Podcast: The Top Books of 2019 for Gym Owners—Chris Cooper’s List

Podcast: The Top Books of 2019 for Gym Owners—Chris Cooper’s List

Andrew: 00:02 – Did you ever want to take a peek at Chris Cooper’s bookshelf? Well, today’s your lucky day. In this episode of Two-Brain Radio, Chris shares his favorite reads for 2019 and a few books he didn’t really like. Find out which books changed his life or which books he put down halfway. Here’s Chris with his definitive list of books for gym owners.

Chris: 00:17 – Over a decade ago, I realized that my job had changed. I was no longer an employed personal trainer, but a business owner. The next epiphany was that my knowledge was asymmetrical. I knew a lot about fitness and exercise science, but almost nothing about business. I’ve always read for at least an hour every single day, but my crazy lifestyle was squeezing out my reading time. I’d be in my truck by 4:30 AM to get to the gym and I wouldn’t get home until about 10:00 PM. I collapsed into bed without reading a word. Then a friend turned me on to Audible. I bought a Seth Godin book and I started to translate what I learned from general to specific. I wrote about how I would use SASS material, in my gym, publish more content, and I did the same for other authors and I started to churn through books pretty quickly. But I still made two rookie mistakes that cost me a ton of time.

Chris: 01:11 – I made myself finish every book before starting the next, and I also thought it was best to get a ton of different books instead of focusing really, really hard on a few. In other words, I was focused on volume instead of intensity. Naval Ravikant recently tweeted, “The smarter you get, the slower you read.” That was interesting, but not true for me in all cases. Sometimes I can read the first few chapters of a book and skip the rest, as in David Goggins’ book, which I’ll talk about next. Sometimes I think it’s better to reread a great book and pick up the smaller pebbles that I missed than to buy a new one. I listened to resilience over again every single year. For example, the hard part isn’t finding a good book. The hard part now is finding the right book at the right time and catching the most important message for you.

Chris: 02:00 – There are now a handful of services selling 10-minute versions of top books. I actually wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to filter huge ideas according to when the entrepreneur can benefit from the most. So before we get into the top 10 list, here are my top tips for buying and learning from books. Number one: 80% of the time, buy the audio version. 20% of the time, buy the print version. For instance, the first chapter of “Scaling Up” is almost impossible to follow an audio you have to buy the print version. On the other hand, any of Nassim Taleb’s books are far more entertaining is audio number two. Don’t be scared to buy multiple copies. I found myself lending out “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” to everyone and never having a copy on hand. Now if you visit the workshop here, you’ll see 20 copies of that book, 20 copies of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and 20 copies of “Never Split the Difference” on my shelves.

Chris: 03:02 – I hand them out to nearly everyone. My nieces and nephews have stacks of books from uncle Chris by now. Third, don’t place a budget on books like mentorship. You’ll get personal growth from books, but your business will pay for it. Every book is a tax-free life-changing event. Number four, there’s no such thing as a bad book, but don’t get buried. Overwhelm leads to paralysis. After you take our “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” test, make the best choices based on your current phase of entrepreneurship. Read what’s right for you. Now, number five, it’s better to retain a little and to read a lot. To make the messages from each book stick, I have to teach them back to myself. That means talking about them with other people or just blogging about them in my own words. That’s why I started my original blog, Don’tbuyads.com, back in 2009, to make the lessons I was learning stick better.

Chris: 03:58 – It works. Even if you don’t publish a blog about the books. If you take your own notes, you’ll retain the information a lot better. So here are the top 11: Number one, “This Is Marketing” by Seth Godin. Seth is trendproof. He got that way by teaching principles instead of tactics. While we, the folks in the trenches, can be swayed by sexy business fads like Facebook marketing, office culture and personality testing, I always come back to Seth’s message of authenticity and relationships, and the experts always come back too. Facebook now says that building a content platform is critical for paid lead generation to be successful, for instance. “This Is Marketing” is possibly Seth’s most specific book and it’s required reading for anyone who wants to succeed at the long game, seriously buy it. I recommend it for founders, farmers, tinkers and thieves, any phase of entrepreneurship.

Chris: 04:54 – Number two: “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish. It’s rare for an author to say, if you buy this book, you don’t have to read my other books, but that’s what attracted me to scaling up in the first place. As an author, I sometimes wish I could go back and rewrite “Two-Brain Business” or even take it off the shelves because “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” is so much better. “Scaling Up” is a step-by-step process for growing your business as a CEO. I recommend it for farmers who are preparing to be tinkers. The third book is “Never Lose a Customer Again” by Joey Coleman. The key to business growth isn’t customer acquisition. It’s customer retention. Habits are formed slowly. Coleman believes they require a careful nurturing over a hundred days. The book focuses on mapping the client journey in your business and then digging really deep into the first hundred days. We teach the client journey map in the Two-Brain Incubator and our focus has always been on retention before marketing. We want a sticky web before we start bringing flies into it. So this is a book every gym owner should read and I recommend it for founders and farmers.

Chris: 06:09 – The next book is “Leadershift” by John Maxwell. Most business books focus on what can you change, add or improve, but Maxwell’s books tend to focus on the how, how to lead through change, how to inspire others to stay on the bus when the destination isn’t clear, and how to help people grow as leaders. In fact, many of the other books on this list borrow from Maxwell’s earlier work. They’ll say things like, a leader’s job is to create leaders and other maxims that originally came from Maxwell. So reading Maxwell is going back to the source in many cases, the hard part of shifting from farmer phase to tinker phase isn’t the money. It’s the leveling up from boss to leader. Very few of us have the education experience or practice necessary to do so when the time comes. So we have to learn on lessons learned in the trenches from guys like Maxwell.

Chris: 07:04 – Half of the value of his books is in the content. The other half is in the delivery. Maxwell doesn’t bury you in statistics. Most of his teaching comes from stories. You can learn a lot about leadership just by observing how he leads his audience. I recommend “Leadershift” for farmers and tinkers. Next is “The Courage to Be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi. This book isn’t really about being disliked. It’s really about Joseph Adler, who wrote that every problem is an interpersonal relationship problem. Adler was a contemporary of Freud, but they thought about things differently and this book digs deep into Adlerian psychology and gives entrepreneurs really solid tools for having tough conversations, for relating to staff better and for knowing when to draw a really clear lines. For me, the book helped me realize that being clear isn’t harsh. It’s actually doing everyone a favor. I recommend the courage to be disliked for tinkers.

Chris: 08:07 – The next book is “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It” by Chris Voss. Now it’s really rare for business books to be directive. It’s tough to write a directive book. Most teach broad concepts and ideas, and good entrepreneurs are left to figure out how to apply them in their own businesses. I try to write directive books like do exactly this in this order, but never split. The difference is a directive book covering one of the hardest topics of all really hard conversations when there’s a lot on the line. Voss was a hostage negotiator for the FBI, so he knows what he’s talking about. We lean heavily on Voss’ lessons when we’re guiding entrepreneurs through rate increases through firing staff or removing tough clients. I keep 20 copies of this book in my office and frequently ship a copy to my own mentorship clients. Like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” I give a copy of this book to kids in my family when they turn 18. This book is so important that we’re bringing Chris Voss in to deliver the keynote speech at the Two-Brain summit in 2020. I recommend “Never Split the Difference” for founders and farmers. The next book is “Clockwork” by Mike Michalowicz. Now, I think it’s been a few years since I published a list that didn’t have Mike Michalowicz on it. The books are funny and they’re easy to read and they always include at least one key concept that changes the way you look at business. In “The Pumpkin Plan,” Michalowicz taught us how to identify and keep our best clients and build our businesses around them. In “Profit First,” he taught us how to make sure we got paid. Kind of a big deal. In “Clockwork,” I think Michalowicz’s his biggest idea is the queen bee role, QBR.

