In this episode of The GSD Show, we interview gym owner Laurel Roach of TriFIT Wellness, on how she sees amazing retention every month. Laurel has been able to maintain a 3-4% attrition rate, meaning she is retaining 96-97% of her members every month, which is a big part of the formula that determines how long members will stay.
The average attrition rate for a fitness studio or gym is 12-15%, but the best fitness studios tend to have an attrition rate of 4-6%, so Laurel is doing something right!
Gym Owners – Why Attrition Matters
Mike emphasizes that the attrition rate is critical to understand because it affects the lifetime value of a customer. For example, if a customer pays $150 per month and the attrition rate is 10%, their lifetime value is $1,500. However, if the attrition rate is reduced to 5%, the lifetime value doubles to $3,000. Laurel’s attrition rate of 3-4% means that her members stay with her for 25-34 months, which translates to a substantial lifetime value.
[How to find your LTV (lifetime value) and CAC (customer acquisition cost) CLICK HERE!]
Higher $ per Member
Laurel explains that her success in retaining members comes down to building relationships with her clients. As TriFIT Wellness is a higher price point model, she has fewer members to manage, allowing her to establish stronger relationships with them. She believes that it’s essential to be in the higher-end market and not to be everything to everyone.
Mike notes that Laurel has raised her prices several times in the last year, from $199 to $299, and she plans to add an upsell that costs $600 three times a year. Many people are afraid to raise their prices because they fear it will impact sales and attrition rates. However, Laurel has found that raising her prices did not impact sales or attrition rates at all.
[WATCH: This studio owner raised prices – here’s how it went]
Sales and Attrition
Laurel attributes her success to the confidence she has in the sale. She started her studio six years ago, and it was all over the place, with one-on-one sessions, large group classes, and semi-private sessions. She thought that being less expensive would make people stay longer, but she discovered that wasn’t the case. Even during COVID-19, when she was selling memberships at $150 per month, it did not impact attrition or sales rates.
“I think that if a person is struggling to increase their prices, I would say it just comes down to the confidence in the sale. If you are doing a really good job identifying the customers’ pain points and they feel heard and understood by you, then it doesn’t matter the price point, as long as it’s in the same ballpark.”
How Employees Affect Retention
Laurel stressed the importance of retaining employees in a relational business like hers, and how taking care of employees like family can help build a sense of loyalty and dedication.
One of the ways she creates a positive work environment is by hiring the right people from the outset, which makes it easier to be a great leader. She said that she used to rely on gut instinct when hiring, but has since learned to assess job candidates using quantitative methods such as the Culture Index, which helps identify individuals hardwired to perform specific tasks. She recommended figuring out the needs of a particular position and hiring employees who fit the job profile.
One of the key aspects of Laurel’s approach to leadership is personal connection. She believes in building personal relationships with her employees, which makes them feel valued and appreciated. She shares an example of how her and the head coach have a personal relationship outside of work.
“My daughter was the flower girl in his wedding. We’ve been through really difficult times together in the business. I’ve recognized his value and told him that I can’t do this without him…I need him. You know? And I think people want to feel like they’re not just replaceable like they matter in the business.”
Laurel also stressed the importance of compensating employees fairly, which she believes helps attract and retain top talent. She said she pays above market rates for her employees and is willing to do so to ensure she has excellent people on her team. She shared that she has a very specific hiring process, which involves interviewing many candidates and using a scorecard to evaluate their fit for the job.
Thinking Outside the Box
Laurel has a few other tips that attribute to her high retention rates. Laurel has a quarterly nutrition program, which offers members the chance to participate in a level one certification. The program is focused on teaching people how to make healthy eating habits, meal planning, emotional eating, and hormones part of their lifestyle. The goal is for people to learn the necessary tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle on their own, with the potential for a level two program in the future. Laurel’s gym also hosts seminars for clients and prospects once a month, featuring experts from the local community.
Laurel’s strategy for calling old leads and prospects involves inviting them to these events, providing a reason to reach out to people and offering free exposure to experts.
She even got her members involved in a committee that helps build up the community in her studio.
“I got about 12 members that are volunteering their time where they will plan two hikes a month, charity events, things like that to build up the community. We’re gonna do an AIDS Walk as a community next month, so everybody is all signing up for it together. And anytime we have a new member, I connect this new member to the committee and they say, ‘Hey Mike I know you’re new to TriFIT, these are the things we have going on this month…’ and so they get them plugged into the community.”
Laurel is doing an awesome job at retaining members in her studio and shares all these tips (and more) in our 360+ community. If you’re a gym owner looking to be surrounded by the best gym owners in the industry, click the link below to schedule a free call to learn more!