512 Members: How BoxLife/CrossFit 5512 Did It in Denmark

A photo of gym owner Rune Laursen with the title "512 Members: How BoxLife/CrossFit 5512 Did It in Denmark."

Mike Warkentin (00:02):
A CrossFit gym with more than 400 members. It’s rare, but it can be done. And you’re going to find out how it’s done on this episode of “Run a Profitable Gym.” I’m your host, Mike Warkentin. Before we go further, please hit “Subscribe” so you don’t miss anything. I want you to get all the info that we produce every show to help you run a better business. Now today, huge member counts in coaching gyms. Our leaderboard in December 2023 ran from 324 members to 1,034 members. I’ve got one of the top 10 gym owners here with me. Rune Larson runs BoxLife near Copenhagen, Denmark. We’re going to find out why he has so many members, and I’ll tell you this—I know this already—these December stats, he had 457; he’s now at the date of recording—which is February 14th—he’s at 512 members in his gym. So, welcome, and thanks for being here today.

Rune Larsen (00:48):
Thanks, man. Glad to be here.

Mike Warkentin (00:50):
I am pumped about this because back when I was running my gym, we never even came close to the numbers that you’ve got. I need to know; I’m just going to put you on the spot: What’s the single biggest reason? Why do you have so many members?

Rune Larsen (01:01):
Well, the second thing is always, I have to say, we do a lot of stuff, but the most important, the single one is probably the No Sweat Intros and the goal reviews, I’d have to say. So, one-to-one conversations with a lot of members.

Mike Warkentin (01:14):
OK. We’re going to dig into that because one of the things that’s interesting is if you have 500 members and you’re doing goal reviews, that’s a huge commitment of time. I’m going to ask you later on how you do it, but I want to just dig into a couple of things first before we get to that. So, talk to me first about retention. So, there’s always two ends when you have lots of clients: You’re either retaining a lot of clients, or you’re adding them. Talk to me about retention and if we start getting into goal reviews, let’s do that.

Rune Larsen (01:42):
Yeah, yeah. Well, to just put some frames around training here in Denmark, training is very cheap, and nearly all memberships are. And we are a CrossFit gym, and we’ll still, compared to the rest of the world, ridiculously cheap. But I’m the most expensive in Denmark. But we are still below 100 euros per month. But I think that just majority of the Danish people know that training is important. And we have a lot of sports in different ages. So, I just think that it’s more normal to exercise here. So that’s also one of the things that drives the numbers if I have to talk about some external stuff. But on the retention side, that’s also not normal to do anything specific there. So, we are quite unique on that point here in Denmark at least. And some of the basic stuff is stopping to text people if they’re not training. I’m not doing that, but that’s the most common thing here. So, you could put them on a “do not disturb” list and stuff like that. But in essence, what we are trying to do is just to get people to just use the membership as much as possible. So, we are just going the opposite way.

Mike Warkentin (02:43):
How do you—so you’ve got this huge pile of people. I guess I should ask now: How many staff members do you have, and do you have a specific person who’s in charge of retention? Or is that a group of people? Or how do you—who handles those jobs?

Rune Larsen (02:55):
Yeah, we’ve tried some different ways. And also, when I joined Two-Brain in the beginning, we had a lot of trouble on starting all the goal reviews and stuff like that because people are not used to just getting asked, “Why do you even train?” Well, that step was a big step for a lot of people. So, the staffing right now is, including myself, we have three full-time employees, and then I have like 15 part-time coaches. Yeah, I think that’s around the team. And we’ll try some different roles and descriptions, but we have a CSM of course, which I call her our “In-House Happiness Manager.” So, she’s in charge of all the events and the conversation and stuff like that.

Mike Warkentin (03:37):
Is she full-time?

Rune Larsen (03:38):
Yes. OK. She is. But she also does some administration work and stuff like that. So, it’s a hybrid, but as it is of now, it is probably 70% of the time on talking to members because we have so many right now. So, she’ll need a colleague soon.

