By Dan Visentin, Certified Two-Brain Fitness Business Mentor
The hidden gem for increasing your membership base? Your former members.
Creating an outreach plan for former members can be the most effective work you do to grow your business. Former members sit in a unique position in your audience because they know you and at some point they liked and trusted you. And they probably still do—they just aren’t clients at the moment.
Now don’t get me wrong: You probably don’t want some old members back. But there will always be people who left but still love you and would really benefit from being back at your gym.
As I wrote in the first post in this series, your coaches hold special positions as service providers in your business: They build strong relationships with members and understand their struggles, wants and needs. Your coaches can be very effective in reacquiring old members if you give them the platform to do so.
A staff meeting can be just the platform.
5 Steps to Re-Engagement
In your next staff meeting, set aside 30 minutes for departed-member outreach. Do the following:
Beforehand, prepare a list of departed members who would be a good fit for the gym and are likely to return if contacted.
Write the list of members on your whiteboard.
Go through the list with your coaches. Have each coach identify two to four old members with whom they had great relationships. Choose some for yourself as well.
Take out your phone and record a video text message to send to one of the former clients.
“Hey, Johnny, it’s Coach Dan. I just wanted to send you a message because I was thinking about you the other day during the 4:30 class. I really miss coaching you every day in that class! How’s your training been coming along?”
Now it’s your coaches’ turn. Help them find touch points with the former clients they are comfortable with. Here are some examples:
- Simple: “Hi. I miss you!”
- Tell the former client about a new specialty program he or she might be interested in.
- Reference a client’s Instagram post: “I saw you post that you ran your first 5k—great job!”
- Offer to buy a coffee to “catch up.”
- Be up front and ask, “How is your training coming along?”
Have them record messages and send them out!
So why text message and not just email?
As our friend Mateo Lopez from Gym Lead Machine has outlined, SMS messages have open rates that can be as high as 98 percent vs. email open rates of 20 percent.
A video text message creates a more personal connection. You have phone numbers for and personal relationships with these departed clients, so use them!
The purpose of the first text message is not to get into a sales consultation with the old member. The texts are used as conversation starters—and the conversations are most effective if your staff members have a “help first mentality.” As the conversations progress, it’s all about getting a good understanding of how to help the former client the most. To “sell,” you and your staff members only have to provide solutions to the clients’ current problems.
No More Wasted Time
Adding this outreach to a staff meeting can allow coaches to re-engage with old members in meaningful ways. They’ll take action on the spot and start conversations, some of which will lead to sales.
This process gives even more purpose to your staff meetings. If you feel like some staff members see meetings as “wasted time,” have them contact departed members and watch what happens when conversations start. Your coaches will earn more, your business will grow and departed clients will get the guidance they’ve been missing.