When talking to YMCAs about how they give tours, I hear a common thread: Y staff are asking the customer what they want to see and what they are interested in. Their explanation for this? “We only want to show them areas they are interested in.”
I understand that you may want to shorten a tour for a hurried guest or if someone is adamant that they “only want to see a particular part of the Y.” These people are the minority, not the majority.
What if you met with a personal trainer and they said, “What exercises do you want to do?” You would think, “What do you mean? You are the professional, you tell me what is best for me.”
This is exactly how you should approach a tour. You are the professional who is there to guide the potential member into making a good buying decision based on all the information, solid facts, history and giving them a proper tour of the facility.
You might be thinking, “What if someone comes in and says they only want to see the pool?” In my 21 years of touring I have only heard this a handful of times, and it’s easy to overcome.
Customer: I only want to see the pool.
Staff: Great, we have a ton to offer you here at the Y. I could spend an hour showing you around. However, I know you are busy, so I will briefly touch on who we are and what we offer, and then we can really spend time at the pool. I will give you an “abbreviated tour until we get to the pool. Sound good?
Why would you want to give the customer the full experience when they only asked for one specific area? Because the Y is an awesome place and needs to be shared -- not just for the guest, but for others they will share the information with. What if the person only wants water aerobics but you give them an abbreviated tour and talk about the Y history, other amenities, the work you do in the community, and how much you help kids and families? Is there a possibility they may share that information? Of course there is.
I took someone on a tour several years ago who only wanted to do zumba. This person told me right up front that the only thing she wanted to see was the class schedule for zumba. I said, “Sure,” and shared the class schedule with her. Then I asked if I could give her an abbreviated tour of the Y in case she had family or friends who may be interested in more we had to offer. She agreed.
During the tour I got to know her and was able to determine why she only wanted zumba. She had a misconception about strength training. In her mind, resistance training made you “bulky” and “big.” She had no idea how strength training could help her reach her 20 lb. weight loss goal. She also didn’t understand all the other benefits, like building bone density, relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, toning, burning calories via lean muscle, preventing muscle atrophy, etc. I shared how strength training can be fun and rewarding.
Not only did I have a chance to educate her about resistance training but I also shared the Y history, fun facts about basketball and Father's Day. She asked a lot of questions and was genuinely interested in a lot more than just zumba. She may only do zumba, but I was able to plant a seed that may grow and be shared with others. She now knows that the Y is different and not just another gym.
Now that you understand why you should give a full tour, let’s discuss how to set up a tour properly.