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Fitness Pros: Learn Summer Retention Strategies


Keep Your Clients Coming Back Through Summer

If you are like most fitness professionals, you got into this industry because you love fitness, you love people and you love helping people get fit.

However, one of things that often gets overlooked when you’re actively training clients is the amount of business acumen that is required to, not only prolong your career, but keep you on the go through all the seasons.   In order to do that, you consistently need new clients while retaining the others.

Where did all the crowds go?

Where did all the crowds go?

When you look at the cycle of client acquisition, you might have noticed that you will have surges when clients seek your expertise.   For example, January through May is usually busy and then again in September through November. When you really think about it, this makes sense.

There is the New Years’ resolutions crowd in the first quarter who need help with all of their health and fitness goals for that year.

Once that crowd slows down, there’s another surge mid-April: the beach-body crowd.

And then there’s the crowd that need to be physically ready for their summer vacations, that may include healthy activities such as hiking, surfing and walking.

When summer is over, people begin to settle back into a regular routine with back-to-school. They re-prioritize the fitness goals they had at the beginning of the year and in comes another crowd hoping to go make it through to the Holidays.

If you have been in the fitness industry for a while, then you know that clients become less engaged in the summer. They are in and out of town,  or they are busy because they are out and about and they would rather be participating in outdoor activities then stuck inside with you.

So, what do you, as a fitness professional do, to keep the interest of your member, while also maintaining a steady income flow? I’ll tell what you should do.

Be proactive and creative.  Don’t wait to see what happens. Make your own changes and build your own systems to keep your regular clients committed, the phone ringing with potential new clients AND your bank account happy!

3 Easy Ways to Create a Summer Buzz

Create a Fitness Contest:

Most people really love some sort of competition, whether that be with themselves or with others. Oftentimes, competition can bring out the best in people so this is a good place to start when trying to select a contest for your club.

Evaluate your clientele to see what demographic mainly exists in your club.  Then begin to customize a program that you think will benefit them the most. Evaluation is extremely important.  For example, you wouldn’t want to create a bodybuilding contest for your club when 83% or your clientele are stay-at-home moms.

Once, you have decided the best program, run it from anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks.   Primarily market it within your current membership base and encourage (and/or perhaps even incentivize) them to refer their family and friends to get involved with your facility.


Weekly Hiking!

Organize a Free Weekly Hiking Group:

This is always a great, non-intimidating way to create buzz and engagement with your members through summer. You can charge your members for participating in this group, if you like, but since most of them will probably already be summer-hiking anyway, it might be best to make this group complimentary.

It’s a good idea to run a free hiking group because you can also use it as a marketing tool that serves both you and your members.

1. From the members’ perspective, they already pay you a good amount to be a member of your club, so every once in a while, you can use a program like this to show your appreciation.  In return you will gain their trust and loyalty, resulting in a steady income for you.  And, if they feel appreciated, they will often reward you with a steady flow of referrals.

2. Market yourself. Provide free swag – such as t-shirts, water bottles, and towels.   This is a great way to advertise your business.  When you’re hiking with your group, you will all look like walking billboards to other hikers.

3. To take it one step further, be sure to bring your camera and take lots of photos so that you can later upload them to your social media pages.   Tag your members so that they are able to build loyalty-forming memories and you get to display your business online to potential clients via social media.   And, you are also advertising the relationships and camaraderie that your gym provides.

Outdoor Bootcamp

Enjoy the Beach!

Take Boot Camp Outside:

Did I mention that members enjoy the outdoors during the summer months more than any other time of the year? Why not start a summer boot camp program that can be conducted X amount of days per week in the parking lot of your business?  Or you can do it at the park, at the beach, or some other beautiful place in your community.

As it’s summer, you will often find that most members don’t want to work out in the afternoons or evenings.   They really prefer to exercise in the mornings before the day gets too busy and hot.  So, if you have a current indoor boot camp program that you are already running at your facility, take it outside for the next few months. And if you don’t already have one, NOW is a good time to build one, especially if you can make it happen in the morning.

There you have it, 3 easy ways to create more retention within your membership base TODAY. Members will embrace these changes over the next few months. They will love that you are being proactive and accommodating.   They’ll appreciate you keeping them on their exercise program through the summer.

Remember, it’s always ALL about your clients, as without them you’d be out of business. Too many fitness professionals focus  too much on finding new clients and not enough on retaining them. If you want to create a long lasting career in the fitness industry, master the art of acquiring new members AND retaining your “regulars”, so you can give them the tools they need to be successful year around.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

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