Mike Warkentin (03:54):
OK. And it’s interesting; I have talked to some gym owners who have said that retention and client management is so important to them that they hired two people or more in that client success manager role. And listeners, if you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a person who’s in charge of retention, and there’s metrics attached to that. You’re trying to get people to stay longer, which there’s a variety of things you can do. Rune mentioned texting people when they don’t show up. There’s also birthday gifts, celebrations, putting them on podiums, interviewing them, sending—all these different things that you can do. I want to talk specifically—you mentioned on the intro: goal reviews. Now this is a really interesting one because Two-Brain recommends that you meet with clients every 90 days to review goals. It’s a noble idea. It’s very difficult for some people to do it because they just don’t commit to it. And then when you get larger client counts, it gets very hard to do unless you’re a great manager, and you get help. So, tell me how you’ve managed to do this because it’s driving your retention. I need to know.

Rune Larsen (04:53):
Yeah. And also, if you had to add to list of problems: If people haven’t been used to it for a long time, it’s also a new thing, so when you suggest it, it’s a better idea in your head than in theirs.

Mike Warkentin (05:06):
OK, so you’ve got to change the client. I mean, you have to change the client journey, right? Because they’re not used to doing this, and now you’re saying you need to meet with me every 90 days. Some of them will like, “Eh,” but others will realize, “Hey, this is added value, and I’m getting better service.” So, talk to me about everything involving goal reviews and retention at your gym.

Rune Larsen (05:22):
Yes. So also, for context, I’ve been with Two-Brain for now nearly two years now, or a little bit over two years. And one year ago, we had 50 goal reviews running, which means in a 90-day period, we will meet with 50 people. So that would, that would be a little over 10% at that point. And then we tried a lot of stuff. So, our client journey right now is up to two. We meet with our new clients one time per month for the first three months, and then afterward every 90 days. So, that is the plan right now. So how we came to that, because in the beginning, as noble as it seemed, I just, “OK. My CSM, can you please just reach out to the people and offer this crazy great idea?”

Rune Larsen (06:05):
So, we did the classic thing, just a Facebook post in our community group and say, “Just book, I’m here to help you.”

Mike Warkentin (16:13):
Did it work?

Rune Larsen (16:13):
We got like three bookings, I think. So, we got hurt. Our feelings got hurt. So, we were like, “OK, how do we—how can we get this thing rolling?” So, we started with the new clients because the new clients don’t have any habits yet, so we can just, “This is just how we do things.” And they’re like, “OK, well great. Let’s do that then.” They don’t have any way we usually do this. So, they were happy to do that. But still, on the No Sweat Intro side, which is a conversation I have with a newly or potentially new client before they start training at the gym, we have around five to 10 at that point per week.

Rune Larsen (06:55):
So it took some time to climb up to 50. It’s also—they have to sign up before getting enrolled, obviously. And at that point, we only talk to people every three months. So, what I did, nearly six months later or something like that, when we hit around the 50 mark is that I thought, “OK, well, what is the next great group to try to invite in? That is probably the members who have a hard time getting results or coming to the gym.” So, we started reaching out systematically to everyone who hasn’t been training for the past two weeks. And that’s also, by the way, retention-wise, very good to do because we had 400ish members at that point, and when we pulled the list, there were like a hundred people on that list. You know, maybe 20 of them were doing PT, so they do not check in, but that will still give us 80 people who haven’t been training for the past two weeks. So that was an eye-opener for me. So, I was like, “OK, let’s go call those people.”

Mike Warkentin (07:49):
That’s what? 8,000 euros in revenue too per month. Yeah.

Rune Larsen (07:52):
Yeah, exactly. So, we started calling them and enrolling in the goal review as well, but it took some time. So, I set a goal for my CSM that she has to add 15 meetings to a calendar every month. That’s the goal to do that. But then I saw it was still hard for her to do because, you know, she had to call people and then schedule a meeting, have the meeting, but also do a lot of other stuff. So, it was hard for her to do all that stuff. So, what I did is I took one of my coaches, and I signed them up to do the contact. So, actively reaching out to all of them. And that resulted in dropping the list from 80 at-risk members to sub 10. I think we have an average on seven people on that list now.

Mike Warkentin (08:35):
OK. Yeah. That’s impressive.

Rune Larsen (08:37):
Yeah. And again, for context, we had 120 list people, members at that point. So we have added 120 members since then, and we still only have seven on that list.

