Wednesday, May 26, 2010

$0 enrollment time at the Gym! HURRY!! Offer expires 'soon'...newsflash - it's ALWAYS $0 enrollment - always - no matter what they say, it is $0

So I know this is not exactly San Diego specific - but since it is starting to warm up here and so many of us are trying to get ready for bathing suit season I thought it was time to point this out.

There is NEVER an enrollment fee at the gym - I mean, they will charge you one if you let them, but there is no need to pay one - NEVER, and this is why. The gym needs you to sign up more than you need that particular gym. See there is always one gym or another offering some kind of gimmick - everyone is offering $0 enrollment at one time or another.  NEVER fall for the 'oh sorry, that was last week - this week it is $149 to enroll and the monthly fee is actually $15 more per month' - the person telling you that is a salesman - and although I am sure he is a nice person  - he is treating you like you are stupid.

Here's my tip - tell him to call you when it is $0 enrollment and when he can do $X amount a month and let him know that you will be calling another gym to find out their prices.  My guess is you will have the price you want before he lets you off the phone, if he doesn't budge DON'T BUDGE EITHER - he is bluffing and you are not stupid. Hang up the phone and wait for him to call, he will, because he wants your money and while he would love to have $149 upfront and $10 more in commission per month - he will settle for something more competitive too.  If he calls you back and says 'hey, i talked to my manager and she said I could make a 'one time' exception for $99 enrollment, what do you say?' - say no!  He is still bluffing and treating you like you are only slightly less stupid than he originally thought. Tell him you are interested only in the deal you saw for $0 - let him know the last thing you want to do is spend $99 on something that if you wait it out eventually that $0 sign will be up again (they go up about every other month at my gym - they rotate them with the $99 and $149 signs & I wonder how mad people must get when they see that $0 sign come up just after forking over $149!) - let him know that in the meantime you will be checking other gyms close to your house/work & whoever hits the price point first will get you as a customer.

I have been at my gym for about 3 years - I walked right up and said 'I am at 24 hour fitness - this is the price I pay - I like your gym better, but I am not interested in paying any more - can you meet or beat it? If not I will just settle for 24 hour.' to which I heard 'oh, you should have signed up last week - last week we had a special - but this week it is X ($20 more than my gym AND a $99 enrollment fee)' 'oh, that stinks, well - I'll just wait for the next 'special' then.' 'Oh you shouldn't wait because next week it is going up another $10 a month and the enrollment will be $149 and it isn't going to change after that' 'uh, I just told you that I was only interested if you could meet or beat my price, I'm not gonna sign up next week for double what I am paying now - your gym is nice & newer, but that just isn't in my budget, I saw the sign from before & thought you might be able to offer something competitive - no worries if you can't, but I won't be signing up for more than what I pay now & I want $0 enrollment.' 'I don't think I can do that, but gimme your number and I will see what I can do' - long story very short, I got a call in an hour and I switched to a nicer, newer gym that was much closer to my house for the same price as my 5 year old 24 hour fitness membership (that was pretty competitively priced too). 

I think it is important to point out two things - 1. be nice, firm, but nice (you will get further if you are nice)and 2. please don't think I am a mean person just because I strong armed $0 enrollment at my gym - gyms (and their salespeople) make a TON of money - mostly on unused montly membership fees.  Salespeople will always start their prices with the expectation for people to talk them down - if you want someone else & the big corporation they work for to have your hard earned $149 more than you want to apply it towards something for your family - well I guess you are better person than me - AND if you want to give them an extra $10 - $20 a month every month, probably for many years - well - you are MUCH better person than me.

See you at the gym!
Kate

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