New Years. Time for the annual migration of well-intentioned individuals to your gym hoping to turn over a new leaf and lead a healthier lifestyle. Likely, most of them will give up within two months. In fact, statistically speaking, only 8% of people even stick to their resolution, let alone conquer it. These new members represent an excellent opportunity to inject some new life and revenue into your business.
Key to Gym Member Retention
The biggest key to this retention is helping those new members conquer their resolutions and develop those positive associations with your club. Here’s five tips to help your members conquer their New Year’s Resolutions.
Set Reasonable Goals
Your clients are excited! They’re gung-ho! This is finally going to be the year they put it all together. Visions of prancing around in bikini like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model or pumping out curls with Arnold on Venice Beach this summer. You know this likely isn’t possible for 98% of them, but they signed up for a membership at your gym, didn’t they?
Losing weight is hard and they’re going to undertake some massive changes in their lives if they’re going to succeed. This is where you and your staff must come in and set reasonable and realistic goals. Maybe they need to lose 100 lb and, while we know they can lose that 100 lb, it’s going to be tough.
Focus on small goals they can easily accomplish while working on those bigger goals. Reassurance and support is great but all the "you’re doing good, just keep it up’s" in the world don’t compare to stepping on the scale and seeing they’ve lost 3 lb this week and their goal was one! How great is that? Temper expectations and let them snowball their own success.
Nurture A Sense of Community (and involve them as soon as possible in it)
Your gym is great! You and your staff have so much to offer. We all want to be a part of something and feel the camaraderie. Do you have group cycling sessions with those top of the line Cybex 600IC indoor cycles? Get them involved!
Many are hesitant and embarrassed to work out in front of other people, but if you can expose them to your experienced staff and get them connected with other members, they're going to buy in easier. In addition, naturally they're going to make friends with other members and that inevitably creates a sense of accountability to others without you having to work for it!
The first clients you'll lose are the ones that choose to fend for themselves. Offer free personal training sessions or rewards for bringing in a friend to work out with. They'll accomplish those resolutions the greater involvement and connection they have to your gym.
Reach Out to Them
Teddy Roosevelt once said "no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care." Let that one soak in for a bit. Embody that motto.
Maintain your contact with all your New Year’s Resolution influx clients. Send them a text or phone call just to see how their goal resolution is coming along. Let them know that you value their business. A simple conversation may give you incredible insight into the struggles that this unique demographic encounters.
Maybe they are intimidated by the gym setting. Maybe they realize that they don’t know what they’re doing and it’s an opportunity to up-sell some personal training services. Inevitably, you will have those clients that have completely fallen off the wagon.
Another really great idea is reaching out after they haven’t been in for 30 days and offer a week of free personal training. A little leg work to show you care will go a long way. Getting that contact from you or your staff and discussing their goals will be an incredibly galvanizing experience for everyone.
Cater to the Audience
This is particularly targeted towards males. We often hear about the media’s promotion of a certain body type and the affect it has on a woman’s self-image. To a lesser extent but still true, there is an image of the prototypical male and that's of the ripped guy with huge arms and six-pack abs.
No guy wants to just lose the spare tire around his gut and have twigs for arms. While weight loss is the resolution, encourage the males to start hitting the weights too. There are plenty of lifts that will help them burn more than a few calories while getting him to start feeling good while flexing in the mirror before he gets in the shower. We know some of the lifts that will get him there include a good amount of weight and so before he develops a set of Popeye forearms, you might want to consider directing him to a lifting straps guide to find a good set of grips that will help with the weight.
Encourage and Promote Lifestyle Changes
No New Year’s Resolution is fully going to be realized without a bit of an overhaul in lifestyle. You and your staff only have control over the outcome of your client’s resolutions for the time they're in your gym. All those personal training and group cycling classes aren't going to mean a thing when that client goes home and eats a bag of chips because they’ve earned it. We know that one can never outrun a bad diet, but who ends up bearing the burden of them failing in conquering that resolution? You and your staff.
Turn the tables and encourage your clients to start tracking their food intake every day. There are easy to use apps out there that bring the accountability for success into your client’s hands. Start each session going over how some choices they made were great and have them talk about some of the poor choices and what led to that choice. Raising awareness as we know, yields huge results.
Many apps, like Fitness Pal, also include options to log exercise as well and offer challenges that allow them to compare to other members across the world. Even better, form your own group in an app and have them join in and offer rewards like free personal training sessions for weekly or monthly winners. The more clients take ownership and accountability over their own success while getting great encouragement from you and your staff, the more likely your clients will conquer their New Year’s Resolutions and, who gets their loyalty for that? Your gym.
Ross is on the content team for Garage Gym Builder. When he isn’t encouraging his members to conquer their fitness goals, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters in Des Moines, Iowa.