4 Ways to Build Solid Customer Relationships in Your Fitness Business

Personal trainer and client smiling while discussing workout scheduling at fitness center

Are you focusing as much energy on your current members as you are with your new ones?

Having engaged, happy customers not only helps make your business more successful, but it also makes your job worth going to every day. When you open your doors on day one, it’s pretty easy to remember the important details of your first clients’ lives; birthdays, family events, career successes. As with any relationship, these are the details that form strong bonds and create customers that will stay with you for a long time.

As your member base grows, it becomes increasingly more difficult to have enough time in the day for those meaningful conversations—it’s not that you don’t want to, but if you spent even just five minutes a day with 200 members, that wouldn’t leave you with time to do much else. It is, of course, still vital to engage your customers. As with so many parts of your business, having systems in place helps to ensure that your customers know how important they are to you should be a key part of your operations.

1) Technology

Most modern technology is geared towards one thing: convenience. In this case, let technology do the work for you. If you have only a few short moments with one of your members, would you rather spend that time collecting an overdue payment or asking them how their weekend was? Assuming you answered the latter, letting your members know that they can make payments online will help you to forego the often times awkward conversation you need to have about their tardy payment.

If you have an event or class that for which they need to register, let them know that they can register from the convenience of their home. Don’t make them stand at your front desk signing forms and writing checks when you could be asking them about their goals or soliciting their feedback.

2) Go Above & Beyond

What may seem like a little thing to you may alter the entire scope of somebody else’s day. You never know how an email to one of your customers may brighten their mood. Because it would be nearly impossible to manually send an email to each and every current and former member you’ve ever known, have a system in place to do it for you.

At a minimum, make sure you’re collecting birthday information and setting an email to be automatically sent on the right day. Remember, every email you send doesn’t necessarily have to contain information about upcoming events or sales. Sometimes a simple “Happy Birthday!” will go a lot further for your business.

3) Connect on the Phone

Of course, not everything can be an email or text message. Speaking to your customers directly, even over the phone, can help cement the relationship you’ve built. If you’re worried you may be missing someone, set yourself a reminder. Assign an ongoing task for someone on your staff to do touch base calls. Most importantly, don’t wait until the member hasn’t been there for a while; engagement is proactive, not reactive.

4) Hold Member Appreciation Events

Everyone wants to grow their member base. Holding “Bring a Friend” events is an effective and often times lucrative way to hit that goal. Remember, though, you can’t grow your member base without doing your best to keep the current roster engaged and happy.

Holding member appreciation events can do just that. Host a free event in which your only expense is your time (a special group class) and only invite your current customers. Some may argue that the value gained from these events can even far exceed the cost of an event you pay for out-of-pocket, such as hiring a special speaker or trainer.

Before and after the event, give them the chance to mingle with each other. Take the opportunity to talk to them on a personal level. Cultivate a community within your business. If you host these events regularly, not only will your relationship with your customers improve but your customers’ relationships with each other will improve, too.

As always, Member Solutions is invested in your success. We offer a variety of tools that can help you systemize important aspects of your business so that you can focus on what you do best. If you’d like to learn more about how you can make the most of these tools, don’t hesitate to contact the Training and Support team at 877.600.3811 or support@membersolutions.com to schedule a training session today.

About the author: Justin Bodamer is the Product Support Manager for Member Solutions. The Training & Support team is dedicated to helping you and your team make the most of your software and services. You can contact him at membersolutions@membersolutions.com.

After the Birthday Party: A Follow-Up Formula that Turns Leads Into Students

Birthday party event registration and planning

The #1 and #2 reasons for offering any event at your school are retention and new memberships. In last week’s post, I provided tips to help you get your birthday party program off the ground.

In this post, I’ll cover our follow-up system in detail to help you gain those new potential memberships that can result from hosting birthday parties. Keep in mind that you can use this system as a base for follow-up for any of your events—not just birthday parties—with a few minor changes.

Step 1

At the end of the party, all of the guests are handed a VIP pass, which entitles them to one free introductory lesson with the owner of the studio (me). They must call or email me for an appointment. I had 1,000 cards printed for less than $50 through VistaPrint.

Step 2

After each party, I upload all of the event registrations to an Excel file and enter all hard copy information into the same file. I then save it and tag it as “GB attended an event” (GB for Giroux Bros.) and put into my martial arts management software offered through Member Solutions.

As soon as this information is transferred, they receive an automated, personalized email from me that looks something like this:

Hi Mary,

I see that your child attended an event at the studio this weekend, and I heard that all the kids had a blast!

