Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fitness Professionals! Supporting Eachother Improves Our Industry.

I'm noticing a new trend in the Fitness Industry and it has nothing to do with crunches, lunges, or cardio.
It has to do with fitness professionals bad mouthing other businesses in order to gain visibility. I've also noticed "friends" of different fitness studios and trainers doing the dirty work for others. Sadly, what these individuals don't realise is that by doing so they put the reputation of their business in jeopardy.

Yesterday, I was on Yelp checking out what other studios in my area had to offer in the way of specials and promotions.  I came across 3 reputable boutique fitness studios that had recently gotten low reviews (yes, I check in often enough to notice when a studio that I am familiar with and respect, goes down a star-or 3).
It quickly became apparent that it was mere sabotage vs constructive criticism.
I've chosen to give [name of boutique fitness studio] the benefit of the doubt and hope this brings a new consideration to how we, as Respectable Fitness Professionals, conduct ourselves in the future. 

Here is how I handled it
"Hello [name of boutique fitness studio],
I thought you may want to know that a friend of yours may not know, that by trying to do your studio a favor, they may actually be doing your studio a bit of harm.
I happen to be a local business owner and I love to keep up with the specials that local studios are running. When I see something inspiring, I discuss it with my fellow fitness professionals so we can keep up to speed on what is going on in our industry.
That is how I came upon the random reviews by the above mentioned HB.
Hmmm, a little fishy.
I am sure your friend means well, but to post strangely vague, negative reviews about 2 studios, along with the link to your business, it comes across as a business owner trying to do a "poor-sport-one-up-man-ship."
You may want to ask your friend to either remove your business link so it doesn't make your studio look bad, or at least elaborate on the reviews with legitimate information regarding what each studio has to offer and where they dropped the ball...most boutique health/wellness studios (myself included) welcome feedback from their clients (good and bad) to inspire us to improve.
FYI: Yelp has been doing some pretty intense policing lately. I even had one of my reviews removed last week (the review was from 2 years ago) about a CPR company. Upon further inquiry, they thought I was trying to promote the American Red Cross by making up a false review, since I had mentioned the ARC in the review and had posted a link to the positive review for I had written for the ARC...uh oh!
The fitness community that I "run in" is a wonderfully supportive group of fitness professionals who believe that by supporting one another, we raise the "barre" of what our industry has to offer.
By sticking together, we help not only ourselves and our industry as a whole, but the clientele of the health and wellness community which in turn helps us stay afloat against the larger chains that do not provide the personalized attention that our clients deserve.
Yelp is a great source of knowledge, not only for potential clients, but for all small business owners.
It was a pleasure to find out about what you offer at your studio when I checked out your link and I wish you continued success.
I hope you found this information useful.
Your Fellow Fitness Professional wishing you a happy and healthy day!
: )"

I am happy to report that the owner of
[name of boutique fitness studio]
responded promptly with
"thank you very much.
I'll figure this out!
Best wishes,

Owner, [name of boutique fitness studio]"

This terrible economy is no excuse to lower our standards on how we conduct ourselves professionally and personally.
I would love to hear how you would have handled it.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Day!
-Melissa Adylia Gutierrez
Owner/Personal Trainer

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