5 Things You Can Do to Improve Retention Right Now

On a clear plastic board, a person checks 5 boxes with a green dry-erase marker.

In the previous post in this series, I laid out the five pillars of retention.

Today, I’ll give you a simple action item for each pillar to help you keep more clients longer.

Remember, the rewards for retaining clients are massive:

  • You change lives by ensuring people develop lifelong fitness habits.
  • You create a stable, profitable business that provides for your family.
  • You provide great careers for staff members.

Here are the pillars one more time:

A graphic showing the 5 pillars of retention in a gym: results, consistency, compatibility, fame and referrals.

1. Start Doing Goal Reviews and Change Prescriptions

Here’s the simple system: Ask clients what results they want to get, track their progress toward those results, and show them that they’re getting results.

The Prescriptive Model is the key here. You need to have a system in place so you meet with clients regularly to set goals, track progress, celebrate results and make changes to their programs to produce better results.

Do This: Get five clients to do a Goal Review Session. (Then book more sessions with more clients.)

2. Brag About 5 Clients This Week

You must use your platforms to make people famous.

You can mention them in a newsletter, post about them on social media or your blog, celebrate them in front of the group—the exact action doesn’t matter.

What matters is that these five clients feel seen. They must know that you know they are doing great things, and they must feel like they’re being singled out for recognition.

Do This: Make a social media post about a client as soon as you get to the end of this post. Schedule four more posts later in the week.

3. Use the Pumpkin Plan

To ensure a great product-market fit, you must identify your best clients and replicate them.

I have an easy exercise that will help you find your “seed clients.” And I’ll even tell you the exact questions to ask them over coffee if you want to find more people just like them.

Here’s the exact plan: “Your Best Clients.”

Do This: Pull out a piece of paper, click the link above and complete the simple but incredibly helpful Pumpkin Plan exercise.

4. Set Adherence Goals

As part of your on-ramp, get all new clients to commit to a plan with attendance goals. Maybe the long-term goal is “lose 20 lb.” That’s great—but set a short-term goal, too. If the client signs up to train 12 times a month, set a goal of perfect attendance.

Then track attendance, show them what they accomplished and celebrate the achievement: “You hit all 12 sessions despite the blizzard and that wild week at work. Way to go!”

Consistent training will produce progress toward big goals. So start setting adherence goals with clients. These short-term wins will build momentum and carry them to big wins down the line.

Do This: In your next on-ramp, help a new client set an adherence goal. Ensure you have a system to track progress, congratulate the client and set a new goal.

5. Actively Generate Referrals

Referrals don’t just happen.

Make the process active. For example, you can ask PT clients to bring a spouse or friend in. Use a name: “Hey, would your buddy Phil be interested in joining you for a session to see if we can help him run faster in that relay you’re doing in June?”

If you don’t know the names of clients’ friends and family members, start asking more questions to build your relationships.

While you’re doing that, you can run a bring-a-friend event and book No Sweat Intros with attendees. (General instructions are here.)

Do This: In your next PT session, ask your best client to bring in a spouse or friend.

Take Action Now!

I know each of the tactics listed above will work—they’ve been used in thousands of gyms around the world with great success.

But your metrics won’t improve if you don’t take action.

Pick one of the tactics listed above and get moving today, then block off time to address the others.

If you need a quick win to gain momentum, do this right now:

Open your gym’s social media account and make a post to congratulate a member on a recent accomplishment. Tag the person and celebrate loudly.

If you do just that today, then take another small step tomorrow, you’ll be well on your way to dramatically improving retention at your gym.

My new retention guide is out. Get “Never Lose a Client Again” here.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.