Mike Warkentin (08:47):
OK. So, listeners, I’m going to put this in perspective for you. If you’re not doing goal reviews, a great way to start is just to start doing them with new people coming in. Yes. They don’t know it’s new. They don’t know it’s different. They don’t know it’s weird. They just do that. That’s your client journey. It’s this large mass of people like at Rune’s gym, where they’re just doing this program and they—it’s expected, and you’re selling it. This is part of the value. You’re buying this attention to detail. You’re buying this consultation. It’s great. And Rune’s done an interesting thing too on these intakes: meeting with the clients every month in the first three months, then every 90 days after that. The cool part about that is that first 90-day period, that’s when your clients are most at risk.

Mike Warkentin (09:26):
Data shows that; they’re the most likely to leave. Everyone knows us in the fitness industry. If you can keep them for those first 90 days, you’ve got a really good shot at getting them into the past-a-year mark, and then even further. So, these are huge things. Next, and Rune did this very tactically, what is the next group of people that I’m going to start looking at? He looked at his at-risk people. That’s this huge pile of people who are not showing up regularly, not getting results. They’re almost out the door. Contact them, target them, get them doing something. You’re fixing your retention problem. From there, did you backfill then at that point and start looking at all your general members who are training and start putting goal reviews for them too?

Rune Larsen (10:02):
Yes. And we also saw the, the effects of what we were doing because suddenly newer members were getting greater results faster than all of the old members. So, after working on this in a year, we suddenly got the trust, and they were starting to feel they missed out on the opportunity. So, you know, all the members who in the beginning said, “No, thanks, I’m good,” they were probably like, “If they did not ask me.” But you know, when I asked them, they were like, “OK, maybe I should try this.”

Mike Warkentin (10:28):
Aha. So that’s a cool.

Rune Larsen (10:29):
So, it had an effect.

Mike Warkentin (10:30):
Very cool plan.

Rune Larsen (10:31):
Yeah. Yeah. So, it had some effect—not to at the same degree as reaching out to people. So what I did next is like, “OK, this has some potential. So just let’s get the coach even more time to call people.” So, it’s still in the same order. “So first you have to contact all new members. Second, you have to call at-risk. And third, if you have more time, please call all regular members.” So, this resulted in, three months ago when we started rolling out more on all members, we added 120 goal reviews in one month. So, before we were doing like 60 to 70ish because people also quit sometimes or cancel. I think we just hit 200 now.

Mike Warkentin (11:16):
Wow. So, you went from 50 goal reviews and then now to like 200 a month?

Rune Larsen (11:21):
For three months. Yeah.

Mike Warkentin (11:22):
For three months. OK. That’s incredible.

Rune Larsen (11:24):
It is unique booking. So, you know, if a client is a new client, they will have four booking, but we still only count them as one.

Mike Warkentin (11:30):
OK. Now what are you seeing in your metrics? Because like this is a large time commitment, and you have a person or people that are dedicated to doing this. And these meetings take time. Do you see the results in your metrics? Like, is your retention getting better? Is your client current increasing? I think it is, obviously. What others do you see? Like, is your revenue getting better? What do you see?

Rune Larsen (11:50):
Yes, it is. Our front-end revenue, which we define as everything sold other than memberships. To the conversations, that has gone dramatically up. I don’t—what is that in, in dollars? That would be $20,000, I think, per month we added extra. Not including the membership fees. So, yeah, that was good one. And then also our retention, obviously, length of engagement. We were pretty adverse before joining Two-Brain and doing things systematically. So, I think we were like 12 months at that point. And I set a three-year goal, which, “I would like to try to cross 20 months.” And we crossed that two months ago, I think. And that’s only one and a half years later. So, I need to set a new goal.

Mike Warkentin (12:41):
Wow. OK. So, your business is doing incredible things. You’re adding lots of members, you’re keeping them longer, and you’re selling more. Like this is kind of a rocketship.

Rune Larsen (12:48):
Yeah, and to be honest, I did not even try it because when I signed up for Two-Brain in the beginning when we did a lot of changes and raised some of the rates and introduced all this fancy stuff, the member count dropped dramatically. We were around 440 at that point, I think. And then we dropped to around 380ish and then I was just like, “OK, maybe it’s not doable to do all this stuff with so many people, and that’s OK because the memberships’ average price is going up as well, so that’s fine.” And then I didn’t even look at it for a year. I was just looking at revenue and length of engagements pretty much. And then one year later I looked and I’m like, “Wow, OK. I’m at 470 now. What happened?” I didn’t think that was possible.

