The Five Pillars of Retention: Do You Make the Right People Famous?

A gym client wears a gold crown and poses in front of an exercise bike.

Retention has five pillars. All are important.

If you’re missing one, your building will be unstable. If you’re missing two, you won’t keep a roof over your head.

Here are all the pillars that support length of engagement:

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 shared the importance of results and told you how to help your clients accomplish their goals.

Here, I’ll talk about the second and third pillars: fame and compatibility.


Building celebrations into your client journey adds more retention firepower. Asking your clients to celebrate their wins weekly will make them conscious of their progress. Asking them to share in your private Facebook group will motivate them to take five minutes to reflect every week—and to provide social proof to others that your program works.

Finally, sharing your clients’ stories on your blog, YouTube channel or podcast has tremendous retention value because no one quits the thing that makes them famous. This is a huge opportunity most gym owners miss.

Free resource: “How Sharing Joy Makes You Happy”

Two-Brain clients: For step-by-step instructions, worksheets, tools and more, click here.


Can they afford it? Do they like you? Do they fit with your other clients?

Keeping clients around longer starts with making sure they’re a good fit from the start. Clients can be good people and still not a great fit for your program.

Your first criteria: They must be able to afford your service. Some clients won’t be able to, and that’s OK. You aren’t running a charity—though you can certainly support worthy causes with the profits from a well-run gym business.

Next, do they like you? This is more important than many people think. If a tired, overworked, stressed-out gym owner fails to connect with clients, those clients are more likely to leave. And yes, you can improve your likability (see below).

Finally, are they a good fit with your other clients? If you try to get every single person you meet to sign up, you’re going to have some problems. Here’s an extreme example: Imagine a group of six powerlifters who scream and swear in open gym while four retirees go through a small-group training session designed to help them maintain function as they age.

To retain lots of clients for many years, they must all fit together in a business that’s clearly set up to solve their problems.

Free resource: “Unlikable Gym Owners: Don’t Do This Stuff”

Two-Brain clients: For step-by-step instructions, worksheets and tools, click here.

Pillars 4 and 5

In the final post in this series, I’ll give you the last two pillars of retention: consistency and referrals.

Remember the first one: results—your clients must get them.

If you’re missing any of these pillars, your gym business will be unstable.

Other Media in This Series

“The Five Pillars of Retention: Are Your Clients Getting Results?”
“The Five Pillars of Retention: Consistency and Referrals”


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.