A lead generation and sales tactic we've seen emerge with ferocity lately is the "6-Week Challenge". This blog post is meant to outline the process as well as the pros and the cons of the 6-Week Challenge for those who are considering it. Please note, due to the complexity of these challenges, this is a simple overview. Each step and process has an intricate amount of detail to complete successfully.
The premise behind this marketing/sales tactic is simple:
- Fill your lead funnel with lots of highly qualified leads, using a free offer to help them achieve a short term fitness goal.
- Get those leads to essentially fund your marketing expenses, via a challenge buy-in.
- Reward those who have hit their fitness goals with a refund of the buy-in. Incentivize them to remain a member of your gym by offering them the buy-in refund as a discount amortized over a year contract.
- Those who hit their fitness goals will likely see the value of your services and stay on as members of your gym.
A free 6-week fitness program. You will be marketing a free program, generally via social media. The tactic of offering as a free program is meant to increase the amount of leads you get while also lowering your cost per lead. We all know you cannot sustain offering a completely free 6 week fitness program to your community - so there's obviously a catch. And most of your leads will know there's a "but" coming when they sign up. But you have to put a $X00 deposit down to stay accountable. If you hit our agreed upon fitness goals, you get it back. If you don't, you don't. While this is very bait/switch-y, it plays to human nature and is explainable. Without something on the line, everyone will take this challenge and no one will finish. Therefore, without lying you can tell them, you're taking this deposit to help ensure their success while also giving some recourse if someone is wasting your time.
The Hook Explained
- You need a solid marketing angle, and this is perfect.
- Your clients gets results in a short term.
- It's free.
- It plays to emotion (imagine yourself on the beach in that swimsuit, just in time for summer)
- It provides you with unlimited marketing dollars, provided you can sell.
- The deposit should be set to something that has a sting if they don't succeed.
- On average it should cost you less than $250 per sale.
- Setting your price anything above your average cost per sale means your marketing is 100% funded by the leads themselves.
- The deposit anchors your clients at a price higher than your monthly memberships will be.
- You should price the deposit at least 2x more than your membership is.
- This becomes their anchor when you sell them on a membership at the end.
- This step requires you to be a great sales person.
- You have to have 100% faith in your ability to help these people achieve their goals.
- You have to be totally ok dropping the deposit requirement on them AFTER they come to the gym and talk to you about the program.
- You have to buy-in on the fact that without the deposit, they will likely quit. So without the deposit, you will not be able to help them.
A well structured fitness program which will:
- Help them achieve their fitness goals.
- Show them how fun and rewarding your brand of fitness is.
- Make them a part of your community.
- Turn them into living social proof for your abilities.
The "Line" Explained
- You have six weeks to prove to the client that this is the gym they NEED to be at. Your only goal during this period is to convince each challenger to join as a full member after the challenge is over.
- Their physical results are important, but not everything.
- They must form a bond with the other challengers.
- They need to trust the coaching staff.
- They should begin to look forward to their time at your gym.
- They need to see the value of becoming a member of your community.
Regardless of their success in the challenge, offer them their deposit back in the form of a discount over a one year contract. If you executed right during the challenge, you should have a client waiting to join. If you helped them hit their fitness targets, the sale will be even easier. If you did not help them hit their targets it's OK! As long as you structured the challenge correctly, you and they both will know they didn't follow the instructions and guidance correctly. Use this as a talking point when you sit them down to join the gym.
The "Sinker" Explained
Remember, the goal of the entire 6-weeks is to get them to this point. In order to pull off an effective challenge, you must execute here. The conversation will branch slightly depending if they hit their fitness goals or not, but will ultimately lead to the same discount and contract, explained below. They hit their fitness goals. If they hit their goals, this is a pretty intuitive conversation. They won the challenge and are entitled to their deposit back, per the challenge rules. They did not hit their fitness goals. Have a frank discussion with them. Ask them if there was any reason that they knew of for the missed mark. Generally, if they're being honest with themselves and you they'll divulge that they slipped somewhere. Regardless, you can point to the challengers that DID hit the mark and say "Clearly, this stuff works, if you want to hit your goals we can totally do this. We just need more time". The Contract / Discount To explain this part, let's assume you sold the challenge against a $500 deposit and your memberships are $150 per month. Offer your client a membership contract with the following terms:
- 1 year contract
- $185 / month
- $500 deposit broken up evenly across the 12 payments ($41.67/month)
- $143.33 / month
- As long as they don't quit after the year is over, they can keep that discounted rate month to month forever.
This works for everyone involved:
- You will end up getting almost as much as you'd normally for your membership ($143 vs. $150).
- You likely will be able to retain a high percentage of challengers.
- You will get a 12 month contract on the memberships.
- Your clients will feel great getting such a great deal, ideally on top of the perceived free challenge.
Challenges Aren't For Everyone
All this being said, challenges aren't for every market and for every person. It does require a rather sophisticated sales ability. It also requires you to have a very detailed and well thought out system for funneling all the challengers toward the end goal of joining the gym. Since you will rely on paid lead generation, if you do not execute well at any stage of this challenge (up front sales, program, back end sales) you might stand to actually lose money doing this. The other major downside to running a challenge is all the organization you must have to keep all your leads in order. Keeping track of who responded to the ad, who . you have talked to, who's coming to the gym for a consultation, etc. can be a beast when you're getting 200 leads from an ad!
We're Here to Help!
Running a challenge at your gym? Talk to one of our gym-owning consultants today about how to use our App Store and Integrations to automate the management of your challenge!