Let us consider the goals of your OnRamp program
First, we want people to learn the basics: how to squat. Where to put their head while pressing. How to use hip extension instead of back extension in the deadlift. To know the difference.
We’d like our new friends to know a bit about where we’re coming from. We want a bit on, “What is fitness?” and a little discussion on Zone, a little on Paleo.
Is our goal to create the best overhead squatter in the Box?
Is our goal proficiency? Consistency? Mastery?
If we’re not looking to create perfection in six sessions, then what’s our objective?
My answer: to show people that there’s more to learn. That’s it.
I’d like to demonstrate that exercises most take for granted, like the air squat, has skill and nuance that other Coaches don’t care about, or don’t understand. I’m not looking for a 500lbs back squat in OnRamp; I’m trying to get our beginners to show up again on Monday, and again Tuesday, and pursue that heavy back squat over a lifetime.
If your goal is the same, ask yourself: “Does my OnRamp curriculum try to address EVERYTHING, and make perfect movers….or does it encourage people to come back and try again?” They’re not the same thing.
OnRamp shouldn’t be the “try before you buy,” but the starting point. If your OnRamp conversion rate is less than 100%, it requires tweaking.
To keep your clients coming back, you have several tools at your disposal:
- Prequalification. If OnRampers don’t know your regular rates before they start OnRamp, you’re doing them a disservice, and spending brain capital on folks who won’t reciprocate. They won’t take your investment, in other words, and give you a positive return.
- Bright Spots. Create a rule, right now, that EVERYONE finishes OnRamp knowing that they’re good at SOMETHING. Give them a win. Double-unders and deadlifts are great.
- 20% Bonus. SHOW people that the hardest part is already over; that the social hurdle has already been crossed. Integrate your OnRampers into your main classes as a group. Our OnRamp program now includes our huge, fun, team-based Saturday morning groups so that the new kids can meet the veterans.
- Gap Theory. Everyone leaves OnRamp with a skill they’d like to improve upon. The closer they are to achieving that goal, the more likely they are to stick around for another month. Within that next month, find another goal. Short-term (very short) work best at first, and long-term goals can be added over time.
- Identity. Assign a nickname, a role within the group, a skill-specific identity, or a social responsibility.
Identity examples, in order:
- “The Girl Who’s Here First”
- “The Burpee Queen”
- “Hey, Junebug. Violet’s been having a tough time with CrossFit, and I’m worried she’ll drop off when OnRamp is done. Can you please make a date with her to show up for her first ‘regular’ class? I think she just needs to know someone…”
There are more ways to increase retention, but the point is that retention for the LONG term should be the focus of your SHORT-term OnRamp programming. No one’s a master in a day; keep them coming back to learn the finer points over time.
This article was written by Chris Cooper, of Catalyst Fitness/CrossFit Catalyst. He has his own blog, Don’t buy Ads, where he shares relevant info for CrossFit boxes. Chris has also partnered with 321Go Project to offer affiliate business mentoring/coaching to affiliates who are either stuck or are ready to take it to the next level. Find out more about our affiliate business mentoring/coaching strategies >>