By the Numbers: Getting More Clients—Set Rate

A set of hands type on a keyboard in front of a monitor that reads "set an appointment."

If you want to get people into your program, you need to get them through the door first.

There are three critical stages to transforming prospects into clients:

  • First, they have to set appointments to meet you.
  • Second, they have to show up for those appointments.
  • Third, they have to sign up for your program.

This sounds like a simple path, but most gyms lose potential clients at every stage. The gym owner spends time and lots of money on Facebook ads or media content or other advertising. They drive clients to their website:

  • And then the potential client doesn’t book an appointment.
  • Or the lead doesn’t show up for the booked appointment.
  • Or the lead shows up but doesn’t sign up.

Every month, we measure metrics in the world’s best gyms. We produce leaderboards in each category, and we share a couple of those categories publicly. Even better, we share the top tips from the leaders to help you build your gym.

This month, I’m going to tell you how to improve your set rate (how many prospects book appointments from your website), your show rate (how many of those prospects show up) and your close rate (how many of those prospects become clients).

These tactics don’t just represent my opinions: They are the best tactics, as proven by data from thousands of gyms. Stop whatever you’re doing and do this stuff instead.

Here are December’s leaders for set rate:

A leaderboard showing the gyms with the greatest number of free consultations in December 2022: from 24 to 46.

Top Lessons From the Leaders

Here’s what the owners behind the numbers had to say:

“We focused on quick answering, texting and calling of the leads within minutes—by either myself or someone else. Big majority of the leads sign up for an NSI (No Sweat Intro) right away, but I follow up anyway! I use a slight pre-screening: ‘What have you done in the past? What are you doing currently? Are you looking for help with your nutrition or fitness coaching? Why are you interested in coaching now?'”

“We brought on our best coach at the start of Dec. for doing NSIs—she ran with it! We went from having 2-3 NSI slots available; now we have almost unlimited availability to handle NSIs. A few came in through ads, but mostly word of mouth. We noticed that the clients are sharing testimonials on their own pages. Our next step is to highlight those members.”

“We focused on leads generated through referrals. We offered for the kids to ‘bring a friend’ to their group class, and we reached back out to kids who haven’t come in a while—’We know you have some time off at Christmas, so come on in!’ For adults, we asked them ‘why not start now?’ and told them to ‘bring your kids in with you.’ College athletes—we stayed in touch with them and kept the relationship building up. When they were home for the holidays, we invited them in to work out.”

“Last month, we increased our ad spend and really started being diligent about following up with our leads.”

“Facebook ads are killing it right now. We did a bring-a-friend event in December.”

“We Increased the Facebook marketing spend in the last three months. … Every year, we do a holiday gift-giving campaign. … We give all the members a gift bag with a holiday card … and a gift card for the gym to give to someone else. This results in a lot of ‘free trials.'”

“Aside from the Facebook ads, we also boosted a post, a video testimonial, and that drove some more traffic to the website. We pulled all the leads from last year and did a courtesy call: ‘You were interested at one time. Did you find something that works for you?’ I offer that they can call or text me back. I try to alter the pitch/text to the client … and try to personalize the message to make a connection with them.”

“Our GM is now very heavily focused on lead response time. She’s getting ahold of people quickly and building rapport from there. Marketing efforts: retargeting emails and retargeting campaigns on Facebook. Any way a lead came in—via a Facebook ad form or bring-a-buddy days or an alumni—we have made a greater effort to reach out to them.”

“People have spam blockers, so I call them and leave a message, then text right after. This gets a reply from them on text.”

“I’ve spent the last year trying to learn what’s working in service-industry businesses … in Facebook ads. From what I’ve seen, the overarching theme seems to be increasing exposure to those that are engaging with your ads. For example, when someone watches three seconds of a video, create an audience to include all those that briefly interact. That takes a lead from being cold to gradually warming them because they’ve now seen your message several times. Specifically target those that clicked the ad/video/etc. I’ve gotten really hyper specific with who the ads are shown to.”

Set Rate: This Above All

The key to getting more people to book free consultations with you?

It’s not jumping to new social media platforms. It’s not running short-term challenges. It’s sticking to the basics and doing them consistently well:

  • Answer the phone.
  • When someone asks for help, respond like it’s your mom or dad (fast and thoughtfully).
  • Hold their hands until they walk through the door.
  • Be a human.

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.