Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Are you setting up your new members to fail?

January is a great time of year to get new members. Most people are eating more (we’re not talking about Christmas, it’s winter here in the UK, so it’s just natural to need more fuel). Many want a new start in the new year, everyone’s talking about fitness, and there are some unbelievable offers to join health clubs.

So, what do we recommend they do? We devalue the membership by giving a month free and/or no joining fee, and then tell them they need to visit 3 times a week!

New Member: “But I think I’ll only be able to visit once, or maybe twice a week”
Instructor: “You need to come at least 3 times a week if you want to see results. 4 or 5 times a week is recommended!”
New Member (thinks): ""I can’t, why bother?""
Looking at the visits of hundreds of thousands of members across hundreds of clubs, we know that the average visit frequency is around once a week. New members visit more often, usually 5-6 times in their first month on average. While some new members will visit 3+ times a week in their first month, the average is only around 1-1.5 times a week.

I don’t know where the “visit the gym 3 times a week” came from. There’s no retention benefit, members who visit 3 times are no more or less likely to stay than those who visit once or twice a week on average. Nevertheless, we continue to set-up new members to fail… It may be to do with value; cost per visit, equivalent to x cups of coffee (why do we always have to compare it to cups of coffee?) What's more, we push new members in January to visit more often, when the gym is at it's

Asking members how often they plan to visit, and then giving them support or affirmation that you’ll help with their plans is the best advice. The member is the expert in their lifestyle, not the instructor. Telling them that if they visit once a week, they’ll be doing as well as everyone else is good. Tell them if they visit more than once a week, they’ll be doing better than average, is great!
New Member: “I think I’ll be only able to visit once a week, is that OK?”
Instructor: “That’s what most of our members do, and it’s better than you were doing, so yes!”
Instructor: “How often do you think you’ll be visiting your new club?”
Member: “I don’t know, you’re the expert. How often would you say?”
Instructor: “Well the average for our members is once a week. How does that sound to you for starters?”
Member: “Sounds like a good start, but I’d like to build up to twice a week”
Instructor: “Great!”

What’s your club’s average member visit frequency? 

Filtering only active members (e.g. those who have visited in the last, say, 30 days), we normally hit around 1 to 1.2 visits/week. When we look at all members (including dormant), it’s usually around 0.8 visits/week.
New members make 1 to 1.5 visits/week in their first month, depending on the club, induction pathway, etc.

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