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The Onboarding Process as a Sales, Retention and Referral Tool

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Karen Woodard-ChavezKaren Woodard-Chavez

How many of you reading this article have some sort of onboarding process for new members at your club? I would bet most of you would say that you have that available. How many of you reading this article mention it on the tour and then again rush through it in the post tour? I bet some of you, if you really thought about it, would have to say that that is what you do. How many of you are not thrilled with the participation rates of new members engaging in your onboarding process? Again, from what I see in the business, most clubs are not getting the engagement level in these services/sessions that they are intending to see.

There are two reasons this happens: (1) your onboarding programs may not be attractive to new members and (2) the selling staff is not selling them. This article will focus on reason #2. Here we go...

In my experience in training membership sales staff, I see very little effort in creating excitement and desire for a new member to engage in the onboarding programs. What I see is a mention on the tour and a mention in the post tour. If you want to amp up your participation rates in your onboarding programs, you need to do the following: (1) create a goal for all sales staff to have "X" new members enroll and show for the program and (2) "sell" the programs ON the tour NOT AFTER the tour. When you make these two simple changes, you will see a positive impact on retention, and your sales team will start to see referrals increase. The impact on retention is obvious, but the impact on referrals may not seem as obvious to you. The reason your referrals will increase is due to the fact that you have new members who feel more clear and confident on how to be successful with their membership and have the experience of building more and better relationships in the club. When that happens, they feel as though they "belong." When they feel that they belong, they will start telling more of their friends. What a terrific and simple opportunity. Let's explore more...

Creating a Sales Goal for New Member Enrollment and Showing Up for the Program

Anything that you want to see a change in requires more focus and attention. Most clubs set goals for new member sales and non-dues revenue sales, and they create accountability for the goals to be met or exceeded. The same thing needs to happen with Onboarding Programs. By the way, just as you create a commission structure for new members sales and non-dues revenue sales, I encourage you to do the same for participation (not just enrolling in) in your Onboarding Programs. If you are a club owner reading this, you may be sighing and rolling your eyes at this concept. BUT, if you were to get 1,200 new members engaged in your well-designed program that is intended to keep them longer (pay dues and purchase other club services longer) and increase club revenue, doesn't it make sense to pay a little out to get a lot more in return? Furthermore, because you are paying a commission for participation, the sales staff will ensure that the new member makes it to the program. Please think about that.

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