Chris: 09:56 – Now a CEO should narrow his or her focus to doing the one thing that grows the company. For me that’s thinking and then writing about it. That’s hard for people to understand. Many people think I’m riding my bike for fun or hiding in my office when the door is closed, but really the more time I spend getting into flow state, staying in flow state and publishing content, the better my business grows. That’s my queen bee role. I recommend “Clockwork” for tinkers with a special emphasis on the section of the book talking about the QBR. The next book is called “Reboot” by Jerry Colonna. I often say that the people who got you here might not get you there, but what if that person’s you? The founder’s lifestyle, long hours alone, working with single-minded focus, that can harm relationships and business. Ultimately, entrepreneurs need completely different skill sets, like the ability to lead a team and trust that their vision will be fulfilled.

Chris: 10:55 – But the things that made them great in founder phase are probably harmful in farmer phase, so they need to reboot. Jerry Colonna is called the CEO whisper in his Amazon profile and he often actually winds up whispering in the book. It’s a guided journey through your demons, your ego, and your weaknesses and his directive. There are specific exercises and assignments to help you take the first steps to bettering yourself. I’ve never found a book that gave me a sense of therapy, but beneath all the habits, skills and knowledge is you and you’re not perfect. So this book tells you how to deal with that, how to fix your problems, and how to grow as a person. And I recommend it for tinkers. The next book is “The Alter Ego Effect” by Todd Herman. In 2018, I identified that I wasn’t equipped to lead a rapidly growing international company.

Chris: 11:46 – So I started seeking mentors to help me learn to lead. I changed my worldview and habits significantly, had some hard conversations and took some bold risks, but it was exhausting. And boss Chris wasn’t really the person I wanted to be at home. So Herman’s book made me ask, can I be the CEO part time and then shed that skin when I don’t need it? According to the book, you can. And Herman shares a ton of examples that show how celebrities and athletes have used the alter ego effect to do the same thing. We introduced the concept to gym owners as part of their sales training. Herman originally tested the method when he was selling personal training, so it’s a great fit. It’s definitely a useful tactic and I signed up for Herman’s one-on-one guidance because the book was so powerful. The hard part is switching into and out of an alter ego, but you know like fitness, it takes practice.

Chris: 12:42 – So Herman uses totems at home to switch into dad mode ,like he puts on a special bracelet that his daughter made for him to remind him that now he’s the dad and not the CEO. I recommend the alter ego effect for farmers. The next book is “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson. Now, this isn’t promoted as a business book, but few books make me pull my truck to the side of the road and say, holy shit. So I included it, and the message definitely has bearing on you as a leader in the public eye. Jordan Peterson is a polarizing guy. I wondered what’s this book or this guy actually saying, and that’s why I read the book in the first place. But the book itself is an epiphany. I recommend to everyone. Make your kids strong, not safe, is a transcendent lesson that every leader can use.

Chris: 13:28 – Just replace kids with business or relationship or whatever. And Peterson models that strong, not safe approach to life. He’s attacked in the media pretty often for being anti whatever, but his critics almost always take his message out of context to further their cause. Peterson is an example of standing up for your beliefs and also a warning. If you say this is wrong when you disagree with a popular trend, you’ll attract criticism in volumes. Not everybody can handle that. I certainly couldn’t take the storm of hate that Peterson deals with every single day, but I recommend the book for everyone because I know you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. The next book is “Turning the Flywheel” by Jim Collins. Now Collins doesn’t publish off. He doesn’t even appear on podcasts often and he rarely takes the stage, but when he talks, everyone listens. “Turning the Flywheel” was a curiosity buy. I really loved “Good to Great,” “Great By Choice” and “Built to Last,” and I wondered what a monograph meant to Collins, which is what he calls a turning a flywheel, but it’s really a how-to book. His previous books had so many huge concepts that he needed something to tie them all together. So don’t read this until you’ve read at least three of his other books. But when you have, this book is an inspiration. It’s recommended for farmers and tinkers. And that’s the top 11. Now, there were some honorable mentions that I also read in 2019. For example, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. Because we’re in the business of behavioral change, “Atomic Habits” is a more useful tool for a fitness coach than almost any fitness book. It’s directive and if coaches simply copied his model with their clients, they’d make more money for longer. Most of the big ideas are front loaded, so this is a really quick read.

Chris: 15:19 – For example, even if you just read about streaks, you’ll understand the value of talking to your clients every single day when they’re getting started. Another honorable mention is “Turn the Ship Around” by David Marquet. It’s a great story about creating change in a change-resistant environment like the US Navy. The typical model of submarine command depends on one leader rigorously enforcing predetermined rules, but Marquet pivoted, which is tough to do in the Navy, and eventually got buy in from his crew. The best lesson? A leader should be measured on the success of his team years after he’s gone. Unfortunately, the stories didn’t lead to a clear directive like do this in your company, but did offer some exercises like ask yourself, how can I use this in my company? The next honorable mention is “The Like Switch” by Jack Schafer. Jack’s another ex-FBI guy like Chris Voss. Schafer is like the behavioral scientist to Chris Voss’ hostage negotiator though. And the book reads like it. “The Like Switch” is really interesting and good at explaining why people behave the way they do, but where Voss’ is book is directive, step one do this, step two do that, Schafer’s is mostly theory. If you want a scientific dive into how to win friends and influence people, “The Like Switch” is a good book to read. Another honorable mention is “Principles” by Ray Dalio. So Dalio’s premise that life management, economics and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines, that’s a pretty bold premise. I was excited to read it, but “Principles” mostly just created book guilt for me. I have a lot of friends who love the book, but I really couldn’t get into it, so it sits in my Audible account unfinished. It still gets honorable mention status because I have a feeling it would be great if I went back to it and listened to it three or four more times.

Chris: 17:10 – The next honorable mention book is “This I Know” by Terry O’Reilly. The counter to Dalio’s book is “This I Know.” Dalio has deep insights and draws conclusions based on profound experience, but Terry O’Reilly tells amazing stories. His book is really hard to put down, and while his insights might not be deed, he actually tries to present opposing viewpoints instead of saying, do this one thing. I’m a huge Terry O’Reilly fan. You can learn more from his delivery than from the content of most books on this list. Another honorable mention is “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller. A marketer’s education should start with this book, but it shouldn’t end there. Most of us try to be too artsy. We make complicated websites that actually stop people from booking or signing up. We try to be different at the expense of being clear. Miller’s book is the antidote. It’s well written and clear.

