The key to a healthy bottom line and vibrant club is the ability to keep your members. Satisfied members are more likely renew their memberships. However, international research suggests that most sports clubs’ memberships are in decline. Is your club focusing on the funnel or fixing the leaky bucket?

A lot of sports clubs focus on acquiring new members. They spend a lot of time and energy on getting new people through the door and converting them to members. Little attention is paid to keeping their existing members and this creates a revolving door effect. Retaining your current members should be your top priority otherwise all the resources you have put in to getting them inside in the first place will be lost.

Some easy things every club can do to create a culture of loyalty:

  • Ensure that you have multiple methods for members to communicate with your club if they have a question, comment or complaint. This can be through direct face-to-face interaction, via telephone or answer machine, or through feedback forms placed throughout the club
  • Ensure that everyone who has contact with your members shows genuine interest through their body language and vocal tones, pitch, volume and speed
  • Periodically ask your existing members how they are feeling about their membership and how you can add more value. As a rule of thumb, you should start off more regular with new members (3-4 times in the first 3 months) and finish off asking quarterly with existing members (every 3 months). You should also ask your visiting guests about their experiences during their time at your club. This is distinctly different to your member quality and will provide you with useful information
  • When you interact directly with your members you should know some relevant information about them – their playing habits or mention something that would interest them. This is made much easier if you initially gather other information about your members that could be of interest (family related, career related) that shows that you care about them as a person, not just as a membership fee
  • All your employees / volunteers should actively listen to the other person before expecting to be listened to. As a result, members are more likely to trust you

Focus on the members you have. If you treat them right they will bring in more members. Remember that this is a team effort – it only takes one person from your club to undo all of the good work.

More information

To find out more ways you can apply good business practices for your club click here.