Month: May 2016

Tips for Growing Your Fitness Business with Older Women

Boomer Women Tennis

Mature women (age 50-70) have become the dominant consumer force in the U.S. (and likely around the world).  If you aren’t specifically targeting this massive group then you are missing out because they are an ideal population to have as clients.  Did you know that they handle 85% of their households purchase decisions AND that their household is in its highest years of income, wealth and spending power AND that there are LOTS and LOTS of them (1 in 5 adults in the U.S. is a woman over 50!).

These are educated, affluent women who are in the prime of their lives who are starting to feel the effects of their advancing age and aren’t ready to get “old”.  They are actively looking for ways to retain or regain their youthfulness, vitality and energy so that they can essentially be “ageless”.  Not 20 again but a really nice 50 and holding.  Your fitness program could be just the solution they are looking for IF you are able to understand this woman and how to communicate with her.

Men and women shopping chartWe all know that men and women think, act and communicate differently.  Would it surprise you to hear that mature women think, act and communicate differently than younger men, older men and even younger women.  It’s true.  They have entered and are transitioning through a new life stage that brings with it some significant and subtle changes for her life and how she perceives the world around her.

This group of 50-70 year old females is what author Marti Barletta calls

Prime Time women.

Here are some great insights from Marketing to Prime Time Women by Marti Barletta that demonstrate some of these differences.  By taking the time to more fully understand this specific segment your marketing and sales strategies will be much more effective:

Differences Between Men and Women

Men are Soloists; Women are Ensemble Players – Men look at the world from the perspective of the individual.  Their core unit is “me”.  Women see everyone as part of an ensemble company.  Their core unit is “we”.  They take pride in their caring, consideration and loyalty to and for others.

Men Occupy a Pyramid; Women Occupy a Peer Group – In a man’s worldview, groups fall into hierarchies so the goal is to be looked up to or admired.  A woman’s view is that all people are equal so her outlook is relational without being comparative.  Women don’t particularly want to be looked up to, any more than they want to be looked down on.

Men Respond to Idealized Scenarios; Women Are into Keeping It Real – Men want services that will make them stand out and they respond to scenarios that let them imagine themselves as the best.  Women are looking for “that’s me moments” and that flash of recognition that tell her you get who she really is.

Men do “Report Talk”; Women do “Rapport” Talk – Men’s conversation is to transmit information, solve problems – and establish or defend individual status.  Women’s conversation is to transmit information, solves problems – and create connections among individuals.

Men Hide from Emotions; Women Seek Emotions – Men are not comfortable revealing their innermost thoughts and feelings while one of the ways women connect is through candid emotions.  They look on emotional revelations and expressiveness as interesting, intimate and to be encouraged.

Compared to Younger Women Primetime Women:

Know What they Like – As we age we tend to rely more on our emotions or “gut feeling” to speed the decision-making process.  Although Prime Time Women may not know all of the details they still know what they like and what they don’t like.  Messages should focus on how a product or service makes the Prime Time Woman feel when using it, what the experience will be like, and how it will help them connect with others.

Realize They Have No Time to Lose – When we pass 50 years of age we start to view time differently.  Our lives are finite so we start thinking in terms of years left rather than years lived.  Women always seem to have a larger grasp of context and therefore they make decisions in the context of this realization.  “Why not now?” and “not worth my time” take on new meaning for the Prime Time Woman.

          Are Always Learning – Learning for personal growth and for the sheer pleasure of learning is stronger in the second half of life.  Prime Time Women have more time on their hands and are excited about their newfound freedom to explore interests, old and new.  Combining learning with fun and socializing and be sure to invite her to bring a friend.

Are Yearning to Leave a Legacy – Prime Time Women want to make a difference in the world.  They are in the prime of their income producing years and can afford to pay a little more “to do good”.  They seek out opportunities to support companies that make the world a better place.

How well does your fitness facility or program connect with Prime Time Women through its website, blog, email newsletter, advertisements, sales process, environment and programming?

Find out how to connect with this powerful client at the 2017 Functional Aging Summit.

