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Your Menu of Services

A Recommendation About Recommendations

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Jeffrey PinkertonJeffrey Pinkerton

Great restaurants have small and selective menus. Having a well-curated and thoughtful menu ensures that guests will be able to navigate the offerings and make an informed decision. It also increases the likelihood that the staff have tried everything on the menu and can speak to their experience. On the other hand, a large menu of entrees in a restaurant, or a large menu of options in a health club, is difficult to manage, challenging to market, tough to quality control and impossible for staff to experience in full. If your team struggles to make strong recommendations to every member who walks through your door, I have a recommendation...

A menu that is too large often becomes challenging to navigate and may leave consumers overwhelmed. In Chip and Dan Heath's book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, the authors describe change and choice framework as a person riding on an elephant down a path. The process of changing our habits and making decisions becomes a combination of our rational brain (the Rider), our emotional brain (the Elephant) and our situation or environment (the Path).

To make a change, we either need to appeal to our rational brain and direct the Rider, spark our emotion and influence the Elephant, or make the path clearer and shape the Path. When presented with too many choices, too many options for the Rider and too many possible Paths to go down, the Rider often becomes paralyzed and does nothing. In the world of health and fitness, too many options and too many decisions may lead to someone making no decision at all and not returning to your facility.

On special occasions, my wife and I like to visit the Stoney River Steakhouse a short drive away. We don't go often, just a handful of times really for a few landmark wedding anniversaries and what my friend calls "speed limit birthdays," the ones that coincide with speed limit signs: 35, 40, 45, etc. For our 20th wedding anniversary, we were there drinking wine and discussing our life raising four high-school-aged kids, and the waiter inquired if we were ready to order our entrees. There are only a handful of options, even under the steak portion of the menu, and to be fair, my wife knew she was getting the Filet Mignon from the time we had made the reservations. "I think I'd like the Petite Filet, please," my wife responded to the waiter. "Excellent" he said. "And, how would you like that seasoned," he asked. "Hmmm," my wife paused and searched the menu for more clues. He added, "We have a signature blend of seasoning for all of our steaks, but depending on your liking, we can season the steak more lightly if you prefer."

The waiter had made a great recommendation on the wine and appetizers already, so my wife was quick to ask, "What do you recommend?" He replied, "Our traditional signature blend of seasoning is what we recommend. We've been serving amazing steaks for the past 15 years. It's our specialty, it's what we are known for, and I love them prepared just as the chef likes to prepare them. My recommendation..." he paused maybe for the theater of the moment or maybe so he could add a smile to ensure the message was delivered lightheartedly, "My recommendation is that you take our recommendation." My wife smiled, laughed and agreed, his recommendation sounded lovely. And, he was right. The steak was excellent.

For your team to make confident recommendations and guide members into a great experience at your facility, you need a menu of services that is simple to navigate and easy to endorse. For example, in group fitness, how could anyone on your team be familiar with 100+ workouts of different formats and formulas? With too many choices, your team will be challenged to make confident recommendations and may find themselves like a waiter faced with an overwhelming twenty-page menu. Hopeless to make a strong recommendation, they are left to simply provide the unlikely (and untrustworthy) praise that, "everything is great!" Without a strong recommendation, combined with a confusing and cumbersome menu, some members and prospective members may make no choice at all.

As the world continues to reboot and reopen in 2021, the ability to welcome back members and channel them into a great socially-connected experience is critical for their long-term success. And, as operators look to rebuild group fitness schedules and ramp up their menu of programming, now is a great time to evaluate all of your offerings to ensure you have programming that is high-quality, marketable, delivers an amazing experience and can service all ages, all fitness levels, men and women.

If you aren't sure whether you can make a confident recommendation about your group fitness programming, we'd love to share with you some of our recommendations. We've been helping club operators offer amazing group fitness experiences for over 20 years. It's our specialty; it's what we're known for, and I love the workouts, the marketing resources and the coaching advice we provide to help clubs attract more members and service more members, all to get more people moving! Our recommendation (smile)... is that you take our recommendation. LET'S MOVE!®

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