Member Retention

Member Retention: The metrics that have the closest statistical relationship to retention include:

• Member usage. Research shows a closely related relationship between frequency of usage and membership retention. The more frequently that members use the club, the more likely they are to remain members. The less frequently that members use the club, the more likely they are to resign.

•  Early stage usage. Research shows that frequency of usage during the first 90 to 120 days of membership is closely correlated with retention, both during the first few months and after more than one year.

Member satisfaction. Data shows that the higher a club’s “net promoter score” (percentage of members who rate you as a five on a five-point scale, minus those who rate you a one, two or three) the better a club’s membership retention levels are.

Additional services revenue per member. The more money a member spends in a club, especially during the first 90 to 120 days of membership, the more likely they are to remain a member.

The following metrics are valuable since they can be easily measured, are easily communicated and are easy to grasp. They also can be influenced by the entire staff once they know your targets.

Percentage of membership using the club daily. Management should understand that a percentage of the total membership visits the club daily. The higher the percentage of daily visits, the more engaged the membership is. A good number to shoot for is above 25 percent.

Percentage of members using additional services. The higher this percentage is, the more engaged the membership is. Although the percentages partially depend on your club’s business model, achieving greater than 20 percent penetration will positively affect retention.

Average additional services spent per visit. This number, especially if measured daily, can help management and staff zoom in on new approaches to generating spending and improving

Percentage of members who use the club less than four times per month and more than eight times per month. These two variables have the most reliable relationship to retention. If you can decrease the percentage of members who use the club less than four times per month and increase the percentage of members who use the club at least eight times per month, you will positively influence retention over the long haul.

The following are some informational metrics that you can act upon immediately once you know the numbers:

• Current members who use the club less than four times per month. Contact these members and identify strategies and actions to get them more involved.

• New members from the past month who have used the club less than four times. Implement strategies for helping them connect more effectively with the club.

• New and existing members who have used the club at least eight times in the last month. Knowing who these members are, allows you to recognize and reward them.

• New members who have not spent money in the club in the last 90 days. If you learn the names of these members, you can focus on getting them engaged in club services.

Fitness Management & Consulting Launches My Fitness Career Job Web Site

New fitness industry job website benefits both employers and job seekers.

Dallas, TX – October 16, 2013 – Fitness Management & Consulting announced today the launch of its new web site at for job seekers and employers in the fitness industry. The new web site is designed to provide job seekers and employers from all fitness verticals with tools and resources they need to build their business, career, or both.

While working with club owners and fitness experts through the years, it became evident to Jim Thomas, president of Fitness Management & Consulting, that the uniqueness of the fitness industry did not lend itself to traditional staffing outlets such as Monster or “Our new MyFitnessCareer job site offers all fitness verticals additional resources to find the right employees as well as helps the job seekers search out the ideal career opportunity,” states Thomas.

Personal trainers, fitness teachers, gym managers, and sales consultants can post their profiles and submit their resumes for free on the site. Club owners and other employers looking for experienced fitness personnel can post job listings for $35.00 for 90 days.

Fitness Management & Consulting offers several programs to health clubs, fitness centers, gyms and other fitness verticals to help expand their market bases and keep the facilities productive and profitable. “Now,” says Thomas, “We’re excited to deliver the MyFitnessCareer site to the fitness industry to address needs at many levels. It’s an ideal complement to our health club consulting services, while offering career opportunities.”

About Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting                                                         

Fitness Management & Consulting is a firm specializing in health club business consulting, turnarounds, new club start ups without franchisee fees, and sales training.  Its founder, Jim Thomas, has over 25 years experience in all aspects of health club sales, club ownership and management. Fitness Management & Consulting is a privately held company based in Dallas, Texas. For more information on Fitness Management & Consulting, please


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Skype: jtmanagement



How to Spot a Potential Star Health Club Salesperson

After having interviewed thousands of potential salespeople over the years on behalf of client clubs…and after having hired and helped to supervise many of them…and after having trained them and worked beside them, I have found there are certain qualities that every star health club salesperson possesses.

One of the secrets is…don’t be tricked by what they know relative to fitness or the health club industry, and don’t be blinded by how they look. Instead, concentrate on who they are. Here you go:

1. Will they do the right thing when no one is watching? Do they have integrity?

Members and guests appreciate and want to deal with honest people. Fast talkers will come and go. Hard closers will get some sales, but will create some ill will… experts in fitness will help us understand, but the thing that draws us to do business with a person, more than anything else, is that person’s integrity. We know that we will be dealt with fairly and honestly.

