Monday, 28 February 2011

Selling Retention to New Members

Last month’s article was about using marketing tools for retention, now we look at how your sales processes can drive improved member retention.

Believe it or not, retention is one of the main problems that new members bring to your club. They want to maintain an exercise regime, and will feel good about keeping it up, but are looking for help to do so. Prospects that have been to a gym before will sometimes refer to this as the reason they are moving, and new users may mention ongoing motivation as a concern. Either way, they are presenting you with a problem that they want help solving.

A lot of the time, this problem is put aside by the sales person; the tour starts and the equipment, pool, and class timetable are ‘sold’ to the prospect in the hope that these will motivate them to exercise. This might work with a few people, but it is much better to sell your retention processes, systems and tools to show how you will help.

Tell the prospect how you can track them through their initial journey, with extra touch points to ensure new gym users feel comfortable. Let them know what their options are for regular ongoing reviews after the induction phase, and explain how this will help keep them coming back for more. And if they want it, tell them how you’ll give them a call or send an e-mail or text if they’ve not visited for a few weeks. In short, you’re saying “we have a number of member journeys, and will do everything in our power to keep you motivated and coming to the gym regularly.”

Of course, you’ll need to have the processes and measurement systems in place to track your members. If you want to take it to the extreme, share your retention figures with new members to demonstrate how your journey works. When they are offered a review in the near future, or get an ‘absent call’, they’ll recognise that your top priority is helping them to maintain their exercise regime, and will respond positively.

Handle the prospect’s motivation concerns at the start, offering support if they join. Member retention begins before the member signs up. So make the promises, and then make sure you deliver, and you will be successful.

This is an extract from Workout Magazine March 2011

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