When planning for members, successful club owners and operators need to begin before the sale. They need to make sure that they create marketing materials that differentiate the club and bring in prospects. The reality is, every club advertises that they can make people more fit; make them feel better and make them look good. However, clubs need to make people successful. When they make new members successful and start them on the pathway to a better quality of life, clubs have really given members something they have been looking for.
The next step is to make sure that clubs are planning beyond the initial sale. It is important to realize that while acquiring new members is important, existing members will make the difference in the club’s success. The more long-term, raving fans clubs have in their facilities, the more successful it will be.
Clubs must train sales teams to include in the new member sales process a true interview with the prospect — taking the time to really talk to them about their needs and goals. Once that new member feels that they have made the right decision by joining your club, your next step is to have an infallible accountability and tracking system that will ensure that they get tuned into the various programs offered at the club. By doing so, clubs can lead them to become engaged with the classes, equipment and programs that members need to truly be successful. Wanting people to be members of your club forever is a matter of planning for that kind of retention and then working the plan.
At my club there are four principals that we use on a regular basis. The acronym EVER best describes our focus to keep the new member forever. We design a great Experience, build Value, Educate them and make sure they get Results. It is that simple to make a member successful. The key to this is to make sure to define success on their terms and not our own.
When you commit to engaging every member, you will be successful and the member will be a loyal fan of your business. To do this, you need to have a systematic program. This systematic approach needs to begin before people even join your club by drawing them to you, especially through referrals from your current successful members. You need to discover what the members want and ensure that you are the correct place for them to get those results. Once they join, you need to be fully committed to a policy of “no one left behind.” Once the members get connected, you will need to check-in with them a minimum of every three months. Regular check-ins through e-mail or by phone are to ensure that your members stay on track and continue to feel successful. You need to own that responsibility and you need to make it a part of your business model.
Eric Claman owned two clubs in Torrington, Connecticut, before selling both and accepting a consulting job at Twin Oaks Software Development in 2011. He can be reached at 866.278.6750 or at email@example.com, or visit healthclubsoftware.com.