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Are fitness staff the best sales people?

Are fitness staff the best sales people?
November 11, 2013

New research from The Retention People (TRP) reveals that fitness club staff can generate 600% more income per member than the actions of sales people alone.

The new TRP research, considered the impact of fitness staff on clubs' bottom line, shows that a club's financial success is dependent on a combination of the number of memberships sold each month, multiplied by the yield per member.

The yield per member can be split into three lines:

1. Retention - length of time that they remain with the business

2. Secondary spend - which is directly related to their length of stay and the frequency with which they use the service

3. Referrals - which are directly related to their satisfaction with the service provided

In order to maximise sales most clubs employ sales teams who are often paid a commission for each membership sold. The presumption is that the sale of a membership is income generating.

However, in most cases* the minimum guaranteed income from each sale is just one month. A range of other factors in the club, not involving sales people, will then determine how many more months a member will pay before terminating their membership. One of the factors, arguably the most important, is the activity of the fitness staff.

Knowing this, TRP set out to analyse the difference in value that sales team are able to add to a business in comparison to an organisation's fitness team.

TRP has been assessing the impact of fitness staff activity for a number of years and has consistently found that the frequency with which fitness staff speak to club members affects the risk of members cancelling and the average yield from memberships.

This study combined previous TRP analysis and found that in members who visit their club at least once during their membership, the average number of interactions with fitness staff is three interactions per quarter.

TRP research has shown that every two interactions fitness staff deliver to a member in a month adds one extra visit in the next month compared to members who do not receive an interaction. Every extra visit a member makes in a month reduces the risk of cancelling in the subsequent month by 33% and increases the potential of secondary spend purchases and referrals.

In other words, fitness staff interactions increase members' visits to the club and extra visits equate to greater membership yield.

Fitness staff as 'sales' staff

One way to interpret these findings is to think of fitness staff as sales staff, and their role to be creating and delivering an experience that encourages repeat visits, and every repeat visit is directly related to increased yield from this member.

In this way, every visit a member makes to a club is an opportunity to sell them another visit with fitness staff best placed to make this sale given the opportunity that they have to interact with members.

Indeed, independently of the number of visits a member makes to a club, if fitness staff talk to members they save memberships.

TRP research has shown that for every 100 members a club has, on average 16 will leave each month if they do not receive an interaction from the fitness staff.

By comparison, if fitness staff speak to them once then just seven members out of every 100 cancel each month.

That is more than half the number of members each month that the sales team do not need to replace to maintain the membership base. Even better, if fitness staff talk to members four times or more during their membership, then for every 100 members just two cancel each month.

That is 88% fewer cancellations each month and 88% fewer members that sales staff need to replenish.

TRP have also found that the effect of fitness interactions on membership retention is universal.

Fitness staff interactions reduce the monthly risk of cancellations in members of any age, both sexes, any contractual ...

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