Functional Aging Summit

June 15 – 18, 2017

Caribe Royale Orlando

Talk Like a Boomer To Attract Boomers

Generational Divide

The generational divide is pretty huge in the fitness industry. The historical and traditional focus on the under 40 population is still very strong. However, the humongous growth of the Boomer population (ages 52-70) is turning the industry upside down. Trainers are now realizing that this population is ideal as there are huge numbers; they are financially capable of paying for even premium training memberships; they are becoming even more and more interested in exercise as a way stay “young” and healthy; and they are good clients to have.

However, I find that the vast majority of trainers (even those who happen to train quite a few Boomers) really don’t know how to communicate effectively with them. This is especially true for younger trainers who are from a different generational cohort. A big key to your success will be to learn how to shift into their generational style when trying to attract and sell to them.

Understanding how to do this can create a paradigm shift for your business that catapults you to the next level. Think about it this way. Relationships between men and women are often confounded or even ruined by their two vastly different communication styles. It isn’t that the two people don’t love each other or that they are incompatible. It is that they approach communication from two different perspectives…and they expect the other person to communicate like they do. That is the real kicker. Once the couple understands that 1) their communication styles happen to be different; 2) neither style is right or wrong; and 3) how to shift into the other person’s communication style, then most of the tension and conflict falls away.

The same can be said for different generations. Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials all have slightly different communication styles because of the era in which they were raised. Neither style is right or wrong! They are just different. If you are a Gen Xer (age 37-51) or Millennial (age 17-36) then you are probably going to naturally communicate like a Gen Xer or Millennial and wonder why in the world you aren’t effective in selling to Boomers.

Here are some tips for becoming more effective with Boomers (adapted from Unlocking Generational Codes by Anna Liotta, MA):

Take Time to Build the Relationship
For Boomers it is all about the relationship. Whenever you talk with a Boomer about your fitness program you should FIRST get to know them AND let them get to know you. Topics like your kids, their kids and grandkids, where you grew up, people you both know, what their interests are, etc. Don’t rush into your rehearsed dialogue about why your fitness program is so much better than everyone else’s (which isn’t a good approach with a Boomer anyway). Take time to build the relationship (and increase the trust factor) first. This is best done face to face because it is the Boomers preferred style of communication (not texting, not email, not phone). If you really want to take it to the next level then work on building the relationship even before they walk in the door by getting involved with charities and organizations (e.g. Arts Council, Rotary Club, Gardening Club, local fundraisers, etc.) that your ideal Boomer clients are into. They like to schmooze so get out there and schmooze along with them.

Be Patient and Have Good Follow Up
One of the “rules” of fitness sales is to close the sale on the first appointment because if they have to “go home and think about it” or “ask my spouse” then you’ve lost the sale because that is really code for “no thanks I don’t want to join”. Boomers despise high-pressure “this deal ends when you walk out the door” sales tactics and they like to make good purchase decisions. The reality is that we want them to think about it. We want them to talk to their spouse. We want them to check their schedules. The majority of the time this is not code for them not wanting to buy. In fact, it could be quite the opposite. If you have demonstrated excellent value then this is an opportunity for them to solidify it in their mind so that when they do join they are “all in”. What does this mean for you? It means signing them up for long-term, high dollar memberships. But part of this process is also that you have good follow up. In fact, they expect good follow up. You accomplish this by asking them when and how you can follow up. “Barbara (yes use first names), could I call you next Wednesday if we don’t hear from you before then?” This way there is a clear expectation of when a decision needs to be made. Then, of course, you need to stick with it. If you fail to follow up then the message they hear is that you don’t care enough about them.

Boomers are the original “What’s in it for me?” generation. They were raised as children with the eyes of the world upon them, a secure growing economy and the message that they were the most important. Well they took this to heart and as they grew they realized they had the luxury of focusing on “ME”. Boomers have carried this message with them into middle and late adulthood. While it is important to demonstrate your expertise and authority in order to be credible to Boomers ultimately what they really want to know is how that expertise translates into helping them. So be sure to listen to their needs, goals and preferences so that you can address those specific issues in your conversation.

