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Old 09-05-2015, 01:28 PM   #1
Sean J Hunter
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On Ramps Classes = Barrier to Sales

We're in the process of putting together out Affiliate Business Plan.

Question to Affiliate owners out there; speaking theoretically, surely the 'Fixed On-Ramp Class' model is a major barrier to sales?

A interested person has to
- Wait for the next class to start, and...
- ...That class is at a fixed time that may not be convenient for them.

I have 15 years in marketing and although I have never marketed in the fitness market or CrossFit specifically, to me this would seem to have a significant effect on conversion. Obviously when an Affiliate is big enough to run a new beginners class each week or two, and 3 or 4 at different times, there is no longer a barrier, but that's a pretty big Affiliate.

However the fixed On-ramp class model maybe the lesser of 5 evils...

Other options that come to mind are:
  • 1-on-1 onramps = Labor expensive and the prospect misses out on the important social / community aspect
  • Let the prospect choose the classes they want to go to and schedule a specific coach to be added to that class to walk that newbie thru the paces, 1-on-1 styles. Multiple issues with the new client feeling inferior being taught around experienced members, the on-ramp curriculum not really fitting in well with a standard class, and others.
  • Perhaps running a short 1-on-1 before their class, and then let them join-in, in a controlled way?
  • Another option is new members can come along to classes and just be heavily managed by the class coach to avoid issues, until the On-ramp begins?

None of these options are perfect

How have you guys seen this cat skinned?

Sean

Last edited by Sean J Hunter : 09-05-2015 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:46 AM   #2
Brendan McNamar
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Re: On Ramps Classes = Barrier to Sales

While many gyms have been successful using many approaches here was my experience.

The two popular models in my area is either On Ramp or a "Basics" class which is met-cons less bar bells. Then a barbell class is added on top of Basics until you are ready for a full CrossFit class.

I have run both. Both had pros and cons.

On-Ramp provided the best cash flow. Every two weeks 6-10 people paid for the On-Ramp class. Of those who completed the whole class about 70% joined. Our drop out rate was about 25%. Of course these people had paid up front so we earned income from their investigation of our gym.

The Basics model allows people to get started in a class right away. We received a discounted month to month revenue stream. The down side is it was slower to move people up to a full priced CF membership. It was also logistically hard in a small 1 room gym.

Having done both I do not believe in one solution for all situations. I think you have to look at your space, when your clients want to attend, and your pricing then design a plan that will work for each individual gym.

Lots of space and everyone wants to attend at the same time = Basics. Smaller space more spread out attendance then On-Ramp. Small classes great coaches and you can put them straight into regular CrossFit.

In all situations what is most important is to lower the intimidation factor. Provide the new person with reassurance there is a clear laid out path for them. Get them introduced to friendly coaches so they know someone is looking out for them and they can ask questions. If they feel lost they will wander off.
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Old 09-06-2015, 01:25 PM   #3
Sean J Hunter
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Re: On Ramps Classes = Barrier to Sales

Thanks Brendan, great analysis.

A few questions:
  • I'd like to understand the difference between your Basics Model and your On-ramp Model more. So you run a metcon class first, and then as people are ready they can attend the barbell class right afterwards, until they are ready to move to a standard class? Did I understand that right?
  • Also, how was it the basics class model was slower for moving people up to a standard class, and how did it create room issues? Sorry I'm not getting your pros / cons list. My bad.

As an aside...
...As a start-up we are using a small sublease space, max 8-10 people / class. But we also have it's use for free initially until we reach a certain number of members. Huge benefit to avoiding overhead while membership is low. Add to that no coaching costs, as myself and the other coach are able to work for free initially, and we can afford to offer great start-up specials to entice the punters. Later on the head-lease is open to knocking an office out and increasing space to 12 people / class.

I'm also going to trial next week knocking door-to-door, and inviting folks down for a free Saturday intro class. Should be fun to see how that works.

Most comments I'm reading on here, are suggesting, initially, not having any sort of intro class model at all. As regular class numbers are low, providing intro coaching "in-class" (organically) would be adequate for most newbie fitness levels. Maybe tag on a 1-on-1 10 min nutrition / recovery talk at the beginning or end of the class?

Some comments on here go on to suggest that a more structured program is necessary later on, at around the 50-75 membership level, as class numbers become too large for coaches to continue providing organic intro coaching.

INTRODUCTION TOOL KIT
Now you've got me thinking about it, I like your Mixed Tool Kit Model that allows a tailored response to each prospects scheduling and fitness learning needs.

INTRO CLASS
The option for a standard on-ramp / elements class
  • 6 to 9 classes (2-3 weeks). I've seen suggestions for up to 18 class (6 weeks) long intros!
  • Fixed schedule (M-W-F 6:30pm kinda thing)
  • Flexible start date (every Monday kinda thing) allows newbies to start at any point during the intro cycle. Means prospects can start immediately avoiding the risky delay between decision and start.
  • Newbies can stay in for as many cycles as needed before being promoted to a regular class.
ORGANIC OPTION
Keep the organic option going long-term. For fitter prospects who want to attend smaller class times, the option to just step in to the class and execute an organic on-ramp / elements learning curve would remain as an option.

1-ON-1 START-UP
For some a 1-on-1 may be necessary. Greater costs to us, even if we did charge a little more, so only for prospects with a high likelihood of conversion, who have a lower fitness ability, and on-ramp / basics class scheduling conflict.

