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In Print The Essentials

Break the Attrition Cycle


Well, it’s past 100 days and the year is not new anymore. The excitement of fresh beginnings and goals have worn off and in most cases, been covered by dust in the form of fear, self-doubt, procrastination or giving up.

It is now critical that we as leaders step in and change the game, if we want to avoid the typical pattern or trends we see year in and year out.

Let’s begin with how the cycle goes for new members: They join, excitedly start, hope to use regularly and life sets in. Little league starts, meetings pop up, sleep patterns change and they stop coming in. Not coming in, they start to think, “Well, I am not getting results, so I may as well quit.” There it is, at least the abbreviated version.

So how do we change this pattern? It’s simple, but not easy: Keep them using the clubs.

1. When you do the initial orientation, spend time teaching them how to fit exercise into their schedule. Help them map out days and times. Set a goal of two times a week.

2. Create an inspiring environment, a place where it’s friendly, engaging, social and members are part of a community. Create social nooks for sitting by classrooms, on the fitness floor, etc.

3. Create buddy workouts. Research shows working out together creates adherence.

4. Get to know them, use their name. Greet them with an energetic hello and give them a fond farewell. And as they leave say, “Mark thanks for coming, hope you had a great workout. When will I see you next?” Sometimes the simple fact they know you are looking forward to seeing them sparks that desire and need to not let you down.

5. Finally, acknowledge their results, as small as they may be. “Hey Mark, great job on getting three workouts in this week, you are definitely getting those results.”

Whatever it may be, people want to know you care, they want to be noticed and recognized for their efforts and results. Make them feel important and they will make you important.

Mark Miller is the vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs. For more information email mmiller@merrittclubs.com.

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. Russ Minary June 22, 2016

    One more suggestion in addition to the tips in this article: stabilize your staffing. Fitness is a personalized service, and your customers ‘bond’ with the people who provide those services. They want to feel ‘at home’ at their club, and the staff is a big part of that experience. If you lose good people, you’ll lose the customers who were comfortable with those good people, too. Many will follow them (often to your competitors). Focus on hiring and retaining the right staff,and it will help to break your attrition cycle.

    1. Mark June 29, 2016

      Excellent additions Thanks Russ


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