Membership Relationships Built On Balance

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  • Membership Relationships Built On Balance

The Reason For Reporting Numbers

Don’t let the numbers distract you; owning a small gym business is still all about relationships. I know that I have spent a lot of time and digital ink over the last few years saying that it’s about the experience. But that is really just the same thing isn’t it? The experience that gym members seek is a positive training experience or a friendly environment to work out in, with all the benefits of improved fitness.

For anyone who takes on the premium membership the price might easily cover the cost of setting up a home gym and working out alone. People still want to be around people when they workout. So, what do you do when it’s time to let in the members? Do you greet them or ignore them, better question yet is: what do your staff members do? The first part of the process is to get the basic balance right. Get members to sign up and stick around long enough to develop a friendly relationship with the staff and then attempt to find out what needs to be improved from there.

Balancing The Relationship Experiencegym membership

In my experience the difference between long-term success and otherwise in this industry is the ability, or lack thereof, within the staff to ask for sales, to assertively establish the needs and hopes of each member. Gym staffers are usually friendly and approachable but often they may not be as confident as would be optimal for the experience that you are trying to create. A bit of assertiveness training might be the right solution for them. It is a matter of development and also to make them more valuable to the business.

The experience from a company and employee perspective is all about learning to understand and provide for the needs of the customer. From the member’s perspective it is all about satisfying the need for a relationship that nurtures the fitness results that they hope to gain. For them, the experience is the journey to those results and how members feel about the service that your team provides. The expectations of the customer will either be supported or subverted.

Of course it’s never black and white; there will be a balance of mixed feelings. Hopefully those feelings will be strong on the positive side and minor on the negative side. In which case they may be generally satisfied but they might harbor unspoken criticism of your service delivery. If that is where the balance lies members will probably keep attending but within that experience there is the opportunity for you to find what needs to be improved, if only you can draw it out from them.

The Driving Force In Membership Service

So it isn’t just the members in the relationship it is also the employees and how they represent the company. The relationship therefore extends to that of you, your company as a culture and your employees. The difference that it can make is less time and effort to replace customers who leave, when they stick around longer.

The old saying that "a fish rots from the head down" is as true as it ever was, not literally true (because in nature fish rot from the belly up) but in organizations it is the leadership that sets the tone and creates the environment in which relationships form and either thrive or decay.

To build the kind of relationship that gives you the sort of feedback that enables you to continuously improve your service it comes down to being sensitive to the needs and wants of your membership. That means listen to them. Actively listen by asking questions and listening to the answers is a simple way to find out where you are and where you need to go.

Explaining The Numbers

The numbers are important but that is because they are an indication of how well you are doing. in the struggle to nurture relationships and create the experience that members crave. However remember that the experience that your members have is the key to the business.

There are no absolutes in the gym business but, if you get the balance right, you can always incrementally improve the service from there. If you focus on your relationship with the membership you can work to tilt the relationship in the direction of improvement.

As the owner and boss you are in the perfect position to determine how every last customer is treated, how long they stay and how hard you have to work to replace members who drop out. If you do your best effort to retain members should be a relatively easy and fun task.


Brones, Paul. Personal Training:Finding The People Behind The Numbers. April 8, 2015. (accessed May 27, 2015).

Fagan, Lawrence. Experience Is Everything. June 5, 2014. (accessed May 27, 2015).