The Top 8 Ways to Drive Member Retention

The old adage here is that it costs a lot more to acquire a customer than to keep one.  And thus the fitness industry’s never-ending emphasis on retention. The golden ticket to retention lies in delivering the incredible customer experience.  That deliverance will determine your fate in the loyalty game.  How, exactly can you be sure you’re top notch?

1. Deliver

Nothing sells better than results, so the key to retention is delivering on this promise.  Once you’ve established yourself as the trainer who delivers, many of the other challenges will diminish, if not disappear entirely.  Delivering, of course, goes well beyond knowing form and content – it’s understanding the person you’re training and delivering not only tangible results, but the experience as well.

2. Thank You Very Much

Everybody loves to be recognized.  Everybody likes to be rewarded.  When you check into a hotel and you’re upgraded automatically, somebody’s saying, “thank you, we appreciate your business.”  Similarly, you can create rewards, challenges, small gifts, outings, and other recognition items to send the message that your client is special.

3. Know Your Clients

Fun, fun, fun would be the central mantra for most trainers, but be careful.  While most people prefer fun to punishment, the fitness industry is home to plenty of people who equate punishing their bodies to fun.  But not most.  If you misread the objectives of your client and play the drill sergeant role to somebody looking for a lighter touch – you’ve just thrown retention out the window.

4. Work your Community

If you’ve successfully built your community then working the community is a great means of enhancing retention.  The more interaction that you can foster between your community members, the better the chances of them making new friends, feeling that great feeling of camaraderie, and generally “buying in” to their membership in your community.

I deliberately focus on listening and understanding where my clients are coming from. From there I can develop a thorough understanding about the way my clients’ think about their health, fitness and realizing positive change in their lives.

Cris Dobrosieski
President and Head Coach, Monumental Results

5. Be Who You Say You Are

If there’s an undercurrent in the fitness industry that’s going to come back to bite us, it’s non-credentialed fitness professionals.  These are the folks who acquire their certification but never bother to keep it current.  They are a legal and ethical disaster waiting to happen – and one that can literally bankrupt you.  By all means, maintain credentials.  CECs and CEUs are available at almost every fitness event, coming soon to a venue near you.

6. You Are On Stage

When you’re training, you’re on stage.  Always.  You’re actually auditioning in front of dozens of “directors” who might be looking for a fitness professional.  Like it or not, they’re judging you.  “Would I want her to train me?” is being asked countless times every day.

7. Full Attention

Full attention means always.  No phone calls, texting, no “I’ll be right back,” no interruptions.  This is the client’s time.  He or she has purchased your time.  Focus on the client and ensure that you are delivering what you’ve promised – your best efforts to deliver the experience they expect.

8. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect means many things and the professional fitness professional has them all.  Start with punctuality – always, always be on time.  Your overall demeanor/body language is key – be happy, lively, excited about working with this client.  Your language is appropriate, your manner is supportive and inspiring, your voice volume doesn’t intrude on others you’re not training.

Author: Josh Leve

Josh Leve is the Founder & CEO of the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS). AFS’ mission is to provide studio/gym owners running facilities up to 10,000 square feet and entrepreneurial fitness professionals with the platform to effectively start, manage, and grow their businesses. With 13,000 members and over 60 industry partnerships – Josh’s success with AFS has translated into being featured in all major fitness publications, the Wall Street Journal and US News. He is also a featured speaker for events such as Club Industry, NSCA, NASM, EMPOWER!, Athletic Business and more.

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