Mike Warkentin (13:30):
Wow. OK. So that’s interesting. So, you trimmed people in the beginning. How much do you raise rates by?

Rune Larsen (13:35):
We’ve done between one time per year for the past four years, and we raised them with like 30%, 40%, 20%. And now we did a little one on 13%, I think.

Mike Warkentin (13:49):
OK. So slightly painful to start. You lose a few people, but long-term, now your business is stronger because you’re bringing in new people at those higher rates. Correct?

Rune Larsen (13:57):
Yes. Yes. Yeah. They also stay longer.

Mike Warkentin (13:58):
And this is huge, and they stay longer. So that’s interesting. So, while, I mean, I have so many questions for you here, but what I’m going to—I’m going to ask you this one because I’m sure people are asking about it now: How are you finding these people? So, you’re adding lots of people, and you’re bringing them in at a higher rate than you did before. How are you finding these people and getting them into your business?

Rune Larsen (14:17):
Yeah. Well, normally we have—I try to get as many streams as possible. But our most common is Facebook ads. They are working very great. We have some organic where we reach out to local Facebook communities in our area, especially when we’re starting our instruction courses, which is a six-week course. Referrals obviously, but we could do more of that, but we can see the last—what’s the name of that? You know, just the one training event we did at New Year’s Eve. We had 120 people coming in to one workout. So, I’m like, “OK, if 20%, 25% of all my members want to come, I’m doing something right here.” So, I could work more on retention—or sorry, referrals—but I don’t, at the moment, at least. We have built some lead magnets that we are also using. And then I just spent a lot of time getting better at marketing last year. So, this January we hit jackpot. So, I think at a normal month, we get around 30 leads, but the 100% correct number is last month we got 221 leads, which resulted in 55 members.

Mike Warkentin (15:36):
Wow. OK.

Rune Larsen (15:37):
Yeah, that was a big one.

Mike Warkentin (15:38):
Listeners, I’m just going to point out to you that every time I ask Rune a question, he’s giving me actual numbers and data. And this is incredible, because back when I was running a gym, I wouldn’t have had a clue like, “Oh, I think we got three members last month.” No idea. These are hard numbers that are coming. He’s literally looking over there and telling me the numbers and the progressions of what he is done in his business. If you want to take one step toward being a better gym owner today, start looking at your numbers and just start on one number. If you want, focus on retention, focus on other things, length of engagement, focus on some numbers, and start tracking those numbers. That is like the number one thing I might give you to take out of the show is look at your numbers. Rune, how do you—all these numbers you’re giving me are huge. You must have an incredible bunch of systems that back up everything in your gym. Because if you don’t, I imagine the whole thing just falls apart. Like, I could never have managed 400 members. Like, how have you systemized everything so that things don’t fall apart?

Rune Larsen (16:30):
I’ve tried a lot of stuff. Yeah. One of the key takeaways I had last year was, I tried to educate my staff in doing a bunch of stuff, especially with some of my PTs to get them better at selling more PTs or retain the clients for longer, stuff like that. But the lesson was do not put your best person on your biggest problem. Put them on your best opportunities instead. So, I tried to instead just find out what are my coaches’ or employees’ passions and just give them like 10 times more of that and divide the task between them in that way. So that really—things started to take off when I did that.

Mike Warkentin (17:09):
Yeah. Do you have a big staff playbook, and do you have precise job descriptions? Roles and responsibilities? All of it. Yeah?

Rune Larsen (17:14):
Yes. Yes, we do. Yes, we do. And I also have weekly meetings with my staff. I have a team meeting where we discuss some of the KPIs that we’re looking at at the moment and how things are going. Obviously one time a month we are looking at the gym’s numbers: Are we hitting targets? Stuff like that. But also having a one-to-one with my full-time coaches every week—we just ask them how things going. “Can I support you in any way, or do you need more help on anything?” That is also helping them a lot, I think.

Mike Warkentin (17:43):
OK, every successful gym owner that comes on the show, when I ask them if they have systems and playbooks, they say, “Yes.” That happens every single time. No one’s like, “No, I just wing it.” Every single person says, “I have a system.” So, if you’re listening, you don’t have a system, you want to be successful, get some systems in place. Start with roles and responsibilities: Who does what in your gym, and when do they do it? And what is a 10 out of 10? That’s a great start. So, Rune, you talked about you’ve got all these clients. Do you have a rough breakdown of how many are doing just group training? How many are doing PT? Like do you have an idea of what your client list looks like and who does what?

