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Saving Our Members


How often do you check in with your members? It is daunting what our attrition rates are across the board in our clubs. I just had the pleasure of listening to Jeffery Gitomer speak — you know, the guy that writes the books “The Little Red Book of Sales,” and ”The Little Red Book of Leadership,” etc. By the way, he’s a hoot! He states that if you translate your attrition rate into dollars it will really wake you up.

Many clubs lose as many members as they gain monthly. We can brag about how many new members we “sold” for the month, but how many did we lose? If we have a net negative or a very small net positive monthly and we are paying commissions to our sales teams for the memberships they sell, think about how much money is lost. You have lost money for the month in memberships and you are paying out commissions. Double whammy. Have you thought about commissions on your net amount only? Have you thought about getting your sales teams involved in the cancellation process and trying to identify where these people are going and how we can save them?

So how about this idea — think about putting a “Member Madness” program in place (or another name that’s fun). Put each department head in charge of this. Check, check and recheck member usage and identify who the members are that are not coming into the club. If they have passed through group fitness or through an orientation, assessment, or training program, assign staff members to be the caretakers of the members. Check in with them via e-mail or a call. Have your staff establish real relationships with your members where they discuss their results and aid them in their journey. Find out where your members are in their fitness process. If you care enough about the member experience, contact them and make them feel that they belong — they will be back because now you are holding them accountable. They know big daddy is watching. ”Not waking the sleeping giant” (the person that doesn’t use the club but still is a member) days are over. I mean, come on, really?

So how does this relate to group fitness — my weekly topic — well duh? The value of group fitness remains one of our strongest retention tools. Happy group fitness members don’t leave. I say this all the time. In group fitness one has a destination, gets a great workout, is in and out of the club within an hour, and is getting a result and having a social experience. I don’t know about you but I’m all in. Every single group fitness participant should be contacted by directors and instructors regularly, especially the ones that have fallen off the bandwagon.

WOW — now get to work. Stop with the nonsense direct mail pieces that are driving price and stop depending solely on that. Direct mail is just a small piece of the pie. Think “in club.” Think maximizing on your employees that have relationships with your members and put a member communication system in place. Do it today! Assign your staff members to your members and have a contest that shows the top staff communicator. That’s a worthwhile thing to bonus on. Get creative with this. This will help stop the bleeding of cancellations. Keep members happy and involved in the club before they even consider cancellation. Keep you staff involved and give them a sense of purpose that is way beyond what they are doing now.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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