Membership retention — if we have heard it 100 times we have heard it 1,000 times. The key to running a successful fitness business relies on membership retention. Yet, the latest edition of the IHRSA Member Retention Report concluded that there was a nearly 45 percent membership attrition rate last year alone. So, how do we combat rising attrition rates? The answer is fitness programming. Here are a few tips for how to enroll members into results-driven personal training programs.
Building Member Culture. When members feel like they are a part of a community — something greater than themselves — they become invested in that community. Therefore, it is important to create a fitness environment that is welcoming; a place that brings like-minded individuals together; a place your members are proud to take ownership of. After all, your facility is “their gym,” their home away from home. Small group training is an affordable way for clients to take advantage of a personal trainer’s expertise, while enjoying the motivation and competitiveness of the group dynamic. They forge relationships with peers and help one another reach health and wellness goals. In other words, they become engaged members. Statistically speaking, members who are engaged within the community of your facility, stay. Members who are integrated into your programming get results. When they get results, they are happy and will refer non-members to share in their experience and success.
Selling Results, Not Packages. The evolution of personal training over the past 20 years has been tremendous. Gone are the days of selling one 60-minute training session here and one 60-minute training session there. Recurring EFT-based programming has changed how we sell personal training. EFT-based programs allow ease of payment and the long-term commitment cultivates a path towards permanent results and positive lifestyle change, all of which develops longer lasting clients.
In this highly competitive industry, choices are endless. With the advent and success of DVD and sport-based programming, clients are looking for the programs with results. Therefore, market and sell your fitness programs based on value and real results, versus the bottom-line. Financially, the investment in a personalized training program can be daunting for most members. So, instead of selling on the price per session module, focus on selling long-term results. If Sally needs a six-month, twice-weekly program with nutritional counseling, your fitness staff member should sell Sally a six-month, twice-weekly program with nutritional counseling that will get her the results she wants.
Being visible. This goes hand in hand with developing a sense of community, building a unique member culture and selling results. One of the best promotional tools for your fitness programs is your expert personal trainers and their current clients. Make sure your team takes advantage of communal fitness space. When members see the fitness staff interacting with clients, engaging other members and demonstrating new training techniques, they are more likely to reach out for an introductory session or fitness assessment. Highlighting member success stories is another way to increase visibility. When members see other members meeting goals, they are inspired to follow suit.
Being able to convert a gym member into a personal training client is the most critical component to not only growing your fitness program, but also ensuring the success of your club as a whole. Using these three non-conventional tips, you will be able to decrease attrition rates and develop a more engaged, long-term client base.
Paul Brones is the regional training director of Tilton Fitness & Wellness.