How to Onboard Members so they Never Leave - Part 1

Setting the Stage for Fitness Success

Improving retention by keeping members engaged long-term starts on day one! Their first experience with your gym can decide their fate – whether they come back and become raving fans, or not. Raving fans stay for the long haul… and they invite their friends to join. So how do you onboard members so they never leave? Find out below and be on the lookout for part 2 of this blog - coming soon! 

For many people, stepping into a new gym can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. Unfamiliar equipment, uncertainty of routines, a fear of not fitting in -- these can deter someone from taking that crucial step and committing to the goal of fitness. 

So what can we do? Enter … the 'Kickstart' sessions! At Level Method, we provide a meticulously crafted multi-day journey, setting members up for success from day one.  But the concepts are universal whether you are in the Legion or not. Our goal is to help more of our members not just survive but thrive on their fitness journey. 

Some of the people that come through your door have never been in a gym, or if they have, maybe not for years. Being lost and confused is discouraging. It feels good to walk into a room and just know precisely what to expect… so giving this to a first time gym-goer alleviates anxiety and boosts confidence. 

A well crafted Kickstart system helps your new member quickly gain confidence in you, your gym, and in themselves! But it’s important not to lump Kickstarts as just another series of introductory classes. It should be a holistic, immersive experience designed to acquaint new clients with the flow, process, and culture of your gym. 

In large part, this is about setting expectations. You want a way to show, "We've got you. At this gym, you’re not just another face in the crowd."  You want to show them that you have a well thought-out plan, to guide them on this journey, tailored specifically for them.

One element of that is having actual slides (a presentation) on a tablet that you can use during these sessions – to not only show them where they are relative to the entire program, but also an outline of what to expect, and a curriculum.

Beyond the processes (like having a system that uses slides) a good Kickstart delves into the emotional aspects of the journey. Many newcomers come in, weighed down by guilt or shame. The truth is, we all have our own worries, mistakes, fears and insecurities, and the folks coming through your door are no different.

Your sessions should be crafted to alleviate those feelings, replacing them with a sense of accomplishment, pride and acceptance. 

The structured flow of the Kickstarts isn't just about fitness. It's about confidence too. In our system, we use Levels, and what's truly empowering is the sense of progression these sessions instill. By the end, members have most or all of their Levels completed.  They know the lingo.  They understand the math behind their progress.  They recognize that with every Level they achieve, they're moving closer to a fitness experience that is designed just for them.

Getting on the MAP, by achieving their first Level, is a powerful moment in and of itself! Many new members might think they won’t have a place on the MAP.  First, this is never the case, and second, this is an ideal time to make a big deal about what they’ve already accomplished. I mean, they actually showed up.   They're daring to do something new -- and soon, they'll earn their first Level!  It doesn’t matter if that first Level is white or red… They are on the MAP!  And it’s time to celebrate!

Speaking of celebrating, once all of their Levels are complete, the very act of handing over a certificate at the end of the Kickstart session symbolizes so much more than just completion. It's not a certificate of participation, but of real accomplishment.  It's a badge of honor, a rite of passage, the door to the next phase in the fitness journey, as we'll see..  

Now, a quick note, even if you don’t have a “MAP” or defined levels, you do have benchmarks. So use them to create a way to accomplish the same feelings in your clients. It’s the concept that matters. 

Kickstart Logistics: One-on-One vs Groups

Group sessions are always an option.  But the one-on-one nature of Kickstarts offers a fantastic  opportunity for the coach to create connections with the new member. Coaches get to know the members - their lives, aspirations and challenges. 

At Community Fitness Granbury, they have a dedicated coach who was previously apprehensive about coaching group classes.  Now she excels at these Kickstarts.  When she takes members through these sessions, her welcoming nature ensures that every member feels at home. (Side-note: She is now an excellent group fitness coach too, because of the experience and confidence she gained from coaching the Kickstart sessions.)

And of course, the structure of these sessions enhances the gym's professionalism. By utilizing Kickstart slides to educate members on nutrition, recovery and mindset, a consistent delivery ensures that every member receives the same, consistent premier experience.

In the end, Kickstarts are all about systematizing success. With time, these systems do evolve, but the foundational objective remains - to provide members with an unforgettable start. 

In Part 2 of this blog, we’ll give details about going beyond the basics.