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Buyer Beware With Charleston Daily Deals For Fitness Training

There’s no denying the impact that daily deal websites like Living Social, Group On and others have had on how consumers search for discounts on everything from massages, dining out, and even fitness training.

Time will tell whether or not this is a trend that’s here to stay or if business will start opting out in favor of other marketing mediums.

Consumers have flocked to join these services where you’re notified with daily emails on the “deal of the day” and understandably so. For most products or services offered there’s a significant discount of 50% or more. The purpose of this post is not to get into pros and cons from the businesses standpoint. That’s a discussion for another day.

Rather, I’d like to talk about the buyer’s perspective when considering whether or not to take advantage specifically with a fitness offering.

Shown below are a couple of screen capture images from a daily deal that hit my email in-box last month.

Notice in the email subject line it says “2 Month Gym Membership + Personal Training.”

For a mere $25 this sounds like a great deal. When you click through to the landing page (second image), you’ll see that you also receive unlimited fitness classes, a 30 minute massage, and a chiropractic exam.

Here are a few “buyer beware” tips when considering fitness deals like this.

#1. If it sounds too good to be true….

We all know the saying and it’s usually true. This isn’t to say you can’t find good deals out there but let’s be realistic for a second. Professionals and the “best of the best” in any industry don’t typically give away their services for next to nothing.

An introductory free trial is one thing, there’s something to be said with a business giving you the opportunity to “try before you buy.”

At my Shaping Concepts personal training studios I’ve always believed in the principal of showing value and earning one’s trust as a means of earning business. This is a slippery slope however for a service business as “value” should not be synonymous with cheap or bargain. The idea is to back up the true value you provide with the end service and to achieve expected results.

As a consumer you’re concerned with receiving a good return on your investment and the quality of the service you’re offered.

In the daily deal shown above what kind of quality do you think you’ll receive from the personal trainer, massage therapist, AND chiropractor for a combined $25?

Think about these propositions in realistic terms. As a consumer you should be just as concerned as the business with the potential that you’ll devalue the services. Why?

Because you’re not buying a commodity like a pair of socks or a case of paper. You’re investing in a service and in that arena “cheap” is rarely synonymous with businesses that exceed expectations and over-deliver on value.

When was the last time you found the” best of the best” in any service business to also be the cheapest?

Let’s go back to the Charleston daily deal example where you’re getting all these services for a mere $25. What kind of value would you expect with the personal training that’s provided?

Chances are the personal training session will come from one of the least experienced or requested trainers in the gym. Why? Because naturally the really good ones have the least amount of openings.

Let’s say for the sake of discussion that doesn’t matter much to you as all you really want is the gym membership and access to fitness classes. Ok, fair enough, just make sure you’ve done your homework on the gym and you’re pretty certain it’s someplace you’d like to call home after the two months are up.

If not you’ll have to start all over again and need to look for another place to workout after the two months are up. There’s a lot to be said with getting comfortable with the fitness instructors or personal trainer you’ll be using to help you achieve your goals.

The last thing you want to be doing is hopping around from gym to gym following the latest deals…that is if you’re serious about seeing the best results for yourself.

Also in line with things maybe being “too good to be true,” take note that in the subject line of this daily deal you may have been led to believe that you’d get personal training for two months. The details of the offer show that in fact you only get a single personal training session.

If it’s anything like most introductory personal training sessions in a large health club you’ll get shown how to use the machines and some pointers on a few exercises.That’s in no way going to prepare you to set out on a fitness training program all alone.

Chances are even greater that you’ll be shuffled into an office for a sales pitch on buying a large package of sessions with an experience similar to getting that free lunch on vacation from the time share company.

Those are always fun experiences…yeah right!

My point is not to bash other Charleston fitness businesses or gyms that elect to position themselves as “discounters” in the marketplace. As a consumer I just want you to think about what’s your end objective or goal?

People seldom sign up for a gym membership, personal training, or anything fitness related just for the purpose of exercising.

They’re looking to exercise as a means for changing their shape, improving health, or what have you. Bottom line is there’s a desire and expectation for seeing RESULTS.

Naturally you should look to get the best value and return on your investment from the services provided, just make sure you’re clear on what you’ll be getting.

#2. The fine print on class reservations and availability

This may or may not be listed on the “daily deal.” It’s a good practice to call the Charleston gym or fitness center that’s offering the deal and ask to speak to a manager about the details.

What classes are offered? When are they offered? Which ones are already filled and have a waiting list?

You’ve got to do your homework here or you may end up only with options that don’t fit your schedule or preferences with a class. Remember the most popular instructors are going to have pretty full classes.

#3. The certifications or credentials for individuals providing services

Trust me the last thing you want to do is put the care of your body in the hands of some college kid working part-time at the front counter while dual serving as a personal trainer.

This is no joke as you can get bad advice or injured at worst by working with a personal trainer who lacks the necessary credentials and experience to provide exercise prescription. Once again you’ve got to do your homework.

#4. Expiration dates and special conditions

Just like other criteria this may or may not be listed on the fine print for the daily deal. You’ll want to call the provider if there’s any question about how soon you have to get started or if there are any special conditions.

#5. The “what happens next” factor

Invariably all of these daily deals are a means for businesses to attract potential new long-term customers or clients. Get people in the doors and hope that they’ll see value and stick around. Ok, fair enough and done properly this can be smart business.

As a consumer you’ll just want to do your homework on what happens after the deal is up. What are the regular rates, contract terms, and conditions you’ll be presented after the deal has expired?

If you were thinking of using this particular business for fitness services because of favorable reviews, a referral from a friend, etc., a special offer to test drive their offerings can be a win-win for both you and the business.

The key question is would you likely stay with the business after the deal was up knowing the regular rates, contract terms, and conditions, if you were pleased with the service and value you received?

If you can honestly say it probably wouldn’t work out due to pricing or any other factor, you should definitely think twice before making an investment. Remember with service businesses, a good deal is only a good deal if the potential exists for you to possibly stick around.

I wouldn’t try every dry cleaner in town for example whenever the cheapest discount was presented to me. I’d certainly search for value but once I found a good one that provided excellent service, chances are I’d continue using them.

After all it wouldn’t be worth it to save a few bucks and run the risk of having my shirts get lost, come back wrinkled, or not be ready on time.

Value is a relative term and it all depends on the definition you use. When searching for services to help you achieve your fitness goals, it will be more favorable in the long run to think along the lines of return on investment.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. You can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation to experience the difference for yourself.

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Category: Charleston, SC.