Remember the Non-Verbals
Communication is often interpreted (or misinterpreted) through non-verbal methods. Boomers are no different so be sure to consider all aspects of the communication process that might be interpreted differently by a Boomer. Use direct eye contact. Avoid multi-tasking at all costs. Turn your cell phone off completely or put it away while speaking to a Boomer. If your phone buzzes when a text comes in you MUST RESIST the temptation to pick it up and glance at it. Whatever it is can surely wait so that the Boomer doesn’t think you are disrespectful even if your generation doesn’t care about it. Consider your attire. Boomers prefer a casual but professional look. Obviously fitness is fitness but don’t meet with a potential client when you are sweaty or even wearing a tank top and shorts or a sports bra and tights. Take the time to present yourself nicely. In fact, I would highly recommend that you have a dress code for all of your clients or members that keeps them from wearing revealing attire. This is not only a generational thing but also an issue for many people that are new to exercise and the fitness environment.

Check out the amazing lineup of expert presenters at the 2017 Functional Aging Summit.


Grow Your Business with the Most Powerful Economic Force: Boomer Women

Let’s face it: Women Rule! And to be even more specific: Boomer Women Rule! If you are running a fitness program or are a trainer you are making a HUGE mistake if you aren’t zeroed in on this incredible clientele. Think about it. Women 50+ influence 80% of the $2.1 trillion spent by Boomers AND 80% of these women control their family’s day to day finances. But that’s not all.

Boomer Women

These women are breaking the traditional stereotypes of what it means to be an “older” woman. They are charting their own path and are coming into their own in a sort of ageless empowerment. Newfound freedom from responsibilities, growing confidence in themselves as a beautiful and vital female (Notice how many are NOT coloring their hair anymore and letting the gray shine through?) and an enjoyment in this new stage of life – along with their vast financial resources – are making purchases for themselves at unprecedented levels.

Of course, as with any population, women 50+ are NOT all the same. They vary in family situation, employment status, financial resources and in many other areas. But among the 40 million Boomer women there is a large group that authors Reily and Orsborn in their book Vibrant Nation refer to as Vibrant Women. They are educated, affluent, confident and ageless.

The authors further divide Vibrant Women consumer market into five segments based on their research. The largest group, accounting for 48% of the whole, is the Self Interested Spenders and they are actively looking for product and program solutions that “get” her. Who are these women?

According to Vibrant Nation, the Self-Interested Spender:
• Makes purchase decisions on whether products acknowledge and meet her specific needs.
• Doesn’t want to be taken care of or be manipulated by marketers into making expensive, trendy choices
• Would rather get her information (online or off) from someone she trusts. She has identified this trusted advisor as “someone like me”.
• Makes her decisions on the genuine value and utility of the purchase.
• Is centered on her own interests – her needs and wants.

Meryl StreepWhen it comes to fitness it is easy to assume that these women aspire to be 20-something again. To look like their daughters and granddaughters. To chase youth and vanity. However, this is definitely not the case. These women desire to be the best 50- and 60- year olds that they can be. Women now expect to be able to look good at 50 or 60 thanks to many aging models and actresses (Sigourney Weaver, Meryl Streep, Madonna) who are fit, healthy and beautiful.

She has begun to feel the growing tension between the “anti-aging” movement and their own self-acceptance. Between style and comfort (she wants both). As she gets older and starts to face the realization of her own mortality she must ask herself if she can still be beautiful with that little extra layer of fat she has accumulated. Is the time and effort and discomfort of an aggressive exercise plan and dietary regime worth it to her? Maybe even go with a little tummy tuck instead? These are not easy questions for her to answer but she is grappling with them and is looking for fitness programs that acknowledge and understand her dilemma. It is this core emotional connection that is key to gaining the Vibrant Woman as your client.

Using “women like me” in your testimonials and social proof is an essential piece. Allow these women the opportunity to express themselves in their own words. Often we look for clients that will make claims such as “this is the greatest fitness program in the world” but that is not nearly as effective with Boomer women as comments like “the trainers here really know me and are interested in helping me be the best I can be”. You may think that having the younger, good looking, fit female (and that might be you the trainer) in your marketing materials is good because that is what these women want to become. Well they don’t. They realize they probably can’t…and they are okay with that.

Learn effective marketing and sales strategies to tap into this powerful client group at the 2017 Functional Aging Summit.


