providers, like Les Mills, the world is bigger than those guys. And you need to go out and see different so that your business offers niche, and again, you can bring new foot traffic into the club. Time to get rid of the kettlebells and ropes, start to move in, add a little bit, start to look at new product within your club. And I'm more than happy to help anybody with that.
New technology that I'm recommending to everybody, irrespective of your business model. Of course, these guys have got amazing software who are running the seminar today clubs works. But if you're looking for something else, besides Myzone, have a look at Motosumo. Grab that, write that down Motosumu. Your members can have it on an app on their phone. And your trainers can be trained to use this app for heart rate within your club, can be used for martial arts, can be used for all types of physical activity. It's a new product, I have had it, tried it, loved, have still got the app on my phone. If you're a club owner or a martial arts business owner who is thinking of perhaps opening up their second location, or needs to know a little bit more about their business and what's going on, I'd have a look at ActiveXchange. I actually hired these people myself. Just before COVID hit, I was considering opening up a female only [00:39:01 –inaudible], wanted to open it up within my own town, had an idea of where I wanted to open it up, but just wasn't too sure.
So I hired these guys. And I went out and I gave them sort of like a criteria and they come back and they said, "This is the best area, Mel. This is how many people are going to join if you open up in this location. This will be the demographic. This is what they're going to pay. This is how many people are going to join your women's only club within X amount of period of time." So I felt I had all of this information. And then I was able to sit back and really sit down and go, "Okay, is it viable for me to open this business or shall I just tweak a few things within my own business model and target that demographic."
And that's what I chose to do, tweak a few things and go out and market to that demographic, which is great, because four or five months later, COVID hit and as we all know, we had to close our businesses. Vertimax, do Google Vertimax and have a look, if you've got a lot of athletics that come into your club, or you're wanting to expose your business to football clubs, soccer clubs, martial arts studios, this is a great product too, strengthen conditioning. It's a portable product. There's some great training modules to have. They target footy players, soccer players, basketball, cricket, great for young athletes in high schools, great for personal trainers, and definitely a good one for the martial arts studio. So definitely have a look at the Vertimax.
And the legacy of a leader, which you all are because as far as I'm concerned, anybody that, I could say, backside on the line to open up a business deserves a medal from me. So the legacy of a leader which is a club owner, it's not about the wounds that you leave behind, it's not about the likes or the awards that you'll give them, it's about the lives that you enhanced through leadership, opportunity that you create, and the willingness to see each person as an equal. If you can find those small traits, I promise you, you will have an extremely successful business in the fitness industry and you will change thousands and thousands of lives, not just of your members, not just of your community, but those that work alongside you every single day.
So guys, I know that was quick and fast and I hope that you got a lot from it. You're very, very welcome to drop some questions now. I'll get Emily or Rochelle to let me know what the question are. But if you want to contact me, my details are there. I've got so much more than I can share with you. And more than happy to offer those that are online today a free 15-20 minute chat on Skype. So yeah, do get me up.
Emily: Thank you so much, Mel. I am just, there we go, we are. Thank you so much for that. That was jam packed. Yeah, I think there's just so much in there and so many really practical and usable pieces of advice for our listeners as well, because I think that's something that people who do put their backsides on the line and run a business, they don't always have a big network of other individuals to provide that advice. Not everyone has a business coach, not everyone has a mentor.
So it is really amazing to have those tried and true pieces of advice as well. It's not just things that you think could work, it's things that you've implemented in your own business over many years and you can kind of give those stats. Just before we jump into those questions, I guess, just for myself, I had a note here that I've made along the way. And one thing I'm really impressed by is you seem to have a really good understanding of the demographics of the individuals that are in your club, and their network as well in your town, for example. So I was just interested to know, what's your secret to having that sort of granular insight and how you leverage it. So what is it that helps you do that?
Mel: I think the most important thing is being in your business as often as you can. So owning my business every single morning, and every single night, on maybe one or two nights, which I've got, but I'm there every single day. And I look at the person. I'm a people watcher. So I look at the person coming in, I just don't look at their face, I look at their body makeup, I look at the way they're dressed, I look at their age, I look at the times that they come into the club. And then what I do is if another instructor is teaching a class, I don't do this all the time, so I don't think I'm a stalker, but I do walk past it. I have a look again at the age and the demographic of the people that are coming in.
