It is important to take the time and focus on building a partnership between your top fitness professional and your sales manager, to build revenue from aggressive member retention.
Create a pathway for fitness professionals to move into management and fast track them through training that focuses on the number of sales and the projected member retention percentages to date. Hire from within and create a vision of growth for those focused on the success of the facility. The plan should establish a salary-based position rather than a pay per class or per session pay position. The fitness professional's position must be elevated to allow inspection of the facility's operations, as well as build and supervise a team of group fitness and personal trainers determined to increase profits, member service and retention through the creation of classes, group trainings, marketing and follow up. Following is an example of a system of inspection used by a successful companion in management team:
- Have your personal trainers met monthly sales goals?
- Are trainers' hours posted for management and staff?
- Do trainers and fitness consultants write in a “follow up” book after orientations with new members?
- Have trainers scheduled weekly hours to work in the facility?
- Have trainers contacted companions in management for extended leave from the facility?
- Are yearly class evaluations, auditions and reviews conducted?
- Are tracking sheets of group fitness classes maintained?
- Is the team fully staffed and trained as to the club's standards in assessment procedures, paperwork and quotas?
Address any untapped resources the fitness professional holds, including the database of members supporting your fitness classes and programs. When including this large number of members in decision making, your paired management team can create future programs, seminars and promotions that will keep members evolving rather than revolving in and out of your facility. Members involved in the creation of new programs and promotions become a source of duplication often overlooked when sales professionals only focus on duplication at the point of sale. Member appreciation events should be planned and invitations to seminars and special programs should be sent, all of which will make the members more involved and more apt to resign at renewal time. Member's fitness results and testimonials should be posted and members of long standing should be noticed as members of the month. All of this will lead to increased retention percentages.
Member satisfaction will increase when the management team focuses on designing a system that includes fitness goals for new members at the point of sale.
The management pair can bridge the gap between the contract signing and the first workout by introducing the member to a certified team member that can design a workout for the member's body type and goal. By introducing a new member to the group fitness professional the new member will ease into a class schedule best suited for his or her needs. The attention given to personal needs at the point of sale has been an overwhelming success in increasing new member satisfaction.
Develop a dual management team and share the responsibility of staff training. Training should include instruction on customer service, extending beyond quotas, gross and percentages. Training on the machinery, specialized equipment, and program formats, must be the focus as the trainee attempts to sort through the club's policies and procedures. The trainee's relationships made on the workout floor will be important as he or she grows within the facility and as a staff member.
After developing a companionship in management team, the first experience for your new members will include:
- An increase in usage and confidence knowing the workout was designed by a certified professional.
- An assurance that all customer concerns and issues will be handled professionally by all staff members.
- An awareness that they will have a voice in programming in the future.
- Comfort in knowing that if their sales professional is absent that they will find a standard of service and knowledge from all staff members.
Ann Gilbert has spent 25 years in the fitness industry. She is the director of Personal Training at Shapes Total Fitness in Tampa, FL, and is an IDEA master trainer and the ACE trainer of the Year for 2001.