A new member says: “Thank you for your professionalism and care in enrolling me to the club. I was nervous and skeptical about joining, but you reassured me and helped me take the first step. I have since been consistent in my workouts and have achieved so much, at least for me. I have lost 16 pounds and have never felt better. I couldn’t have done it without the support from you and the team here. Thank you! You have changed my life.”
Is this what you want your new members to say? If so, then this article is written for you.
65-75% of our business comes from referrals… should not 65-75% of our effort be on simply serving, servicing and connecting with our members?
The simple truth is that a disconnected club team cannot achieve long term success regardless of the tactical skill set of the membership team. The converse is also true – a connected club team still needs a very solid skilled membership recruitment function to maximize success.
So the epiphany that hit me was the simple truth that happy members refer many more happy members. So our challenge is to make every member a very Happy Member. How happy are your members? With our industry attrition rates and even a relatively high “early quit” rate… I know we can do better.
Basic blocking and tackling is recruiting and training a highly motivated membership team to follow the proper membership enrollment system. The successful enrollment system covers all the items normally outlined in this column… Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Prospecting, Telephone Inquiries, Needs Analysis, Benefit/Solution Selling, Pre-handling Concerns, Enrollment, Referrals, Follow Up and On-Boarding…
Then what? Then the heavy lifting comes in. Creating a team that creates an environment of connection and member satisfaction. What can the Membership team do to facilitate this outcome?
Here are the top 10 membership connection behaviors that you must master.
1. Be a member of the team not an individual with ego. No one likes to work with prima donnas and superstars that are cocky. People work with those they trust and those that support them. Focus on adding value to every person and every department in your club. Sales and Service are one in the same. In our business, we sell service and service sells our clubs.
2. Be in relationship with the Service Desk, Housekeeping, Fitness, Group Fitness, Programming, Aquatics and Childcare teams. Get to know those you work with. Communicate and share the information you hold. We are a family in the club. We know, care about, care for and help one another.
3. Introduce your prospects and new members to the high caliber associates you work with. Highlight their attributes and the member’s needs during these introductions. By stopping on tours and introducing other associates and highlighting their skills and expertise, you boost the morale of the team and you add so much credibility to the organization. Let your associates explain their areas so it is not coming from a “sales person” but the expert in the arena.
4. Deliver on every single thing you promise – Always! If you say it, make sure it happens. If you say you will handle or follow up – Do It… or you will lose your credibility, your connection, your referrals, and eventually you will lose the member. You make the promises – make sure the delivery happens in all areas.
5. Follow up on every new member and stay connected to their struggles and accomplishments. Track their usage. Track their progress. Connect and make sure they are succeeding. Take a very personal interest well beyond the enrollment. This is the classic example of the famous quote: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” How much do you care?
6. Personally send thank you notes (handwritten as well as E-mail) to every member that trusted you in this important life undertaking. I recommend sending an e-mail to every prospective member that tours your facility and a personal handwritten thank you note to every member that joins. Use this opportunity to differentiate yourself. Sometimes first impressions are wrong. If the prospect’s first impression of you is less than stellar, this is a second opportunity to show who you are and how much you care.
7. Follow the systems at your club to the letter so that every member is experiencing the same great level of enrollment and introduction to the club environment. Consistency is the what strong brands are made of. Be consistent. Your club has thought out the process they want prospects and new members to experience. It is your job to insure that it happens as designed.
8. Be consistent. Never compromise your integrity. Treat your prospects as you treat your members and as you treat their referrals. You want them all talking about how great their experience enrolling and getting involved with the club was… this is the key to your success. Never bash the competition, your company, your colleagues or anyone else for that matter. Gossip and bad-mouthing others causes people to lose respect for you and to question what you might say about them. Be fair and honest.
9. Know your product inside and out. Take every type of class and program so that you can explain the experience. Knowing through experience is much more powerful than learning about something. You are THE EXPERT, have the expertise to back it up. The more you know about every aspect of your club from programs to facilities, the stronger you will be. You will be successful and extremely valuable to the entire enterprise.
10. Remember why you chose to work in a health club.
Never forget why you are there. You made a decision to help people. Treat each personally and with respect. It may be your 200th tour of the month, but it is their first. Each individual is a person not a “sale” or “unit.” Help each one accomplish their goals and become a Happy Healthy Member.
Master these 10 behaviors and your members will be happy and connected to you and your club team for many years to come. You will be successful beyond your wildest expectations and your job will be almost easy; at least it become a lot easier. The pump will be primed and your members will keep referrals flowing. This will happen for one reason and one reason only. Your members will be successful with their goals and will love their CLUB because they truly BELONG. Remember, people quit clubs – they rarely quit solid relationships.
The Simple Truth = Happy Members stay and refer others!
“We have a simple business not an easy one.”