And then I put that together and I say wow, look at all of these ladies 35+ and over coming into our club. Look at all these 20 to 30 year olds that are coming into the club. What's the one familiar trait that they all have, even though they don't know each other? So it might be the fact that they're not the size 8, they're not the size 10, they are size 14 and they are a size 16. Well, that's okay, because they're still allowed to come to the club. And they're still allowed to enjoy the same products, that both are an 8 and the size 10. So what you need to do is just to see what you have a lot of coming into your club.
So we're actually also have a very high LGBT community that come in. And what we do is once we picked up on that, once we picked up on that, we then start to say that in our marketing. It doesn't matter what shape and size you are, what gender you are, it doesn't matter what sexual orientation you are, everybody is welcome in our club. So we've broken the barriers down so that somebody that may be larger, feels like yeah, they can come into the club. But the other secret too, and this is where a lot of club owners go wrong, they buy their marketing material, or they get other people to organize their marketing material. You all have an amazing community within the businesses, all you got to do is go to, "Hey, guys, I'm going to be out there today I'm filming, taking some pictures, is it okay if we take some pictures of you being in the group?"
And then use those pictures in your marketing, because it's real people in your community that you're using in your ads. So everyone that you can see in today's presentation, they're all members in my club. And they're also, "Yeah, of course, put it out there." Because these are the people that we want to come into our club. There's no point in me going and buy the whole bunch of pictures off Shutterstock and then using those. Because that's falsifying the business that I am. So don't falsify what you are, be true to who you are and use of people within your business in part of your marketing.
Emily: That's right, so you save money on stock photos. Go and get those people and I know my gym does exactly the same thing and it's not something-- I find it's something that you're seeing the same people in the promotions throughout the gym that you see on the floor at the gym and it just basically reflects what's true about that gym. It's also another great way I think for the trainers to interact with some of the members as well, because they get to have these little photoshoots with them, which everyone want to do it, love it. And I'm sure there's people that don't want to do it. Not everyone wants to be videoed while they're jogging, of course. So yeah, I loved that detail that you have in that insight, and it's a credit to you, if that's the sort of thing that you can get from observation, and that you've taken the time to note that.
So being in your business, obviously, super important, and actually paying attention and talking to your customers. And I also really love that general open-mindedness of using fitness equipment and concepts across all different styles to bring everyone together and bring more people in and more people. So not limiting your membership based on the success of your business to that very narrow group of potential members, you're a martial art school, you've got kids in your classes, you've got adults in your classes. They have lots of different interests. You could have the parents who go to another gym for Pilates, why don't you put some Pilates on for them.
Mel: Absolutely. Emily, there's a martial art studio here in Ballarat. Once a week, they run a dance class. Well, I mean, nothing is impossible, you just might need to have conversation with another person to help you open your mind a little bit.
Emily: And help you run that, you know, if that sounds like the wheelhouse, you can bring other experts in to do that, as well. So that's really cool. And that just in general, you're finding really novel and positive ways to include everyone, not excluding anyone through COVID. So that everyone can continue their fitness journey. And that way, you're ensuring the purpose of your business, which is making sure you're getting fitness and impacting people's lives, but also ensuring your business has the ability to stay through these months, and get through to the other side of whatever as we're going through the rest of 2022 as well.
And in general, I'm really enjoying the passion that's clearly there in everything you're saying. And just in making that impact. So I'll jump over now to a couple of questions from some of our guests. And I'm just going to attempt to scroll here. So a couple of the questions here. Okay, so this is a little bit what we've touched on there, but what do you think the greatest opportunities are for martial arts businesses when it comes to their business model? So do you have any sort of sense of what one of the biggest impacts they could have, or one of the biggest strategies they could try?
Mel: Absolutely. So my understanding is, you're a little bit like me, you run the classes at certain times during the day, and then there's a big gap during the day where nobody's coming into your business. So I would be tapping into primary school classes, secondary school classes, I would even be reaching out, I would either be reaching out to some of your larger businesses, example, corporate businesses, where you could be running a corporate a day at the studio, where they come in between 12 and 2 o'clock, run a self-defence class for them.
