Why don’t you have any customers?

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My gym is packed. They are lucky.

My gym’s juice bar is dead. So much for luck.

So why is a juice bar that has so much traffic so dead? Where do we start?

First, price is always an issue–especially now. Cost has to be competitive–just because your gym (or insert product here) is a luxury and expensive doesn’t mean you can continue to gouge customers. Why would I buy one Gatorade there for the price of a 4 pack everywhere else? Customers are smarter than you think–never underestimate how much they know about prices and how much high prices can leave them feeling ripped off. That shouldn’t be how any customer feels leaving your business. Don’t think they won’t go elsewhere to fill their needs–like crossing the street to save $5. Always be aware of competition even if it doesn’t seem to be apples to apples.

Second, quality is very important. If you think you can charge double make sure your product is twice as good. Is the gym’s Gatorade four times better than the grocery stores? Exactly. Their deli sandwiches aren’t better than average, but priced like they are twice as good.

Why are their prices so high? Maybe its to cover the three people serving no one.

Now that everyone is turned off to your average, high-priced items how do you fix it?

1. Lower your prices. Trying to match profit margins from your other products is crazy. Understand what the market will bear. If you can’t make money on your Gatorade then find a new wholesaler or make very little money and instill goodwill for your main service. The deli isn’t their main business so don’t inspire bad feelings that could potentially hurt your main business. Goodwill creates word-of-mouth which makes advocates for your product/service and brings you new customers. If you don’t make much money from the deli so what–any profit is gravy.

2. Gyms have monthly, 6 month and one-year memberships. For anyone that has a membership give them $10 of club cash to use in the deli once a month. Track the club cash usage and then ask them to use the card every time they buy something to enter them into contests or get something free–that way you can see if the club cash card is actually working on the days they don’t get something free. You have the traffic passing the juice bar door–now they have to get people to walk through it. If a price worries you and you want to be cheap just make sure they can buy a few things with whatever the price range is–don’t limit them to one product because they may not want it defeating the entire purpose. All you learn is who wants X product and won’t inspire new customers for your wider range of items.

3. Involve your staff. Have them walk the floor and just hand-out things that are in the bar–like frozen protein drinks. They don’t have to be full-sized. Maybe its a small Dixie cup and they give out samples. Making members aware is enough to create buzz.

4. Make a better product. Quality is worth paying extra for, but if you are selling the same product as everyone else then be competitive. If you want to sell a deli sandwich for $10 make sure its twice as good as the “12 Subway sandwich across the street.

You can turn a bad situation into something fun. There is nothing more exciting than making money, satisfying customers and having fun at the same time. Don’t be afraid to try something new–the worst thing that can happen is your back doing what you are today.

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