What Training Businesses Should Have Learned From Shopping Malls

Ah, shopping malls.

They once were the place where you could meet up with your friends.

It was a place where you could get some new swag, get your nails done, have a soft pretzel, Christmas shop, eat lunch; hang out, watch a movie at the attached movie theater, etc.

Shopping malls, in other words, were the shit.

These days they’re looking more and more like a scene for the next season of Stranger Things with portals randomly appearing in front of Orange Julius. Kiiiiiiiinda creepy.

Starcourt Mall (Stranger Things, Season 3)

Sounds a lot like what’s going on right now with gyms and training businesses, eh?

To quote a scene out of the Matrix, ” everything that has a beginning and an end”.

Sounds grim I know. Though from this side of the fence, that simply means you must adapt to survive. The key is to also start sooner than later. Fortunately, the nature of the fitness business pushes you towards finding other ways to acquire clients.

Courtesy of The Matrix Revolutions

Like the many shops in malls everywhere, training business fail. Only catering to walk-in customers places you in a box (not the Crossfit kind).

Much like training centers and coaches, many already rely on person-to-person business interaction. Sometimes on an hourly basis.

This is where providing services online comes in.

Recently, I shopped at a local grocery store and they announced they’re providing curbside service and more recently, online ordering. It sounds like something everyone should be doing, but they’re not.

Understandably, the “old school” business owners looked at online services as a hassle and not as personal. Which in many cases is true. However, what is true is not always correct.

Being different and holding on to what’s old can simply leave you behind. You simply must do what it takes to stay in the game. Even if that means you have to get out of your comfort zone with how you’ve done things in the past.

As they say: “it’s not too late to teach an old dog new tricks”.

]As a trainer and a coach, I am my own business. This gives me a lot of freedom, yet a lot of responsibility. The truth of the matter is, not everyone is ready to take on that kind of heat.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have coached clients online over the last 10 years plus. As you can imagine, it’s serving me and others who do online coaching well. The clients I currently have can easily transition to getting the same quality programming…with a different workout view.

That being said, the most important lesson out of all what is going on right now is simply this:

Dig the well BEFORE you’re thirsty.

I recall the week before everything was about to shut down, I was already being asked: “what are we going to do moving forward”? Of course, I already had this online coaching system setup.

All I had to do was explain how they can pay. How they’re getting their workouts. From that point on, it’s simply business as usual.

I’ve even begun doing Skype/ZOOM sessions with my clients to add to my services. I can’t believe how fun and easy it is. However, none of that would be so simple if I hadn’t dug that well ahead of time.

The Take-Away

Become more customer-focused.

Do what you can to give your clients the best experience when working with you. Yes, the fitness industry is different from a retail store.

However, when a client wants to continue their progress all the while their situation changes, your value as a coach/trainer is based on your ability to adjust and adapt to the circumstances.

If you’re able to come out of this alive, begin building other ways to provide services to your clients/members all at the same time when things are good.

If you’re interested in getting coaching and getting yourself set up for when you can get back out into the wild, fill out the questionnaire below.