Chris: 18:02 – Consider this like the CrossFit Level 1 course. It’s enough to get you out on the floor, and Miller’s storytelling makes the message stick, but he doesn’t provide conversion data to back up his claims. If you don’t read any other marketing book this year, read this one, but I hope you read more than one. The next honorable mention is “Simple Numbers” by Greg Crabtree. Now Craptree is like a celebrity accountant, a status that’s pretty hard to achieve. His book makes accounting as clear as it can be. I was thrilled to find a higher level accounting method that dovetails perfectly with the 4/9ths and Profit First models that we recommend at Two-Brain. And after reading the book, I signed up for his service. His firm now provides the CFO for my company. They build dashboards that help me figure out where to spend and where to save and they bring a lot of clarity to my rapidly expanding business.

Chris: 18:56 – The next honorable mention is “Vivid Vision” by Cameron Herold. Now I started listening to this book while riding my bike, but after an hour I realized that I should have been sitting in front of a laptop because the book is so directive that you could listen to a chapter, press pause, clearly understand the work to do and do it and then listen to the next chapter and so on. Several of the mentors at Two-Brain recommend this book and our CPO is in Harold’s mentoring group, highly recommended for entrepreneurs at tinker level and above. Now here are the books that I didn’t really like but you might, and this is a short list because I think that most books have something really valuable in them. First is “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. Nassim Taleb once wrote that most books would have made a great article, and Naval Ravikant followed that with most articles would make a good tweet. Like many business books, “Can’t Hurt Me” started with a good premise and then filled hundreds of pages with examples. The whole book can be summed up with a hashtag HTFU or harden the F up. Another one that I didn’t really like but you might is “The Zappos Experience” by Joseph A. Michelli. The Zappos story was a revolutionary one in 2005. An online retailer whose clients were raving fans. But Zappos leaders claim that their real strength is in creating culture in their team. In fact, culture, which is like the biggest buzzword of 2019, probably originated with Zappos. There was nothing really new in the book, but I’m biased. The team of mentors at Two-Brain gets to work on interesting problems all day long. They’re emotionally invested in their work. Zappos staff sells shoes. They need workplace engagement tricks and culture boosters to keep them around and I don’t. If you run a software company or an online shoe store, you might need to artificially culture into your workplace.

Chris: 20:50 – But if you run a service business, your culture is determined by your care for your clients and your just cause. Here’s some other recommendations. “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” by Chris Cooper. I know that guy. Yeah, I wrote this one after publishing “Two-Brain Business” in 2012, I’ve spent thousands of hours on the phone with other gym owners, collected libraries full of data and seeing new ideas rise and old ideas fall. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in mentorship, read hundreds of books and spent thousands of hours online talking to others in the industry. There’s a lot of knowledge out there. Frankly, there are too many ideas. The most common problem for entrepreneurs is actually overwhelm. We can’t act on everything, so we get paralyzed. I wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to give you the distillate. When you boil it all down, these are the habits, tactics, and directives that you’re left with and because not everyone needs everything at the same time.

Chris: 21:51 – I broke the entrepreneurial journey into four phases. This book is a filter for the best strategies that we’ve actually proven to work at each of the four phases, founder, farmer, tinker and thief. Another mention is “Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become” by Michael Schrage. Now his premise is to start with ideal customer outcomes and work backwards. How will your customers be transformed by your service? What will they look like after they’ve used your service successfully? This is a useful idea for the service industry and I think it could help gym owners by painting an aspirational avatar, like here’s what a client should look like. After three years at my gym, a coach could work backwards to set up an ideal client journey, but those are my ideas, not Schrage’s. His book sticks to high-level concepts and the usual examples like Google, Apple, Starbucks, etc.

Chris: 22:48 – “Competing Against Luck” by Clayton Christensen is another, you know, highly recommended read when you have time. My mentor, Todd Herman, told me that I needed to listen to Christensen. Now, Clay Christenen is a pretty dry speaker, so his YouTube videos aren’t really popular, but his ideas are. Others talk about him in their own more engaging videos. The best epiphany I got from Mike Michalowicz’s “Pumpkin Plan,” which is now required reading for all Two-Brain clients, is that I should ask my best clients what they want instead of trying to guess. Christensen’s message compounds on that concept. We should all ask ourselves, what job is this service being hired to do? Christensen’s jobs to be done idea is a huge game changer, but his explanations are so complex that other authors will probably simplify his ideas and make way more money on them. Another mention is “Abundance” by Peter Diamandis, and I’m a fan of Diamandis and this book is a good big-picture read. It reminds me of “Guns, Germs and Steel” but with a future focus perspective instead of an historical one.

Chris: 23:57 – Another is “Contagious” by Jonah Berger. Now, I wrote that “The Like Switch” was the science behind “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” “Contagious” is like that for the book “Made to Stick.” But Berger’s book is entertaining with examples from music and pop culture. Earworms, memes and viral videos are all examined in the book. It’s more academic, instead of being directive like you’re never told do exactly this one thing right now, but it’s still a good lens through which to view your own content. Also mentioned “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek. I was really debating whether to put this on the top 11 or not. I had the book on preorder for nine months before it was published and it was actually a big surprise when I finally got it in the mail. I’m not always a fan of Sinek’s work. His theory sound good, like “Leaders Eat Last,” but often lack in-the-trenches proof.

Chris: 24:50 – So when this book started out really strong, I was thrilled. I actually wrote about playing the infinite game in the fitness business because I was very inspired by the first few chapters. Unfortunately, the book took a dip in the middle and spent several hours berating CEOs for focusing on shareholder profit instead of employee happiness. Now everyone agrees that employee happiness is important, but Sinek makes a logical leap over and over that happy employees will automatically create happier customers, which will automatically create more profit. As gym owners know, that’s a deadly false belief. And a lot of us were trapped into thinking that, which is maybe why I’m over-sensitive to making those logical leaps. So luckily I found myself with a long bike ride and nothing else to read. So I finished the last hour of the book, and I’m glad I did. Sinek comes on strong again at the end, but you know, you can probably skip the middle chapters.

Chris: 25:45 – Another book I read this year was “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle. So culture is the top buzzword of 2019. As more and more people work remotely or sell a product online, we lose our sense of cause. In my description of the Zappos book above, I said that people in the service industry probably don’t need tips and tricks in the workplace because care for the client and a just cause is probably enough. Coyle lists many strategies for building culture that he pulled from the Navy SEALs and pro sports teams. But what’s missing is the reason people signed up for those teams in the first place. That reason is their just cause. They believed in a mission higher than themselves or you know, maybe fame and fortune. The effect of cause is huge and outweighs working conditions, boredom and the lure of incrementally better benefits or wages. When you give up a high-paying job to help people get healthy, you probably don’t need drinking games or cereal in the boardroom or you know, foosball tables to you engaged if you do need those things, then “The Culture Code” has some great examples. Finally, the last book that I want to talk about here is “Resilience” by Eric Greitens. Every summer I roll up my garage door, I pull up my barbell and I listen to “Resilience.” Greitens is a storyteller. He’s a real hero. He could’ve taken an academic path, but after volunteering in refugee camps, he realized that some situations require force to save people. And that was a huge epiphany for me. His stories about boxing as a poor kid, turning down teaching jobs to volunteer in war-torn areas and ultimately leading a SEAL team are more than inspirational. They give perspective on your life and your place in the world. So what do you think of these lists? Do you agree with the summaries or do you have something to add about one of the books above? Did I miss one? Did you read something that changed your life or your business in 2019? Please leave a comment below and let us know what we should read next.

