How to Onboard Members so They Never Leave - Part 2: Beyond The Basics

Check out part one of this blog here if you missed it. 

There's a kind of  alchemy that creates the perfect gym experience. More than the facility, the equipment, or even the workouts, it’s the personal touch that counts the most. From discussions with successful gym owners, it's evident that the heart of a successful gym lies in the connections it nurtures.

1. The Power of First Impressions

Newcomers remember the first face they encounter. So it's essential that the gym representative exudes warmth, friendliness and positivity. This is more than just being a good coach.  It’s about being an ambassador for the gym’s culture. By ensuring that the initial experience is personalized and exceptional, the likelihood of a member’s prolonged engagement with the gym community increases exponentially. 

2. The Law of Reciprocity

The Law of Reciprocity (see Cialdini's book, "Influence") makes a significant impact even with small gestures. It's the giving itself that counts, not always the value of the gift. Human nature makes us want to give back, when we receive. 

When a gym provides its members with extra perks, it's not just the tangible gift, but the intangible feeling of being noticed and valued. For instance, offering protein samples during sessions and pairing them with a branded shaker cup sets members up for success while subtly introducing them to your retail store and product line. 

Making these gestures feel spontaneous, even if they're systematized, and adds a personal touch. It could be as simple as walking them to the fridge post-workout, offering a complimentary recovery drink, and explaining its benefits. 

You could take it a step further, by sending them a WOW box! This is a powerful tool for gym owners, reflecting a perfect blend of customer appreciation and smart marketing. According to Nathan Holiday, in an age of digital saturation, receiving a tangible package in the mail makes a lasting impression. 

The act itself – of sending a package bursting with value – instantly establishes the gym's commitment to member success and well-being. Remember, it's not about gifts; it's about building genuine rapport and a sense of belonging. 

For instance, Granite CrossFit is working on a comprehensive package that includes essentials like app recommendations, website usage guidelines, and even a CrossFit dictionary to help newbies decipher terms like 'AMRAP'. These resources, combined with gym gear, upsells and special offers, enhance the new member experience tremendously. This not only taps into the law of reciprocity, but also makes the member feel incredibly special and valued.

3. Creating Memorable Moments

Awarding a certificate, or posting a member’s achievement on social media, might seem like a small gesture, but it creates a significant ripple effect. 

By highlighting personal stories, gyms foster a sense of camaraderie among members. Everyone has a story; highlighting these can be a bridge between members, encouraging conversation and incredible friendships. 

There are many opportunities to create powerful moments during the Kickstart. Making a big deal about earning their first Level and “getting on the MAP” is just one example. 

The crowning moment? Handing out the graduation certificate - a celebration of their entry into the gym community and a testament to their commitment. Bring your coaches and members into the celebration, by asking them for ideas for photos, gifts, etc. They’ll love to be a part of it, and it makes it even more special for the member who is receiving the certificate. 

4. Structured Yet Flexible Sessions

Some gyms allow a prospect to try out a few classes and do the white Level workouts before they commit to the Kickstart. If this is something you’d like to offer, it's a great way to introduce leveled-out workouts, ensuring that newcomers are comfortable and safe. The white workouts give newcomers an introduction without being overwhelming. And once they complete the Kickstart and are acquainted with the gym’s ethos, they can progress to higher Levels, keeping their enthusiasm alive.

5. Personal Training: The Underrated Gem

When members are completing their Kickstart, it gives them a chance to experience  what personal training feels like. One-on-one attention from their very own coach creates a bond that enriches their fitness journey. 

The Level Method system creates a personal-training feel in a group setting. However, if a member wants added specificity and personal attention, they’ll already be familiar with the concept and advantages of one-on-one personal training.

To conclude:

Running a gym is not just about workouts and fitness regimes. It's about fostering a community, creating memorable experiences, and ensuring that every member feels valued and appreciated. It’s about making sure that when a member walks in, they feel right at home! What better way to do this than with the Kickstart!