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In Print The Essentials

It’s Not Over


Summer has been nothing but summer camps, pools and all those fun events and cookouts — and yet it’s coming to an end and fear starts to kick back in. What will happen to all these summer members? Will they stay? Will they quit? Will they go dormant?

It’s the age-old question like the new year’s resolution one. So, let’s flip the script and figure out ways that allow us not to worry.

The easy solution is to make the cancellation process so hard and painful they just stay and honor their membership — but long term, that will ruin your club, reputation and brand. So, scrap that and start to think how you can act and behave differently.

Like any new member challenge, it first starts with integration. If you allow the excuse that it’s summer and they only joined for the pool then guess what, you’re already behind the eight ball. No, you need to sell the value of being a member and how they can get fit and then enjoy some recovery time at the pool. So, integrate them properly.

Next, it’s time to connect. Remember people want to belong, so are you creating a community — a club? Research shows people do not quit people, they quit businesses. Make sure you connect them to other members, build friendships and connections with staff.

There is an acronym in the service business called FORD. When getting to know members it’s best to learn four things about them and then use that to build and grow your relationships. Those four things are family, occupation, recreations and dreams. This information enables you to connect with them, engage with them and make them feel as though they matter.

Once you have accomplished these things it’s time to solidify that you are the place for them. This now means you must deliver. You must execute on the experience. If you don’t, people won’t stay. People who feel good and have a great experience are not leaving anytime soon.

So, want to change the game? Change the conversation. Make your business one that matters and that can’t be lived without.


Mark Miller is the COO of Merritt Clubs.

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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