The Biggest Threat to Microgyms (and How to Deal With It)

The Biggest Threat to Microgyms (and How to Deal With It)

Chris Cooper (00:02):
This sounds obvious, but most people don’t do it: You need to measure your client’s goals. They might not actually be getting anywhere. I’m Chris Cooper. I’m the founder of Two-Brain Business, and today I want to talk about goal reviews and why you need to do them if you run a coaching business. If this is helpful to you, just hit subscribe on this channel or join if you’d like to chat about it. It’s a free public Facebook group that we operate with moderators, and we are in there every day to talk about things like goal reviews and how to do them. So the biggest threat to microgyms and CrossFit affiliates isn’t their inability to get new clients. It’s the inability to keep the clients that they have. It’s not marketing. It’s churn. The industry average retention for a microgym is 7.8 months.

Chris Cooper (00:51):
That’s not long enough. 7.8 months is not long enough to change a client’s life. When a client is coming in and entrusting you with helping them lose weight, improve all their health markers, feel better, get more energy, be more happy, and they are leaving after eight months, it’s not because  they said “mission accomplished.” It’s because you’re not delivering what they thought they were buying. They’re not getting results, in other words. So today I wanna tell you why goal reviews are so important, what the data says about doing goal reviews, and exactly how to do them. A goal review is part of what we call the “prescriptive model” at Two-Brain Business. So you start with a consultative process: “What are your goals?” Then you make a prescription: “Here is how my service can get you to those goals.” And then the goal review is your follow-up: “Your first goal review happens after your on-ramp program.”

Chris Cooper (01:42):
When you meet a client, you say, “Are you perfectly happy with your progress?” You celebrate their wins, you might ask for a referral, and you make their first exercise and nutrition prescription from there. So your prescription is now based on the client knowing the basics and moving pretty well. Thanks to your on-ramp program, you’ve seen what they’re capable of, you’ve seen what their limitations are, and you, as a highly qualified, educated, and skilled coach, can now say, “I think you should exercise three times per week or four times per week,” or, “You should follow this nutrition program to meet your goals.” Remember, you’ve already asked about their goals—because you didn’t just do a free trial where you threw them into your spin class, jiu-jitsu program or CrossFit group. You talked to them about what they actually want to achieve because you’re a caring and empathetic and professional coach.

Chris Cooper (02:33):
So at this first goal review, you say, “Okay, based on your goals, your best prescription is to do this much exercise and this type of nutrition.” Then you say to the client, “Would you feel most comfortable doing this exercise in a group setting or one-on-one with me?” Then you might ask the client, “Would you feel most comfortable following a nutrition plan on your own or having periodic check-ins daily or weekly?”—whatever you wanna offer for that client or what they prefer. You can say, “Here is what I recommend for you,” and that’s the first time you ever open up your pricing binder and say, “Here is what you should buy.” Because this is the first time when you’re actually qualified to say, “Here’s what I recommend.” Okay, you’ve been through on-ramp, and you’ve made your recommendations three months down the track. You have to actually check to make sure that your recommendations are correct.

Chris Cooper (03:31):
Now look, nobody expects you to be bang on with your recommendations right from the get-go. If that were the case, then you would just be selling programs because you know the answer all the time. But your value as a coach is not just in prescription. It’s also in auditing. “Did that work?” Think about any health-care professional. They’re going to make a prescription, and then they’re going to make an appointment with you to follow up and make sure that it’s working. So, for example, your doctor says, “Hmm, I think we should try Lipitor. Let’s do a three-month program on Lipitor, and then we’re gonna get back together. We’re gonna check your blood-lipid profile again, and we’re gonna see if it’s working.” Right? Because that’s what professionals do. Nobody says, “Oh, my doctor got it wrong. I’m finding a new doctor.”

Chris Cooper (04:18):
Instead, they’re more invested in the doctor after the second visit because now they know what doesn’t work. And the doctor could say, “Okay, Lipitor didn’t really work. Let’s try something else.” They have invested with that doctor already. They have sunk costs in that relationship. And so over time, as your prescription gets better and better through this process of prescription and audit, you actually become more valuable to the client because they don’t have to start over with somebody else. And so your goal review is really a measurement of the thing that they care about. First, if the client came in and said, “My primary goal is to lose weight,” then you measure their weight at intake and you measure it at your first goal review three months later. Then you say, “Congratulations! You have made all this progress. I’m so happy for you. There are so many other people who would love to do what you’ve done.”

