Yes, there is a clear financial case for providing an excellent experience at your club or centre. Happy customers spend more money, attend more sessions, bring more friends etc. We are not suggesting that performance on the wrestling matt or technical coaching skills are not important – however, many people attend sports not just for the sport, but also to enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere of being active and involved with their community.
Welcome to my club
Your club has to ask itself – what are you exchanging with your members? Great coaching, good social atmosphere, convenient location, a clean facility…these are some of the basics of the exchange. However, if a club within the same sport as yours opened next door and offered the same for less or a greater experiences would you lose members?
The intangibles that tie a member to your club are very much relationship based, focused around people’s emotional engagement with your club. Your job is to develop this focusing on several areas:
- Opportunities for socialising
- Personal interaction
- A feeling of belonging
- Being wanted and cared for
- Feeling good and secure when they are in your club
Obviously, some people within your club are more tuned in to good customer service than others so getting everybody on board does not happen by itself. One method I know which works is to get your off-the-pitch team to think of your club as their home. Think of it like a visit to your house, where you make sure your guests are enjoying themselves and feeling comfortable, right
The bottom line is: Your club is in the experience business. You and your colleagues at your club need to think of yourselves as hosts and treat members, supporters, newcomers and regulars as guests who are visiting your house. Believe me, two things will happen: They will come back and you guys will really enjoy it.
Your best marketing tool is a customer who has just had a great experience at your club
Many people involved with community sport tell me that ‘we are welcoming club’. However, in my experience the pitfall for many clubs is that they think they are friendly because they are friendly to each other, but often they ignore newcomers. Sad, but true!
Welcoming is about how we make people feel. Are we really interested in them and does it show? In a welcoming culture and club, people are accepted for who they are and supported as that.
Being welcoming is a bit like physical fitness. We all have some potential to be fit, but different people have different challenges in realising that potential.
Sometimes, we all forget why we started getting involved with our sport and our club; why we volunteer etc. We get tied down with all the practical stuff, such as coaching and administration. Often I have seen ‘clubs running the volunteers’ and not the other way around.
We need to take a step back and look at what we trying to achieve with our club and our involvement with it. What would we like it to look like next month, next year or even five years from now?
I am sure a key part of that vision would be to attract more new members, volunteers and community partners into your club.
We believe that by running a really welcoming Open Day you can accelerate your plan to grow your club. This will hopefully set you on a lifelong journey for your club and everybody involved with it. Again, a bit like fitness, being welcoming is not a one-off – it’s a culture and a lifestyle.