Rune Larsen (18:15):
Yes. Pretty much perfectly. We have 25% of our revenue coming from PT or small group.

Mike Warkentin (18:22):
OK. So, it’s not just—they’re not funneling tons of people just into group training. You actually have a very high percentage, like if you’ve got 500 members, 125 or so are doing PT. OK. So that’s interesting. And PT, talk to me a little bit about PT rates in Europe, in Denmark: Are they lower, as in relation to the group training? Or how does that reflect based on what you see elsewhere? Like in North America, our PT rate might be $75.

Rune Larsen (18:47):
Yeah. Then we’re higher than that. What would that be in dollars? Just a moment.

Mike Warkentin (18:51):
I don’t know the conversion. I can pull it up if you’re not doing it.

Rune Larsen (18:53):
I’ll just do it.

Mike Warkentin (18:54):
See, he Rune’s the numbers guy. He’s just cracking these things out faster than I can do it.

Rune Larsen (18:59):
Yeah. One session is $130.

Mike Warkentin (19:01):
Really. So, that’s interesting. So, your group training rates in Denmark are lower. It’s very cheap. Yeah. But your PT rates are higher.

Rune Larsen (19:09):
It’s higher. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Mike Warkentin (19:10):
OK. That’s fascinating. Why is that? Do you know?

Rune Larsen (19:14):
I think it’s the history in Denmark. We had a lot, a long euro of bigger players, just, driving down prices. And then we also have some non-profits organizations here in Denmark; a lot of them you can sign up for an entire year at a gym for like $30 or something like that because it’s good for wellbeing, and obviously it is. But people just see this membership. So, I think that when private gyms start popping up, they were too afraid to set the rate as they should. So, I’m trying to climb the ladder as fast as I possibly think I can. But the PT is what can build a career for my coaches.

Mike Warkentin (19:56):
Yeah. So, you—I mean, I was really curious about this because often when we see huge client counts in gyms, we all think these are all just group members, right? So, we think, “Oh, there’s 500 group members funneled into classes.” Like these giant 30-person group classes, but you’ve actually got 25% that are just doing PT, and that PT rate is—

Rune Larsen (20:12):
Well, hybrid.

Mike Warkentin (20:13):
—huge. Hybrid even. So, talk to me about the hybrid because your PT rate is huge. So, what’s a hybrid membership? How is that structured, and what does it cost there?

Rune Larsen (20:19):
We don’t have a fixed cost on a hybrid membership. OK. But we just try to bring in as many meaningful products or services as we can for our client avatar. So, we do the prescriptive model, which is just asking everyone who signs up, “What do you need?” And obviously a lot of stuff on why they need it, who they are, where they’re at, stuff like that. So, we can make a plan for them. So sometimes it will include nutrition, sometimes it’ll include PT, flexibility, group classes, coaching, stuff like that. So, hybrid is just because we build a lot of individual programs for people. So, of course we’re going to need different stuff.

Mike Warkentin (20:59):
So what would hybrid membership rates—give me a bracket as to high and low? What would kind of averages be? I love that I can just—you’re like ChatGPT for gym owners here. I can just ask you anything. And you’ve got the numbers. I’m having a good time with this.

Rune Larsen (21:12):
So, that would be $900 dollars a month.

Mike Warkentin (21:18):
Whoa. So, this is incredible. So, your average revenue—I’m guessing over the last two years, your average revenue just went up like a rocket.

Rune Larsen (21:25):
It did. Yeah. Yeah, it did. Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Warkentin (21:26):
Do you have any—

Rune Larsen (21:27):
Like—what? Sorry.

Mike Warkentin (21:28):
No, go ahead. You were just going to tell me what I was going to ask.

Rune Larsen (21:31):
Yeah, yeah. I don’t know the numbers without doing the conversion. So yeah, an easy way to say it. I’d say that our membership or the average revenue per member was like 80% of our standout gym membership because we have some kids’ programming or some other way that has driven it down. So, on average on 80%, but now our average is 125% because of people are buying so much. So, it has been raised by 45 percent points.

Mike Warkentin (21:58):
Wow. That is impressive.

