Box Development January 10, 2018

7 Things You Can Do to Get People to Sign-up for The Open


So you’re going to run The Open at your gym. The first thing you need – sign-ups!
In this post, we’ll describe an approach to encourage athlete sign-ups as well as give you a list of seven things you can do (right now!) to get folks to sign-up. This is the second post in the blog series: How and Why to Run the CrossFit Open at Your Gym.
There are six weeks between the start of registration and the LIVE announcement of the first workout of The Open. Personally, I think a good goal for any box is to get half of their member population to register and participate.
So, are you ready for some math?
If you have 150 members at your gym, you’re looking to get 75 sign-ups. That means you need to get 12.5 members to sign-up each week. Ok fine, you can’t sign-up half an athlete, but you get my point in that your goal is 10-15 sign-ups per week for six weeks.
Here’s an overview the approach we use at CrossFit Roots to encourage participation:

Make it clear to your members that The Open is for EVERYONE.

The Open is the initial round of competition for those that want to compete at The CrossFit Games. This language freaks people out, so don’t use it! Instead, frame The Open around the experience the athlete can expect to have. Make it clear that The Open “for the rest of us” is a 5-week series of challenging workouts done in a supportive and coached environment that is as fun as it is athletically hard. Do this through face to face interactions, on your blog, in your newsletter, and on social media.

Make it clear that they’re going to do the workout anyways.

Program the weekly Open workout for ALL of your Friday group classes. If your athlete comes to class on Friday at any time, they’re going to do the workout. This lays the foundation for, “you’re going to do it anyway, why not sign-up to participate and log your score.”

Make it visible.

Make it easy for athletes to see how many people at the gym have signed up, and specifically who else has signed up. Post weekly flyers on the bathroom and gym doors that specify the number of athletes who are signed up thus far, and designate a whiteboard area where athletes sign their names once registered.

Talk about it so much that athletes pretty much just give up and sign-up.

I’m slightly kidding, but we do find that if we talk about it enough, our athletes start to understand that the coaching staff believes in the importance of The Open for all athletes. The more athletes hear about the process, the more they become comfortable with what initially made them nervous.

The more athletes hear about the process, the more they become comfortable with what initially made them nervous.

Here are seven things you can do to encourage sign-ups:

1. Educate!

If you want people to sign-up for The Open, you have to educate them on what it is, how it goes down at your gym, why they should sign-up, and what The Open means to CrossFitters around the world. You can do this on your blog, in a newsletter, or email, but you have to educate. You can see examples HERE and HERE.

2. Highlight 5 different athletes who are doing The Open.

Choose athletes with different backgrounds, ability levels, and goals. Tell their story to the gym on your blog, in a newsletter, or on Facebook. At Roots, our staff thinks of five athletes who we believe would serve as good role models for the shop on why they do The Open. We then send them an email and ask if they’d be willing to write a blurb for us about why they signed up. You can see an example of these posts HERE and HERE.
Here’s an example of the email I send to members asking if they’ll write for us:

3. Make a Spot on Your Whiteboard for People to Sign Their Name

Signed up for The Open? We want EVERYONE to know. The fact of the matter is that when folks start to see how many people are signed up for The Open, they’re more likely to sign-up themselves. This is especially true as they see their peers’ names on the whiteboard creating a reaction of, “They’re signed up? Well, I guess I CAN do this.”
Here’s a shot of our whiteboard toward the end of Open registration.

Here’s our whiteboard at Roots just before the start of the 2017 CrossFit Open.

4. Talk About it at the Whiteboard

For the entire 6 weeks of sign-up, at the start of every class, the coach should make a pitch about signing up for The Open. They can ask “who’s signed up?”, “who has never done it before,” “who is nervous”, or “who was nervous in past years but wouldn’t miss it for anything now?” The point is to create the opportunity for conversation between members. If members can help other members understand why they should sign-up, that’s a great thing!

5. Make it CLEAR That They’re Going to Do the Workout Whether or Not They Sign-up

At Roots, we do The Open workout during every group class for all 5 Fridays. If you come to class, whether or not you come to Friday Night Lights, you’re going to do the workout. We like to remind people, “You’re going to do the workout anyways, why not sign-up and log your score.” As an added and separate bonus – by doing the workout in group classes, you give people the opportunity to sign-up who would not have participated if their only option to participate was in the Friday Night Lights environment – which is sometimes too intimidating for members for various reasons.

6. Comment on SugarWOD!

Remind your staff to comment on SugarWOD when they see or know that an athlete has signed up for The Open. A simple, “I saw you signed up for The Open! Awesome!” goes a long way in helping athletes feel confident about their decision to participate.

7. Be Relentless.

I believe that 90% of my members want to do The Open. The ones who don’t are nervous or fearful, yet want to be part of the excitement. It’s our job as coaches to help as much of that 90% feel comfortable and supported in their sign-up efforts. A relentless approach that is rooted in a genuine belief that The Open helps build better athletes and people can go a long way in getting to that 50% mark!
How do you encourage athletes to sign-up for The Open? Post to comments.