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In Print The Essentials

Top 10 Basic Rules of Retention


If you own or work within the fitness industry, you likely understand the importance of retention. Here are the 10 key ingredients for your recipe for retention success.

1. First, let’s state the obvious. You need to have what the market wants, not what you want or think they want. People today want an experience, a place to unwind, connect and reach a purpose. If you don’t give them what they want, they won’t come back.

2. Your purpose should be more than to just make money. If your purpose is to change people and improve their lives, then your purpose has to be larger than life.

3. You need to have the right players. Teams are built by individuals who work as one. If you don’t have a team that’s service-oriented and happy, start there.

4. What are you selling and to whom? The way you sell and the market you sell to dictates length of retention. Know your market and own the right ones.

5. Integrate. Members must learn how to make fitness and wellness part of their life. We have to lead them on the journey — and everyone is different, so stop using a cookie cutter approach.

6. Follow up, follow through and stay connected. As I’ve said in the past, membership is simply the ticket to the dance. Retention is ongoing.

7. Cross promote and cross them over — the more they use, the more they participate. Connect them to the club and its staff, and make it part of their life. No one quits people, they quit the business.

8. Make it fun, exciting, challenging. No one ever quit because they were having too much fun.

9. Stop measuring cancellations and tracking numbers. Interview people and find out the real reason they quit. True retention is measured in the lifecycle of the members, not via sales and cancellations. How can you expand the member lifecycle?

10. Lastly — what is your mindset? Your mindset determines all you do — it may be time to change.


Mark Miller

Mark Miller is the vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs. For questions on retention, he can be reached at mmiller@merrittclubs.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Damian July 16, 2015

    Interesting points. Mr Miller this is a vast statement vs others. Focus on lifecycle vs attrition. Maybe as you said we all should change our perspective. You call it mind set. Sell more than the 18%, make fitness part of life and sales and retention should take care of itself.


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