Fitness equipment suppliers provide commercial fitness machines to facilities such as gyms and physical therapy centers. In addition to simply supplying equipment to these facilities, they may also be responsible for educating facility staff in equipment operation and providing maintenance and repair services. Further, they may carry out certain research and marketing functions, keeping abreast of new trends in fitness equipment and devising promotional strategies to stimulate sales.
The work of most fitness equipment suppliers begins in the sales arena. Representatives may meet with potential buyers or speak to them on the telephone to explain the features and benefits of their firm’s equipment line and help the buyer determine which pieces would best fit his needs. As the sales process progresses, the representative may also negotiate pricing, work up a financing plan, and outline warranty terms.
Once fitness equipment suppliers have sold their product to a fitness facility, their relationship to that client becomes largely customer service oriented. Supplier representatives may visit the facility at the time of delivery to set up the new equipment. They may also offer facility staff a tutorial session in which they explain how to properly operate and care for the equipment.
Another duty of fitness equipment suppliers is providing maintenance for products under warranty. They may operate a customer helpline in which clients can get equipment troubleshooting advice over the telephone. Should problems persist, the supplier may send an associate to the facility to repair the equipment, or, in the case of a faulty machine, may replace the piece. Some suppliers may also offer complimentary servicing, in which a representative visits clients after set intervals to inspect their equipment, ensuring that it is running properly and making any necessary adjustments.
Finally, fitness equipment suppliers may also engage in a certain amount of research and marketing to encourage growth. In order to keep up with or even outpace their competitors, suppliers must be able to anticipate fitness trends and design or obtain equipment appropriate to those trends. When in the 1990s many fitness experts began denouncing jogging as overly stressful to the joints, for instance, fitness equipment suppliers introduced the elliptical trainer as a safer alternative.
Suppliers may also develop promotional strategies to stimulate sales. They may, for example, offer a discount to clients who purchase multiple pieces. Alternatively, they may introduce a loyalty scheme in which the client receives free equipment accessories after providing the supplier with a certain amount of business.