There's so much that you could be doing. Are you putting your classes on Facebook Live? So let's say you're taking a Karate session, there's no reason why you can't have a camera running in the background, and you've got somebody who's unvaccinated, but was a member of your facility at a months ago, but can still be participating in that. So that's an enormous, online stuff is absolutely enormous. And I would say that every business irrespective of the product that's within your business, you must become a hybrid model.
So if I owned a martial arts studio, I'm assuming and correct me if I'm wrong, there's probably four or five hours during the day where not much is going on and you do your paperwork and your marketing, tapping, get the schools down there, offer one of the secondary schools a four week program to girls for the 14 to 17 for self-defence. Run a mums and bubs classes for self-defence. Think about what gyms are doing, and then say, "How can I put that into my class?" What about all the adults class for self-defence? That would be incredible, you run that 8:30 because I'm telling you now that all these want to be in and out by 10 o'clock. So you'd have to run it at like a 30 in the morning, but rather some defensive class for them. It makes them feel young and invigorated. But at the same time, you're creating skills for these people to keep them safe. But I would definitely be tapping into all of your educational places, even the universities.
Emily: Oh, well, yeah, that's a great idea. And I think the self-defence is those sorts of courses where it's very specific, those sorts of things can be compartmentalized really well and you can take them out into the community. You can take them to a school, you can take them to a university and those sorts of things. So that's a really interesting one to explore. What is your take on, in particular, just in getting new people in, paid versus free trials?
Mel: So I don't like free trials. I'm so sorry, everyone. I am not a free trial person. You know, I was an independent club owner for six and a half years before we became part of a franchise. And there's a reason for that. And one of the things that they do is free trials. And I'm like, no, no, no, I've never ever done them, and I don't like them. Because I feel that if it's somebody walks through your door, somebody gets in the car and walks through your door, and is thinking about joining a gym, you should be able to sign them up. So the conversation should be, what do you after?
So the first couple of questions, and I know a lot of you've received sales training over the years, just like my team, but if I do a tour with somebody, when they walk in, I already know the fact that they got in the car, and they drove down here and walked through the door means that they want to join the gym for health and for fitness. So okay, look for something short term or long term? I'm looking for something long term. Cool. Did you want to pay upfront or did you want to do week to week? But have that conversation with them whilst they're walking through your facility. And fine, so what do you enjoy about working out? I'm not really into classes, I just like doing the gym. So don't show them your group fitness room, don't waste your time.
Don't show them what they're not interested in, take them to where they want to be. I love working out at the gym. Or they might go, I just want to do classes. Bang straight to your group fitness room. This is our group fitness room. These are the types of classes that we have each week. If you're offering online, tell them that you're offering them online. If they can't make a class, you already got virtual, "Hey, did you know if you can't make one of our live classes, you can do a virtual class."
I really don't think there's somebody that gets in the car, walks through the door is coming in to get a ticket for a five day free trial. They're coming down to join the gym. It's your listening skills that's going to get you across the line to give them or sign them up on a membership. Some of my staff sell different and I allow them to do that because we have to work with what makes us comfortable as salespeople. And that's what we are in our club. But that's what I do. I usually go straight for short term, long term. Did you want to grab something upfront or are you looking at doing something week to week.
Once I've got those two answers, I then pretty much find out what it is if they like to join the Club. And that's where they go and I don't show them anything else. And don't show them the showers and the toilets. Because I always tell people, people don't come to your club to have a shower unless they're going to have a shower before they go to work. Yes, they might use the toilet, but they're not going to not join your club because they don't like the colour of the paint on the wall in the toilet. So just put it all into a little box, find out what they're about, what they want, and sell that to them.
Emily: Excellent advice, very usable steps to get through that initial consultation with somebody a lot of places do have that moment where they come in, where that prospect is going to come in for that first time. Super important to identify the top, say it's the top three things they want to do, top one thing they want to do, and forget about the rest. The toilets and bathroom does seem to be a real staple on the tour. But good to know they're there. But yeah, you're right. That's not why people are joining.
Mel: I can just say, Emily, in your conversation, if they've openly told you that they remember somewhere else and they're looking for change, don't be afraid to ask them, what was it that you didn't like about that club? And if you know that you do that better, then there's your closing. Yep, there's your closing.
