Small Gestures May Lead to Big Rewards at Your Health Club

Often, we are so focused on the big picture that we forget about the little things. Most gym owners are so worried about how many memberships were sold, personal training sessions conducted or smoothies made that they overlook some important issues.

Think about how much you spend on direct mail, print advertising, your website, emails and outreach programs. When added up, it is a healthy sum. Studies show that you make 80 percent of your revenue from just 20 percent of your customers. That is a compelling percentage. If your club has 1,000 members, just 200 of them generate your cash flow. Perhaps it is time that you look at why the 800 others do not spend money in your club. The reasons may surprise you.

What if you took half the money you spend on trying to generate new business and spend it on the 80 percent of your members who do not currently refer friends, purchase personal training, take classes or even buy bottled water? By focusing your resources on this unproductive group, you can most assuredly guarantee better member retention. People spend money when they feel special. The reason only 20 percent of your members are spending money is because your staff is paying attention to that 20 percent.

Here are some small gestures that can add up to big rewards:

Handwritten thank-you cards. Notice I said “handwritten.” Taking the time to write a personal note rather than printing something or sending an email goes a long way toward building good relationships. Thank-you cards should be sent to all new members, renewing members and anyone who sends you a referral. By making it personal, you’ll make an impression.

Random acts of kindness. When was the last time you gave away a free smoothie to a member? Don’t think about your bottom line. Think about the goodwill you will gain. For every 10 smoothies you give away, you might gain five new smoothie drinkers who will then start buying. Give your staff permission to give away a certain number of smoothies per day. Make sure they track the recipients so you can follow their future buying habits. It is no secret why bartenders sometimes give the first round for free—it encourages big tips. Making members feel special will make them more inclined to return the favor with their dollars.

Say thank you. Does your staff say thank you every time someone spends money at your business? If not, have them start. Members are the lifeblood of your business. The money they spend helps you pay your bills and enjoy a better quality of life. They keep your business afloat. By not saying something as simple as thank you, you are communicating to them that they are not important to you. Whether they spend a dollar on a bottle of water or $600 for personal training, they deserve the same sincere thank you.

The next time you are writing a big check for direct mail, ask yourself when you last did something small but meaningful for your members? If you cannot remember, it is time to re-evaluate where you spend your money. It is time to think small.

Nic DeCaire is the owner and founder of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, DE. He is a graduate of Wilmington College. DeCaire is an IFPA-certified personal trainer with 12 years experience in the Newark area. He started working the front counter at a local fitness center at age 14, and his success and passion for fitness have grown since then. A former competitive bodybuilder and power lifter, DeCaire has won many awards in the sport. He is the chairman of the Main Street Mile, serves on the board of Kids with Confidence and is a member of the Newark Morning Rotary Club. DeCaire can be contacted at 302-738-4580 or [email protected].

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