Member Results Are the Quickest Route to Higher Retention at Your Health Club

Often, people ask what makes members cancel their memberships. A more important question would be what keeps members coming back to their gym week after week? People are more likely to keep going to their gym if they are getting the results they seek. So what can you do to ensure your members get great results from attending your gym? Here are three simple tips to put into practice:

Help members create better habits. To get results, people need to exercise regularly and develop healthier habits. Habits truly run our whole life and form the basis of all our behaviors. Helping members create the habit of exercising may help ensure they attend your gym regularly and strengthen their loyalty to your gym as they see results from their efforts.

To ensure that your members form the exercise habit at your club, you first need to work on their mindset. People have good intentions to get to the gym and work out, eat healthy, stress less and be more active, but few actually do so with consistency.

Action Steps:

  1. Ask emotional-based questions when new members join so you can determine their goals and what will encourage them to stick to their gym workout. A goal of wanting to lose weight won’t drive them to come to your gym week in and week out. Establish a strong ‘why’ with them on how they will personally and emotionally benefit from joining your gym.
  2. After establishing why they want to exercise, work with them to establish a realistic timetable for achieving those goals. This timetable should list in specific detail the times and days they intend to get to the gym and the specific action steps they will take each day to help accelerate their results.

Create accountability. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” It is important to be top of mind for your members so that they keep coming back to your gym, working out and ultimately getting results. We all dislike letting other people down. Create an accountability system where you call members who haven’t been in for some time. Literally ask them when you can expect them to come in next and subtly create a sense of accountability.


Action Step:

  1. If you don’t already, have some sort of feedback system where you keep in touch with members that have not been in for some time. This is best done by phone. Create small booklets or reports that you can offer them for free as a gift if they pop in that week. Use subtle rewards to encourage them to come in and make them feel accountable to the fact that you are expecting them to come in that week.

Create a strategy vs. theory or education. Most people know that exercise is important, and they know they should work out regularly. A new study by the University of Missouri found that people who received help that focused on behavior-changing strategies significantly increased their physical activity levels more than people who received interventions based on cognitive approaches, which try to change knowledge and attitudes.

What this means is that you should focus more on the strategies to help your members change their habits and increase gym attendance rather than purely focusing on the benefits of exercise or the theory behind why they should exercise. This does not mean you should not first establish the emotional reason members want to get results, but you just need to also establish a set of practical steps with them to help support their goals.

Action Steps:

  1. Set specific goals with members (new and existing) to encourage them to stay focused on achieving certain behaviors or results.
  2. Use a habit tracker (contact me for a copy of one) to help members track their workouts and healthy habits and to visually see their progress.
  3. Encourage members to use a pedometer and come to your gym to increase steps taken per day.

Any steps you can take to improve the results members get from using your gym will help you increase member retention. Actively work on helping your members reach their goals at various points throughout their membership so they can keep reaping the benefits of coming to your gym. Increased results for members equals increased revenue for your gym.

Nalisha Patel is an industry consultant helping clubs increase member retention and boost gym results for members. She has a bachelor of science degree in exercise science and psychology and uses psychology and persuasion to decrease membership attrition and boost actual results attained by members, resulting in substantial profit increases for clubs. Patel can be reached at [email protected]. She has written a free white paper, “Seven Wickedly Effective Ways to Get and Keep Members.”

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