We’ve all bought something we’ve not used. The question is why didn’t we use it? Maybe it was aspirational – something designed to change us or make us a better person, but actually using it becomes the challenge in itself.
Gym memberships are a lot like that – our clients sign up because they have goals and ambitions for their health and physiques. Showing up, however, means facing their own insecurities and lack of knowledge.
So they don’t go — ever.
Targeting Low-Usage New Members
The best time to curtail this sad outcome is right within the first 30 days – when a new client is fresh with optimism and still focused on their reasons for joining. Many gym owners, though, miss this golden opportunity as they fail to contact new members slipping into dormancy.
By actively reconnecting with new customers, gyms can increase retention rates and even sell more personal training sessions. Why? Because a client who knows how to use the equipment, and feels welcome, is one who won’t cancel after six months.
Do you know how many times a member visited your gym last month? Do you know which credit cards are ready to expire? If you do, then you know who’s going to quit in six months. By hyper-focusing on new clients, and contacting customers before their card stops working, you can turn these numbers around – converting likely failures to long-term successes.
Who Are These Members?
Simply said, they are not comfortable at a gym, period. Too often, Anthony Pasquale of Gym Insight says, owners focus on the five percent of attendees who know and love fitness. But unless that is your gym – exclusive fitness for the elite athlete – then you’re missing out on a majority of people who want to build healthier, stronger bodies but are afraid to take that first step.
Personal Trainers Need a Cheat Sheet
Most personal trainers hate working the floor. It’s difficult and annoying to interrupt people while exercising. But given a list of new accounts who have shown a reluctance to come in, then there’s an opportunity to make a sale.
Armed with the number of times a member has visited, a savvy personal trainer can probe a new client’s concerns and goals, building a dialogue that may lead to new business.
Create a Program of Success for Shy Members
Research shows strong onboarding programs with successive follow-up encourage longer membership commitments than ones where a customer signs and goes. Before phoning these new customers, design a plan that builds confidence and overcome obstacles.
This approach might include:
1. Offer a free session with a personal trainer to ease their nerves about using the equipment. As the personal trainer leads them through the equipment, clients experience the value of enlisting a professional.
2. Provide a gym orientation session with a personal trainer who can put them on machines that align with their fitness aspirations.
3. Design text message marketing plans specifically for low-usage new clients. Send positive follow-up comments and group messaging to encourage attendance. Use the system to send reminders on upcoming classes, give kudos on classes attended, and provide updates on gym usage or recent cleaning protocols.
4. Provide an added incentive to stop by, such as a complimentary paid service, a guest pass for a friend, or an introductory clinic.
5. Construct individualized promotions. These might include a half-off rate for their significant other, a multi-month challenge program, or a complimentary visit with a nutritionist.
Make Technology Work for You
Your gym probably has management software in place. But, can it help you run a better business? Does it give you the information needed to extract key data points indicating simmering problems or areas of strength?
Gym Insight’s New Member Usage Report is one such tool. This simply accessed sheet categorizes new members based on number of visits within the first 30 days. A Red, Yellow, and Green coding system quickly alerts you to their status. If they are in the red or yellow category, they have either never or rarely visited the gym within that critical first month.
Additionally, Gym Insight’s credit card warning system alerts users a month before a credit card expires – allowing management to get ahead of accounts before they go delinquent. As well, its fully optimized text messaging program allows the option of customized tagging to build unique groups.
For an interesting overview on how Gym Insight’s software turned around a gym’s sales, take a look at this YouTube video. The software has been updated since its 2016 recording, but the main premise remains the same – data that works for you every day.