The instructors should have handed you a VIP Pass for a free introductory lesson. I wanted to follow up to see if you were interested in scheduling one with me this week or next.

I will give you a call in a few days as well to set one up for you.

Thanks, and I look forward to meeting you and your family soon!

Sincerely,

Steve Giroux

Owner | 7th Degree Black Belt

Step 3

I take 10 or 15 minutes to enter all the leads into my cell phone and mark them accordingly to have quick access to the information when I call. An example is Bday217 | Mary | Joey and Lexi 7 and 8.

Mary is the mother listed with the child or childrens names and ages.

To help with my own time management, I make these calls during my commute. I’ve had the most success reaching people during the late morning to early afternoon timeframe while the kids are in school.

If I don’t reach them live, I leave a voicemail. I only call them once unless a call back is requested.

At the end of the week, another automated email is sent, which looks something like this:

Hi Mary,

I’ve been trying to reach you. I wanted to see if you were interested in coming in for your free trial lesson. I still have a few spots available next week. If you are interested, please give me a call.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,

Steve Giroux

Owner | 7th Degree Black Belt

Step 4

Although these leads are warm, remember that they haven’t specifically asked for any information. They’ve simply attended an event at our studio and hopefully had a great time.

If my initial attempts haven’t sparked a response, I put them into my drip system.

Within the member management software, I tag them as Children Program Prospects 2015. They will receive a series of seven informational emails, automatically-timed, three weeks from one another as a result. The emails are in a newsletter format and discuss topics such as listening skills, bullying, ADD, and ADHD to name a few. I also include these prospects in my direct mail campaigns that I launch three to four times a year.

I hope this information has been helpful. If anyone has questions on hosting birthday parties in your martial arts school or setting up a lead follow-up program, please don’t hesitate to ask. As always, I’m happy to help.

About the author: Steve Giroux has been training in martial arts for 30 years and is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Chun Kuk Do. In 1999, he graduated from Bentley College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy with a minor concentration in Law. After founding his studio in January of 1999, Steve has successfully grown revenues over the years after starting at only $7,000 in his first year. You can contact Steve via email at Steve@GirouxBrosMartialArts.com.

What You Need to Know to Increase Leads and Membership Sales

Membership software dashboard on laptop with mobile device and notebook on white office desk

If your members are the lifeblood of your business (and they should be), then tracking their behavior is what keeps the blood pumping.

Being able to regularly and systematically track, assess, and triage weak spots in your membership strategy will not only keep your business running smoothly, but it also will spotlight areas of opportunity to grow even further.

Here’s what you need to know to generate leads and drive more membership sales.

Know Your Lead Count and Lead Status

The beginning of the year is one of the busiest and most critical times in the fitness industry. For a multitude of reasons, people are flocking to your facility en masse. You need to be equipped to accommodate these prospective clients to make sure no one slips through the cracks.

Utilizing the lead management functionality in our member management software will allow you to:

  • Gather and store prospects’ contact information

  • Track prospects’ areas of interest
  • Assign follow-up actions for you and/or your staff
  • Automate email messages to engage potential members after the initial inquiry

Through the software, you’ll know exactly how many inquiries came through your door, how many were converted to full members, and how many you still need to follow up with.

Know What Marketing Channels Work

What kind of marketing actually produces leads for you? This question can be answered through the member management software by assigning lead sources to each lead, such as “website,” “walk-by/walk-in,” “Facebook,” and “referral.”

The lead source data will tell you if that ad in the newspaper is driving any leads or if your marketing efforts are better served on Facebook advertising. Knowing this, you can appropriately allocate marketing dollars to what works and stop spending money on what doesn’t.

Know Your Conversion and Membership Sales Numbers

Maybe you are doing well with bringing in leads but lack conversions and new members. In this case, you’ll want to pinpoint the piece (or person) in your sales process that needs improvement or re-training.

The Lead Activity Report in our member management software will show you your list of prospects and where they are in the sales process. The report also will show which program they chose if they did enroll.

If you find that you lose one or two out of ten sales, you may have encountered some tough prospects. If you lose eight out of ten, then it may be time to reconsider your value proposition and how your team presents it.

Make Reporting Part of Your Daily Routine

In addition to making the entry of key data a part of your business process, you need to make the management of this data a part of your daily routine. I recommend running the End of Day Report (an overview of your sales from the previous day, including what was sold and how much was charged) and the Lead Activity Report every day.