Rune Larsen (21:59):
Over the course of two years. Yeah.

Mike Warkentin (22:01):
OK. So, I have to ask you this one: Is there a limit to how many people you can service in your gym? What’s the top end of this? When does it start to break down? Or when are there too many or ever?

Rune Larsen (22:10):
Yeah. Well, I’d say at 300 people because I thought that, but obviously I was wrong. So no, I don’t think there’s a limit.

Mike Warkentin (22:16):
OK because it’s crazy. There are a lot—it’s so rare to see gigantic gyms. And we know from the data—we published this in our state of the industry guide—there aren’t a ton of gyms that are running exactly what you’re doing. Big, big membership counts always require these incredible systems. And I talked to a gym owner in Chile about this. He has, I think, 1,000 members. And he talked—he has to have systems and staff and so forth. So, it’s—I mean, you are obviously a CEO, or you’re putting together a team. You are not just sitting there coaching squats. Like do you coach any classes at all in the gym now?

Rune Larsen (22:47):
I have one class per week. And then I think I have six hours of PT, and that’s a little bit too many, to be honest. But I had to take on some clients because I couldn’t say no. They were very interesting people. I wanted them. So, my ego, you know. But I’d like to coach between one to three hours per week at the maximum. So because—

Mike Warkentin (23:09):
I don’t know, me—oh, sorry, go ahead.

Rune Larsen (23:11):
Yeah, I have to stand it at some point, you know, help them or things will happen, but I need to spend my time on other stuff. I figured out over the time.

Mike Warkentin (23:20):
So like maybe, I don’t know, are you spending maybe 15, 20% of your time coaching and 80% of your time being the CEO?

Rune Larsen (23:25):
Yes. Yeah. And nearly maybe even 90%. Yes.

Mike Warkentin (23:29):
OK, so that’s good. Let me ask you this. So, gym owners out there—there’s so many of them—will say, “I want to have 400 clients; I want to have 500 clients.” What would you tell them? Would you say that’s a great idea? Or what would you—what advice would you give them to get them moving in the right direction, the right way? Because a lot of people will just say, “I want 500 clients. I’m going to fill my gym, and I’m not going to focus on retention or goal reviews or any of the structures.” How should they approach a large number?

Rune Larsen (23:51):
They should focus on retention. And one of the best ways is to build staff as soon as possible. especially when talking about the CSM role because it is the fastest paying itself back role I could ever imagine in the gym. And when I figured out how easy—of course it’s not easy, but you know—how fast we got 200 goal reviews. It took—like when I figured out how it only took me three months. If I can do other people can too. So, it is so fast to fill up a schedule. The CSM will have stuff to do. Do not worry about “Do I even have enough?” Yes, you have.

Mike Warkentin (24:31):
And remember listeners, Rune mentioned earlier, he gave his CSM targets and said, “I want you to add this many goal reviews each month.” And actually tracking the metrics and saying, “Is this successful? Are we moving in the right direction? What happens?” And I’ll give you another couple of stats, guys. I believe the numbers are 30% of clients who do goal reviews will upgrade their service packages by about 30%. Meaning that you’re going to get retention, but they’re also going to buy more stuff. Have you seen that Rune? Yeah.

Rune Larsen (24:55):
Yeah, definitely. An average of 30% seems fair.

Mike Warkentin (25:00):
Yeah. And that’s just a general one. It’s going to vary a little bit between gyms, but you’re going to get retention, longer length of engagement from these goal review sessions. And then some people are going to say, “Oh, I can book PT sessions to lose weight faster? I’m going to do that.” And they start spending more. In Rune’s case, this is like a huge deal because that PT session is $130. Right. So, your revenue—so anytime you talk to a client or your CSM talks to a client, and they upgrade into a PT thing, your average revenue just goes, “Pew!”

Rune Larsen (25:27):
Exactly. It’s both a short-term play to add the CSM because of the how fast the role makes sense, but it’s also a long-term play when you work on retention and when you have a gym where you actually care about people because the selling part becomes easier and easier. We have seen with at least 20 clients over the course of the last two years, when you talk to them and ask, “What do you want to accomplish?” And then we make a plan, but they end up saying, “But I want to do it myself because it seems pretty expensive,” and that’s totally fine, then do this. And then when you talk to people every quarter, and they have to come back to you all times in a row and say, “I didn’t do it this time. I didn’t do it this time.” Well, one year after you can actually look them in the eye and say, “OK, I care so much that you are not going to leave this room before you sign some PT with me because obviously you’re not going to do it alone.” And that’s just the easiest sell you can ever do.

