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We all know her: the new girl in the back of the room. She’s the one that is trying to hide behind herself, her equipment or anything that might provide some cover. She wants to melt away and be invisible to everyone around her. Problem is, she sticks out to everyone in the room.
She is the new Group X participant, with so much potential! The good news is — if you have good instructors who are on time (early), friendly and genuinely love what they do — that new member will be sold by the end of the first class. Something brought her to a group exercise class. Something made her skip her typical 30-minute treadmill workout and put her trust in one of your instructors. Is it the music? Could be. The moves? Maybe. The people? Definitely!
Studies show that people who make a personal connection at a gym are more likely to continue to workout past the first 30 days of membership. Group exercise classes are the number one way to connect “people to people” at the club. This translates to member retention as well as class participant retention. It’s a win-win! We can’t always help make a “member to member” connection, but we sure can do our best to make a “member to instructor” connection — connecting them to Group X and keeping them coming back.
My favorite way to make a connection is to keep a list of members who have joined your club in the past seven to 14 days. Once you have this list, do some homework and call them to introduce yourself. Find out if they have taken any classes and get their feedback. Were they welcomed by the instructor and members? Did they feel comfortable in class? These are huge indicators on the strength of your Group X program. If they haven’t taken a class yet, take the time to find out what interests them and make some class recommendations.
After the initial call your job is not quite done. Don’t drop the ball! Look for them in classes, at check in and on the fitness floor. If you don’t see them, pull up their check in history to see if they have been in to workout recently. Follow up with them with a call or maybe a post card. Encourage them on their journey and really assist in making that connection to the club, to the members and to the instructors. Their success is your success.
Group X is a powerful membership retention tool. The relationships forged by your instructors and your Group X director can really tie a member to your club long-term. Keep the connection up and the Group X Phenomenon will keep up your retention rate.