The key to success in our clubs is getting and keeping members. We can keep members longer if we do things differently at the point of membership sale. Often, clubs spend too much time and money to create retention departments and programs when they could increase retention results at the time the new member joins. Assess how you do with the following:

  • Membership sales style

    Does your sales manager train your staff to engage with prospective members? Do you customize your sales pitch to the needs, motivation, concerns and sense of urgency of the prospective member? Do you take time before the tour to discover the information you need to be able to make the tour about the prospective member and not about the club? Is your tone encouraging? If you cannot answer with a resounding yes then you are starting to negatively impact retention before that prospective member even joins. There is a correlation in selling with the initial relationship and the quality and longevity of the relationship.

  • Integration at point of sale

    What is your integration system for the prospective member? While on tour, do you know who you should introduce the prospective member to that will help make a difference when he or she become a member? Do you create relationships that make the prospective member feel a part of the club? Do you focus the tour on the prospective member and make the tour about him or her? Do you point out the difference in your free and fee for programs and make recommendations about how your fee for programs can help him or her achieve results faster? For example, if the prospective member wants to achieve results, do you sell a personal training starter kit at the time of joining or do you let the prospective member find out about personal training on his or her own? The problem with that is that we put new members in the position of seeking service on their own and not giving them what they want and need. If new members see results from the beginning, they will develop the positive reinforcement they need to remain a member.

  • Review your job description

    As a membership representative, your job is to get members, as well as to keep them. Review the job description in the sidebar and see how you can enhance your job to enhance member retention.

  • Now is the time to effect any change and impact retention results. If you are in your busy season and selling a lot of memberships then start retaining them now. If your busy season comes in a few months, now is still the time to make changes because you will have time to practice and have your systems down when the sales go up. Then you can watch your retention go up as well.

    Karen D. Woodard-Chavez is president of Premium Performance Training and provides staff training and organizational consulting in marketing, sales, management and service. She offers these services through on-site and online training, books, tapes, manuals and regional seminars. She can be reached at 303-417-0653 or karen@karenwoodard.com.

    The Job Description

    Performance Expectations: Membership staff

    Objective: To contribute and generate revenue to the club through honest and enthusiastic membership sales and service and to participate in advertising and promotions.

    Reports To: Sales director

    Game Plan:

  • To provide effective membership tours to prospective members and guests, determine their needs and wants; match those needs and wants with membership.
  • Follow up with those who don't join within 24 hours by phone and written correspondence.
  • When not touring, generate sales leads through prospecting — two new corporate accounts per month, continue to work current leads, member referrals and old leads. Make a minimum of 75 phone calls per day and have a minimum of five appointments per day.
  • Make approximately 10 calls per day to members to stay in touch and assist with member retention.
  • Listen to and read sales materials, as well as attend and participate in weekly sales meetings.
  • Meet and exceed monthly goals to maintain employment. If you miss your goals in any three months through a 12-month period, you may be terminated or taken off the up system.
  • Complete membership paperwork accurately and promptly submit for processing.
  • Complete membership sales reports accurately and submit on a weekly basis.
  • Work as a team member on the management staff to provide a high level of service to members, inspiration and leadership to staff and assist in directing the flow of the club for smooth and profitable operation. Management responsibility includes but is not limited to overseeing staff when the GM is not present, discipline staff when necessary under the same conditions, expeditiously, gracefully and effectively handle member situations, freezes, questions and concerns.
  • While on duty play with the members and staff and provide an experience for them that is more than just a membership or a job.
  • Participate and assist in the planning and implementation of all promotions.
  • Schedule to equal minimum of 40 hours per week and always work the last two days of each month.
  • Emphasis in each area should balance as follows for optimum results: Sales =75%; Management=25%