Emily: That's right. And you know, there does have to be that moment at the end where you asked for them to provide money for that. And that's nothing to be afraid of. This is something that a lot of the businesses that we speak to, one of the biggest problems that everyone see that a lot of people mentioned is really asking for money, talking about money, talking about signing up those sorts of things. You guys all have these amazing businesses with great products, and someone's come to you to get your services, so there is an expectation that they will pay. And I think handing out your services for free can in some ways devalue that as well. So yeah, so there's lots of people on both sides of the fence. Both can work.
But yeah, I tend to agree with you, Mel. I just have one final question. What tips do you have to learn more about your customers and the differences between your existing customers and targeting new types of customers? I think we've sort of, we really have spent a bit of time talking about this. So you really talked a lot about understanding who your customers are. And we've spoken about the idea of bringing in those other, whether it's fitness equipment concepts for classes and things like that, to bring in new people or new and different types of customers into your gym, I think. I didn't know if you had anything else to add to that.
Mel: I think if you're looking to get new foot traffic through your door, which is what everybody's desperately trying to do at the moment, first thing is don't drop your prices, don't undervalue your business and don't undervalue your team by cutting your prices. Don't worry about what your competition is doing in town. If you know your business and understand your business, you will succeed and you don't have to do any of those things to get new foot traffic through the door. If you want the same people that are coming to your club to sign up at your club as a new member, again, it comes back to the message that you're projecting out into your community.
So if you're doing Facebook ads, then obviously, and you want to attract the same, then your Facebook ads have to be about those that come into your club. If you're not too good at Facebook ads, there's nothing wrong with delegating it to somebody in your club who is better than you, or perhaps going off and doing a Social Media course, especially with all the changes that have happened with Facebook recently, I will actually be strongly recommending that. I've had to upskill quite a few times throughout COVID, because of the changes. But if you want to just target those that are already coming to your club, just project that message out there.
If you're wanting for a completely different market, so let's say that your club is just a 40 and over, but you want to start to get the 20 to 30 year olds in there, you're really going to have to know your business and you're really going to have to have a good strong niche product that you're going to be able to market to them and keep them in your club. Because not everyone will agree with this. And I have an awful lot of members in that age bracket. But the 18 to 26 to 27 year olds, their loyalty is not as strong as those in the 35 and over mark.
So if you want to get them in, I suppose I would be going for short term memberships to be the cash in the bank or week to week direct debits, but your product that you're going to offer them, it has to be targeted for them. There's no point in going out there and doing a Facebook ad and spending $100 and just clicking the boxes, I want the 20 to 26 year olds, but you've got a bunch of pictures that are 40 or 45 year olds, that's not going to work for you. So remember, if you want to attract new, what you put out, there's got to be new, it's got to be targeted to them. But remember, when they walk through that door, you better be showing them what they want. Because if you don't, that's a lost lead and loss lead is a very expensive. It's actually got to keep your current members under your roof as to try and get new members at the moment.
Emily: And that's a really, really valuable point. And I think extremely timely point is you kind of have to make those decisions and understand the cost of those attempts to go out into new markets versus retaining your current membership base. Obviously, that's just in some businesses case, throughout the last few years, just that task has been their main task, just sort of ensuring the membership base that they have continues. And so that's always a really important decision to make before you go out on those new cohorts as well. So that's really interesting as well.
So I just want to be conscious of the time and you've given us so much today, Mel. I'm really excited to share this with everyone after today. I'm going to send out an email to everyone who attended today. Mel, we'll include a link to contact you for the offer that you've provided. So there was a free 20 minute session I believe, to discuss your business model and your potential to get in line with some of these ideas with Mel, extremely valuable to be able to do that.
So we will send that out as soon as this is over as well as a recording of today. And we look forward to hearing from you in the future as well, Mel, for a second session sometimes. I know you're busy. I also wanted to just mention that Clubworx is running every month we're doing our ClubworxAcademy where we bring in industry experts like Mel Tempest here and getting you some value. It's no cost. It's a free session, so that you can come along and learn more. We're going to be particularly focusing over the next few months as well on businesses that are really looking to grow brand names as well franchise. So that's really interesting. I'm trying to focus on that throughout our existing customers and anyone else who is interested because that's-- we've been sort of reaching out, we understand that sort of interest. So that's really exciting as well. So looking forward to seeing everyone next month. Thank you so much, Mel, and we'll talk soon.
Mel: Thanks, guys.
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