A good rule of thumb: Pick three to four reports that are important to your business. Run them every morning as soon as you turn the lights on. You’ll start every day with clear insight into what you need to make and keep your business successful.

These are just a few examples to show the impact that keeping close track of your stats can have on your business. Without tracking these numbers, it’s all too easy to bury your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away; something no business, regardless of industry, can afford to do.

If you’d like to learn more about how our member management software can help you track your statistics and focus your business, reach out to the Training and Support team at 877.600.3811 or support@membersolutions.com to schedule a training session today.

About the author: Justin Bodamer is the Product Support Manager for Member Solutions. The Training and Support team is dedicated to helping you and your team make the most of your relationship with Member Solutions. You can contact him at membersolutions@membersolutions.com.

Grow Your Martial Arts School During Back-to-School

Tools to Grow Your Martial Arts School

How you prepare for the back-to-school season can dictate the success of your martial arts business for the entire year. Take a look at our top picks for back-to-school tips and tools.

1) Email Marketing & Text Messaging

Launch an email campaign to target members who were inactive or dropped out over the Summer. Consider pairing your emails with text messages that include special offers for returning students.

  • Member Manager Software – Martial arts software that includes email marketing, lead tracking, and follow-up
  • iContact – Email marketing platform (integrates with Member Manager)
  • Mobiry – Text message-based coupons and promotional codes (integrates with Member Manager)

2) Back-to-School Events

Plan buddy days, community events, anti-bullying talks, and PTO seminars to engage with active students and to attract new prospects.

3) Websites & Web Advertising

Before the fall, invest in optimizing your site to increase your traffic and leads. During back-to-school season, temporarily increase your Google Ads bids to drive even more people to your site.

  • 97 Display – Internet marketing agency that creates martial arts and fitness websites that grow member counts
  • FC Online Marketing – Custom-designed martial arts websites that increase enrollment
  • Google Ads – Advertising platform for Google Search, YouTube, Maps, and more

4) Social Media

Before the back-to-school season, put together your social media strategy. Train your staff on how you want them to use social media. Get everyone in the habit of posting regularly. Make use of social media advertising.

5) Operations

If you keep your school running smoothly, you’re far less likely to receive complaints from your members. Not to mention, you’ll simplify your job as a school owner and be a better teacher and leader because of it.

  • Member Manager Software – All-in-one business management software for lead generation, scheduling, point of sale, billing, and more
  • Member Solutions Billing – Martial arts billing, payment processing, and membership contract management (integrates with Member Manager)
  • Intuit Quickbooks – Accounting software (integrates with Member Manager)
  • Sage 50 – Accounting software (integrates with Member Manager)
  • MAIA Edge – The leading educational resource in the martial arts industry. Get the latest information on recruiting, retention, and revenue to continue growing your school.

Incorporate these tools into your back-to-school strategy to grow your school’s memberships and maximize your earnings this fall.

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5 Spring Cleaning Tips to Accelerate Membership Business Efficiency

Because it’s Spring, many of you are thinking of ways to cut clutter in your homes and businesses. For your Martial Arts or Fitness business, Spring cleaning involves more than just dusting off old filing cabinets. You need to make improvements to your organizational system that will benefit your business all year long.

Here are some quick tips for eliminating clutter and getting your business running efficiently:


1. Put Your Class Schedule Online

Switching to online scheduling will benefit you and your members. Most people would prefer to get information on your classes from their smartphones. Not to mention, you’ll save yourself a bundle in printing, especially if your schedule changes frequently.

So, how do you get your schedule online? The process is actually pretty simple for business owners using our member management software. Member Manager includes a scheduling widget that allows you to publish your events, classes and training schedules directly to your website.

Schedules are easy to keep up to date too. Say you have to add or cancel a class – just go into the software, adjust your schedule and changes made are instantly reflected on your website.

2. Take Your Event Registrations Online

Spring is a great time to host events but is your registration process holding you back from doing more? If you’re juggling paper registration forms, printed liability waivers and permission slips, odds are, you’re wasting time deciphering illegible handwriting on paper forms and re-entering information into spreadsheets. Not to mention, you’re likely missing out on sign-ups for your events by not marketing them online.

Try putting event registration forms online to streamline the process and get the word out quickly about your events. Use an online registration tool like Event Manager to convert your paper form into an online registration page. Capture any information you need through the registration process – age, experience level, t-shirt size, etc. – and view your registration data any time.

3. Turn Older Inventory into Freebies for Event Registrants

Take a look at your inventory to see what hasn’t been moving. Maybe you have leftover T-shirts or another giveaway from a previous marketing campaign or event. To use them up, you can offer these items as free gifts to people who register for your next event.

