Managing your expectations by measuring everything (and how gyms make their money)

You may have heard the urban myth that, when a new leisure club opens in your town, they will aim at 15,000 paid memberships on the basis that only 5,000 people will turn up on a regular basis.

When we launched the Extreme Business programme this year, I decided to add value to my clients’ coaching experience by adding an automated weekly progress report.

Every Friday, my clients (all of them in fact) and their managers get an automated email, sending them to a landing page on our web site where they can spend a few minutes answering questions about how the last week evolved, what progress they are making and how I can help.

You could call it a coaching gym (once upon a time I did).

Here’s what it looks like:

Bearing in mind that the clients are paying to be coached, I was interested to see what the initial take-up rate would be – so here are the stats for January:

  • number of clients who opened the email reminder – 79.20%
  • number of clients who clicked through to the landing page – 60.5%
  • number of clients who completed the weekly tracker – 78.20%

Which (if you think about it) means that, for every 100 clients, a net of 38.7 finally complete a report.

That’s just over a third using the service – similar to the mythological gym memberships.

I appreciate that this is hardly enough evidence to pronounce a new theory but it makes interesting data for me on which to ponder as I try to make sense of folks.

In dentistry, I’ve seen marketing reports from my clients, indicating that for every 100 referred enquiries (that’s patient referrals), they sell 66 consultations and around 40 treatment plans are taken up. Not far off my “one third net” rule.

Their are three morals to this tale:

  • you can take a fee-paying horse to water but it won’t necessarily drink, no matter how good you think your offer is;
  • it’s a good idea to manage your expectations on success rates;
  • the way to do that is to measure everything.

p.s. The story changes on digital advertising for strangers (Google and Facebook), where the “success” rate between enquiry and consult can be anything from 30% to as low as 15%, then a two-thirds take up treatment plans – much lower conversion stats because you are more likely to be dealing with price-shoppers.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

One thought on “Managing your expectations by measuring everything (and how gyms make their money)”

  1. Pretty interesting stuff – I think there is a new metric here – like Pareto number (aka the 80/20 rule) and your Dunbar’s number and the Six degrees of separation (which turned out to be demonstrated on facebook). Like a hurdle attrition, every step/barrier/obstacle in a process thins out the number that will complete the process.

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