The client is more discerning than ever before: and the Modern Training Gym and its Small Group Personal Training model are hitting the nail on the head as a premium service with lower client density and a focus on quality.
But this purple patch that may see us enjoying a flush of new leads and triallists isn’t time to be relaxing our standards. The first 30 days is still the make or break time for a new member: now more than ever, it needs to be spot on.
People, Product, Place
When it comes down to it, the success of your first 30 days still hinges on the basics of an excellent client experience: the gym environment, the quality of the training, and the skill and attitude of your staff.
Remember that a sale is made long before you have the ‘sales conversation’ at the end of the 30 days: get these Three Ps right and you’re 90% of the way there already. On the flip side, skip these and you’re pouring your marketing budget down the drain – conversions from trial to membership will be poor, and your retention even worse.
“Keep the client at the centre and never get complacent.”
The right Assessor
Of the Three Ps above, the most vital is the first: People. The quality of a client’s interactions with your staff is almost always the deciding factor when it comes to making a sale. If they feel supported in a personalised journey, welcomed by a friendly community, and at home in the gym, people are likely to stick around.
The key person in the first 30 days of a client’s time with you is the Assessor. This person is your head of sales; the bridge between the training team and your new members; the person who holds a new client’s hand as they venture into the gym environment. The right assessor will drive your conversion rate to new heights. The wrong one will damage your sales significantly.
Alongside this key role, your training team and other staff need to be excellent. They should be fully onboarded into the business’ core values, trained in customer service and sales, and great communicators dedicated to the success of the business.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: good systems = great business. We’re aiming to build lifetime loyalty in 30 days, and to do that, we need to have a standardised approach that’s proven to be effective for our demographic. This includes a 30-day nurture sequence with a personalised initial consultation and evaluation, regular check-ins (think days seven, 14, and 21 for example), and carefully selected passive resources like a new joiner manual and nutrition guides.
But when it comes to systems, we mustn’t lose sight of the wood for the trees. Creating processes and automating complex onboarding sequences for the sake of it can actually take away from the really powerful elements of a client’s journey. When it comes down to it, quality conversations and the little human interactions that a client experiences in their time with us are far more important than a fancy CMS or endless emails sharing fitness tips and tricks.
For example: taking ten minutes before the beginning of an initial evaluation to look back over client notes and check any important details from previous conversations with the client will make a big difference. You’ll remember that they have two young kids and have suffered with back pain since they gave birth; and you’ll be able to refer back to that in the session. These are the human touches which make people feel valued and supported on a really personal level.
So when it comes to systems, never fail to bring every action you take back to what’s truly important. Consider whether it will help a client become a permanent member – and whether it will drive their retention in the long term. Think ROI. Think effectiveness, not just efficiency. Think client-centricity in everything you do.
An effective first 30 days has always been based on building trust with our new customer. But with Covid still in full force, the importance of trust has been elevated to even greater prominence. You may be getting used to the extra measures you’re taking to avoid contagion, but new clients will need frequent, clear and transparent communication about the rigour of these measures. They want to feel confident that you’re prioritising their safety and are always professional in staying compliant with all the official advice.
When it comes to membership, we’re all guilty of overcomplicating things at times. The key here is to make it as easy as possible for people to buy. Give them between two and four membership options (no more than four). And when the 30 days end, don’t overthink the sales ‘crunch point’. If you’ve got the Three Ps on point, remember that the sales is 90% done by the time you’re having this conversation.
“The success of the first 30 days is fundamentally about your people.”
By the same token, don’t jump the gun and make assumptions on the membership tier they’ll choose based on your perceptions of their budget. Give them a clear recommendation of the membership level you think matches the time they have to train and what they want to get out of the process (this will be based on your observation of them over the 30 days). If a price objection comes up, you can deal with it then: don’t pre-empt this issue and race them to the cheapest option from the get-go.
In short: the success of a client’s first 30 days of a client’s time with you is fundamentally about your people. A personalised evaluation process, a simple but effective onboarding sequence, and a dedication to outstanding customer service are often the deciding factors. Keep the client at the centre of everything you do and never get complacent: the quality of your service will speak for itself.