Everybody likes getting free stuff, and you can use the gift to incentivize early registration. Announcing that you’re giving the freebie to the first (x amount of) sign-ups creates urgency and provides extra motivation to register. Plus, you can get rid of that box of T-shirts you forgot you had.

4. Have Members Sign Contracts with their Finger

Going paperless is a great way to de-clutter. Thanks to a recent enhancement to Member Manager, you can now go paperless with your membership contracts. Simply have your members sign with their finger or stylus on a phone, tablet or other touchscreen device. The completed contract, along with the signature, will be saved to your myVolo account.

5. Take Time to Organize as You Go

Ever find yourself wondering how you got into this mess in the first place? Spring cleaning would be a lot easier if you had a solid organizational system you could use all year.

As entrepreneurs and managers, you need tools to help you run your business efficiently. Our Member Manager software is a great solution for managing all your routine admin tasks from one place. With this one piece of software, you can capture, track and manage leads, send emails and text messages to members to keep them in the know, have members book online in real-time, sell products and services online 24/7 and more. Not to mention, you can also integrate Member Manager with other systems – like our full-service billing and payment process solution.

Now’s the time to simplify, de-clutter and get organized. Once you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to run and grow your Martial Arts or Fitness business.

For more information on Member Manager or Event Manager, contact the Training and Support team at 877.600.3811 or support@membersolutions.com.


About the author: Justin Bodamer is the Manager of Implementation & Support for Member Solutions. The Implementation and Support team is dedicated to helping you and your team make the most of your relationship with Member Solutions. You can contact Justin at membersolutions@membersolutions.com.

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15 Email Templates to Boost Fitness Sales

15 Fitness Email Templates photo

Email marketing can make or break your fitness membership sales process. Great emails increase membership sales while bad emails will send your hard-earned leads into the hands of a competitor. Getting it right means responding quickly, writing intriguing subject lines, and personalizing messages to your leads’ wants and needs.

These 15 email templates respond to the most common reasons people are interested in joining a gym. Use them along with the recommendations below to improve your email response rate and to drive more trials and sales to your fitness business.

6 Fitness Email Best Practices

1. Automate your emails: Leads are 900 percent times more likely to contact you again if you respond to their first inquiry within five minutes. That percentage drops if you wait ten minutes. Why does such a quick turnaround matter? Because 78 percent of customers buy from the first business that responds.

Of course, you and your staff can’t monitor new leads around the clock—so speeding up your response time means you’ll need to automate your responses. Fitness center software like Member Manager can send emails immediately after a new lead expresses interest. The dramatic drop in response time will decrease the likelihood of leads considering or bouncing to a competitor.

Member Solutions Member Manger Software- Email Marketing Template

2. Get their attention: Email inboxes are selective, competitive spaces. Subject lines are the first text that recipients see when choosing which emails they open. What you’ll see in our email templates is casual, emotive language that speaks directly to the goas that leads want to achieve.

Are they looking to lose weight? Achieve peak physical condition? Improve their health? It’s more likely that a person interested in your gym will open an email with a subject line that connects with him or her than generic phrases like “Following Up” or “Checking In”.

3. Personalize your emails: You’ll notice that these emails don’t focus on your gym. Rather, they focus on the reader. Don’t waste prospects’ time by telling them about your state-of-the-art equipment or your modern facility. Save that for when they come in for a trial membership or a first-time appointment. When they filled out your lead form, they had a specific goal in mind. In these emails, you’ll tell them how you can help them lose weight, build muscle, gain confidence, or meet new people.

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Imagine what they want to hear. Remind them why they contacted you in the first place. Express empathy for their current position, and acknowledge how difficult it is to make a change. Explain how your services are different than what they’ve experienced at other fitness centers. Use positive and negative emotions to motivate leads to follow through on their original request.

4. Show proof: 78% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and need to read at least 10 reviews before trusting a business. Share a testimonial in your emails to leave a positive first impression and to satisfy the need for social proof. Edit your email templates to add quotes, photos, videos, or links to Yelp and Facebook.

5. Tell them what to do next: Emails to prospective gym members need a clear call-to-action that tells them what to do next. Should they call to start a free trial? Check out your online schedule to try a group class? Explain the next steps, and provide a convenient contact method. To create urgency, try including a limited time offer or bonus training session if they contact you quickly.

