What is Your Client’s Experience?

When what you sell is a commodity (let’s use the classic example of selling widgets), your widget is comparable to someone else’s widget. They do their widget thing. Nobody is wowed or disappointed. It’s just a widget, and being just a widget, the lowest price wins.

However, if you want your product (i.e. your club, studio, personal training, or classes) to be more than a commodity, then you need to differentiate yourself from others. Yes, having great great equipment is one thing, but is that enough? Other clubs can have great equipment. How about certified personal trainers? That too can be similar to other clubs. What will ultimately make you stand out from the crowd is the experience that you give to your members/clients.

2016_Principles-of-a-Great-Customer-Experience

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou  When we talk about people’s experience with your business, we’re talking about just that, how you made them feel. The experience encompasses everything they come in contact with from the parking lot to the bathrooms to the service desk staff. It should also be representative of your own particular brand. Here are a few thoughts.

The facility –

Not only should everything be cared for and functioning (no potholes in the parking lot, no stains or tears in the carpet), it should be clean (one of the most common reasons for women quitting a club is that it isn’t clean), smell fresh, and be attractively decorated.

Sound is also an important part of the experience. There are now businesses that will customize music for your business such as Soundtrack Your Brand. The volume and acoustics in your facility should also managed.

The people –

From smiling at members/clients across the room to having deep conversations, the whole staff (trainers, teachers, cleaning staff, management, etc.) need to understand that their job is to make people’s days better. How they are dressed, how they interact, even how they smell is part of the experience. Staff cannot bring their personal problems to work with them. It’s showtime from the moment they step out of their car coming to work. At Disney, no employee can be seen out of character and, to deliver an optimal experience, neither should any staff member at your facility.

best_3a878719229bc786eee3_cizeThe equipment –

Simply put, all equipment should be clean, up to date, and functioning perfectly.

The member’s/client’s experience is what they see, hear, smell, and feel, and, in creating a positive experience, all of these factors need to be considered and made consistent with the essence of your brand. Setting the experience is a well-crafted and ongoing task.

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Canva, My Choice for a Cool Tool

Visual tools should be an integral part of marketing your business. The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” could never be truer in this day and age. Facebook understands this and has even gone so far as to make words seem more like pictures, and feel more important, with the newer color background posting feature. (I do get a little annoyed by it because it does grab your attention even though the post may be completely trivial.) FB Post color

A better choice for making an impact on your target market is an online tool (and app) that I have been using for years now. It is called Canva, and it allows me to create perfectly sized graphics for all of my social media sites, print ads, flyers, business cards, and pretty much anything else I can think of.

What’s the cost? If I use my own photos, it’s free. But, if I want to use any of their thousands of photos (like the cover photo for this blog site), it is only $1 per photo.

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Just some of the pre-sized options at Canva

I don’t own stock in the company and I’m not even an affiliate. I just wanted to pass on this to help you save time and marketing dollars.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Know Your ROI

ROI, Return On Investment, is a measure of success. Did what you put into something produce a profit or benefit, and if so, how much? Was it worth it? More often than not, when we are talking about ROI, we’re talking about money and profit. However, it could also mean time and effort put into a project. The point of looking at the ROI is to determine if it makes sense to do it again.

Businessman drawing ROI (return on investment)

As an example, let’s look at running an advertisement in a local magazine. Say the ad cost you $650 and will run for a month. First, how are you going to know if it worked? You should always ask new clients/members how they heard about you. This is your effectiveness tracker. From this ad, you get only one new client. Was it worth it? Before you get all “What? I placed this ad and only got one new client??? That’s not worth it.”, think about what one new client is worth. If a client trains with you once a week (staying somewhat conservative) for a year and you charge $65/session, that means that just for that first year that client is worth (let’s see… $65 x 52 weeks = $3380) $3380. What was the ROI on that ad? One way to figure that out is to subtract the investment (or cost) from the gross income which gives you your net income or profit. Then divide the net income by the cost, in this case $3380 – $650 = $2730 divided by $650 which + 4.2 or 420% ROI. This, at least in my books, is a worthwhile investment.

