The most effective way to avoid having to pull people out of slumps is to avoid letting them get there in the first place. When new members join your facility, the best thing you can do for retention, and to help them understand the value of their membership, is to integrate them into your facility and expose them to all you have to offer.

One of the most successful member integration programs I’ve seen is being used at the three Skyline Clubs in Virginia. The program was developed by Renata Manning and it’s called the Fitness Edge Program. In essence, people are given a Fitness Edge card and, in order to win their T-shirt and other prizes, they have to get the card checked off in each department of the club. They are given a free introductory clinic or lesson in each area/department, and then their instructor signs off on their card. They have 90 days in which to collect all their signatures.

This program gets them oriented and helps them to meet other new members by registering all new members to participate at once.

Programs like Fitness Edge are also a wonderful way to integrate new staff into your facility so that they can promote all of your different activities.

Staff members who have tried racquetball, tennis, aquatics classes, aerobic classes, basketball, wallyball, etc., are much more likely to promote these activities (or at least speak intelligently about them) to your members.

Staff bonuses for participating in all the activities can include massages, prizes, cash incentives, passing probation, etc. Letting staff (especially full-time staff) try some of your “extra cost” programs (like tanning, massage and weight-loss programs) will help them to sell these services for you.