Every club wants new members. One of the first questions I receive from a health club owner is “how do I get more leads?” While that is a good question, and an important question, it is actually more important for you to focus on the happiness of your existing members than worrying so much about new members.
Attracting a new client costs anywhere from 5-15 times more than it costs to keep a current member staying and paying longer. Yet we as club owners tend to forget this simple truth. We get into the habit of forgetting about our members as soon as they sign the agreement, then we’re off to try to get more people in the door.
This is not good business — both in terms of customer service and overall business strategy. You absolutely must give more attention to your existing paying members. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to run a gym in the first place.
In this day and age where there seems to be a fitness offering on every corner, your slice of the membership pie keeps getting smaller and smaller. The key to your success lies within your current membership base. Get them loyal to you and your club, get them paying more for ancillary services and get them referring more friends, and you will have far greater success than trying to drive new traffic through your doors.
Here are a few ideas to turn your members into raving fans:
Create a Success Story Wall. Cover it in pictures, testimonials, before and after photos and success stories. Your members will love the recognition, AND your prospects will see that if they become a member, they too will be recognized for their efforts.
Collect member surveys. This might seem like a bit of a chore, but I promise you that it is worth it. Your members want to feel like they have a voice. They pay you, therefore they should! Ask everyone when they check in at the front desk to fill out a quick questionnaire. Ask both closed-ended questions and open-ended questions, allowing them to elaborate on what they like and dislike about the club. Ask if they have any recommendations and be sure to implement them, within reason. It wouldn’t hurt to give them a gift for filling out the survey — a free water or a gift card for a friend will suffice.
Introduce your prospects to your most loyal members. This makes your member feel like an integral part of the family, helps create the social atmosphere in the club and makes your prospect feel more at home.
If you are with a prospect and a member needs your assistance, be sure to oblige the member. The prospect won’t be upset. Rather, they will recognize that your paying members are valued and are taken care of. If you take that extra moment to take care of your existing member in front of your prospect, you can then use it as a selling feature. “Sorry about that. At least you should feel good that we would drop anything to assist one of our members!”
Become friends with your members. Know them by name and make sure your staff knows them by name. A good game to play with your staff is to give them $5 when you present them with a pop quiz to name the three people you point out to them in the gym.
Always pay attention to your members, always say hello and goodbye to everyone, and make it a point each day to get to know a few of your members a little better. Ask them about their day. Ask how their family is doing. Show them a new exercise. Introduce them to another member with similar interests.
Make sure you take care of your existing members and they will always take care of you.
Curtis Mock is the host of www.FitnessBusinessTelevision.com the TV show for fitness entrepreneurs. He is also the executive director of gymsuccess.com. Curtis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.