What can a Gym membership teach you about marketing?

Services for Real Estate Pros with The Larsen Protection Team

For 30 years (1980 joined) I belonged to Bally's Gym. Never given a free training, a free water bottle, a thank you, always just the bill every July. Thirty years and nothing but a bill. Their rented facility is starting to deteriate too and no money being put into upgarding the facility.

I took a free 1 day pass to World Gym and what a difference. The free weights were actually on the rack where they were suppose to be. They had antiseptic spray bottles everywhere and cloths to wipe down the machines (bally's did not despite my many suggestions). The lock room was cleaner and the staff much friendlier.

Guess which gym I go to now? You are correct - World Gym.

Here is the marketing lesson - not 1 letter, phone call, post card, NOTHING by Bally's to keep a 30 year member a member. Or asked to come back. NOTHING. They seem to be more interested in the NEW member, the "shiny" new object, that new sale.

Don't you make the same mistake. Yes, we all need new sales but don't forget about the past one's either. In my case (insurance) my current customers. They are worth more money than the "shiny" new one coimng down the road.

Have a great New Year everyone - may your goals for 2011 include staying connected with your "old" customers!


Tom Larsen

Posted by

Tom Larsen,

Buffalo insurance expert

You'll Switch for the savings, stay for the service!

Comments (73)

Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Fellow Buffalonian here-NT-Older companies just expect the business without giving anything in return. Bally's was a favorite in NY for a long time. However, newer gyms with better facilities and personnel will be the future leaders in that market.

Dec 31, 2010 02:47 AM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Tom - This is indeed a solid marketing lesson.  From my own experience and from teaching agents for years now, this principle is one of the easiest to perform (follow up with past clients) yet one of the most overlooked as well.  Good stuff!  As a side note, we were anxious to join 24-Hour Fitness until we visited in person and felt unwanted as a family of six, so we joined the large YMCA instead.  :)

Dec 31, 2010 03:52 AM
Tom Larsen
The Larsen Protection Team - Williamsville, NY
We Shop, You Save!

Thanks for all the comments and feedback everyone!

Starting Monday (Jan 3rd) one of my staff is calling every client on their birthday. No sales pitch, no policy review, no cross-selling allowed, just a heartfelt - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

2011 will be another great year! Old fashion values, old fashion service!

Dec 31, 2010 03:54 AM
Mahesh Mike Patel
First Team Real Estate - Anaheim Hills, CA
Call Me And Consider It Done!

Hey Tom: great post and analogy. I have just started a new system where 80% of my focus will be on my past cllients and people I know.

Happy New year.

Dec 31, 2010 04:38 AM
John Marshall - FORE!
LoKation Real Estate - Cherry Hills Village, CO
Specializing in Golf Course Properties

Great reminder Tom, I am going to evaluate not only my personal business, but also all of those places I frequent and belong to to really see why I continue using them

Dec 31, 2010 05:19 AM
Kristi DeFazio
RE/MAX Advantage - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468

Great reminder. It costs more to get a new customer than to take care of an existing one! Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2010 06:41 AM
Patient, Persistent and Passionate About Your Move

Tom, Thanks for your great post and I'll take and treat my past client right ANYDAY,....and ENJOY the shiny new ones (as you call it) whenever they appear!!

Happy New Year and My Best to You & Yours in 2011!!

Dec 31, 2010 07:21 AM
Phil & Celeste Pafford
PaffordHomes.com, Corona CA - Corona, CA
Corona Short Sale Broker

Ahh, good analogy.  I have the same complaint with US Airways... I'm a million mile flyer - PLUS, and what do  I have to show for it???

Yes, we were sure to remember ALL our past clients this holiday with gifts of course... Either they, or someone they know will either be buying/selling this new year of 2011!! ;-)


Dec 31, 2010 08:03 AM
Brent Wells
The LivingWell Team - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Broker serving all of North DFW


This really points out how so many businesses and dare I say agents don't stay in contact with their clients. So many agents I talk with locally do almost nothing to keep their name and face current with their client base. They always seem shocked when a former client decides to use someone else...


Dec 31, 2010 08:31 AM
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Central Maryland

We had a lady call the office the other day in search of her agent from 9 years ago. She said that she had sold her a house, but she had not heard from her since that day.  

Dec 31, 2010 08:52 AM
Tracy Hunter
Virtual Real Estate & Marketing Assistant - Pearl River, NY

very wise words for sure, and it goes to all businesses as to how they should appreciate their clients.

Dec 31, 2010 09:53 AM
John Zappia
Maine Custom Realty - Portland, ME
Maine Custom Realty

point taken...excellent reminder...I've been much better at this in the last few years...it pays to pay attention to past clients.

Dec 31, 2010 10:29 AM
Please Delete This Account
Thousand Islands Realty - Christiansted, VI

Hi Tom, this is a really great post. I'm a newbie in the business and to AR and this is one blog/message I will definitely take to heart. 



Dec 31, 2010 11:18 AM
Sherry Chastain
Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee - Hendersonville, TN
Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales

Great valid points to remember for the upcoming year!

Dec 31, 2010 03:38 PM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Tom, at #19, Sharon expresses my belief regarding this with a resounding DITTO. 

Jan 01, 2011 04:53 AM
Rich Gaasenbeek
IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM - Toronto, ON
Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!

What a great metaphor, Tom.  It's sad how often this is the case in our biz. 

Some Realtors just don't understand the importance of keeping in touch with past clients.  Many others understand very well - but just don't know how to make it happen. 

For this group, selecting an easy to use contact management system is the first step.  A good CMS/CRM lets you put all your contact information into a single place that's organized and secure, and makes it easy to build an automated plan for keeping in touch with clients and referral sources on an ongoing basis.

Rich Gaasenbeek, IXACT Contact, The Easy Way To Manage Your Contacts

Jan 01, 2011 07:29 AM
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Retention, retention, retentioin.  Some gyms get it some don't.  This is a really good blog post.

Jan 01, 2011 05:57 PM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Tom, a great reminder that past clients are valuable and should be acknowledged as such.


Jan 02, 2011 02:17 AM
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTORĀ® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

WOW!!  30 years at the same gym?!  They should be falling all over you for being such a loyal customer.  I left my gym a long time ago for the same reasons you did.

Jan 02, 2011 10:40 AM
Michael Simcock
Coldwell Banker (Elk Grove, CA) - Elk Grove, CA
Elk Grove, CA Realtor 916 425-1084

The lessons of life and business are everywhere. We just let to open our eyes to them.

Happy past clients are worth their weight in gold. I have a system in place to stay in touch with them and to thank them. Maybe I should give one of them a call right now and give them a hug.

Jan 04, 2011 05:31 AM