Retention and Reacquisition: Do You Talk to Current and Former Clients?

A gym owner in a black shirt starts a conversation with a woman walking on a treadmill in his gym.

If you want improved retention at your gym, you must start more conversations.

And if you want departed clients to come back, you must reach out to them.

You have to feed your relationships to keep them alive. You feed all relationships with conversations.

Starting Conversations With Current Clients

If you’re not asking clients about their goals and tracking their progress, they will stop training with you.

The fix: Take your five best clients out for coffee one by one.

Start with these questions:

  • “What led you to my gym in the first place?”
  • “What else have you tried that you didn’t like as much?”
  • “How can I serve you more?”

Then tell each client’s story. Interview them individually and make them famous on your website and social channels. (We teach clients exactly how to do this with step-by-step instructions.)

Then move to the rest of your clients. Book quarterly Goal Review Sessions with each of them to talk about their goals and measure their progress. (We teach the Goal Review process to clients as well.)

Remember, the people who joined your gym aren’t just going to stay forever if you don’t talk to them regularly. Lack of conversation is the No. 1 predictor of divorce—in marriage and in business.

Starting Conversations With Former Clients

If you genuinely care about people, you’ll check in on them—even if the relationship isn’t “perfect” right now.

Maybe your feelings were hurt when a client left. But unless they burned the bridge on the way out, they’re probably going to come back someday—and they might be waiting on an invitation.

Start with a story: “Hey, Jane. I was just remembering the time … .”

Or, “Hey, John, a memory just popped up on my Facebook feed. … Remember that time? How are things going?”

We shut out former clients because our egos are bruised when they leave. We feel like we need to “win” the relationship. But you don’t need to win the battle to win overall. You win when they come back. And so do they because they start moving toward their fitness goals again.

Of course, you don’t want about 10 percent of former clients to come back. If someone wasn’t a good fit for your business, don’t restart the conversation. Just let the story end.

So … What’s My Lead-Nurture Strategy?

I started this series on conversation marketing with a question:

“Coop, what’s your lead-nurture process?”

Here’s my process:

  • Tell a story.
  • Start a conversation.
  • If the conversation is positive, invite a potential client to take the next step.

But everything starts with a story.

Tell stories regularly and you’ll start more conversations. If you do that, you’ll acquire—and retain—more clients.

Other Media in This Series

“Conversation Marketing: Winning Hearts and Minds”
“Conversation Marketing: New Sign-Ups in 4 Simple Steps”


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.