Andrew: 27:46 – Thank you for listening Two-Brain Radio. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. Do you want to add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym? A mentor can show you how. Book a free call with a mentor today at twobrainbusiness.com.


Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday.

On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
It Got Weird: True Marketing Tales From the Cold Lead Files

It Got Weird: True Marketing Tales From the Cold Lead Files

Mateo: 00:02 – Hey there. Is this Mary? Yeah, this is Mateo from CrossFit Rittenhouse. I just saw that you were interested in our six-week program? Oh. All right, that was a very strange phone call.

Mike: 00:22 – Hey Mateo.

Mateo: 00:22 – Oh, hey Mike.

Mike: 00:23 – Did I just hear the end of the sales call and did you just have someone cancel on you?

Mateo: 00:26 – Yeah. I was calling to respond to this lead and she did not—wasn’t interested anymore.

Mike: 00:35 – Well, let me guess. Let me guess. Tell me if I’m right here. I bet she booked the appointment, but all of a sudden she’s an ultrasonic lithotrip technician and she needs to go to the space station tomorrow because she’s the only one on earth who can repair the ultrasonic lithotrip. Am I correct?

Mateo: 00:51 – No, that wasn’t, but Mike, that was oddly specific, has that happened to you?

Mike: 00:58 – I’ve had some pretty weird sales calls, have you?

Mateo: 01:01 – I’ve had some strange ones. Yes.

Mike: 01:03 – All right, well let’s get into that. How about this? You seem a bit stressed. I’ll host for a while. I’ll let you vent. We’re going to talk about cold lead files. I am Mike Warkentin of Two-Brain Media, taking over Two-Brain Radio to present these cold lead files with Mateo Lopez. When you’re dealing with cold leads from ads, it can get weird, very weird. Like space-station repair weird. When we return, Mateo and I will talk about the wild world of cold leads.

Announcer: 01:29 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.

Mike: 01:44 – All right, I am back. I am Mike Warkentin, I’m here with Mateo Lopez. This is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe and leave us a review. We are talking cold leads today. Mateo, I need a weird marketing story from you. I’m sure you’ve been all over the place, seen everything. Tell me something weird.

Mateo: 02:03 – Well I had an interesting encounter with someone. This person called and they wanted to buy a free month for a member at my gym, like a gift for my member. And it was like not the easiest thing to do because we were using—the membership software that we use just doesn’t make that kind of thing easy, but I don’t think any of them do. But she wanted to buy a gift for this current member. It was strange for a few reasons. One, this member also like, stopped coming like that month after, so he never got to actually reap the benefits of this free thing that this person purchased. But yeah, she herself was just kind of a strange person, but you know, very nice. So I helped her with this.

Mateo: 03:10 – Then there were came all these like different requests. Like I had to CC him with her and tell him that this was happening and be like, this is a gift that she’s doing for you, and like, make sure that, you know, so I handled that. And then, like a couple of weeks later, the same person called me and was like, you were so nice helping me with the gift card. I want to like help you out. Like I’m in charge of creating the gift bags for this awards show. It was like, I think it was like the Billboard Awards or one of those ones like the American Music Awards or one of those like random ones that aren’t the Grammy’s or aren’t the Oscars. I think it was like Billboard Awards, whatever.

Mateo: 03:59 – She’s like, I’m in charge of doing the gift bags and you know, Jay-Z is like really into fitness and CrossFit. So he mentioned he wanted that, I guess like the celebrities like request what they want in the gift bags. So I’ve got people, you know, donating classes from Soul Cycle and so I wanted to include, you know, some CrossFit because I know some of the celebrities like to do CrossFit. Then I had to explain to this person like, OK, well it’s not a franchise. It’s not a chain, it’s an affiliation. Oh, OK, so if I give them a CrossFit gift card, they can’t use it in the CrossFit … No, can’t do that. Oh, OK. But then like we at the time did currently like own four gyms, collectively, like the group of us.

Mateo: 04:48 – So I was like, I have a couple in Jersey, one in Philly, one here, that kind of covers your East coast crew. And so then like she was kind of into that idea and like I had back and forth with this person. Turns out they like—and I don’t know if any of this was true. Like I don’t know if I was being pranked by this person or not. Like I have no idea. But yeah, that was a strange one. That was probably the strangest request I got from a prospect that wasn’t even really a prospect.

Mike: 05:21 – The long and the short if it is did Jay-Z come to any of your gyms?

Mateo: 05:25 – No, I wish. I wish. The funniest one was like, Oh, we have one in Philadelphia, in Rittenhouse. Oh, that would be great. Like Will Smith, Philly. Oh he would love that. I was like, Will Smith’s not gonna come to my gym. No way. 0% chance.

Mike: 05:41 – Jay-Z’s got 99 problems and a gym membership is still one?

Mateo: 05:43 – No, absolutely not. Not going to happen. There’s another story but it’s not mine, so I won’t tell it.

Mike: 05:53 – Well, we’ll circle back maybe and see if it fits in, but we’ve all, you know, I did some surveying yesterday in the Two-Brain groups and friends and colleagues who do marketing and we’ve all had all sorts of weird experiences and we thought it’d be fun to just go over some of those today. It gets weird. We’ll feel some camaraderie if we vent about it a little bit. When you’re dealing with cold leads or even slightly warm leads on Facebook marketing, you get some strange clicks. You get people click through and they’ll do some weird things. Then when you start, you know, the conversation starts, it gets very odd. And the first thing that happens, like, and this is, I kind of respect this one because it kind of captures the zeitgeist of our times is ghosting. People put their information into your lead funnel, sometimes twice. They’ll opt in just to get to the booking page, then they’ll book an appointment and then it’s just silence. Like nothing. And you must’ve seen this hundreds and thousands of times.

Mateo: 06:54 – Oh yeah. You’re going to get ghosted. I mean, we talked about this on a previous episode. You’re going to get ghosted more times than you’re going to connect. It’s just kind of the way the numbers work. Like you’re going to get more no’s than yeses, probably disproportionately so. But again, like the argument I always make is like, it’s still so cheap to generate this traffic that like, you’re gonna still win as long as you sell the ones who, matter. You know?

Mike: 07:23 – And so you’ve just got to deal with some ghosting. You know, it is going to happen. It happens all lot. And you’ll just get tons of people that—and you know, I don’t know if you understand the psychology, I certainly don’t. I put my phone number into this system and I put my email into the system and I book an appointment in the system. I have said that I want to speak to a real person. I have made this appointment commitment and then radio silence.

Mateo: 07:44 – How did you get my info? Dude, you opted in three times. That’s how I got it.

Mike: 07:50 – You can see it sometimes on the lead sheets. Those are the ones that I set up with Two-Brain marketing, the same ones that you designed, where you see the same person show up three or four times and they keep canceling these things. Like why do you keep putting your info in?

Mateo: 08:03 – Yeah. Yeah. I mean there’s, you’re also gonna get like in the beginning of a campaign when you first launch ads, like Facebook knows who their like hyperactive users are, like hyperactive clickers or hyperactive opt-in-ers. People who just like click and opt in to everything that’s on their feed no matter what. And it shows your ad to those people first.

