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  • Writer's pictureOvercomer's Podcast

Retention Guru

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

This week’s episode of the podcast is an interview with the Retention Guru, Dr. Paul Bedford. He worked in the fitness industry for over 3 decades! He started as a personal trainer and even though he was very good at what he did and also qualified in his field he could never understand why so many people quit and just go back to their old habit. Because of that problem he decided to study academically and eventually got his PhD.


Dr. Paul Bedford wanted to help clubs and guide operators in the situation where members stay longer, pay more and become more loyal. So he did some research, he analyzed 5.5 million customers from 4,500+ clubs in 31 different countries. Through that he made his Top 10 Retention Factors. These top 10 retention factors generally have the biggest impact and the things that the operators can control.


He said to let the clients make their own schedule, to ask them what days they’re coming and what time, for them to make the commitment for themselves. And if they’re new members/customers, always keep in mind that they are new to exercise or someone who struggles to maintain exercise. Give them a brief consultation, and ask them their goals, then equipment orientation, on how to use the facility. Remember that you are giving them skills.


Dr. Paul advised that when you are correcting someone where everybody hears, give eye contact but not saying their names, and when someone does well, call their names. In psychology it’s called random reward. Call someone for doing something great.


Always bear in mind that not everyone knows what to do, so you have to match the capability of the people attending your session. If people feel that the activities are not relevant for them, they will not stick around. And if there’s someone that hasn’t been seen for a while, you can ask them “How’s the numbers going?” Don’t call names and shame. If they turn up, you can simply ask them “What’s your goal for today?” Because distance is away but you could have a goal for today.



The following important points were discussed:

  1. Let the goal come from the customers.

  2. Don’t set a goal too high that you have no chance of achieving it. You’ll just be disappointed.

  3. Have manageable goals.

  4. Build up to the level you want to reach.

  5. Make exercising as enjoyable for yourself.

  6. Don’t call names and shame.


Listen to this episode of the Overcomer's Podcast to learn more about Dr. Paul Bedford, a retention guru. He shared a lot on how to make your club or gym a success and for the old and new members to feel comfortable in all ways possible and to obtain their loyalty so that they’ll stay for even a longer period of time.




For more of the Overcomer's Podcast, visit our website at overcomers-podcast.com or listen to all of our episodes on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.


1:05 – 4:17

Dr. Paul shared how he came up with his retention factors top 10.


4:53 – 7:00

Dr. Paul shared an example where a staff member is doing an induction program for a new member and his comment about how it went.


7:55 – 9:30

Dr. Paul gives an example of a proper way to do an induction.


15:09 – 16:30

Dr. Paul discusses how to correct someone and how to appreciate someone that everyone can hear.


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