jack-of-all-tradesThat was a straight financial example. Sometimes your investment is your time in putting together or creating a project or program. Because I’m good at a lot of things (you know, jack of all trades, master of.. well, a couple) this is where I often find myself. I could do it myself, but… is that where my time best spent? To find the ROI on a project or program you need to look at the cost of spending your (or someone else’s) time compared to what kind of return you will get. If a project is going to take you 10 hours and your hourly rate is $65, that’s a $650 investment. Estimate what you believe your return will be and then calculate the ROI for the project. Is it worth you spending your time to do it? Could you get a better ROI by having someone else do the work? This is an important exercise to go through.

Now, of course, not everything has to have a profit to be worth undertaking. Maybe you spend time or money on something where the only return will be the self-satisfaction of having done something good for someone else. This can include hosting or supporting some benefit event. Here, you simply need to ask, “Can I afford to do it?” and “Is it important enough to me, for me to invest in it?”

Understanding the ROI on your investments is crucial to building and maintaining a healthy business. Make sure you track the successes and, yes, failures by looking at the ROI of your efforts.

Are You an Imposter?

The real question I want to ask is, do you feel like an imposter? Imposter syndrome is a feeling, despite finding success and/or respect from others, that you are somehow fooling them and that one of these days they’re going to find out that you’re not that smart, or gifted, or talented. It often occurs when someone is brought up with the pressure of achieving excellence, whether that is in academics, sports, art or whatever. This pressure impostermay have come from parents, teachers, coaches, or can even be self-imposed. It’s also that the individual knows that there is still so much more they could know. As Einstein said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” (Unfortunately, those who think they know it all, don’t suffer from imposter syndrome.) It is also associated with those that are perfectionists, people who are always seeking to be better/do better. The syndrome creates anxiety in the person experiencing it which can hold them back from achieving even more (not to mention how constant anxiety can be detrimental to your health).

Let me be frank with you (arrgh, see, already an imposter)… Let me be Mark with you. 😉 Seriously, though, I’ve felt like an imposter off and on throughout my life. One example that stands out in my mind is when I served on a national personal trainer exam committee and, while I am very knowledgable in many areas of our industry, much of what I know has been self-taught. I only hold a BS in physical education/kinesiology, whereas my peers on this committee held either a MS or a PhD. I would always work extra hard to prove to myself that I earned my place on the committee. I know that not having my Masters degree has always made me feel a little sub-standard when I compare myself to my peers. I also continually ask myself, with so much to know, how can I possibly know enough?”

The imposter syndrome is not a rational feeling. Most of those that are effected by this have worked very hard to get to where they are and, more often than not, are well deserving of their achievements and acclaim. Celebrated author, poet, activist, Maya Angelou once said: “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”imposter2

So, how do we overcome feeling like an imposter? Here are some possible ideas on it.

  1. Own your success. Even those people who did get a “lucky” break worked hard to put themselves in the position to be available for that opportunity. Tell yourself that you deserve your success. You don’t have to repeat daily affirmations like Stuart Smalley, “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!” (unless, of course, that helps), but know that you have done the work to bring yourself to where you are.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others. Often, when we compare, we look at our weaknesses compared to others’ strengths. Not fair. *side note, did you know that the top colleges have high drop out rates. That’s because, even though everyone has to be exceptional just to get in, the smart people are comparing themselves to the super smart people and then feel inferior, like they don’t belong there.
  3. Let go of the perfectionism. Maybe you don’t have all of the answers. You don’t need to. Ask yourself instead, do you have enough to deliver value?
  4. Continue to put yourself out there and accept new challenges. Realize that very few people are as driven as you can be, which means that you have the capacity to make someone’s world (or maybe the world) a better place. Keep on keeping on.

Some of the most successful people in every field have suffered from imposter syndrome, so you are in good company. But, you have to learn to overcome that self-doubt if want to enjoy your success (and life) more.