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Retention: The Easiest Retention Tip So Far and the Most Powerful

retention tips from The Atlantic Club

Recently, The Atlantic Club completed a three-day workshop with Scott Gillespie, as we continue to become more fully immersed in our commercial approach to the medical fitness marketplace. This training involved all areas of our club, from our health and wellness team, front desk team and our wellness coordinators, who are responsible for selling memberships.

Our training started with a reflective statement from Scott. Here is an example:

“I hope we are able to keep all the promises we made to our members when they joined our club.”

That is a wake-up call for all of us in this industry as we build our businesses for the future. This leads to another question:

“Do you believe that joining your health club will make the person healthier?”

Of course, joining the club is a great first step, and providing access to your health and fitness center does provide a tremendous amount of resources that can help a person become healthier. However, selling a membership is simply providing access to your club.

This is perhaps similar to tennis and our Atlantis Prep School: “Do you believe that a tennis membership that provides a new player a tennis court with nets and a locker room will make them a better player, or a school with desks and books for the student entering a new school year makes a child better educated?” I am sure we would all agree that it is the relationship that is developed with the teacher and the programs where higher levels of success and fun are achieved.

Then, why are we not looking for the member to have all the programs that can be personalized for the member to make them successful?

I think it is because we are not exploring our business model close enough as we enter this new era in health and wellness. Clubs across the industry, unfortunately not many at this juncture, are realizing the importance of guided programs that provide their members a better understanding of what is required to achieve their initial health and wellness goals.

Our new membership processes often all have good intentions, but can fall short in the implementation based on staffing, payroll restrictions and also the member being scared that they are going to be in a high-pressure personal training selling environment.

I recommend if you are a club that is focused on attrition level from an ROI perspective, and more importantly, a management team and organization that cares for the success of each new member’s health and wellness, then now is the time to reboot your business model and training for your membership, member services team and fitness.

The new retention formula for new members that are joining involves a dual approach for success. First, the club sells access to their club through membership, but delivers on their health and wellness pledge through the programs that they are able to get their members immediately engaged into upon joining.

Many of our wellness consultant’s recommendations will involve a cost, but other plans will provide a roadmap that does not require additional investments. The end result is for our new members to be sold in a consultative and personal goal setting manner, that can be done successfully at point of sale, but also may need an additional follow-up one-on-one meeting with a wellness coach. This consultation is not focused on selling personal training or any one product, but rather has the new member starting their membership journey with a plan for success.

Many successful clubs may be afraid that they will lose personal training revenues with this approach. It may be very surprising to see the positive revenue results that you will receive in the sales of personal training or program sales when a strong relationship and trust is built between the new member and the club’s onboarding team.

To recap, the formula for achieving a successful retention level is to regard the on-boarding conversations with a new member to be membership access and success programs as part of the new membership conversation and package.

A new member that is on-boarded properly into your club and actively involved in personalized conversations about their health and wellness goals will know that you do truly care about their success. The benefit will be happier and successful members that will help in growing your business — because you care.


Kevin McHugh is the COO of The Atlantic Club. For more information email kevinm@theatlanticclub.com.

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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  1. Brian Gagne August 10, 2017

    Great article Kevin – lover the analogies to a Tennis Club and a school. Without engagement from a tennis coach or an educator, the tennis player or student will not achieve success (defined by them) and disengage.

  2. Ed Trainor August 11, 2017

    Excellent strategy in that wellness may just be the formula to save the fitness industry. I suggest a rebranding approach for clubs to market themselves as fitness and wellness centers and offering consumers programs and services that align with technology. The math of metabolism, weight management, and prevention of the many known diseases associated with obesity and inactivity. Yes technology is the double edge sword that has contributed to less active youth and adults, but it is also part of the solution as it is a tool for tracking and motivation that clubs can use for their membership population both in and out of the gym. An active healthy lifestyle is the goal of most consumers and the reason and motivation most consumers sit in front of our sales teams in the first place, don’t just sell fitness, offer wellness and health solutions. Programs, services and fun solutions that meet the needs of the Spartan race enthusiast as well as the Silver Sneaker enthusiast. Use technology to track and reward members for active healthy lifestyles in and out of the gym and wellness center. Measure the math of metabolism, visit http://www.fitpas-fit.com a metabolic formula and a tool in the technology toolbox that can be used in and out of the gym and wellness center.
    Sent from my iPad


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