What my gym thought me about business.

What my gym thought me about business.

“When do you what to work out again?” It’s an innocent question that a fitness trainer at my gym would text me every once a while.
And I don’t reply. Why?
The golden rule for every business man is this: ‘Put yourself in your customer’s place.
By Orison Swett Marden — Founder of SUCCESS Magazine
As a customer, I am well aware of that the fitness trainer don’t care about my personal fitness goals.

The Click Bait in Real Life

It all started when I decided to go with the gym that is closest to me when I first arrived at Shanghai.
This gym is very good at selling. They have dedicated salesman in suits waiting for you to show a hair of interest.
“I am just going to take a look at the facilities and leave”I thought.
They definitely love to show you around the facility, because while you walk with a salesman, he would ask,
“Are you a student? or you are working?”to gauge how deep is your pocket.
“Are you from around here?”to gauge if he can sell you a long-term plan or short-term plan.
Once you’re in their territory, they unleash their sales technique. By sales technique, I mean they would draw a few numbers and circles on a blank paper.
They started off with 7000RMB(1077USD) per year for membership.
I would say,
“Let me think about it”
Normal people would understand that’s a kind way to refuse.
Butnope, they’re sharks. Hungry, hungry sharks.
They started to lower the price. I didn’t even try to bargain and just kept saying,
“Let me think about it!”
They end up lowering the price to 5000RMB(769USD) for two years and a half. Wondered how does their math work.
I took the deal, which began the battle of rejecting personal trainers left and right.

The Up Sell

While you’re working out, personal trainers would approach you and tell you what you’re doing wrong and offer to show you how it’s done.
It always ends in the same way.
“So let’s start a lesson next week. You just need to buy the lessons in bulk. How about 56 lessons for 25,000RMB(3847USD)?”
I would just laugh and say,“Nope, I am broke”

The Company Culture

Both the salesman and fitness trainer did nothing wrong. They are only following their company’s rules and agenda. The company set sales goal, and if they don’t meet the sales goal by the end of the month, they would not be there. (well, they could be there and only making base salary)
As a customer, I can strongly feel the company’s culture when the company puts money before its customer. Even if they don’t say that on their advertisement, this company culture permeates through its employees.
I could almost hear the fitness trainer’s desperation when he texted me, “When do you want to workout again?” as Shanghai’s high cost of living is suffocating.
This sort of short-term sales’ goal might temporary boost the company’s revenue on paper, but it’s sacrificing its connection with its customers.
When there is a better alternative, the customers will have no hesitation switching.
Customers are not dumb. They will know what do you really care about.
To summarize, here are the five lessons that I took away form this experience.
  1. Business only exist to serve its customer.
  2. Customers are not dumb.
  3. Sales’ Goal creates desperate employees
  4. Opaque pricing destroys trust
  5. Aggressive sales’ technique is just plain annoying
How was your experience getting a gym membership?
Thank you for reading

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