Curtis Mock is the president of GymSuccess.com, a resource community for successful health clubs and gyms. He has managed, owned and consulted facilities of all sizes throughout the United States for more than 12 years. He is assisted by a team of 12 industry leaders who provide assistance through GymSuccess.com to help health clubs nationwide. Mock also is the primary contributor to Vitality Marketing Group's Gym Goldmine resource, which boasts more than 3,000 subscribed health club owners. Visit GymSuccess.com to learn how you can join for only $1 or reach Curtis directly at admin@curtismock.com.

The first quarter of the year is always exciting. This time of year produces the sales and residual revenue that can carry a health club through the leaner months of the year. More than half of your members in 2009 will join in January, February or March. The sad reality is that the majority of these members also will lose motivation shortly after joining. The first 30 days is typically the period in which you will win their hearts or lose them forever. If these members do not use your club, you lose the opportunity for personal training, referrals or any other ancillary revenue. Here are seven things you can do to make sure your members remain involved so that you can earn more money per member.

  1. Follow up consistently after the sale. Many times, sales are lost because your staff did not follow up with the prospect. Similarly, participation as a member is often dependent upon consistent follow up and accountability, especially within the first 30 days of membership. Call and find out how your new members’ workouts are going. Find out why they haven’t worked out in a week. Find out what you can do to help. The key is to show that you care. Many people need to know someone else is recognizing their struggles and is willing to help.
  2. Allow new members to experience personal training. Orientations are not enough. You must allow your new members to experience a personal training session, and more importantly, they need to learn what a good workout feels like. If they learn how to exercise safely and feel how amazing an effective workout is, not only do they view exercising as a positive thing, but they also find out how much better a workout is with a personal trainer.
  3. Involve new members in other programs. Many members sign up at a club and are immediately bored. Don’t allow this to happen. Many of these new members have the best of intentions, but then without excitement, support or a reason to participate, they stop coming in. Allow all new members to experience all of the things your club has to offer—and allow them to try it at no cost. From personal training and group exercise to boot camps and sports programming, your new members should be allowed to experience everything your club has to offer to find what motivates them most.
  4. Introduce new members to other members. For many members, your health club is their social outlet. It is their opportunity to be near other like-minded people who are all striving to reach goals. But it may be difficult for a new member to make friends because other members may have headphones on during their workout. Others already seem to have their own clique established, and many of the other members may be just as shy as they are. Introduce your new members to a few people who will help them feel welcome, members who work out at the same time they plan to work out, and members who share the same goals as the new member.
  5. Have all of your staff introduce themselves. Even if a new member prefers not to make friends with other members, it is still good to get to know the staff and for the staff to know you. It is a comforting feeling when you walk into a business and the owner and staff knows you by name and seems genuinely excited to see you. Many times, this is enough to keep your members feeling happy and involved.
  6. Get new members to refer a friend. The buddy system is very powerful, yet often underutilized. Although we consider referrals one of the best ways to generate new business, it is also one of the best ways to keep your members involved, spend more money, and refer more people. Convincing your members to refer new business not only helps your business, it also helps new members stay involved and actively participating in the club offerings.
  7. Find out where they are and where they want to be. Even more powerful than any of the other ideas above is to have your members set goals for themselves. You need to find out their baseline measurements and how those measurements make them feel. You also need to find out where they would ultimately like to be. Have them write down their goals. You or your trainers can help them determine milestones to stay motivated along their journey.

Implement these seven actions, and you will find yourself with loyal members who will continue to spend more money and generate new business for you throughout the year.