I’m an introvert and I’m continually surprised when I’m thrust into an extrovert-centric world. Most people don’t even think about how the way they are approaching someone may not be what is comfortable for them. Owners of fitness businesses can learn a lot by understanding people like me and adjusting their programs to better fit us.
Let’s say your business catered only to right-handed people. All of your equipment and processes served this market only. This was fine with you, since it simplified things and you found this group of right-handers easy relate to – they’re your people. But at some point your growth reaches a plateau with this group and you are left to consider how you could attract more people to your business. Suppose with a few minor changes in your process, you could attract the left-handed clientele without disrupting your beloved right-handed members. Would you do it? Probably so.
Most fitness businesses are unconsciously designed for extroverts who love group activities. However, these designs are alienating a significant portion of the rest of humanity. With a few minor changes, you could capitalize on 26%-50% of the other part of the market: the introverts. The good news is, it is not difficult and involves little to no extra spending. There is no bad news!
All it takes is a modest understanding of what makes an introvert happy and the conscious decision to make a few changes to attract and retain them. Here are a few tips to successfully do this:
- Create a special introverts-only fitness session. Just start with one and see how it goes.
- Design the session so that it has structure the entire time, even for the few minutes before class. For example, greet members as they arrive and tell them to warm up (as specifically and simply as possible) until the class starts and the next set of instructions are given. Introverts tend to dislike unstructured social time. It’s awkward.
- Design the session to avoid pairing people up whenever possible. We introverts have a larger bubble of personal space than extroverts do, and we get uncomfortable when thrown together with a stranger.
- Speaking of the bubble of personal space, avoid touching these members unless you ask first. “Can I correct your posture/pose/form here?” instead of just jumping in doing so.
- Lower the volume! Consider turning down the music and your voice when in an introverts-only session. Many of us tend to be sensitive and easily over-stimulated. We’d prefer quieter encouragement and a good beat.
- In your advertising guarantee that there will be NO SMALL TALK (and then make good on that). This is the most important thing. Small talk is “member-icide” to an introvert, like Round Up is to insects or weeds. It is the surest way to kill their joy and drive them away permanently. Be authentic and be brief. Greet them with warmth and thereafter minimize interactions to pleasantly delivered instructions given in advance (everyone likes to know what to expect, not just introverts) and genuine yet modest encouragement.
- Advertise this session as widely as possible in your community. Introverts are everywhere but pay specific attention to quiet places (that’s where we hang out: the library, bookstores, Facebook, clubs and meet-ups, classes, gardening spaces, technology forums, coffee shops, etc. (Note that most of these things are mellow and/or structured – two qualities we introverts love). Be specific about all of these measures that you are implementing just for them.
- Consider asking for feedback on what they’d like to see more or less of in your sessions, preferably online rather than in person. Listen to the suggestions and implement them whenever possible to keep this growing.
Once you have designed your special introverts-only session and advertised it as widely as possible, give it time to let the group grow. We tend to hang back rather than be first in line, so be patient. We’ll come in (quiet, ruly) droves.
Check out our latest eBook, Fitness Business Management Time Traps to Avoid. This guide will help you identify which tasks are taking up too much of your time, how to avoid these traps in the future and, most importantly, how creating efficiencies can help you better build relationships with your members.