CONTENT SPONSORED BY ASF Payment Solutions
During the summer, it is especially important to focus on keeping your members in the club. However, getting them to work on your behalf to convince their friends to join your club is another story.
The question is, what will it take to make your members work for you? How do you motivate them? What do your members value? You need to ask yourself these questions when you are putting together your referral program. Are your members going to risk their trust with friends for a blender bottle or a workout towel? No. Members need to perceive value when discussing with their friends what they like about your club. After all, it's their reputation on the line. So, when you're thinking about your rewards for referrals, keep in mind that one down payment on a membership can pay for any reward you give. And multiple down payments will more than pay for additional rewards for more referrals from more members. Don't forget, these new members are also paying you recurring dues revenue. So, sweeten the deal and make your offers worthwhile.
In my experience with the payment processing and health club software industry, common incentive examples I see clubs successfully using for member referrals include the following:
A single friend joining will reward the existing member two small group training sessions
Three friends who are referred and join will reward the member a fitness/goal assessment plus a free one-on-one 60-minute personal training session with a master trainer (or trainer of their choice).
Six friends referred, the member can get a FitBit wristband reward (a $250 value).
These are a sample of real incentives that benefit your existing members. In addition, the member's friends are more comfortable checking out a new club where they know someone and it's not completely foreign to them. Presumably, your member has presold the features and benefits of the club ahead of time to their friend, thus making the new member sign-up process easier for your staff.
Jumping ahead, let's say you have some referral prospects checking out your club. Upon the first visit, enter their information into your gym management software. Tour your prospect around the club. I strongly suggest that you do not try a high-pressure sales approach. Consider offering a trial membership with a length of time around two weeks and personal training instruction included. The number one reason people don't join health clubs is the fear of embarrassment. By working out with a friend and receiving instruction, you're not only eliminating that fear, but you are also creating an opportunity to upsell your personal training program. Be sure to follow up with your prospect via phone, email and every time they revisit the club. Most importantly, listen for "buying signals."
Use your health club management software reports to follow up and measure the success of your referral program, such as passes sent, passes used, passes joined and passes joined by a member. Make modifications to improve your success based on these reports, such as changing the pass offer or changing the rewards for passes joined. Try role-playing the pass presentation with your sales people or reviewing how your staff welcomes and greets the new prospects. Closely watch your team, your member and the prospect interaction.
Following these suggestions will benefit you and your club. At ASF, we see the prospect referral success from our clients using our program Pass A Friend® as part of their club management software. To learn more, go to: http://www.asfpaymentsolutions.com/pass-a-friend/
Christie McPherson, client training manager, ASF Payment Solutions, can be reached at Christie.McPherson@asfpaymentsolutions.com.