Every year health clubs cancel millions of people. These people overcame intimidation as well as other obstacles, joined and yet left. So how do we overcome this dilemma? As we know, the cost of acquiring a new member is much more than retaining one. In this article we will explore some key retention rules.
What is success? I think for the purpose of this article it is important that we define it. 1) The fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame. 2) The correct or desired result of an attempt. 3) Someone or something that is successful. Let’s assume the second definition best fits the majority of our members and prospective members. For us as franchisees there would be a multitude of definitions. Success may be different for some of us but I think we all would agree that changing people’s lives for the better and getting people results would be at least one measure of success. Monetary benefit would be a side effect of doing this well. Let’s talk about wishful thinking. An attitude or belief that something you want to happen will happen even though it is not likely or possible. I am not going to go into creating opportunities for success or wishful thinking from an economic standpoint. Lease negotiation, pricing, location and other factors will determine if any location has a chance. So if the basic economic factors are correct. What next?
I would like to start with wishful thinking as it relates to the member experience. When a member signs up, they are under the impression that they are going to get to their goal, yet that possibility is very unlikely. They start excited, almost like a child on their first day of school. The difference between a child going to school and a new member is that there is structure and guidance for every child when they begin. Of course they have parents that make them go. That doesn’t exactly work with grown people. What do we do to ensure an adult’s success as well as a health club? If we can create the best opportunity for success for our members then we will surely benefit. Please understand that the suggestions in this article are not meant to be a catch all for success or indictment of what anyone may be doing wrong. These are simply points that I know our company needs to work on, any others may have witness and overlooked.
There are several keys to creating an opportunity for success. Three main points to keep in mind: community, results, and habit creation. Having an on boarding process that includes an introduction to all the communities in your club is essential. Doing the same thing with your new employees is just as important. Keep in mind whatever we do for new members and new employees we must also do for our existing members and staff repeatedly year in and year out. Back to the 3 main points. Some communities already exist within our clubs. GGX, kids club, free weight people, swimmers, basketball players and the juice bar crowd, are just a few of the communities we have. We have to mine our data to truly know who is in what, or how many communities. Once we have the data, then we can start communicating to pull them in to the things they want to hear about. If the data is not available, then we have to depend on our departments to collect it. The next point is results. If someone is getting results, then they generally will stay a member. Getting them involved in personal training is important, but getting them involved in nutrition is imperative. Nothing happens without nutrition yet it is the most overlooked area by most clubs and trainers. Nutrition is part of every major training certification and must be a weekly part of any training programs to achieve results. The last component, habit creation, could be accomplished by getting to the first two. Unfortunately, sometimes people have a sense of community, and get results but still leave because they have not made exercise a habit. Consistent communication and a great gym experience should complete all the factors of creating your best opportunity for success for your member and your club.
John “JC” Custard
Gold’s Gym Ashburn, Sterling, Herndon, VA.
President, Gold’s Gym Franchisee Association