Recently, Colleen Kennedy, the director of membership at The Houstonian Club, wrote a blog about an innovative sales program at her Houston-based fitness facility. They call it The Houstonian Lotto, and Kennedy says that it has been instrumental in increasing both sales and referrals. She also says that it’s a program any club can duplicate — and that it costs little.
It works like an actual lotto. For a specific period of time — one month, say — members receive a sealed envelope when they provide a referral, and new members receive the same when they sign up. The envelope contains a certificate for a prize. One lucky member will receive the top prize, and the rest second and third prizes. The prizes offered will depend on the club’s business model and member demographics, Kennedy says. As she puts it, “For clubs with moderate initiation fees and dues…, the top prize could be one year’s free dues, with second and third prizes of, respectively, a free fitness evaluation or a smoothie at the health bar. For clubs with higher initiation fees and dues, the top prize could be 30 percent off the initiation fee, with second and third prizes, respectively, of two months’ free dues or a free personal training session.”
For the program to work, Kennedy says, the enrollment period to participate must be short; the number of envelopes available must be limited (for example, she says, 25 if your marketing plan stipulates acquiring 30 new members that month); and the program must be marketed to your membership, prospects, the community, and your sales force with great enthusiasm.
Great idea, right? But what I like most about Kennedy’s blog post is the fact that she wrote it. All fitness facilities and health clubs can benefit from fresh ideas for inventive, inexpensive programs that boost sales and referrals (not to mention retention). The best way to gain new ideas is to talk openly with others who are in the same boat.
Kennedy’s post is detailed and generous, and it even includes her email address for anyone who has questions. When this kind of sharing happens in the industry, everyone wins (or, to continue with the nautical metaphor, a rising tide lifts all boats). Feel free to share your own ideas — whether about programs that have proven successful or about ones you have yet to test — in the comments section here. We all want to know about them.