2. Do they have a high energy level? Are they a self starter? What kind of work ethic do they have?

Whether we like it or not, it is still true, to a large degree, sales, in the health club business, is a numbers game. Every health club sales person must talk to a certain number of people in order to sell one.

So, the element of volume is very important to a successful health club sales person. Given two salespeople of equal skills, experience, intelligence, product knowledge, etc., the one who works the hardest will be more successful.

There is no substitute for hard work. Sometimes, the difference between one sales person being successful and another being unsuccessful comes down to quantity of sales efforts.

3. Are they coachable? Do they have the ability to learn?

I’m not talking about the kind of knowledge that you get in school. For the successful health club salesperson, the ability to learn means the ability to evaluate a situation, and then to modify or make adjustments in the way they do things as a result. Can they think quickly on their feet?

In today’s health club environment, there are a number of areas in which a good salesperson must continually be inquiring, learning, and changing their behavior.

The first of these…are their personal sales skills. Health Club sales is an area of endeavor where a person is never as good as they could be. There is always some skill that can be learned or improved upon. The successful health club salesperson never considers themselves to have arrived, but is constantly looking for ways to refine and improve their sales skills. It’s a continuous learning process.

The health club salesperson must learn how to change their behavior to meet the needs, drives, and personalities of the club guests and members. The successful health club salesperson is a chameleon. They change their behavior and, to some extent, their personality, to meet the ways in which different guests and members need for them to behave.

4. Do they have the ability to build positive relationships? Do they have a winning attitude?

The successful health club salesperson is the individual who can quickly build trusting relationships with all sorts of people in the community and inside the club. That requires empathy, the ability to listen, perceptiveness, and the ability to mold themselves into the kind of person the prospect and club member needs.

Those are relationship-building skills. And the most successful health club salespeople are relationship builders.

5. Do they have a self-image of success? Do they see themselves capturing every sale?

People tend to live up to their image of themselves. We all understand that.

Every one of us can think of people in our own lives who have lots of ability and potential, but who never live up to that potential because of their poor self-image.

Somewhere, they developed a poor self-image, and began to think of themselves as incompetent, unable, or unworthy.

6. Do they really want to be in sales? What is their personal motivation?

The best health club salespeople all have within them a drive to excel, to be the best. They have a desire to persuade others.

They have a desire… to get you to see their way of thinking.

It’s that internal motivation that drives all the other qualities of the superstar salesperson. And that drive to succeed is far more powerful than any of the other qualities. Given a strong internal motivation, sooner or later the health club salesperson that is driven to success will succeed. It’s only a matter of time.

Now, add that internal drive, with an ability to learn, an image of success and achievement, a high energy level, personal integrity, and add the ability to create strong business relationships, and you have the ingredients of a superstar health club salesperson.

And should you find a salesperson like this, get ready, because they will make your health club the most interesting it has been in a long time…and, oh by the way, profitable.

Now, go find that health club superstar.

Death of a Salesperson

The new health club salesperson was ambitious and eager to learn all he could about the health club business and the technique of selling in the club industry. However, despite all of his efforts, new membership sales were few and far between. Sales effectiveness eluded him. Finally, after many futile months of working, coaching, prodding and guiding, his club manager confronted him with the bad news, “I don’t think you are cut out to be a health club salesperson,” the manager said.

The salesperson responded, “That’s just not true. I’m selling all right. It’s just that our membership prices are too high. People need to think about buying a membership. It’s important that they talk to their spouse. I’m not getting any walk-ins, and these prospects aren’t buying.”

It sounds childish and absurd, but there are health club salespeople out there who would do anything — or blame anyone — to avoid personal responsibility.

“If it is to be, it’s up to me.” These words should be permanently engraved on every salesperson in every health club across the country. “If it is to be, it’s up to me” is the attitude that epitomizes the most professional health club salespeople I have ever met.

It’s that attitude that shows up when a sales rep takes personal responsibility for everything that happens in his or her club. The real health club professional immediately acknowledges and deals with every adversity that comes his or her way.

So, what is it that causes good health club salespeople to struggle or even fail? What causes the “death of a salesperson?” Here are six thoughts:

1. Prejudging. Thinking we know what the outcome will be before we even start is a huge problem. When we take a club guest, when we pick up the phone or do any outside prospecting, we can’t cut corners assuming that we know how things will turn out. Whether you think you can — or think you can’t — you’ll always be right.

