A cut above

In my last job, I spent a great deal of time traveling and had the good fortune of staying in some of the best hotels around the world. If you’ve ever stayed in a Sofitel or a Hyatt, you will have experienced the style of service I’m referring to. Nothing is too much trouble to the extent that you start to feel as if there is literally nothing they won’t do for you.

An example of this was a trip I was on in May this year. I was in the Sofitel in Queenstown NZ, when I was snowed in on my last day there. Concierge organised a cab (of which there were very few running that morning), to get me out to the airport but also warned that the flights may be cancelled. Sure enough when I arrived at the airport, everything was shut, which meant my cab fair ended up being a return trip to the Sofitel. As i was now snowed in and not going anywhere, concierge organised my room, that I had just checked out of, to be remade so that I could stay there for an additional night, then showed me to their business center as I was now in need of a computer to get some work done. Now you’re probably thinking, that’s all well and good, but most high end hotels have a business center and any hotel would check you back in if you were stuck and they had availability. And you would be right.

But it’s what they did next that separated themselves from the rest.

Remember, all flights were cancelled. I was not the only one stranded. And yet, I was made to feel like I was. While in the business center the General Manager of the Sofitel came to see how I was and if there was anything he could do during my additional day’s stay in Queenstown. That was polite enough if he hadn’t followed that up with a tray of coffee, tea and biscuits. He said he assumed I was going to be using the center for a while so went ahead and organised some nibbles for me. The General Manager! Bringing coffee and biscuits! Almost as if he was to blame for me being snowed in. This wasn’t a GM following Sofitel’s policies and procedures. It was an act from one person, that turned good service into a memorable experience.

When you’re wanting to stand out in business, whatever that business happens to be, It’s not all about the big bells and whistles. In the fitness industry your business model won’t be all that different from other personal training business. Most gyms have four walls, air conditioning and weights. So what separates you from the rest? What makes you a cut above?

To answer these questions, you should know this… People choose to join a gym for – convenience to work/home
- the style of training that gym offers – price

But they stay because of – the people

Think about anyone in the service industry that you rate highly. For me, it’s the local butcher. I have never come across an unhappy butcher. They seem to have a way of making you feel good about coming in each week to select your different cuts of meet. And they’re always up for a chat. My butcher always has a hot plate at the front of his shop each Saturday, ready to allow the masses to taste his latest homemade sausages or burgers. If you’re after mince meat and he’s run out, he runs out the back and makes more. Nothing is too much trouble. I put this down to one word… Passion. And when you’re passionate about what you do, you’re attitude reflects your ethics. A passionate person says YES and then figures out how afterwards.

Relate some of these key traits in your own business.

The butcher always greets me with a smile.
- Are you on you game and smiling with each and every client?

The butcher gives free tastings every week.
- In your business model, what do you give back to your client base at no cost to the client?

The butcher makes more mince meat when he runs out.
- How flexible are you with your clients if they suddenly sustain an injury? How happy are you to modify a program for your client at last minute?

The butcher is always up for a chat.
- How many people do you take the time to get to know in your working day? Not just your clients. I’m talking about people who may never become a client but with whom you’ve seen in the gym and just never said hello to.

As basics go, what I’m suggesting here doesn’t get much more basic but it’s a start and in a lot of cases will be more than the average PT is already doing. Let’s say you’re already nailing all this, what else could you be doing?

Try this… 10 additional ways to be seen as A Cut Above.

  • –  Every 20 sessions book your client in for a massage
  • –  Bring a towel in for your client
  • –  Shout them a post workout shake
  • –  Get them a gift on their Birthday
  • –  Recognise them on the anniversary date (the day they started with you).
  • –  Write a bio on your client to put in your newsletter.
  • –  Introduce them to other members (or other clients) with similar training interests.
  • –  Learn their husband / wife / children’s names.
  • –  Learn their favourite footy / rugby / soccer team. Then know the weekend sports results 
and congratulate, commiserate with them when you see them.
  • –  Invite their spouse in for a complimentary assessment session.

Passionate people in their chosen profession will look at this list and say ‘yes, these are awesome, I’ll figure out a way to make them happen!’

Those lacking passion will see this list as a chore.

Which are you?