Value: Race to the Bottom or Rule at the Top

A gym owner stands at the bottom of a flight of concrete stairs and prepares to climb them.

Here’s the No. 1 problem in most coaching gyms: pricing.

As Bob Burg wrote, “Price is an echo of value.” So what happens when you know your services are valuable but your members and prospective clients don’t?

You struggle to reach profitability. Or you go out of business.

This value problem is more common than most people think. As gym owners, we know we’re changing lives, preserving health and improving fitness. We’ve seen critical metrics move and we’ve seen dramatic transformations. In our heads, we’re providing lots of value.

The problem is the customer doesn’t understand the value.

“The gym down the street charges $30 a month.”

This is not the customer’s fault. For decades, gyms have sold access for rock-bottom prices and hoped clients stay at home on the couch. They’ve employed slick campaigns and carpet-bombed the market into thinking “gym equals cheap.”

You run a gym—a coaching gym—and you need to tell people what that means and why your membership holds far more value.

But most of us don’t do that. Most owners of coaching gyms make these three mistakes:

1. We never talk to people before they sign up, and we don’t explain our value to our audience. We know we’re different, and we expect clients to figure it out. (They won’t.)

2. We underprice our services even though we know they produce results, so the value conversation never happens. (Call it a “self-esteem problem.”)

3. We don’t establish our value when people do sign up, so they leave quickly in search of “cheaper.” This is our greatest failure as coaches because the departed don’t understand the value of fitness, haven’t established lifelong habits and will probably get duped by the next fad. Or they might quit working out for good.

Fixing the Problem

To establish value—and charge more—you must educate, nurture leads or “upgrade your audience.” Whatever you want to call it, this process involves publishing and getting your message in front of people.

This is where your media plan comes in.

You can’t just run your business and hope people show up ready and willing to give you 10 times what it costs to get access to a globo gym.

You must teach and establish your value before a client signs up. You do that by regularly telling stories and showcasing results, solving problems, and establishing expertise. You must commit to this plan and keep the conversation going forever.

Here are a few simple examples to help you understand:

Show off the successes of your current clients: “John lost 10 lb. of fat in three months and accomplished a major goal! Here’s how he did it.”

Explain exactly how your services provide great solutions for your avatar client: “Our 30-minute PT sessions and post-workout takeout meals allow busy downtown professionals to get fit fast whenever they have time.”

Make sure people know that you’re an expert—and that your expertise will help them get results: “Ever seen this machine at a gym? Most people use it incorrectly. Here’s how our coaches help clients use this machine to get better results.”

You’ll notice that 95 percent of the stuff I publish is free. That’s because we want to start ongoing conversations with smart, hardworking entrepreneurs who will see our value and come to understand that mentorship is an amazing investment.

I’d recommend you start a similar conversation with your audience.

If price is the echo of value, you’re going to need to start making some noise in the marketplace.

Stay silent and you’ll always be fighting it out in the bargain basement with access gyms that only want a credit-card number and don’t care about getting results for clients.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.