Want More Older Clients? Stop Speaking to Them Like a Gen Xer or Millennial

Want More Older Clients? Stop Speaking to Them Like a Gen Xer or Millennial

I’m a Generation Xer. A Baby Buster. Part of the MTV generation. I grew up without the internet and witnessed the explosion of the PC. I remember watching the Challenger shuttle explode on live TV. I got a Sony Walkman tape player for Christmas one year and binged on Michael Jackson’s Thriller for days. If I ever hear the song “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake it brings a little smile to my face (so many memories). I have a pretty good understanding of how to talk to other Gen X’ers because I am one.

But I market and sell to Boomers and Seniors.

I’m not a Boomer. I’m not a Senior. I’m an Xer. We don’t have the same shared experiences. We don’t have the same perspective on life. We don’t talk the same. We don’t think the same. We don’t have the same needs, goals or values.

If I try to market and sell to a Boomer or Senior the way I want to be marketed and sold to it would be a complete disaster. If I want to get those clients I have to learn how they think; how they view life; how they want to be marketed and sold to. This is something most fitness professionals don’t fully understand.

They get the concept but they don’t realize how deep this rabbit hole goes.

Here is the weight of the matter: Generational differences can unknowingly be sabotaging your marketing efforts! If you really want your business to grow then you have to figure this out.

Here are some great tips on selling to the Baby Boom generation from Generational Selling Tactics that Work by Cam Marston.
How to Engage the Boomer Customer
• Be Optimistic: They are an optimistic bunch. You need to match that level of optimism through an upbeat style.
• Use face-to-face communication: It’s personal with Boomers and nothing beats getting personal with someone then sitting down with them face to face.
• Help them get control of their time and surroundings: They are busy, busy, busy and are looking for solutions that can help them be more efficient.
• Provide a sense of teamwork: They want an authority to help them but they don’t want to be told what to do. Include them in the decision-making process.
• Offer customized solutions: Boomers are used to having life tailored to them. Offering one-size-fits-all solutions fall flat with this group. Allow them the opportunity to create an offer that is “just for them”.
• Don’t make them feel old: They may be in their 60’s with grandchildren but that doesn’t mean they have any intention of getting or feeling old. In fact, that is why many of them have come to your fitness facility in the first place.
• Don’t be afraid to sell: Ask for their business. Ask to move to the next step in the process. They aren’t afraid of advertising and sales and if there is no pitch they may feel like you do not value them or their business.

How to Build a Sales Relationship with Boomers
• Court them: Go where they go. Do what they do. Take the time to spend time getting to know them in the community. Arts events, charities, special occasions…find out where your ideal clients spend their time and join them there to start building those relationships.
• Appeal to their sense of ego: The Boomers are proud of what they’ve accomplished and the work ethic they value. Let them know that you respect and admire them.
• Help them feel visionary: They want to feel like they are a part of something that is bigger than themselves. Their fitness program isn’t about them but also about their children, grandchildren and others around them. Let them know that your business supports other local charities and by doing business with you they will help you help other people.
• Appeal to their sense of nostalgia: Connect with the peak experiences from their past when it is natural to do so. Allow Boomers the opportunity to take a little walk down memory lane.
Remember, it’s all about THEM. As a fitness entrepreneur you have to be willing to change what you are doing and how you are doing it in order to be more effective in reaching a different generation than yours.

Our amazing lineup at the 2017 Functional Aging Summit will give you the tools and strategies you need to grow your business with the growing mature adult population.

Functional Aging Summit

June 15 – 18, 2017

Caribe Royale Orlando

How to Convince Older Clients to Purchase Your Training Services

“If you’re selling the best, most Boomers want it.” – Steve Howard, author of Boomer Selling.

BentleyBecause Boomers are the wealthiest and most educated generation in history they can afford to buy premium products and services. In fact, many want the best productions and solutions and aren’t afraid to pay for them. They know value and understand its importance so just because something has a higher price tag does not make it premium.