Chris Cooper (05:11):
And you pull out your camera and you say, “Can you give them some advice? What advice would you give to the person you were three months ago?” Just turn on the camera and let them talk. You can publish that media. You can brag them up. You’ll be doing them the greatest favor of their lives because nobody else is concerned about making them famous. That’s just you. Brag ’em up and put the spotlight on them. So, after that, then you pivot to “are you completely satisfied with these results?” And if the client says, “Yes, I am,” then you say, “Amazing. Let’s keep going on this path for three months. But no prescription will last forever. And so in three months I want to get together again and audit your progress. And if we have to do something a little different, then than we will. But for now, things are amazing. Congratulations! High five!”

Chris Cooper (05:58):
And you send them back to what they’ve been doing. What you’ve basically done here is sold them on another three-month contract without making them sign a contract. If the client says, “No, I’m not perfectly happy,” you’ve got a chance to save that relationship. If you’re not doing goal reviews and the client is thinking “I’m not perfectly happy,” what will they do? Well, they’ll leave. They’ll try and find something else that will make them perfectly happy. But if you’re doing a goal review, you’re in front of the problem and you’re part of the solution. And so now you can say, “Great. Let’s look at this. So you’re making some progress, but you’d like to make progress faster. Is that right?” If the client says “yes,” you say, “Great. If I were in your shoes and I wanted to speed up my progress, here’s exactly what I would do.”

Chris Cooper (06:43):
And you make another coaching prescription based on the faster path. That might mean a nutrition program. It might mean more classes. It might mean adding some personal training or work in a specialty group. Your purpose at the goal review is not “I’m gonna upsell everybody,” but let’s face it, that happens a lot because clients say, “I’m happy with my progress, but I wanna go faster. What do I do?” And so around 30% of the time, your clients will upgrade to a membership that’s about 30% more expensive. That means that when you go through goal reviews with your gym, you can see a 9% increase in revenue simply by giving people what they want. It’s not a sales pitch. You don’t have to feel bad about this. It’s professional coaching. And so after you’ve made that prescription, you say, “Okay, now the rate to follow this faster path is X.”

Chris Cooper (07:39):
And if the client says, “I can’t afford it,” then you say, “Okay, well, we’re making progress the way we are. Why don’t we stick with what we’re doing?” And they say, “Okay, yeah, let’s do another three months.” Boom—you’ve kept that client instead of having them guessing and going to try Pilates down the street. The last valuable piece of goal review is as an audit to yourself. If you’ve got a succession of clients and they’re not making progress, that is when you audit your programming. If you find that a lot of people in their goal reviews say, “You know what? I’m really not losing weight,” then you need to tweak your programming. Doing good programming is not just a matter of finding the spiciest workouts out there. It’s not just a matter of getting a master’s degree or a PhD. It’s a matter of auditing.

Chris Cooper (08:25):
The reality is that you don’t need fancier programming. You don’t need more complicated programming. You might not even need harder programming. You might switch to heart-rate-based programming or you might not. You don’t need to copy Games programming or anybody else. All you have to do is check to see “is my programming working?” And if it is, double down. If it’s not, change it. And that’s where the goal-review process comes in. Frankly, coaches who aren’t reviewing their client’s progress are really doing them a disservice because they’re not changing what the client gets, how it’s delivered or the programming. They’re just kind of like hoping that things automatically change for their client over time. Or, even worse, they’re telling their clients to go harder in their diet or their exercise. That’s usually not the solution. And so that’s why we like doing goal reviews. We like to do goal reviews quarterly if possible.

Chris Cooper (09:18):
If you can only do them twice a year, that’s fine. But just start with new clients coming in. Tell them “we’ve got your first goal review planned for the 90-day mark,” or whatever it is. We give clients in Two-Brain, a sample client journey that just helps them map all these things out in advance. They don’t have to make it up. They don’t have to guess. They could even copy our automated texts and emails and send those to their clients. But they know exactly what to do to keep the client around long term. So last piece: doing goal reviews and a consultative on-ramp process and on-ramp doubles the lifespan of every client at your gym. It brings them close to two years, at which point you know you’ve changed their life. It also increases client value from under a hundred dollars a month to $185 per month, which is like the Two-Brain average. And, most importantly, make sure that the client is changing their life. Look, if you’ve been doing this for a long time, you’ve probably got clients in your gym who made amazing initial progress, and that progress is kind of tapered off now. What you need to do is have a conversation with them and make a new prescription instead of just waiting for them to quit.

Announcer (10:28):
Thanks for listening to “Run a Profitable Gym.” Please subscribe for more episodes. Now here’s a final message from Chris.

Chris Cooper (10:35):
We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group in 2020 to help entrepreneurs just like you. Now, it has more than 5,600 members, and it’s growing daily as gym owners join us for tips, tactics and community support. If you aren’t in that group, what are you waiting for? Get in there today so we can network and grow your business. That’s Gym Owners United on Facebook or Join today.

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