6. Don’t give up: 80 percent of sales require five follow-ups to close a deal. Sending this many emails manually is a tedious task. You can use your fitness center software to create an email flow to automatically communicate with new leads every few days.

Email Template on Laptop

How to Use Your Fitness Email Templates

These email templates are built in five-part flows to include testimonials, video links, personalization, and time-sensitive calls-to-action. Personally, I set up my software to send one email per day for five days. Afterward, I add unresponsive leads to my newsletter list so I can continue marketing to them. Once a lead has expressed a genuine interest in my services, I don’t give up until I hear from them or they unsubscribe.

Once you’ve downloaded your new email templates, tailor each message to your business by changing the contact information, testimonials, and website links. If you’re a Member Solutions client, you can upload these emails to your Member Manager software to create automated lead flows.

Want help with email templates or automation? Contact the Member Solutions team today.

About the author: Erik Charles Russell has been in the martial arts and fitness industry for more than 25 years. He owns Premier Martial Arts and Fitness in Watertown, NY. In 2015, he published a book based on his successes called The Art of Selling Memberships. The book became an international bestseller—hitting number one in three categories in the U.S., Australia, and Germany on Amazon.com

 

Download 15 Email Templates to Drive Trials and Sales.

1 Easy Trick to Increase Your Gym Membership Sales

Man uses membership software reporting and metrics for sales insights

How well do you know your sales team? How well does it handle telephone inquiries? How is it doing with their tours? Are trials converting to new members? If you answered any of these questions without referencing a number or percentage, you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to increase gym membership sales.

Tracking Sales Performance

Using a few simple sales metrics will help you increase your revenue by determining where your business is strong and where you need to improve. Knowing the numbers will help you:

  • Set goals that motivate team members to reach their potential
  • Use your strengths to drive sales
  • Identify and fix problems in your sales process

Getting Started

The goal is to measure key numbers throughout the sales process. Specifically, you want to track new prospects, tours, trials, and membership sales. Record the data in your fitness club software (or a spreadsheet), where you and your staff can easily review the numbers on a regular basis.

What to Measure
1) Leads

What to Do: Each week, track the number of people who express an interest in your gym. Remember to record the source of the inquiry – your website, email, phone call, Facebook, etc.

Why It’s Important: How many leads you get tells you how well your marketing is working and determines how many opportunities your sales team has to sell memberships.

Tools to Help: Use the Member Manager Lead Activity report to review the new leads you have in a certain period.

2) Lead Follow Up

What to Do: As a group, review the phone calls, emails and other follow-up activities your team does. Try to identify the activities that help drive trials and sales.

Why It’s Important: Inspecting the follow-up process can reveal which activities—or a combination of activities—give you the best results. You may discover that you should adjust your sales process or that your staff needs extra training.

Tools to Help: Optimize your sales process with Member Manager Lead Flows – series of tasks, such as phone calls or automated emails and text messages, which detail your lead follow-up process. Use the Member Manager Follow Ups report to review every time a sales team member has contacted a lead.

3) Tours & Trials

What to Do: Tally the number of tours you give of your facility. If you offer trials, carefully track how many leads take trials.

Why It’s Important: Tours and trials are crucial parts of the decision-making process. If your leads aren’t coming in for visits, there may be a problem with your follow-up process.

Tools to Help: Review the Member Manager Prospect Activity chart to quickly check how many appointments have been set and introductory tours have been completed by your team.

4) New Members

What to Do: Based on your financial goals, set a target for the number of new members you want to have each month and make sure it is well communicated to your team. Compare sales to the number of leads, the amount of follow-up and the number of tours/trials given to get an idea of your overall success.

Why It’s Important: Good sales can be an indicator of the health of your business. On the other hand, if you’re consistently missing your goal, there may be a problem with your strategy. Comparing sales to other metrics can reveal opportunities to improve your marketing, communication, tours, trial offers or membership options.

Tools to Help: Check the Member Manager New Members report to see how many memberships you’ve sold in a period of time. View the Sales And Value chart to quickly find out your revenue by category.

These easy-to-use metrics can help make your sales team more effective and significantly increase your gym membership sales. These numbers will teach you how to maximize your strengths, fine-tune your sales process and motivate your team to go above and beyond expectations.

For more information on Member Manager software, contact the Training and Support team at 877.600.3811 or support@membersolutions.com.

About the author: Justin Bodamer is the Manager of Implementation & Support for Member Solutions. The Implementation and Support team is dedicated to helping you and your team make the most of your relationship with Member Solutions. You can contact Justin at membersolutions@membersolutions.com.

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