After two decades in the fitness retail business on both the retail and supply side, Joe Marcoux has decided to take his energy and passion to the industry on a broader scale.
In late May, the former vice president of sales for RedZone Fitness launched his company, called "Just Did It," which will focus on training sales skills at specialty retail. Prior to a year at RedZone, Marcoux was the Canadian sales manager for Vision Fitness and, before that, he spent five years at Bodyguard. Before his stint at Bodyguard, he was at retail in Canada, always based in the Winnipeg, Manitoba, area. Marcoux tells SNEWS® he has done everything from delivering equipment in his early days to his more recent years in sales and sales management.
He also has a book coming out in late summer or early fall called "Boutique Thinking in a Big Box World," which will also be the title of a talk he will do on Saturday morning, Aug. 4, at the Health & Fitness Business Expo in Denver.
Specialty retail needs to get rid of the tendency to spout technobabble, Marcoux insisted, and stop focusing on price if it has a chance of competing with sporting goods, mass merchants and all those other places that are starting to sell fitness, such as Home Depot and the local grocery store.
"Nike says, 'Just do it' -- one day I'll get off the couch…one day," said Marcoux. "What I want to instill is doing it now."
Specialty fitness needs to be a combination of selling and motivation so the store and sales staff not only sell the equipment but also provide the motivation and accountability to help the consumer carry through with the plan.
"People are afraid to have the coat rack," he said.
A question everybody should ask themselves -- and he promises to do it at his talk at the Denver show -- is "What makes specialty special?" Is it product? No, he says because if you're selling on price to differentiate the features, you'll lose every time. Is it the technical differences? Yes, the product at specialty may be better built, but when the sales staff drops into technobabble to support the higher price, they lose the customer. The customer isn't there to hear about belts, drives, LEDs and decks, but rather it is simply looking for, as he put it, sex and salvation.
"The industry is in a state of dis-ease," he said, focusing on the "ease." "There must be a shift."
Why should a store hire him instead of somebody else? One, he has many years of sales experience and, two, that experience is in the industry itself. He added: "I have a passion for the industry."
To contact Marcoux, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 204-233-6048 (office) or 204-229-3831 (mobile).
SNEWS® View: We wish Marcoux luck in his endeavors. Through our years of Mystery Shopping and just hanging around the industry, we can't agree more that many, many of the retailers out there must move beyond price and move strongly into true service. In a past SNEWS® Retailer Survey, when we asked about training, we discovered that most of the specialty retailers out there either didn't do training (partly because it kept getting put off or they felt they didn't need to) or the owners and managers trained the staff members themselves. A combination of in-industry training and out-of-industry research could help make fitness an all-around more successful business.