The Five Pillars of Retention: Consistency and Referrals

On a white background, a row of yellow rubber ducks, with one turned toward the viewer.

Retention has five critically important pillars.

If one is weak or absent, your building will be rickety. If you’re missing two, the roof will come down.

Here are all five pillars:

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

In the first post in this series, I focused on results, and I covered fame and compatibility in the second.

Here, we’ll dig into the last two pillars: consistency and referrals.


Do clients get the same great experience every time?

I asked our mentors a question: “What is the most common characteristic of the gyms you mentor with the best retention?”  

They all said “systems.”

What does that mean? It means the client’s experience doesn’t depend on who’s coaching the class that day. Systems are in place to ensure clients can show up to any session at any time—even unexpected—and receive the same care and quality they’d get from the owner.

Retention doesn’t rise with the quality of your best coach; it falls to the level of your worst.

Free resource: “Gym Business Systems: How to ‘Survive a Bus Crash’”

Two-Brain clients: For all the tools you need to evaluate and improve your systems, click here.


Do your clients refer others?

Investment in your gym doesn’t just happen when clients spend money on your services. When people give their recommendation to friends, they’ll invest time to make sure their predictions of success come true. Science backs this up.

Another bonus: When members recommend your business to others, the people who show up in your sales office already have a friend inside your gym, and they’ve already heard an endorsement of your services. These people have every reason to stick around for years.

Free resource: “Building a Referral Culture”

Two-Brain clients: For all the tools you need to generate more referrals, click here.

Retention Matters—Big Time

Retention matters more than marketing. It matters more than sales. It even matters more than your programming—because if people stick around long enough, they’ll see progress. This is why we focus so hard on retention in our mentorship practice.

Any one of these pillars, if missing or weak, can cause your business to collapse.

Great coaches who can’t smile can’t keep clients. Great owners who are passionate about a method but don’t track clients’ results won’t produce passionate clients. And great entrepreneurs who underprice their services can’t pay their rent.

It’s easy to say “retention is just about caring more.” It’s easy to pass off responsibility to “the community” or attribute retention to something vague like “the quality of coaching.”

But retention doesn’t just happen. And it is measurable.

You have to be very deliberate about keeping people around, and you must track improvements so you can stop wasting time on bad tactics and double-down on good ones.

If you do that, your length of engagement will increase, your business will grow and you’ll change more lives.

Other Media in This Series

“The Five Pillars of Retention: Are Your Clients Getting Results?”
“The Five Pillars of Retention: Do You Make the Right People Famous?”


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.