Don’t Let Clients Be Quitters

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muscle-class-sherriOK Fit Pros. We are entering into Feb and as many of us know we tend to see some “new years resolution” clients start slipping away. Don’t let them be quitters! So why do some of our clients quit long before they’ve achieved their goals? Let’s dig deep and find out…starting with the reasons clients don’t renew memberships.

The most frequently reported reasons for not renewing a membership are as follows:

  • Couldn’t afford the expense 30%
  • Overcrowded facility 27%
  • New demands made on my time 26%
  • Inconvenient club location 18%
  • Lost interest/motivation 17%
  • Moved/relocated 16%
  • Switched to outdoor exercise 15%

Not surprisingly, concerns about price and time were among the three most commonly cited reasons for quitting a club. While lack of adequate disposable income or time are certainly legitimate explanations for leaving a club, it’s likely that a significant percentage of the ex-members surveyed hadn’t been successful in making fitness or exercise a priority in their life. If your client’s fitness level and health are very high priorities, they find the money or the time to commit…and you can lead them in that direction. But, if they never use their gym membership, it becomes harder and harder to rationalize paying for it.  Conversely, regular usage yields greater satisfaction and more benefits, making it easier to identify the value received, and understand the cost and time requirements. So, if you want your clients to actually use their membership, you’ll have to figure out what you need to do to actually commit to their exercise program.  A consistent, committed effort will make a club membership worth the investment.

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Here’s the Top 5 club-related reasons people will cancel their membership…don’t let this happen at your facility!:

  • Overcrowded 27%
  • Dissatisfied with staff 13%
  • Lack of personal attention from staff 13% Dissatisfied with programs/activities 8%
  • Club management inaccessible/unresponsive 6%

These are the things your clients should be watching for/doing during their tour of your facility….so be ready for them:

  • Ask for a complimentary workout.
  • Get a tour of the facility and take note of equipment usage.
  • If you notice that every piece of equipment is being used and line-ups extend out the door, you may want to consider shopping around.
  • Talk to some of the other members and inquire about busy times at the gym. Ask them how long they’ve been a member and how happy they are with the gym.
  • Find out if the gym is always crazy or if there are times that are a little slower that fit into your schedule.
  • If an overcrowded gym is one of the number one reasons people will cancel their membership, you want to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning.
  • Are the classes or programs you’re interested available and scheduled at times that are convenient for you? For example, if you love to swim, a pool would be an important feature to ask about.  If you love basketball, make sure they’ve got some hoops.
  • If you want a coach to oversee your program, make sure that nationally certified trainers are available to help you.
  • If you want to work on improving your flexibility, be sure to ask about Yoga and Pilates programs.
  • Create a detailed list of questions to ask.

Be ready to answer questions like….”What are your….

  • …Upfront fees”
  • ….Monthly dues”
  • ….Minimum agreement terms”
  • ….Cancellation policies”
  • ….Money-back guarantees”

Remember that first impressions count. So don’t speed through the tour. Make sure to really pay attention to the needs of your potential new client. Be authentic and don’t push the sale too much.

Here is what your staff members SHOULD be do during a client’s first introduction to your facility:

  • Make the client feel welcomed right from the beginning.
  • Ask the client about their fitness and health history and goals.
  • Learn and use your the clients name.
  • Introduce the client to other staff and members so they feel part of the group right away.
  • Spend enough time getting them acquainted to the facility and its services.

If your clients don’t feel like they have been taken care of in that first meeting, how can they expect they will get treated any better once they join? It’s like a relationship – if your partner treats you terribly while you’re dating, how can you expect it’ll get better once you get married?

The fitness industry is just like any other industry – customer service is critical to success.  If your customers aren’t happy they will go elsewhere!

Remember both you and your clients have equal responsibilities in helping clients achieve fitness goals. You provide lots of top-notch, well-maintained equipment, personable and educated staff, cleanliness, and a variety of excellent fitness programs. Your clients, in turn, must take the responsibility to actually use the facility and its services!  If both parties are holding up their end of the bargain, you can expect a long-term healthy and fit relationship with your client. You CAN help them avoid being quitters.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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