In this episode, Rick and Matt discuss the impact on the fitness business from the dreaded F word…Freezing memberships. We’ll explain how to categorize and minimize membership freezes in your fitness business. We have previously talked about the dirty C-word….cancellations. The approach to freezes will be similar to cancellations, where you should consider every freeze as a nice way of your client quitting without saying they are quitting.
This way, you can fight it by going to the root cause of the problem and addressing it as a personal trainer should. In most cases, there is an underlying problem that makes the client want to quit. Freeze requests are an excellent opportunity for you to hold an accountability session with them to talk about it. It might be medical reasons, an injury bothering them, frustration with failure to lose weight, going for a long vacation, stress, etc.
Ways to Mitigate Against Freezing Memberships to Keep Retention Rate Higher
Typically, you might offer a one month freeze. From a business standpoint, if you are not realizing revenue on a member for a month, you shouldn’t count them as an active member. You’ve got paying clients and you’ve got non-paying clients. That is really how you measure the performance of the business. Alloy has monthly memberships now, but when we were a 12-month membership model, we had 12-month memberships. The freeze policy for 1 year memberships was to continue paying while you’re on freeze, and then we would add those months of membership to the end of your contract or your agreement. The strategy was you are welcome to go on freeze, but you can’t quit paying, we’ll just tack months on at the end. Now with the current monthly memberships, we have a 30-day cancellation policy. When we do a freeze, we would set a trigger to start billing on a certain date, but if we didn’t communicate clearly before the billing started again, those members were not prepared.
COVID really made us understand more clearly that a freeze is a cancellation. It’s sort of like being in a relationship with someone and saying, I just need to take a break.
Even though cancellations are a bigger deal, now we look at freeze the same. Like cancellations, freezes are a perfect opportunity for you to sit down with this person. Maybe they don’t need to cancel, maybe they’re looking at their situation wrong or getting bad advice. So you need to coach them through the situation to build a game plan for returning after the freeze and preparing for the billing to start again.
At Alloy Personal Training, we are the hub in people’s live we use accountability sessions with communication between coaches, the owner/manager and the member. The very thing that makes the Alloy business model relevant is the fact that we can really work with people with injuries to tailor an individualized personal training solution. That’s the conversation that needs to happen and help to mitigate the freeze.
Now to address freeze requests because of a vacation. Alloy created the Alloy App to help members outside of their personal training relationship. So if a member wanted to freeze because they would be out of town for a month, we would ask how they planned to keep their training going while on vacation or for business trip? Did they want to lose some of the fitness gains they’ve made? The reason for the app originally was to keep clients on track when they weren’t in the gym and continue to hold them accountable. So with Alloy you can continue to realize revenue by training them virtually.
So we would implore you as a business and gym owner to consider a freeze a quit. Fight to keep your business and open communication with your clients while holding them accountable because you are the coach in their life. That’s what being a personal training facility or personal trainer is all about.
So the reason we have a 30 day cancellation policy is because it gives us time to communicate with the client if they got off track or maybe they’ve gone through a tough spot, and they’re really stressed. That’s our job to sit down with them and talk them off the cliff, honestly.
So communicate clearly with clients and don’t count freezes into your active client pool, put them in the cancellation pool. Then put them in a subcategory and really examine and communicate with that category. Why did they want to leave? What reasons are people on freeze? When are they due to come back?
- How we look at freezes here at Alloy Franchise (02:06)
- Why a freeze is a nice way of your client quitting without saying it (05:16)
- Month to month vs. annual contracts (06:18)
- A freeze is a good opportunity for an accountability session (07:28)
- How to mitigate against freezes (10:58)
- How our Alloy app helps us hold clients accountable when they are away (11:45)
- Consider every freeze as quit so that you can fight it (13:32)
- How to measure and categorize freezes in your books (16:31)
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