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The State of the Health and Fitness Club Industry According to Thomas Plummer

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Thomas PlummerThomas Plummer

For sale cheap: Used DeLorean time machine. No longer needed. Just visited a chain gym and was transported back to 1995 without it. No longer interested in living in the past in the fitness industry.

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We are living in strange times in the health and fitness club industry. Training gyms are popping up like cheap beers at a NASCAR race, the new middle price in the industry seems to be $19 and we seem to have the leadership of the national chains mired in 1995 and who cling to failing technology and ideas proven to no longer work or to be desirable by the buying public.

During a recent visit to Orlando to meet with a successful entrepreneur who is considering opening a new training gym venture, I visited a local branch of a national chain. Once in the door, it was only about 30 steps to the front desk, but in reality, it was 20 years back in time.

The same too young and undertrained 20-year old staff woman was standing at the front counter that ignored me for about ten minutes while she handled the phone, a few needy clients and checked her cell phone twice. She then turned me over to a sales guy... And, he was perfect. He toured me as well as I have ever been toured. He asked me twice to sign me up, did the tour like he invented the concept, went after the objection when I said, "I want to check with my wife first," by answering, "Does a guy that looks as successful as you really need to check with your wife?"

Yes, he was well-trained, pro-fessional and could sell. It is too bad, however, that he was born so late in time, because if he was living in 1995, he would be the highest paid salesperson in the company. The sad thing, though, is he is working now and his old pitch was insulting, and while the gym was fairly new, it looked like it just emerged from a cloud in an old Sci-Fi movie where the fog creeps along and suddenly you pop out in another time. It was 1995 struggling to be relevant in 2015, and it just doesn't work anymore.

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