Start a Challenge

What’s a sure way to find prospects that are interested in help reaching their goals?

Start a contest or a challenge. What does it take?

Define the length of time of your contest or challenge: 6 weeks is popular. However, that might mean you set yourself apart by doing something else. We went long and focused on behavior change. We went for 12 weeks. Truthfully it takes 66 days to change or create a habit (contrary to popular belief; this one is based on science). So we wanted to get participants involved, tested, lay a foundation, and take time to progress their exercise program rather than have them jump into a five day a week program focused on reducing calories and over training.

Create the application process. Who can participate? You’ll define that by your questions and information gathering. Are you choosing based on risk factors, financial need, their essay, or agreement to meet all your requirements. If you’re using this as publicity to inspire others, you want to ask your participants to blog or be videotaped, or have their assessments published in articles, etc. Set a deadline and clear statement of how and when the announcement will be made. Then make sure that you contact the winners first to get their consent and agreement, but all others immediately after that.

Offer those who don’t win a consolation prized. Give them an opportunity to follow through on their wish to make changes. Try to match the time frame of the offer you give them with the contest  timeline. That’s what they were planning on. Make phone calls to them letting them know. Send them a letter. Follow up again with a phone call. Give them a two week period to respond and then make one more round of calls from anyone you’ve not heard from the day before it expires. People are busy; it may be that letter got set down on the counter and was of interest, just got covered up.

Do everything in your power to make this a positive experience for the participants. You have a group of people representative of the public. There will be odd requests and someone who isn’t content with something. Yes, even though you’re giving it away. Be prepared and deal with it. Remember your conflict resolution skills and put an end to anything that is negative publicity as you work to offer an explanation and alternative suggestion.

Use your website, social media, email newsletters, your on-hold phone messaging and anything else you do to advertise to draw attention to what is essentially your marketing campaign.

Decide who will choose and how the winners will be chosen. Decide what the winner will receive at the inception of your application process. They’ll win a lifetime of wellness and fitness information of course. Will they also win a year free membership to your club to continue their journey? Will they win a spa day, a makeover from a local salon that also wants the publicity? (therefore reducing your investment but still enhancing the purse for the well-deserved winner?)

Will you provide complimentary….fitness assessments pre and post? personal training?  group training? group classes? will you include nutrition information or counseling each session?

Will you also reward personal trainers who donate their time? Or will you pay the trainer for their time instead? Or both? All things to decide ahead of time so you go in with your eyes open to the cost of the contest. Do this a recipe and document it so that you can review, revise and yet not have to recreate to do it again.

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