Preparing to address seasonality and member onboarding during the holidays.
In the fitness industry we often see what most call “seasonality.” We have busy times when we know more members than usual will come through the doors, such as January. And then there are times most business owners simply try to survive until the next spike in interest.
The main problem with that strategy is it leaves you at the mercy of too many extraneous variables. As a business owner or manager, you likely didn’t get into business to see what happens, but rather to control your growth and be proud of the results you produce. So, what does member onboarding have to do with seasonality?
The famous quote “An expectation set is an expectation met” defines how we can get ahead of the holiday drops, cancels, and freezes – to not just see our business grow – but also see our members get the best results.
Below are three actionable items you can do now to address seasonality and member onboarding during the holidays.
1. Set clear expectations of how and when you will follow up with your members.
New members in your studio or gym have an idea in their head about what their fitness routine will look like. Unfortunately, most fitness professionals don’t set a game plan for their clients, and those that do, don’t discuss the cadence of accountability they will follow. When will your clients check-ins be? When should they expect a call from you?
When they cancel a class, don’t meet the agreed upon number of sessions in a week, or when a progress report isn’t updated, are a few examples of the best times to follow up. Address the problem before it’s a problem. It will be much easier to hold your client accountable if you let them know ahead of time exactly what that looks like.
2. Don’t wait for your customers to bring up vacations and holidays.
If you are honest with yourself, are cancelation and freeze conversations highly reactive for your business? One of the best ways to ensure you don’t have huge spikes of revenue drops over the holidays is to be proactive in your conversations with your clients. A month or more ahead of time you should be asking your clients about what they have planned for holidays and vacations.
This will allow you to focus how you will change your approach of accountability and help you client get through the holidays without having to completely separate their healthier lifestyle from enjoyment. The goal is to live healthier for the rest of their life anyways, right?
3. Have tools your clients can use outside of your facility.
Accountability phone calls and messages are great, but they only go so far if you can’t track or review your client’s activity. You also want to make tracking and accountability as easy to comply with as possible. If you’re making your clients write down everything they eat and drink – as well as count all their calories manually – you won’t get far.
Find simple and easy tools for them to use and remember every great habit starts with a small step. A simple accountability tracker of how much water they drink daily, an activity tracker – most people use smart watches today and those who don’t can easily download similar apps – and sleep tracker are a great place to start a new client who may not have any of these habits normally yet.
The fitness business is highly parallel to your client experience. Months in advance we are asking our clients to prepare for the holidays, vacations and how to deal with the realities of distractions from their plan. As fitness business owners, we must practice what we preach and do the same.