3 Unexpected Pricing Lessons From Crossfit

You might not be selling a musclebound lifestyle, but the Crossfit business model--knowing their customer, charging for big results, and being unexpectedly valuable--has some beefy lessons for any brand.

Walk into any Crossfit gym, and you'll probably hear loud music blasting over the grunts of people sweat, through rigorous exercises.

Regardless of your athletic ability or interest in fitness, there are several lessons from Crossfit's business model.

Crossfit gyms typically charge two to fives times more than typical gyms. In Boston, for example, a typical gym membership costs about $85 while Crossfit gym memberships range from $200 to $300. You might think that this high pricing strategy would inhibit Crossfit gyms, making it difficult for them to attract new customers and grow, but the opposite is true. Many Crossfit gyms are expanding to accommodate an influx of members.

It's certainly not about the equipment or the amenities. Unlike typical gyms, Crossfit gyms have absolutely no mirrors or fancy workout machines. Instead, you'll only find pull-up bars, barbells, kettle bells, jump ropes and lots of open space. The key to Crossfit's success is that striped down to basics -- it's about doing a very intense workout focused exclusively on improving your level of personal fitness and achieving results.

This is a model that business owners can learn a great deal from, especially when it comes to pricing.

1. Target your most desirable customers.

While just about anyone can keep a membership at a typical gym, the same cannot be said of Crossfit. Of course, anyone can join Crossfit. But only a specific type of person will want to stick around. Those customers are highly committed to exercise and make fitness such a high priority that they are willing to invest the equivalent of a car payment toward their gym memberships every month. As a result, Crossfit gyms have fiercely loyal customers that will sacrifice other priorities in order to remain a member of their Crossfit communities.

Lesson: Most businesses try to be accessible to everyone – and in the end, they are desirable to no one. The owners of these companies are worried about being as affordable as possible to a broad range of people. However, the most successful organizations develop a pricing strategy that focuses on appealing to only one group: their most desirable customers.

2. Charge more by offering massive value.

Typical gyms are full of machines and weights. Dozens of people work out on their own with very little supervision from on-site trainers. As a result, members of typical gyms often work out in ways that are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. Crossfit gyms, on the other hand, provide lots of personal attention with small class sizes and individualized instruction, coaching and critique. Crossfit gyms create value by ensuring that their customers achieve results each time they work out, and give members personal attention.

Lesson: Successful companies are focused on providing huge value to their most desirable customers in exchange for a much higher price tag. No matter your field of business, customers buy from you in order to achieve a specific result. Clarify what that desired result is, and you can offer more value to your customers. Ask yourself: "How can I help my customers achieve better results?" If you can answer that question, then you can dramatically increase your prices.

3. Offer value that your customers don’t expect.

A typical gym is a place to exercise. Some might be cleaner or fancier than others, but they are all mostly the same. A Crossfit gym, on the other hand, is much more than just a place to exercise. These independently owned gyms will often develop tight-knit communities, create diet challenges, host social gatherings and encourage all members to enter into a Crossfit competitions. While many members don't necessarily join Crossfit for these perks, they become hooked once they discover them. All of these additional value offerings ensure that members stick around.

Lesson: Many businesses offer only the value that their customers demand. Because they are often pricing within tight margins, there is little room to offer more value than the customer expects. What additional benefits and services can you offer (that your competition can't) that will make you the only choice for your best customers? If you focus on what will help your best customers surpass their goals, you can offer what other companies don't. Once in this position, you can comfortably charge far more than your competition does. This will help you earn more money per transaction, and it will also make your best customers fiercely loyal to your company.

What is one strategy you use to increase your prices? Please share below in the comments.

--Marc Wayshak is the author of two books on sales and leadership, Game Plan Selling and Breaking All Barriers, as well as a regular contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post Business section. Email him at Info@MarcWayshak.com or follow @MarcWayshak.

[Image: Flickr user Ali Samieivafa]

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