Mike: 08:28 – Ah, so it’s giving them a bit of a head start.

Mateo: 08:28 – Exactly. And they do that for a few reasons. One, you know, they’re just going to push it there because they know you’re going to get the results you want, or you think you want. But then that’s why as a campaign goes on, like it usually regulates a little bit and kind of fixes itself.

Mike: 08:55 – That’s where the real weirdos come out.

Mateo: 08:55 – Sometimes, yeah. But also you’ll get more qualified people as has a little bit of time goes by because you’re not in that hyperactive clicking person phase of the learning process.

Mike: 09:06 – So I collected some of these things. I’m going to read you some of these and give me your comments on how common you think these things are. Fun examples. I talked to some people yesterday and we were convinced, absolutely convinced that if you book a No-Sweat Intro, like a consultation at one of our gyms, the chances of having some sort of general family emergency go up by like 95% right. It’s just like all of a sudden, and it’s funny because you’re on the other end of these lead sheets, you’re seeing these things come in and you’ll see—you’ll talk to five people in a row and it’s five different things. Like, my husband’s sick, my dog is sick, my kid is sick, my uncle is sick. And it’s just this endless, endless string of general family emergencies. Have you seen that?

Mateo: 09:47 – Oh yeah, tons. Yeah. Lots of work emergencies.

Mike: 09:51 – Yeah, I’m getting to that one down below, I got a few funny ones on that one.

Mateo: 09:51 – I think people just, you know, they get a little bit scared or intimidated and they don’t like saying no. People don’t like to just make that decision. In most things in life, I think most of us don’t like saying no or making that kind of tough decision. So they just rather just not engage.

Mike: 10:18 – And they don’t want to ghost either, though. These are the same people that like, they feel like they owe you something, right? Like they’re not going to ghost you, but they’re going to give you something, but it is BS. And the funny one that came up in our group yesterday, someone said people without kids who have sick kids. So I’ll get a message and it’ll say, oh my kid is sick and you know, I can’t make it to the appointment. But then it’s Facebook, so you can click through and find these people, they clearly have no kids, right? Kids can kind of be the sacred cow where it’s like you can get away with a lot if you have a sick child obviously, cause you got to care for the child. But these people clearly don’t have kids and it’s very easy to find that.

Mateo: 10:52 – Yeah. I mean, but it’s fine too. You know, these people just, they’re not ready yet, but they’re on your list now. Right? And they may be ready two months from now, three months from now, a year from now. So that’s not money down the drain as long as you know how to nurture your list and keep people engaged.

Mike: 11:08 – Let’s circle back to that towards the end because I want to—that’s a great, great point where it’s not wasted money. We’ll get to that in a sec. We’ve had another one, sudden divorces. Have you seen that one?

Mateo: 11:19 – I haven’t gotten divorces.

Mike: 11:21 – This was an actual one. It says, I just found that I’m getting divorced, which is obviously a tragedy, but again, we’re assuming that 98% of these are not legitimate.

Mike: 11:32 – Nope. I just remembered one I got. This was the weirdest one I got. I called someone and they answered the phone and they’re crying, and I’m just like, why on Earth did you pick up this phone? They’re like, yeah, it’s not a good time. I’m just like, I don’t even understand why you picked up, then, if it’s not a good time. Like I was so thrown off by that one. They were like—I even tried to be like, are you all right? Like what happened? You need to talk about it? Like definitely like some kind of a break-up or something or job loss. But like this person picked up the phone crying and I was just so confused. Why even pick up the phone?

Mike: 12:12 – Did you make the sale?

Mateo: 12:12 – Definitely did not make the sale.

Mike: 12:17 – Did you call back?

Mateo: 12:17 – Nope. Nope, Nope. Didn’t want to talk to that person ever again. That was definitely like the—I don’t even know why you picked up the phone. But it does bring up another kind of—not a marketing maximum, but just like this idea that if you call, if you call a lead, and they’re like now’s not a good time. It’s like if it really wasn’t a good time, they wouldn’t have picked up the phone. You know what I mean? Like, oh, now it’s—like you can still get an appointment booked in that time. Oh, I’m at work right now, now is not a good time. Awesome. Great. You know, whisper. Awesome, great. Do you have time to come in for an appointment tonight? Like just tonight at 5:00 PM or six. What about tomorrow? Awesome. See you later. Like, you know what I mean? Like, if it’s really like, oh man, like I really can’t talk right now. It’s like, dude, why did you pick up the phone then? So if they really can’t talk, like if someone is sick or dying, like they’re not picking up the phone, you know what I mean? So if they pick up the phone, don’t get too thrown off by now is not a—can I call you back? Just get a time out of them, you know, get an available time out of them and book an appointment.

Mike: 13:39 – Yeah, that’s great advice because you’ll get people doing it all the time as soon. If they picked it up, they’re fair game, and they said it was OK by answering.

Mateo: 13:49 – Yeah. I mean that doesn’t work all the time. But like if they picked up and it really, like they really couldn’t have picked up—like I’ve had someone, I’ve had someone be like I’m cooking dinner, now’s not a good time. And then I’ve just like worked my way around and then I got her booked and like she just kept talking, you know. If you’re quick on your game and you’re able to build some rapport and make a quick joke, making them laugh really quickly is like the best way to like get over that now’s not a good time hurdle.

Mike: 14:22 – So we’ve had a couple of here we’ve got going through divorce and have to meet an attorney, which is an odd one in the sense that those appointments are usually not scheduled like instantly after you’ve booked a fitness appointment. But that’s on the same lines. Here’s a super common one. I got called into work. I got called into work on my day off. I have to work, all these different things. You’ve probably heard that one a bunch, I’m guessing.

Mateo: 14:44 – Yeah. Work stuff. Again, like I said, all right, great. Like, I’m not going to hold you up. Just like want to see if you had a time to come in for an appointment tonight. We’ve got two spots left, this thing’s gonna sell out.

Mike: 14:56 – Do you ever make a pitch on the phone? Like, you know, I know there’s appointments we want them to come in cause we’ve got all our, you know, we’ve got all our resources. We’ve got our room, we’ve got the whole script. But do you ever, when someone says something like that, do you ever just pitch them something on the phone?

Mateo: 15:07 – Not if it’s a time crunch thing. But like I have sold over the phone.

Mike: 15:12 – Like if someone, for example, like if someone says not an immediate, like I got to go right now, but it’s like I can’t make the appointment later today because I got called into work. Have you ever said like, well if you’ve got five minutes right now and you kind of run through the script?

Mateo: 15:22 – Oh for sure. Yeah. If you have time right now and then you can do your No-Sweat Intro over the phone, for sure.

Mike: 15:27 – And you succeeded on that?

Mateo: 15:28 – Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s like, oh great. You know what, let me save you the trip. Have a couple minutes? Just want to get to know you and let’s get you into program.

Mike: 15:37 – So for listeners who are out there, if someone says, you know, I can’t make the appointment, but they did take your call, maybe they have some time right there. You could definitely run through some stuff and try and make a sale right there.

Mateo: 15:48 – Selling over the phone is the best if you can make that happen. And I have, for sure, like it’s totally possible. It depends on the offer, but yeah, like selling over the phone is totally possible. And if you can hone your skills there, you’re going to be much happier, happier camper.

