If you own a fitness facility or are a coach or trainer, displaying your medals can add to the legitimacy of what you are selling, which is your knowledge and experience. A little over a year ago, I enrolled my daughter in Jiu Jitsu. When I walked into their facility, I saw a wall covered in competitive medals hanging on nails and several championship belts in a case. To me, as a customer, these were instructors who didn't just say they could deliver results, they had the hardware to back up their claim.
Within a year of my daughter starting, American Top Team Asheville had moved to a new facility. After they were all settled in, I asked them what happened to all their medals and belts. They told me they were in a box in the closet and didn't know what they planned to do with them. I said, "If you didn't know me from Michael Phelps and were looking for swim training, who would you pick: me or a someone standing in front of a wall of Olympic gold medals?" When a potential customer is shopping around for a personal trainer, coach, or in this case, a martial arts instructor, do you want someone who has been there, done that and has the medal to prove it, or someone who just read a book and passed a test?
After a minute or two of talking with Chris, the owner, he agreed to let me frame their medals and belts. We originally wanted them on the entrance wall; however, after hanging a couple, I realized that wall gets direct sunlight coming through the door and windows. This was a problem because, with the acrylic window in the frame, it acts like a greenhouse and warps the matting and can lead to premature aging of the medals and belts. They wanted all the medals and belts in one area, and we decided to outline the reception wall with all their bling.
Framing medals looks much more professional than hanging them on a nail, but it can also be costly if you have a lot. In this case, maybe pick your best or most prestigious, frame them and place them at a focal point where potential customers can't miss them. In fact, when you are talking to a potential customer, stand in front of your medals and walk them through your accomplishments and discuss how you can help them achieve their goals. If you own a facility and your budget allows it, then go ahead and deck the walls with framed medals. Let them serve as motivation to your clients on what you can help them achieve and to reinforce why they are training.
Another thing to think about is how to display your medals in the space you have. My preference is to space them throughout the facility. I think it looks the most professional and gives members something to look at while they are resting. When potential customers come in, they can't help but see your amazing array of accomplishments. I think of it as if I were setting up an art gallery or museum, where each piece has enough space between them that another display isn't distracting. A wall shouldn't be bare, but at the same time, it shouldn't contain so much that it looks like you ran out of room in the closet and decided to hang everything up.
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