Ben Ludwig shares five steps for onboarding new members in your gyms and health clubs
Often when I consider what things I should be focusing on in my business, I must put myself in the customers’ shoes. How do I do that? I become the customer.
I consider myself a student of the fitness industry. Over the course of my career I have joined over 100 gyms, centers, studios and boxes. By doing this I have learned so much more about what onboarding should and shouldn’t look like.
Here are five steps for onboarding new members in your gyms and health clubs.
Pre-frame the Relationship
Why do most romantic relationships fail? Many would say unmet expectations. So how often can those expectations actually be clearly stated by the opposite partner? Starting a relationship with a new member should be very similar when it comes to expectations. Be very clear about your new member nurturing process. Let them know how often you follow up, what the roadmap of results tracking looks like, and when you’ll be touching base if they get off track.
Follow Up with Tool Utilization
Tech plays such a huge role in connecting with our members when they aren’t within our four walls. The disconnect here is many of your members likely don’t utilize the tech you’re offering. Don’t assume they know where it is, how to use it, and are using it regularly simply because you have a hyperlink in a few emails. Make it a personal touch point within the first two weeks of their membership. Be sure they have your apps, social accounts, website login and any other tolls you use to engage members. Keep them active and customize to their needs.
Help Make Fitness Fun
Many members working out are not doing so because they love to sweat. They simply want to stay active, healthy and take care of the one body they have been given. Eating healthy, staying consistently active and discipline are hard. The best thing you can do for your members is help change their relationship with well-being. Give them delicious healthy ways to eat the right foods. Take fitness outdoors and do bootcamps in a nearby park to keep things interesting. Hold themed nights where members can have fun after their workout.
This is such a broad topic, so how should you decide what to do for your gym? Simply get your members involved in the planning. Not only will this help you be creative, but it also creates great retention because of the community it cultivates. New members will love the nurturing and likely will want to get in on the planning of future events when they see how much fun they can be.
Be a Planning Partner
Exercise is never a one size fits all recommendation. Even if you only offer one style of class, progression and regression will be required for most members. Because of this, you need to have a designated team or person who handles the onboarding process that is equipped to make recommendations on how to best utilize your membership based on their goals. Leaving fitness up to the client totally may work for a very small percentage of your member base. But, it will leave the majority of new members at extremely high risk of canceling within their first ninety days due to lack of results, and often even low usage.
Challenge Your Members
When we think of educating members, we often think of simply giving them good information, or helping them understand their body or wellness program better. These things are good, but your members need more than information. Knowledge is powerful, but only when it’s put to good use. For many of our members, we must be the catalyst of getting them to turn knowledge into power.
We do this by challenging our members. A challenge can be as simple as encouraging a beginner to increase their usage by a specific amount. Or it can be as advanced as challenging a heavily experienced member to finally sign up for that marathon they’ve been thinking about. The better you know your members, the easier it will be to challenge them in the ways they need. Utilize a CRM and encourage anyone who has contact with your members to notate conversations had about their goals.
Following these steps will not only give your new members the best onboarding experience. It will keep them engaged through the lifetime of their membership, giving you the opportunity to change even more lives in the long run.
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