Mike: 16:13 – Cuts down on travel time, cuts down work time. And if you can just make that sale without leaving, you know, your bathrobe so much, the better.

Mateo: 16:19 – Right, exactly.

Mike: 16:20 – So we’ve got that one, we’ve got—this one actually happened, this was from someone in another part of the world. Someone booked an appointment and then between 8:00 PM and 5:00 AM the next morning, lost the job, which is, you know, we all know that would actually not happen. No one’s getting fired at night.

Mateo: 16:37 – I have had those though. I have had like, oh, you know what, job situation changed up. Can’t make it in.

Mike: 16:46 – Which is again, we’re not making fun of anyone who actually has that happen, but when we look at like the likelihood of getting fired at 9:00 PM at night after booking an appointment an hour earlier is fairly unlikely. But might happen. We’ve got some sudden flights out of town. That one is just got called out of town again. That’s where we go back to the intro with, oh man, I’m the only technician on the Eastern seaboard. Looks like I’m going to Philadelphia today.

Mateo: 17:12 – Yep. I get the traveling one. I’ve got the I’m actually out of town. Yeah, I’ve gotten a lot of those.

Mike: 17:20 – Common. How about this one? I don’t know what it’s like in New York, but bad weather.

Mateo: 17:27 – Yep. Definitely. And the out-of-town one made me think of something. So, I got a couple leads from people who like lived out of state. So make sure that your targeting is set to people who live in this location, right. Cause sometimes if you have a set to just people in this location, you might be able to tag someone with a pixel if they just were on Facebook and saw the ad as they were like on a bus passing through New York into Philly or something, you know what I mean? So that definitely happens. Especially in New York, when people are here for weekends and vacations and tourism all the time, you know, that took me a while to figure that one out. I was like, Oh, this is why this keeps happening.

Mike: 18:19 – So what’s the setting in the back end that you can use? Because I’ve had the same problem. Like how did this person get my ad?

Mateo: 18:25 – When you’re going to the geographic targeting, you want to make sure that it says lives in this location.

Mike: 18:29 – So not just visiting, lives.

Mateo: 18:30 – And not just like in this location, lives in this location. That can definitely help with that for sure.

Mike: 18:37 – That’s a really good tip for anyone who’s out there. Cause I’ve definitely had people from weird area codes—in a previous show, actually Julie Johnson, our mentor, got a lead from me booking into her site just to test it. So she had her Las Vegas staff member calling me in Winnipeg, Canada, which is kind of funny, but they called it up instantly, which is great.

Mike: 18:56 – We’ve had this one where someone told me in the group they have people say it’s bad weather when it’s not bad. Like it’s raining, I can’t come in. And it’s like just kind of sprinkling in between sun.

Mateo: 19:05 – Or just like you’re going to be in a car anyway.

Mike: 19:09 – It’s a little bit windy, and it’s like three mile an hour wind or something like that. And the flags are all limp. Like that happens. We’ve had lots of injuries, sprained my ankle literally while getting ready. That is apparently an actual one that happened that someone saw.

Mateo: 19:26 – The injury one is worse when you get them signed up for the program, you get them signed up for a six-week program. It starts next week, and the weekend before they go play intramural basketball and they break their ankle, like that’s the one that cuts me the word the deepest.

Mike: 19:42 – Have you ever had someone give you an injury excuse then eventually you track them down, they sign up and then you find out later on you’re like, oh man, is your elbow feeling OK? And they’re just like, what elbow?

Mateo: 19:54 – I haven’t had something that egregious.

Mike: 19:57 – I’m sure someone out there has, where the lies build up and all of a sudden the web is just too tangled. You know?

Mateo: 20:04 – I haven’t had that one.

Mike: 20:06 – I’m sure someone has. I love this one. This is good. This is an actual one that someone told me. Saw the doctor this morning and the doctor recommended no exercise of any kind.

Mateo: 20:18 – I have had that.

Mike: 20:20 – That’s an interesting one.

Mateo: 20:21 – I’ve had that. I’ve had the doctor being like, no physical activity whatsoever.

Mike: 20:27 – You can’t argue with a doctor.

Mateo: 20:27 – Yeah, that one’s tough. Just like, OK, I’m not going to win this one.

Mike: 20:36 – Can I get you some water or groceries so you don’t have to leave your couch?

Mateo: 20:40 – Can you get a second opinion?

Mike: 20:44 – Yeah, I think your doctor might have maybe not the greatest training. I love that one, it’s funny that you got it, too. This is a good one. This is an actual one. Again, this is so specific and can’t be made up. A sick pet with no timeline for recovery, but the person is gonna cancel the appointment but wants a month of free workouts sent over to try. That is a good one. I like that.

Mateo: 21:07 – Whoa. I have had people do like, oh, I thought this was free thing. I mean, yeah, I’ve had people request a free trial, request like, can I just try it? Requesting a whole month of workouts. That one’s—no. But the one I have had, the one I have had is this: I’ve gotten this one a lot too via email. Hey, I saw your ad, hey I want to do this program, looks great. Like here’s what I’m thinking you could do is like I’ll do this program and then in exchange like I’ll be your transformation story, you can use my like pictures as like before and afters for marketing.

Mike: 21:47 – Oh, OK. Selling the social proof for free.

Mateo: 21:51 – Exactly. That one happens a lot. Not a lot, but I’ve had that one a lot. And then a worst one is the drop-in one, where you’re like, hey, like I’m doing a—this one’s rough. I’m doing a documentary about my life, like losing a hundred pounds in a year or whatever. And I’m touring all these different CrossFit gyms. It’s been great. And so like typically what I’ve been doing is I’ve just been like doing the drop-in for free in exchange for like the social media plug. And I’m just like, dude, no. I cannot get more members from you doing this weight-loss journey for your YouTube channel. Like that’s not gonna translate into more members for me. The other one is like coming into the gym and being like, oh hey, like, yeah, we want to drop in. And then someone tried to pay with like a T-shirt from their gym, like a T-shirt exchange.

Mike: 22:52 – That’s awesome.

Mateo: 22:52 – Hey, like here’s a shirt from our gym. And I was like, this isn’t money, dude. What are you doing?

Mike: 23:00 – I love the influencer. That is great. That’s my favorite modern one is the influencer where it’s like, hey, if you give me something free I’ll plug it, and you look at their channel and it’s like you have seven subscribers. No, that’s not going to happen.

Mateo: 23:13 – They can have 50,000. But like, if they don’t live a subway ride away from my gym, it’s not gonna happen.

Mike: 23:23 – All right, we’re going to get back to the rest of the list. We’ve got some really funny ones coming up. We’ll hit the rest of the list right after this.

Ad: 23:29 Sean: – “How to Add 10,000 of Revenue”? “How to Sell Your Gym”? “What to Do After the Open”?—Holy $hit, Cooper’s written a ton of help guides. Mike: – C’mon Sean. Just read the ad. Sean: – Did you know he gives this stuff away? Like for free? Mike: – Yup. That’s his thing. Sean: – I’d buy this stuff. Mike: – You don’t have to. Sean: – But I would. What kind of business expert gives everything away? Mike: – Chris gives it away so owners can fix their gyms and earn enough to pay for mentoring. Sean: – Oh, that’s actually pretty clever. Should we do the ad? Mike: – Never mind. Just tell them where to get the Free Help Kit. Sean: – Get your Free Help Kit at twobrainbusiness.com/free-tools. Click the link in the show notes. Mike: – Now do the thing from the competition. Come on Sean. Sean: – Come on, man. Mike: – Just do it! Sean: – Are you not entertained? Mike: – And we’re done here.

