Part One: How the first month will make or break your business?

Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part blog series by Ben Isabella.

Courtesy of Shutterstock.comFrom the very first moment in your Box, an individual is beginning to make their assessment, knowingly or not, on whether they will be providing you with their business. As a Box owner, you must handle prospective athletes with care. When was the last time you assessed how you deal with walk-ins and inquires? Have you evaluated your On Ramp, Fundamentals or Foundations Program within the past six months? Do you have follow-up procedures? Do you offer introductory classes? These questions need to be addressed, improved, analyzed and executed. Even when you establish a plan it continually needs to be updated and reworked. The first month of an athlete’s experience will ultimately make or break your business.

How you respond to the initial inquiry is a very important first step. Here, a prospective athlete has a name, a face and an interest. This is your opportunity to engage your consumer. If the initial inquiry is made through email, it is important to provide quick service — reply early and often. Do not let the day go by without sending an email back. The email should be welcoming, direct, clear and concise. Avoid being open-ended or convenient and leave individuals unsure of what to do. An example of this would be, “We are open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Stop by anytime. We look forward to meeting you.” Be sure to send a clear message with how you would like to proceed, as well as information you would like in response. For example, “Thank you for reaching out to us. We would love for you to come in for our free introduction class. What time works best for you? How did you hear about us?” The plan is get them to your Box as soon as possible, while engaging them with conversation in the meantime. We want to avoid wordy emails explaining what CrossFit is. This information can be shared once you get them to the Box. A reply email that requires a person to respond back will aid in getting them to engage further. The goal of every inquiry is to get that individual to the Box. If the inquiries happen with a phone call or visit, the same process needs to be followed. You have the chance here to engage the prospective athlete with conversation as well as attractive information. You can provide them with all the information in the world, but if you do not secure a date and time for them to try out a class, then it as good as an email that did not do that either.

Once you have a date and time set, email the potential athlete how to register for class, information about your location and fundamentals program, and any other information that will guide them for what to expect. When they make their way into the Box, be sure to be just as welcoming and pleasant. Most individuals are nervous about trying out CrossFit, especially once they see what people are doing in class. This is the your opportunity to excite your consumer. You want them to leave excited about CrossFit and how your Box is going to change their life. I firmly believe an introduction class is necessary in order to establish rapport, guide expectations and provide a taste of what CrossFit is all about. The athlete should leave class understanding how your program works, how instruction and attention to detail are important, and how to do a proper air squat. It serves limited value when you have a first timer just “jump right in.” Empower your new athlete with skills and instruction that are basic, but provide many teaching opportunities. Next month we will continue the process and discuss the days and weeks after day one!

In 2009, Ben Isabella received his C.S.C.S from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. As well as being a strength and conditioning specialist, bootcamp instructor, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, he is a physical education teacher at Sayreville High School. Keep up to date with current fitness and nutrition info by following him on Instagram @Ben_Isabella.