The more I consider it, I think one of the biggest factors is ensuring prospects are introduced to the social factor. So trying to avoid very empty intro classes seems important to me. As much for image, legitimacy, and hype, as for the actual social experience as well. I worked at a dance studio for a while, and we used to always say, we're not a dance community, we're a community that just happens to dance.

If I was going to choose between intimidation as a newbie with having them learning with experienced yet friendly members vs no social contact during the newbies introduction, I'd side with the social interaction option i think?

Any thoughts on all this?

Cheers for the awesome feedback


Sean

Last edited by Sean J Hunter : 09-06-2015 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:58 AM   #4
Brendan McNamar
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Re: On Ramps Classes = Barrier to Sales

Check this link to see the website of the biggest gym around that runs a Basics system.

http://www.crossfitfury.com/programs/

Should make things clearer.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:00 AM   #5
Patrick A Horsman
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Re: On Ramps Classes = Barrier to Sales

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean J Hunter View Post
Thanks Brendan, great analysis.

A few questions:
  • I'd like to understand the difference between your Basics Model and your On-ramp Model more. So you run a metcon class first, and then as people are ready they can attend the barbell class right afterwards, until they are ready to move to a standard class? Did I understand that right?
  • Also, how was it the basics class model was slower for moving people up to a standard class, and how did it create room issues? Sorry I'm not getting your pros / cons list. My bad.

As an aside...
...As a start-up we are using a small sublease space, max 8-10 people / class. But we also have it's use for free initially until we reach a certain number of members. Huge benefit to avoiding overhead while membership is low. Add to that no coaching costs, as myself and the other coach are able to work for free initially, and we can afford to offer great start-up specials to entice the punters. Later on the head-lease is open to knocking an office out and increasing space to 12 people / class.

I'm also going to trial next week knocking door-to-door, and inviting folks down for a free Saturday intro class. Should be fun to see how that works.

Most comments I'm reading on here, are suggesting, initially, not having any sort of intro class model at all. As regular class numbers are low, providing intro coaching "in-class" (organically) would be adequate for most newbie fitness levels. Maybe tag on a 1-on-1 10 min nutrition / recovery talk at the beginning or end of the class?

Some comments on here go on to suggest that a more structured program is necessary later on, at around the 50-75 membership level, as class numbers become too large for coaches to continue providing organic intro coaching.

INTRODUCTION TOOL KIT
Now you've got me thinking about it, I like your Mixed Tool Kit Model that allows a tailored response to each prospects scheduling and fitness learning needs.

INTRO CLASS
The option for a standard on-ramp / elements class
  • 6 to 9 classes (2-3 weeks). I've seen suggestions for up to 18 class (6 weeks) long intros!
  • Fixed schedule (M-W-F 6:30pm kinda thing)
  • Flexible start date (every Monday kinda thing) allows newbies to start at any point during the intro cycle. Means prospects can start immediately avoiding the risky delay between decision and start.
  • Newbies can stay in for as many cycles as needed before being promoted to a regular class.
ORGANIC OPTION
Keep the organic option going long-term. For fitter prospects who want to attend smaller class times, the option to just step in to the class and execute an organic on-ramp / elements learning curve would remain as an option.

1-ON-1 START-UP
For some a 1-on-1 may be necessary. Greater costs to us, even if we did charge a little more, so only for prospects with a high likelihood of conversion, who have a lower fitness ability, and on-ramp / basics class scheduling conflict.

The more I consider it, I think one of the biggest factors is ensuring prospects are introduced to the social factor. So trying to avoid very empty intro classes seems important to me. As much for image, legitimacy, and hype, as for the actual social experience as well. I worked at a dance studio for a while, and we used to always say, we're not a dance community, we're a community that just happens to dance.

If I was going to choose between intimidation as a newbie with having them learning with experienced yet friendly members vs no social contact during the newbies introduction, I'd side with the social interaction option i think?

Any thoughts on all this?

Cheers for the awesome feedback


Sean
Sean

We offer 3 options:

Foundations classes (on-ramp) 8 sessions over 4 weeks with attendance encouraged at mobility and our community class (rounding it out to 4 per week). Starts every 2 weeks, extremely structured, usually maxes out or close to maxes out attendance at 7 people. Not a significant barrier to most as we stress the importance of learning sound technique in a controlled environment and working to build intensity during each session.

1 on 1 via personal training. great for people with significant mobility or movement restrictions, tough schedules, or unique concerns. we also do small group (2 or 3 people) private sessions.

Test out: for athletes that have never done crossfit but have significant experience with S & C. if they can meet the standard they start right away.

Removing barriers to sales is only half the puzzle. A retention focused model considers the shared experiences of your athletes, the impact on culture and environment (including coaching quality which may be severly impaired by having a complete novice in a class), and keeps the focus on helping the members you do have move better and become more fit rahter than on always trying to get new people in the door.

We don't dam the river to slow the river for the river's sake; we do it to prevent the flood, deepen the lake, or keep the mill turning. - unknown
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:34 AM   #6
Sean J Hunter
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Re: On Ramps Classes = Barrier to Sales

Thanks a bunch guys,

Definitely got my head going on how to structure this thing.

So on the options list so far...
  • Organic (straight into a small class)
  • Classic Elements (6-10 week scheduled class)
  • Basics
  • 1:1 or small group special bookings
  • Test out

Any other thoughts?

Much appreciate your time.

Sean
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