2. Believing in “be-backs.” I was speaking with a chiropractor friend of mine recently. He had retained the services of a consulting firm to help his business. I asked him was what the No. 1 thing that he has learned from his consultant. He paused and then said, “If I don’t get them committed to being a patient when they first walk in my clinic, I’ll likely never get them.” Here’s what you want to remember when your prospect has walked in your door: Their enthusiasm is at its peak. If they leave without getting started, their enthusiasm has nowhere to go but down.

3. Not following a proven system. Too many health club salespeople will cut corners or determine that certain parts of a script are not necessary. By following a proven system, you will get results, be able to take specific action when you’re slumping, and you’ll have something you can use to train and teach others.

4. Not asking for the sale. The key here is decent boldness. If you want something, you must ask. Don’t become confused and think you’re asking when you’re not. Such weak phrases as, “How does this sound,” “What do you think” or “Do you have any questions?” will not qualify as asking for the sale with decent boldness.

5. Failure to plan. If you want to stay in control of your sales career, you have to plan. Otherwise you’ll find yourself the victim of crisis management and have to react to your particular set of circumstances. Be proactive and set your own course.

6. Be honest with yourself. Take a look again at the previous five tips. Were you really honest with yourself? It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.

Can you control every possible problem in the sales department before it occurs? Of course not. Can you be responsible for every problem that occurs in your membership sales department? You don’t have a choice.

I remember many years ago listening to a health club sales manager talking to a salesperson about a raise. He said, “Your raise will become effective when you are.” Being a salesperson in a health club is like your own personal business, and if it is to grow, it is up to you and no one else.

How to Succeed in the Health Club Business

Will your gym business thrive, or will it join others that have faltered along the way? Here are some basic rules to make sure your gym business grows and prospers:

1. Find a Niche. For independent gyms, it is best to find a niche. A small gym with limited resources can efficiently serve niche markets. This entails sticking to what you do best, and becoming an expert at it. Realize that you can’t be all things to all people.

2. Be a small gym, yet think like a big gym. The most common question of small gym start-ups is “How can I compete with the bigger competition?“  Small gyms have inherent advantages over the big clubs, including flexibility, ability to respond quickly, able to provide a more personalized member service. Make sure that your gym takes maximum advantage of those areas that represent the strengths of small clubs.

3. Differentiate your gym services. Present the benefits of your products and services to your members, highlighting the unique solutions it offers to their problems. Avoid doing what everyone else is doing.  Study your competition, and package your fitness services distinctly.

4. First impression counts. Strive for accuracy and quality the first time around. Many times you do not have a second chance to make a good first impression with members and guests. This entails a well-laid out gym, courteous staff, and personable voice over the phone, etc. Make sure that you and your gym staff are always presentable, professional in your ways and knowledgeable about your gym.

5. Good reputation. Your gym business hinges on its reputation. It is imperative that you build a good reputation for the quality of your fitness products and support services.

6. Constant improvement. Gym owners should not be rigid in their ways of thinking in their quest to improve their gym. You risk being left behind if you cling to the “this is how we’ve always done it” kind of thinking. The gym business environment today demands that you need to come up with new solutions ­ fast!

7. Listen to your members. Listen and react to your member’s needs. Members need to feel that they are important to you ­ because they are. When you focus on your members and gain their trust, they will not only refer you to their friends but they will also remain loyal to you. Personal referrals and word-of-mouth are the least costly yet most effective marketing strategy for your gym.

8. Plan of action for success. A gym owner should understand the power of planning and have a written plan of action. A good plan helps you increase your chances of succeeding and can help you define your gym concepts, estimate costs, predict membership sales and control your risks. It tells you where you are going and how to get there.

9. Be innovative in your gym. Innovation should also cover your operations ­ from pricing, promotion, member service, web site, etc. Keep your eyes open for new ways of doing things, and apply those that can improve the quality of your fitness products and efficiency of your gym operation. Stay current with technology.

10. Work smart. As a gym owner, you need to possess self-confidence, plus a never-ending sense of urgency to develop your ideas. Gym owners who succeed in owning their own club are far-sighted and can accept things as they are and deal with them accordingly. They know how to manage their time, realizing the importance of leisure in as much as work. They are quick to change directions when they see their plans are not working. They recognize their weak points and move on to nurture alliances and acquire the skills they need to put their gym on the right track. They realize the importance of working smart, knowing that it is not the quantity of work you do, but what you do and how well you do it.

Now, go make your club a success.

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