How to: help customers get the most out of their workout space

Explaining the technical specs of a piece of cardio equipment -- horsepower, belt size, max speeds, display controls, etc. -- can be important to your customers. It's vital, however, not to overlook the human details of helping a customer choose the right piece, and then create a space that will best suit their needs and help them get the most out of what you sold them once it's home. Taking advantage of location, setup, entertainment and extras can help your customers turn their workout area into a favorite stop rather than a perfect place to hang clothes. These things may seem small to you -- perhaps even of the no-brainer ilk -- but for your customer who perhaps has never had a piece of cardiovascular equipment before, providing this helpful information could be a big "ah-ha" moment. And YOU will be the hero.
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Explaining the technical specs of a piece of cardio equipment -- horsepower, belt size, max speeds, display controls, etc. -- can be important to your customers. It's vital, however, not to overlook the human details of helping a customer choose the right piece, and then create a space that will best suit their needs and help them get the most out of what you sold them once it's home. Taking advantage of location, setup, entertainment and extras can help your customers turn their workout area into a favorite stop rather than a perfect place to hang clothes.

These things may seem small to you -- perhaps even of the no-brainer ilk -- but for your customer who perhaps has never had a piece of cardiovascular equipment before, providing this helpful information could be a big "ah-ha" moment. And YOU will be the hero.

Incorporate the following tips and suggestions into your interaction with customers not only to help them choose the right piece as well as the

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appropriate accessories, but also after you've closed the sale to make sure they end up with a satisfying experience:

Pre-sale tip:

It IS about size. Remember, that in a store, nothing looks gargantuan since everything is pretty big, the space is broad, and the ceilings are usually high. However, remember, that won't be the case in a home, let alone a condo or apartment. Treadmills, and most ellipticals and even many recumbent bikes, are big, no two ways around it. Make doubly sure your customers have measured their space, perhaps even recommending they go so far as to use masking tape to create an outline of the space the piece will need on their floor. Also make sure they have measured the height. That's particularly true for an elliptical where the user's height can increase once he or she is aboard and moving through the ellipsis motion -- you don't want someone slamming their head into a ceiling.

Post-closing customer advice:

  1. Location, location, location -- Wedging the piece into a corner of a room sans windows or into the dark depths of a basement won't usually create the most motivating environment. Being able to look out a window or a door, onto a deck or patio, out the front window at passers-by… just being able to look at SOMEthing other than the same speck of paint on the wall can be really helpful. In addition, a heated room in the winter can start to feel stifling once the user heats up, so having access to a door or window that can be pushed open slightly will be a saving grace. If someone is purchasing an indoor cycle, putting it near a sliding door so it can be wheeled outside onto a deck or porch when the weather is nice can be the most divine of workout venues.
  2. Let me entertain you -- Actually, let there be accessible entertainment. A TV can be a great aid, but only if it's in front of the user and he or she doesn't have to crank his or her head to the side, or up or down for an entire workout. Talk about a pain in the neck! Suggest investing in a small TV and stand so it can be right at eye-level in front of them. Music? Great to crank it up, but not if the exerciser wakes up early to exercise and family or roommates sleep late. In that case, having a portable music system with headphones will be most advisable. Suggest they invest in water-resistant headphones they can leave on the equipment (who wants to go searching for them when it's time for a workout?). Foam-covered or padded ear cups will be quickly destroyed by sweat.
  3. Table it -- Not all equipment has a ton o' cups and places to put the stuff a person may find valuable during a workout, so tell a customer to consider a small side table or wall shelf for their workout gear. The stuff does add up, too. Water bottles, cell phones, pagers, towels, hair clips, magazines or books, a telephone and maybe a few munchies can all be stuff a user may want handy.
  4. Accessorize! -- The equipment isn't the only thing your customer will need. Consider suggesting a heart-rate monitor, a reading rack, a pedometer, a towel, a water bottle or any number of other items that can make the workout more efficient, more beneficial and more enjoyable. (And all stuff you have in your store waiting to be sold. We hope.)
  5. Monitor thyself -- A heart-rate monitor may be a necessary add-on for some users even if the equipment has contact monitoring since the watch-and-belt-system can be most accurate during anything more than a moderate walk. Don't forget about offering it for an add-on sale. Pedometers are also great to wear on treadmills since the user can then not only count his or her steps on the workout, but can also add them into the steps taken the rest of the day for a grand total, making the treadmill more a part of their life's activity rather than an isolated piece.

One last word: A mat to protect the carpet and floor from the imprint of the equipment's weight and flying beads of sweat -- as well as some deadening of sound -- is a must-have. It's much easier to get this under the piece when it's first delivered.

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