Friday, 29 May 2009

“If you do not measure it, you can not improve it”

…as Lord Kelvin (Sir William Thompson) once said.

Is this why so many health clubs struggle to improve their member (and staff) retention and are so focused on sales?

Sales are very easy to measure in any industry, hence the focus, I guess. However retention seems to be much more difficult, particularly in the relatively young fitness industry. There are many different ways of working out member retention figures, and countless experts to tell you how to do it. A relatively straightforward formula is explained very clearly here.

Most retention definitions look at a 12 month membership percentage retention, which is a good measure, but this can be difficult to affect in the short term. Improving your 12 month retention from 60% to 70% will not happen overnight, but is a good target for 6-12 months time.

Member attrition is a more fluid metric, and more straightforward to calculate. (Attrition rate – The [average] number of members per thousand who cancel every month)
Attrition is easier to affect each month, and it's also easy to set individual or club targets. If you improve (reduce) your attrition rate, you will increase retention.

Ultimately, as Lord Kelvin told us, if you want to improve something, you need to measure it. Work out how you’re going to do this to start with, then set your targets, and you’ll soon be making a difference.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Tower of London 10k - British Heart Foundation

This week marked the third of my six 10k runs, and the second leg of the British Heart Foundation London trilogy, this time 10 laps around the moat of the Tower of London. The GG Fit team consisted of Kate & Emily from CEC, and Brent & Richie, with Bill taking photos. The sun was shining, and there was a great turnout noted to be around the 2,000 mark by the BHF officials.

The boys stretched their legs halfway around the first lap, but the girls didn’t let us get too far ahead. Brent stopped for a quick pause on the seventh lap to let Richie catch him up, but all this helped keep my pace and spirits high, and I finished in 45mins & 45 secs. Rich then Brent came in on a sprint finish about a minute behind, with Emily & Kate a minute behind them.

Immediately after the run, as we were stretching, there was some debate about the distance, with the girls surprised at their time, and Richie’s GPS phone/mainframe claiming that the run was slightly less than 10km. I put this down to the hooky software he was running, and he wasn’t able to confirm the accuracy of the app, so we’ll just call it 10 laps. We were all very happy to have finished, and no-one considered running around again.

Mr Steve Niker, my original inspiration for the Tower Jog, had very kindly provided for us all at the Abbey (part of the Santander Group) refreshment tent as usual, and we left a couple of hours later feeling very refreshed.

We are now up to £891 in sponsorship, and looking forward to the final jog at Canary Wharf on 3rd June.

Friday, 1 May 2009

How can a personal trainer make more money while their clients pay less?

It sounds like a conundrum, however it is possible for personal trainers to take less money from their clients, and yet increase their own revenue. Do you know how? A simple answer is to work longer hours, but there is a way of doing the same amount of work, charging each client less, and making more money.

Let’s say as a PT you see 5 clients per day, 5 days per week for £50 per 1 hour session (to keep the maths simple). That’s 25 sessions per week, making £1,250 each week.

Here’s how to make up to another £500 each week. Firstly, you need to find out more about the systems in the gym and work out how to monitor your members performance, and how to e-mail or text them from those systems.
The secret is to see each client less often, but contact them more regularly with feedback on their workouts, and charge them a little more.
Starting with 5 weekly clients, explain that you’ll see them every two weeks instead of every week. However, in between PT sessions, you’ll monitor their workouts and send them a motivational mail, tips, and inspiration. Charge £70 per session with the value added feedback included. Each client is now paying £70 every 2 weeks, instead of £100.
Now you can gradually double your client base, and increase the value of your PT, while clients pay less. Eventually, you could have 50 clients every 2 weeks, charging £70 per session, making £1,750 each week!

Note that the feedback is the most important part and something that you should set time aside for (probably at the start of the day). You might spend 10-15 mins each morning looking at a client report and adding a personal note to your template, but making sure that the client gets the text or e-mail from you via the system is crucial.

The better the system you work with, the more feedback you can give, and the more you can charge. This could range from “You’ve worked out 4 times this week, well done” to “You’ve improved your Perfomance Index on cardio by 5%, and lifted an extra 1,500kgs with your legs today, keep up the good work!”