Rethinking the New Year $0 Enrollment
An example of the prevalence of sameness in the health and fitness industry is promoting $0 enrollment around the New Year. It’s a promotion that Merritt Clubs offered themselves until they stopped and dissected that decision.
“Moving forward, we are not looking to compete on price; as a matter of fact, we want to increase prices and deliver more value,” Miller says.
“If you do everything [everyone else] is, the real question is ‘why?’ Why are we all doing it that way? If the answer is ‘because that’s how it’s always been done,’ then maybe that is the wrong reason or even the wrong question we are asking.”
Making Members Happy at Any Cost
This approach ties in to Merritt’s key differentiator: its culture and ownership.
“The ‘why’ we do things and the way [we do things] are different from most, and [it’s] not always comfortable for people,” Miller says. “For example, we have a freedom that allows all our staff to do whatever it takes to make a customer happy, including and up to giving them a free year membership. The obligation is you have to stay within our purpose and values.”
While no staff person has taken advantage of that option in the three years since the rule was instated, Miller is proud that his staff have it at their disposal should they need it.
“Most clubs only allow the managers to do that,” he says. “We let anyone.”