Mike Warkentin (26:20):
Wow. But you have to have that relationship, and you have to know this stuff. So, those goal reviews and those check-ins are essential.

Rune Larsen (26:26):
Yeah. Yeah. And it is a part of having a little private gym.

Mike Warkentin (26:30):
Wow. I could ask you questions for an hour, but I don’t want to overwhelm listeners. So, what I’m going to do is going to wrap this up, and I’m going to give them a couple things to think about based on what you’ve said. You’ve mentioned, as a gym with a huge client count that’s growing, the most important thing is retention. So, listeners, if you take nothing from this today, refocus on retaining your clients. The best way to do that is going to be to talk to them one-on-one regularly—every month, every 90 days, as much as you can. If you find that overwhelming, what Rune’s done is hired a client success manager and put target metrics in place. “Do this many check-ins this way.” And when you bring new clients in, use this prescriptive model; I’ll put a link to the show notes to the exact definition of how this works. So, you can look at it, meet with clients, ask them about their goals, tell them the best prescription. You may have to adjust that prescription based on price, but you might not. From there, meet with them regularly. Are you accomplishing the goals that you set earlier? If no, buy this, change this, do this. If yes, let’s go further faster. Does that reflect your implementation of the prescriptive model?

Rune Larsen (27:34):
It does. Yes, it does. And again, you need systems because if you have that many clients in a row, you have to remember what we talked about last time to help them better.

Mike Warkentin (27:43):
Especially as it grows. So, I mean, have you—as you’ve grown, have you noticed that your systems maybe break a little bit as you hit certain numbers, and you have to fix things? Or have they been just airtight the whole way?

Rune Larsen (27:54):
No, we have made mistakes a lot of times. So, you know, we build a system that is, “OK, this is airtight.” Yeah. Well, only up to 30. New system: up to 60. OK. New system. So, every time we add more people, we had to find something new. But right now, we are doing quite well. So, the plan now is to build—I didn’t actually think that we’d hit 200, but, again, last month was crazy. So, I have to look for another CSM now because the plan was to hit just below 200 and then add another one. So now I’m a little behind on that one because things went too fast. So, she’s going to need a partner now.

Mike Warkentin (28:31):
OK. And I’ve heard this from other gym owners that the retention and this whole process is that important. It may require a couple of people, but the cool part—and you’ve said it and other people have said it—this is not an expense, it’s actually an investment because you’re seeing the numbers move as a result of this investment in staffing. You’ve seen that and tracked it, right?

Rune Larsen (28:49):
Yes, yes. And not only for the gym, also for the coaches who are making this for a living. Again, if you put the best person on the biggest opportunities, what we’ve seen is some of the coaches who really love coaching, when they have a client for like three months or so, when they ask them if they’d like to continue, some of them will say, “No, thanks, I’m done for now.” But if we are, like, “I don’t believe that; there has to be something wrong,” If my CSM just contacts them and in a very honest way, ask them, “Are you sure you don’t want this?” 50% of the time, they want to keep on going anyway. So, the CSM is also holding a hand on all of my full-time coaches.

Mike Warkentin (29:27):
Oh man, Rune, I think you get the award already in 2024 of having the most metrics on command at the drop of a hat from any gym on an interview. Thank you so much for that.

Rune Larsen (29:39):
Of course.

Mike Warkentin (29:40):
Listeners, focus on your retention systems. There’s a ton of great info in here, but I’m just going to leave you with that. Focus on retention systems. If you do that, your client count will go up. Your average revenue per member will go up. Length of engagement will go up. Everything will change if you keep more members longer and talk to them more often. Rune, thank you so much for being here today. This was a great episode packed with data. I can’t thank you enough for it.

Rune Larsen (30:02):
Happy to be here.

Mike Warkentin (30:03):
This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” I’m your host, Mike Warkentin, and if you want to talk about more things and find out more stuff from the gym world, head to gymownersunited.com. That’s the place where you can continue this conversation. Get free guides from Chris Cooper and get advice from Two-Brain mentors. Gymownersunited.com. Thank you so much.

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