Saving Membership Cancellations
When the time comes for tennis clubs and facilities to start to reopen, there will, unfortunately, be a percentage of members who will contact you to cancel their memberships. Your facility must be prepared for this.
Strategically, your goal should be to avoid all-out cancellations in favor of getting members to put their membership on hold. If the membership is put on hold, the individual is still a “card-carrying member” and still feels connected to your facility—and it becomes much easier to convert them back to a paying member when the time is right. As an “inactive/on-hold” member, you and your staff will continue communication and online engagement.
Operationally, train a specific staff member or members to handle all cancellation calls or inquiries. In an ideal world, those taking such calls would have past sales and phone experience so they are comfortable dealing with objections. In addition, they should have a nice, upbeat and caring phone presence. These calls can be challenging, but by limiting the number of people handling these calls, they’ll develop a comfort and skill level.
Technically, these calls should follow the same guidelines as one would use to overcome any sales objection. Follow these steps:
- Let them tell their story. People want to feel heard. Encouraging them to share their situation will build rapport.
- Align with them and be sensitive to the situation. “I can totally appreciate how you feel, and you are not alone. I can certainly help you.” Do not rush into suggesting a membership hold too quickly because it may appear money-motivated. Instead, ask questions.
- Question it nicely. “Before we get to the paperwork, may I ask, are you not coming back because you feel you are at higher risk, or for another reason?” Whatever they say, you respond, “I see.”
- Isolate it. “Are you continuing your workouts at home?” Either way, plug them into any online platforms you may be offering. Ultimately, you want to ask the most important questions: “When you feel less at risk (or when you are back to working), are you planning on returning to the facility?” The goal and hope is they say, “Yes.”
- Offer a solution. “If we were able to put your membership completely on hold, with no charges or fees, allowing you to simply turn your membership back on at the same rate when you can return, would you like to do that?”
Not everyone will say yes, but every member you save from cancellation puts your facility in a better position for future returns.
Casey Conrad has been a consultant, speaker and author in the fitness industry for over 30 years and can be reached at http://www.CaseyConrad.com.
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