The sales process can be complicated. According to Boomer Selling by Steve Howard the Boomer Selling process has five critical steps:

Step One: Create Confidence. Get us to trust you and believe that you have the knowledge and skill to help us get the perfect solution. The most important thing Boomers shop for are people we can trust. Trust is absolute confidence in the honesty and reliability of another person. Too often we focus on getting other people to understand our services (all about us) rather than trying to understand their problems or concerns (all about them) which is what Boomers are looking for. Be transparent. Keep it simple. And show them how much you care.
One of the keys to creating confidence is to be a “specialist” (like maybe a Functional Aging Specialist for example). Boomers aren’t just buying your program or service they are buying your expertise. They know that specialists justify their higher price by doing the job right and giving their customers confidence that they will get 100% of the benefits and value they’re paying for. Be sure to let them know how your expertise is going to benefit them and how choosing you will help them avoid costly mistakes by going somewhere else.

Step Two: Determine Desires. Find out what desires (such as security or social standing) are driving our decision to shop in the first place, then find ways to satisfy our desires. Boomers don’t buy what they need, they buy what they desire and if they desire it enough nothing will turn them aside. It is paramount that you figure out why they really want? Is it weight loss or confidence in themselves? Is it really to be “healthier” or is that they are embarrassed that they can’t get the golf ball out of the cup after a putt? Is it to “tone up” or is it that they are starting to get worried that they won’t live long enough to see their grandkids grow up?

Step Three: Customize Solutions. Boomers don’t want the same product or solution as everyone else. Design a package of products, services and extras to come as close as possible to solving each particular problem. “Like snowflakes no two Boomers are the same.” Boomers crave and sometimes require customization. When you only offer 2 or 3 program options some Boomers are going to resist. When they ask things like: “Why can’t I train with the morning group on Mondays and Thursdays; the afternoon group on Wednesdays; and instead of Fridays (I’m just too busy on Fridays) train every other Saturday?” they aren’t just trying to be difficult. They are telling you that they have “special” needs and are looking for a customized solution.
Many trainers don’t want to deal with these people because it messes up their tidy schedules. They view these as exceptions and if they do it for one person then they will have to do it for everyone. Listen, if they want to purchase long-term training with you then figure out how to create a custom solution. Haven’t you ever had those situations where the service person says they “can’t” do something when they really can? “I’m sorry sir but I can’t replace your French fries with green beans”. YES YOU CAN.

Step Four: Reduce Risk. Use the right information and Boomer friendly tools to reduce our risks both real and imagined. There are many types of risks that Boomers face and that you must reduce in their minds. They are: physical risk, psychological risk, financial risk, functional risk and social risk. Each one of these has the potential to kill the sale. And here is the really tough part – many times they don’t tell you what risks are important to them. Oh, it is rolling around in their brain for sure and it is up to you to proactively address as many of these as possible in your conversation and in your sales materials.
For example, one of the easiest things you can do to reduce financial risk is to offer an unconditional, money-back guarantee. If they don’t like the program then they can cancel for a full refund at any time within the first 30 days. You have just removed financial risk IF they already trust you. We had a personal training facility in our town that closed up overnight without warning. The owner left town with everyone’s “paid in full” membership money. The clients that came to our place afterwards were obviously concerned that we would do the same. It was up to us to instill as much trust as possible AND to reduce their financial risk as much as possible in order to close the sale.

Step Five: Elevate Emotions. Create excitement and provide us with the emotional stimulation we need to buy the things we desire. Let’s face it. We are all emotional buyers. We just like to rationalize our decisions afterwards to make us feel good about them. Boomers are no different and even more so but the emotional connection isn’t with the product it is with the benefits the product or service provides. Why buy a $1,000 faucet when a $50 faucet will do the exact same job? Because the stylish design and unique hand-rubbed finish of the $1,000 faucet will impress my friends and make me feel like I’ve finally made it.
Boomers must not only want what you are selling but the perceived value of it must exceed its price – realistically, without a lot of fluff. Most trainers think their service is the best (you do don’t you). Saying you are the best can be a double-edge sword with Boomers though. They do not respond well to that terminology (unless it is a recommendation coming from a trusted peer or friend). If you really think your program is the best then you must be able to communicate how and why without putting down any other program or trainer in town (although making direct comparisons are okay). To demonstrate that high perceived value that Boomers are looking for communicate the tangible benefits that your training provides to the individual rather than its features.

Following these five steps will help you to attract and serve more mature clients. The book Boomer Selling is a great resource for anyone wanting to grow their business with Boomers.

Come to the 2017 Functional Aging Summit for hands-on teaching to improve your marketing and sales.


Cody Sipe, PhD


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