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What happens after "why" -- how to organize your members' stories

Hilary Achauer

In our blog post "The best sales techniques for gym owners: start with WHY" we talked about the importance of finding out what your customers really want. This is the only way to truly meet their needs and gain lifelong members.

We gave you some questions to ask potential members to help them meet their goals, and why it's important to find out what they really want out of their gym experience.

Many gym owners take time to sit down with potential members and find out their heartfelt goals and dreams, but how many owners and coaches have these conversations after the first year? How about the second? The third? The fourth and fifth?

This is a conversation that should continue throughout the life of your client's membership.

The most important discussions happen well into a person's membership, and it's a detail many gym owners neglect. Goals change, people change, priorities shift. It's your job to make sure you're meeting your members' goals and staying in touch with the reason why they come to your gym.

Easier said than done, right?

You're probably thinking, "Hey I run a busy gym with almost 200 members, how can my coaches keep track of everyone's deepest goals and wishes?"

It is possible, but you need a system.

The Basics

Every gym should have an intake form with a space for collecting information other than name, address, and credit card number. If you want to create a connection with your new member and meet their needs in the long term, you need to know their story.

First, start with some general information.

  • Where are they from?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have children?
  • Where do they work?
  • What activities do they enjoy?

You don’t have to fire question after question, just open up the conversation. This isn’t about prying or forcing people to talk about things they don’t want to share. It’s about starting a dialogue and letting them take the lead.

Let them know they have 90 seconds to tell you all about themselves (ok, go)! If there is an opportunity for a question, ask it.


Getting answers here allows you to start formulating the member’s ideal outcome. After you learn a little bit about their life, ask them just two simple questions:

1. Why are you here right now?

2. What do you want to achieve?

Then don’t forget to listen up and record their answers!

Current Achievements

Next, ask what they are doing at the moment to reach their goal. The sole purpose of this question is to give them praise and acknowledge how they are already making strides in the right direction. You need to make sure they know the ball is rolling downhill, and you are going to help push it in the right direction.

The Reason Behind the Reason

While weight loss might be the goal a client lists on an intake form, you must dig a little deeper to find the true motivation that lies beneath, which is always emotional. This next question might stump them first, but it’s extremely important to ask:

“If I snapped my fingers and everything you wanted to achieve happened immediately, how would that make you feel?”

This ties true emotion to the training. Maybe they desire more confidence, happiness, or peace of mind. Everyone’s answer will be different and deeply personal, but you’ll honor their courage to show up and make a change when you meet them on the emotional level.

Once you’ve collected the info, put it to work!

Take, for example, a previously active member who stopped showing up to class. You can sit around and be sad they’re gone. Or you can now send a follow-up email that uses the information you gathered to fuel motivation and influence the reacquisition effort.

Remember: the more personal the email, the more power it wields.

Non-specific follow up: “Hey where have you been? You’ve been doing great. Get back in the gym!

”Awesome follow up: “I know you’ve been working really hard to lower your blood pressure. You’ve been making great progress! Make sure you are in the gym this week! Let’s keep working to kick those medications.”

Don’t get us wrong -- any follow-up is better than no follow-up. But you can see the difference. The email that reflects why someone started with you is pure motivation and fuel to get back in the gym.

Creating a Successful System

Wondering how exactly to record your clients’ information so it’s organized and easy to access? With UpLaunch you can look up a contact's most recent activities, initiate individual communication with them, see where they are in a particular campaign, and look up their demographic information or any important notes.If you aren't yet part of UpLaunch, here’s an action plan to start rocking without it.

Action Items:

  1. Create a Google Drive folder to store consultations and give access to all your coaches and staff.
  2. Create a consultation template form and save it in Google Drive.
  3. Start having consults and recording information.
  4. Create a checklist for communicating with different types of members, so your coaches and staff know to reference the consultation information when emailing members (or former members).
  5. Remember to use this information in the gym as well! Teach your coaches to bring up the reason your members are training as a motivation tool. Follow up with coaches to make sure they are connecting with members and know their motivation and story. 
  6. Set up yearly goal-setting sessions with every member on the anniversary of their membership. This is the time to update their record and find out if anything has changed.

Start small and tweak things as you go, but START. Finding your clients’ “whys” will have significant long-term effects on your business and will ensure your clients are with you for many years to come – getting strong, happy, and healthy.


The easiest and cheapest way to increase membership … and increase revenue.

The Reactivation Framework will help you to engage former clients, rekindle meaningful relationships with them, and have them asking YOU how they can get started again!

Download our reactivation framework with five easy steps to engage and reactivate former clients!
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