I was recently talking to a new client that has two very successful health clubs and I asked, what brought new members to their club? The response was “their members felt like a number with other clubs.” This got me thinking about my own perception of feeling like a number. In my twenties I had joined several gyms and I always quit. Each facility had state of the art equipment and all the amenities I needed, but I never felt a connection. The friendly sales person signed me up, but after that I was lost in all the other members.

Fast-forward to now and I have been working out routinely at the same club for almost five years! The key was finding a gym I could call my home. There are 3 main components that will help your member feel like they are part of a community, not “just a number” in your gym.

#1 Listen

Remember that each member has a story to tell as to why they have ended up at your gym, so ask them and patiently listen for their answer. In sales, it’s easy to jump in quickly and eagerly explain all the great things your club has to offer. If you don’t understand your member, how can you truly explain the benefit to them? Once you take the time to listen, you will understand “why” they’re coming to the gym, and “what” their goals are. This allows your sales team to personalize each member’s experience and give them the opportunity to start building the relationship.

#2 Foster the relationship after the closing the sale.

I previously joined a big gym and the sales experience was great. I was excited and ready to go! The next day, I came in to work out and I was quickly greeted, and that was it.

  • I felt no connection with the people at that gym.
  • I felt intimated to ask the staff questions.
  • I didn’t know where I start?
  • I didn’t know how to get the best results?

I just walked on the floor and blended in with masses. About 4 months later, I quit. Clubs generally spend a lot of time, effort, and money getting new members to walk through their doors. Don’t sign up your newly excited members only to leave them alone and eventually lose them. Set up a follow-up process for the member and your staff so you are keeping connected with all of your new members. This allows you to help build a trusting relationship at the crucial time when you member is most excited. There are some great management tools that can help your staff be successful. The 30-60-90 day report can be designed to track your member’s attendance during your member’s first 30, 60, 90 days of joining your facility. You can easily see if your new members are on track of getting the number of visits needed to reinforce their workout routines and build healthy habits. This type of report can also give you the ability to track new members by sales person so you can see who on your sales team has their new members hitting their attendance goals.

#3 Don’t let members drop off.

It’s easy for “everyday life” to get in the way of members making it to the gym. Member’s kids, their work, being sick – the list goes on. Once they miss a few days, it becomes easier to turn that trend into a bad habit. Don’t let your member’s just drop off without checking in with them. A non-attendance report is a great way for your staff to run regularly to track members who are missing gym time. The report includes the “last visit” by your member, as well as their phone number and email address. Your staff can call, text or email those members, check in, and encourage them to stay the course. Have your staff agree to meet with members to review their workout routines and suggest changes that may help that particular member feel better trying to reach their goal.

Conclusion

By truly listening to members and taking the time to build relationships, your members will start to feel like they are part of a community and “not just a number.” This is what keeps me getting up each morning to workout at the same club. There’s no place I would rather be to have the support I need to accomplish my workout goals. When you start fostering member relationships early on, you have the opportunity for a long-term commitment. By creating a follow up process and using your gym management tools, you are on your way to successfully creating a thriving community for your members!

Stephen Wilson
Marketing Communications Consultant
Wilsonmarcom

 For more information email Wilsonmarcom@gmail.com or call 720-810-2580.

About the Author Steve Wilson

Stephen Wilson is a marketing communications consultant and a veteran of marketing and advertising. His focus has been on branding and strategic communications within a variety of industries, but in particular the health and wellness category. This has earned him numerous accreditations and awards with national marketing and advertising campaigns.

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