What Women Want…

What do women want?

I attended a fabulous session with Karen Wischmann, the president and CEO of Total Fitness & Spa for Women, one of the most successful women’s only clubs in the world.

Since 54% of club members are female and 70% of Personal Training is purchased by women, it’s probably a really good idea to understand their needs and do whatever we can to meet them.

Let’s start with some interesting facts:

• 85% of all customer purchases are made by women
• 90% of all food purchases are made by women
• 55% of all electronic purchases are made by women
• 80% of home buying decisions are made by women
• Women use the web more than men (51% vs 49%)
• Women spend $3.7 trillion dollars per year

So what does that all mean to us? First, women seem to like to spend money – especially for something they want and feel they need!

Psychology of Marketing to Women:

Karen pointed out that generally, men shop for what they need right now. Women tend to shop for what will benefit them over time. Hence the popularity of lotions, scrubs, hair products, and anti-aging products with women. Compare a guy’s list of must haves for his daily routine – deodorant, razor, and a 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner and body wash and he’s good to go. Compare that to the products required for a woman’s daily routine and you’ll see the difference and how that relates to retail sales. Bottom line – men keep it pretty simple. Men want to look and smell good right now whereas, women want the same but they have the foresight to think about what they want to look like in the future.

Women generally need to understand the value of a product or service and this helps them feel good about the buying decision. For example, a woman doesn’t care how many treadmills or dumbbells your club offers. She wants to know that she is going to look and feel better by working out with you. She wants to know that her bone density will strengthen, her posture will improve, she’ll raise her metabolism making it easier to lose weight She wants to know that she is going to get toned and sculpted and fit back into her skinny jeans. She doesn’t really care that much about the workout and the program as long as it delivers results. She doesn’t want a membership or Personal Training, rather, she wants to get excited about the results and her new life! She doesn’t like to exercise – she likes how she FEELS when she works out and how her whole life is so much better when she’s in good shape.

A great line that Karen scripts her staff to use is this:

“It’s really simple. You just do exactly what we tell you and your entire life will change!”

Karen emphasizes that when selling to women, you HAVE to sell from the heart. You have to focus FIRST on developing a relationship and making a connection. You have to listen to her closely. What are her needs? What is she concerned about? If you focus on bending over backwards for a female member, she will be a client for life! Once you fully understand a woman’s goals, then you can show her how your service, membership, and/or personal training are going to help fix the problem.

Women often come to us after they have let themselves go due to kids, work and trying to juggle life. They have put their health and fitness on the backburner and they need us to help them get their life and their body back. They need to know that you understand this.

Specific Guidelines for the Fitness Industry:

There are certain areas of our clubs and studios that are women dominated. For example, the Kids Club, Women’s Locker room, and Group Exercise studio are used almost exclusively by women. Pay special attention to décor and cleanliness in these areas. Women want to know that the showers are cleaned regularly throughout the day – there is nothing more disgusting for a woman than walking into a shower with a clog full of hair. Women want their club to smell great so Karen suggested the Air Fresheners that send out a spritz of fresh air scent every so often – nothing too overbearing but something that just smells refreshing and good. Women want to know that the Kids Club area is cleaned and the toys are sterilized regularly. She wants to know that day staff are CPR certified and are women, preferably other mothers, that she can trust with her kids so she doesn’t have to worry about them when she’s working out. She wants to feel good when she walks into these areas so hire a designer to help choose warm colors, beautiful and inspirational art and perhaps paint meaningful quotes on the walls.
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Women will pay for quality: All women like a deal but will pay more for quality. Case in point, consider Whole Foods which saw a 1,552% increase in stock value. Women will pay a lot more for certain items and an atmosphere that is pleasant, customer-service oriented and offers knowledgeable staff. Karen mentioned that she often discusses the price issue with members in the following way:

“Are you looking for the cheapest club? Because we are definitely not that but we’re also not that much more than our big club competitors. But if you’re looking for value and results than we are definitely the place for you!”

Women love to be complimented.
It makes us feel great. But you have to be genuine and authentic. So when talking to a member or potential client, if you notice her cute shoes, fabulous purse or great hair cut, comment on it. There’s nothing more pleasing to a woman’s ears than “Your shoes are adorable” or “That outfit is killer!”.

Women appreciate the little touches
…thank you cards, inspirational emails, a motivational text message…

Women are social beings: Ramp up your social media outreach. Women in their 40s and 50s are one of the fastest growing segments on FaceBook. Start an educational, interactive blog and encourage comments from members. Make it mandatory that all new members go through a group equipment orientation. Not only is it better for liability insurance reasons but also, it allows the opportunity for relationships to develop. Regularly encourage and inspire women to participate in group fitness classes, host group events and get-togethers, offer small group training…It’s important to note that surveys show us that the happiest members and therefore raving fans are those that participate in group fitness and personal training so do whatever you can to get women involved in these programs.


Specific Marketing Tactics for Women:

• Women respond to soft and warm colors, they find sunsets, sunrises, golds, browns, yellows, and rust hues very appealing. Avoid blues and cold colors.
• Women respond to photos of beautiful but realistic women
• Women respond to lots of detail; women will read the text
• Women respond to an add that implies “Use this product/service and you’ll look like me”

Changing the world – one woman at a time!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

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