Mike: 24:20 – We’re back. It’s Mike Warkentin, I’m here with Mateo Lopez. We are going over a list of odd reasons for canceling free consultations. Some of these are real. Some of these are very specific, some are general that we’ve seen and we’re kind of giving you some comments and helping you figure out some ways kind of to work around some of this. Here’s another one, very common: vehicle or tech troubles. So flat tires, calendared glitches, all this different stuff. We’ve even had one person, an actual one where the person said that they couldn’t come unless someone would come and pick them up. Have you ever had that?

Mateo: 24:56 – All the time.

Mike: 24:56 – And have you ever gone and picked them up?

Mateo: 24:58 – Oh, never.

Mike: 24:58 – You could have sold more! Oh, Mateo.

Mateo: 25:01 – No, no, no, no, no, never done that one. There was a spam email that I was getting, I would get like every six months and it was something like, hey, like, I’ve got these group of kids who are like high-school kids who like training—

Mike: 25:24 – Yes, I’ve got that, too.

Mateo: 25:24 – Who want to train and like, this is a high-end client, like private driver, very secure, very safe, willing to pay for personal-training packages. And then it’s like, all right, cool. I’m interested. What’s the deal? OK. Here’s the thing though, in order to get the driver there for the first session, you need to, you know, and then I have to pay them to deliver these kids to my personal trainer. That one I would get every six months. But that one always freaked me out.

Mike: 25:59 – That’s a common one. I’m going to circle back to one we talked about before, people who want it for free. Do you think that’s just a result of some of the shady bait and switch marketing out there?

Mateo: 26:08 – Well, that one, yeah, 100%. If I have a six week challenge out of it, oh, I thought this was free.

Mike: 26:16 – So that’s kinda ruining it for everyone.

Mateo: 26:19 – Literally ruined for everyone.

Mike: 26:20 – And if you guys haven’t seen that, we talked about this in a previous show, but that’s ads that are out there, it’s kind of bait and switch stuff where they say this program is free, but they take it and pause it and then they’ve got this laundry list of stuff you have to do to get your money back. And the whole point is that they’re going to find a way to keep your money.

Mateo: 26:39 – Yeah. Even if you win, you can get your money back, but they’re gonna spread that across a 12-month contract, spread that one month up across that, the discount, whatever it is, like 10 bucks off.

Mike: 26:50 – Yeah. That’s kind of the dark side of marketing where things get disingenuous. It’s not dealing in good faith and it kind of like Mateo said, it’s ruining it for all of us. So don’t do that stuff. We deal with a lot of people on our calls that have been through that and it’s just a disaster.

Mateo: 27:05 – I mean, Jack, we’ve talked about him in a couple episodes here.

Mike: 27:12 – 360 Fitness.

Mateo: 27:12 – He do a we’ll pay you to work out kind of a thing. But he’s very explicit about like the parameters about, you know, what you would need to do to win. He lays it out pretty clearly and it’s limited, right? It’s only like a couple people are going to get it.

Mike: 27:29 – And that’s honest. There’s no bait and switch if there’s no switch, right? Like if it delivers on the promise, that’s totally fine. But what we’re finding is there’s a lot of people, they’re finding these just nonsense reasons to keep people’s money and then all of a sudden you’ve got people that are just mad at the fitness industry and it makes your job and my job harder.

Mateo: 27:42 – 100%.

Mike: 27:46 – All right, next on our list here, we’ve got, this is an actual one lost keys five minutes before the appointment. But then the upshot of that is this person must’ve lost the phone because it was a complete ghosting. So I found my keys, but I never found my phone. That one’s obviously I’m brushing you off. The one we just covered, you need someone to pick them up. I didn’t realize it was that common. I thought that was a weird one. But you’ve had that a ton of times?

Mateo: 28:10 – Not only, I’ve gotten that same email from different gyms. The Philly gym, the Hoboken, like Ash will send me like, is this real? No. I got the New York one like 10 times, don’t respond.

Mike: 28:22 – Another one just as common, like I’m still out running errands, and for me that one’s kinda like, you know, one of your errands is the gym appointment you booked literally an hour ago. You could just swing by. I don’t get that one.

Mateo: 28:39 – That one thought, it’s like, we’re here till nine, we’re here till 10, great.

Mike: 28:46 – Come on by! But then it’s funny cause when as soon as you confront these things, people, they don’t know what to do. Right? Cause they’ve just got that first excuse. They hadn’t figured out the chain. You’re like, well I’ll be here all day. I have a lot of errands. Well we’re here tomorrow as well. I have also errands. And then that’s where it gets to like, yeah, no, I’m actually shooting a movie. I’m an extra in a movie in Saudi Arabia. Leonardo DiCaprio is star. I’ve been told not to look in his eyes and it’s this intricate web where it’s just like, dude, just tell me you don’t want to come.

Mateo: 29:15 – Great. Like let’s just do this over the phone then. I don’t have a phone. How are you been texting me then? My friends phone?

Mike: 29:21 – There is no spoon. There is no spoon. There’s another one. This is probably common. Signed up at the wrong gym. I think this is actually legit in some cases.

Mateo: 29:32 – For sure. The Rittenhouse gym in Philly is eight feet away from a competitor’s gym, so that one happens a good amount of times for sure.

Mike: 29:50 – OK, so that might be legit. Maybe that’s the one where you just like, oh, does that gym offer this what we do? I don’t know. Maybe turn that around.

Mateo: 29:59 – Why did you decide to sign up over there? You want to come check this one out on your way over?

Mike: 30:04 – Now that we’re talking…

Mateo: 30:07 – Now that you’re here…

Mike: 30:09 – So this is a legit one. This is my favorite on the list, honestly. I guess someone in New York had a person book an appointment and in 45 minutes after signing up and paying for a package, literally said they got their dream job and they’re moving to the other side of the country and had to cancel. This is after booking, signing up and paying. You believe that?

Mateo: 30:31 – Yeah, I’ve had a lot of buyer’s remorse. I’ve had someone call me like literally 20 minutes after they walked out after signing up for a package.

Mike: 30:42 – How often can you prevent them from canceling? Is there a percentage or?

Mateo: 30:47 – I mean, sometimes if I have a cheaper option I’m able to downshift. Sometimes I’ll be able to get them to commit to the first class. Just come to the first one and take it from there. But yeah, definitely had some quick turnarounds like that for sure.

Mike: 31:05 – And the last one I’ve got here is one we covered a little bit, but people who just, and I don’t know how this is possible, but they don’t realize they booked an appointment. You call them, they’re like, who is this? And they actually get hostile and they’re like, why are you calling me?

Mateo: 31:18 – That one happens all the time.

Mike: 31:19 – Do you have any idea how it’s possible these people do not realize that they have literally typed their information into your system?

Mateo: 31:31 – I don’t know. People are weird, Mike.

Mike: 31:32 – I guess that’s as good an explanation.

Mateo: 31:36 – But yeah, I’ve had that one. Like you literally just booked. I didn’t know I booked. It’s an appointment scheduler that you just used.

Mike: 31:44 – If you’re calling back, you might even have them like if you call them, you know, 40 seconds after they booked it when it’s still open on their phone, you know? That’s funny. That’s the list and the takeaway here, we’ve had some fun kind of going through some common things. Just so we can all say oh man, I’ve had that one. If you guys— leave a comment, if there’s something we’ve missed or you have a really good story, we’d love to hear it. The takeaway here, Mateo, so how do you deal with rejection? You touched on this a little bit, like how do you deal with rejection and stay positive? And you kind of said like, these guys are maybe not lost sheep.

Mateo: 32:19 – Yeah, there’s tons of ways to look at it. I mean, the first one is like, especially if you’re driving cold traffic, most people are going to turn you down. Most people are not going to pick up the phone or show up for their appointment or whatever it is, right? But you have a hundred people and 20 of them buy, though, you know, that 20 is worth it. That can make a huge difference in your revenue. So, you know, that should be the focus. You know, if you want to limit no-shows, you can make it a little bit harder to book, right? You can have the opt-in really easy, but the booking page can have a little bit more of a longer questionnaire. You can do a little bit of pre-qualifying that way by asking some questions like, hey, like, you know, are you ready to work out three times a week? Do you live close by? Or whatever it is that you want to use to weed out some of the people that you know aren’t going to be serious or take you seriously.

Mateo: 33:17 – And then also, you know, even with sales, right? Let’s say you have someone come in and they don’t buy or they call you back and say like, I have to cancel. I can’t afford what I just paid for. You know, kinda, it’s an exercise just wiping that clean from your memory you, cause you got another one coming in later on that evening and you gotta be ready and positive for that person.

Mike: 33:37 – That’s like a football quarterback. You got a short memory, right?

Mateo: 33:39 – Exactly. That’s exactly right. For sales that is crucial.

Mike: 33:47 – So the overarching thing here is that if people talk to you on the phone, no matter what nonsense excuse they give you or legitimate excuse, they’re still talking to you on the phone, you might have a chance to talk to them there and give them some information. At least give them a professional, positive interaction with the brand. You know, when people give you an excuse like that, are you making notes and are you calling back afterward and saying, I hope a hope your dog is feeling better. Can we book an appointment? Are you doing stuff like that? Or could one?

Mateo: 34:19 – Someone could definitely do that. I think if it’s more of an injury thing or a travel thing, if they really are genuinely look like they’d be a good fit and a good candidate, and their excuse does seem legit, then 100%. Yeah, you want to continue to nurture that lead. And I’ve had people like that. I’ve had people who cancel and then I realized, Hey, you know what? I don’t think classes were a good fit. Did you know we had personal training and like a month later I’ll do that and like, oh actually no. I’ve gotten clients back who quit after doing a six-week program because I didn’t realize that they just wanted personal training or would pay for that, or would pay for literally—I had a person come do a six-week program, really like it, try doing the classes, stopped because they couldn’t make it in or whatever.

Mateo: 35:09 – And I just offered them four personal training sessions a month, like one 30-minute session a week. And that person loved that option and has come ever since. You know what I mean? So, and that’s worth it. You know, that’s worth it for your coach. It’s worth it for your gym. That’s worth it for them. And this person does a lot of horseback riding. They like doing that. They like doing other stuff for fitness, but they still love our brand and our gym and what we have to offer. So they’ll make it for just that one session a week.

Mike: 35:41 – Ah, that’s cool. And then I guess the other thing to remember is you’ve got these people on your list. So regardless of what, you know, I decided I don’t want to keep this appointment or I’ve got an excuse or whether it’s legit or not, you do have their contact info now. And so you can put them in, we talked about some previous shows, into like a long-term lead nurture where you’re just going to keep giving them free stuff and goodies and information. Some point, you know, they obviously liked you enough to give you their contact information once, they might find something again and they might make that purchase. Is that right?

Mateo: 36:08 – 100%. 100%. It may take person a year, and they say, hey, I saw your six-week thing. I keep seeing it. I’ve seen it at every month. It hasn’t worked out. But this month I actually have free six weeks available, you know, of time to do this. Now I’m ready to start. You know what I mean?

Mike: 36:29 – So it’s a huge mistake to hear these excuses and I mean, and feel like you’re losing or like your ads suck, your system sucks. It’s really just, it’s part of the game and you’re going to win if you keep playing.

Mateo: 36:40 – Yes.

Mike: 36:40 – And again, your lead nurturing and the things that you guys do to follow up on these things, you teach all that in your course, correct?

Mateo: 36:52 – Yeah. Yeah. 100%. We teach in the course. And what’s great about the Two-Brain group is other people will come up with ideas that we’ll then put back into the curriculum. You know, sending things like a video text message or things like that. That’s some of those things have come out of the fact that we have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of gym owners talking with one another and in our private Facebook group. The social proof wall, things like that. These are ideas that have come from just having this amazing group of people together in one place.

Mike: 37:29 – Yeah, we’ve got tons and tons of people testing and sharing, and they’re taking a lot of the guesswork out of it for you. If you want to talk to a mentor about, see if this is right for you, go to twobrainbusiness.com, check it out. We have people available to talk, give you some information, no pressure. We just want to find out if this is something that we can do to help you out. Mateo, thank you. This series has been awesome. If you guys like it, check it out. There are seven episodes in total. They’re back in our archives and we’re doing more stuff like this. And Chris Cooper, our founder, is producing mountains of content as he always does. He’s a machine. Lots of it is coming on the podcast. Subscribe, leave us a review, it would be great. Mateo, thank you so much for your time on this. We’re going to do it again.

Mike: 38:06 – Thanks Mike.

Mike: 38:08 – All right guys, this has been Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe and we will see you again next time. Go out and sell with confidence. Thanks.

Announcer: 38:17 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.


Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday.

Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world every Thursday, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
Behavior Change: How to Turn New Year’s Resolutions Into Long-Term Success

Behavior Change: How to Turn New Year’s Resolutions Into Long-Term Success

Andrew: 00:02 – Welcome back to Two-Brain Radio. On today’s episode, Chris Cooper is talking with Ty Krueger of the Behavior Change Collective. Ty’s a board-certified behavior analyst and gym owner. He and Chris talk about behavioral analysis to help gym clients make positive changes. If you want to know how to build personal connections to sustain motivation when the novelty of a new fitness program wears off, this is the show for you. Here’s Chris Cooper talking to Ty Krueger about behavior change.

Chris: 00:23 – At this time of year, we encounter clients looking to make sweeping changes to their life, but most fail and that means canceled gym memberships and unfulfilled clients and lost revenue. Why? Ty and Hilary Krueger at the Behavior Change Collective join us today to talk about why most resolutions fail and what gym owners and coaches can do to help their clients succeed. Ty, welcome to Two-Brain Radio.

Ty: 00:48 – Hey Chris, I’m so stoked to be here. Thanks for having me.

Chris: 00:52 – Oh man. I’ve been looking forward to this for months. Can you tell us what led you to the science of behavioral therapy and then opening a gym?

Ty: 01:00 – Yeah. It doesn’t quite seem like a linear thing. But they are connected. So, growing up my parents worked really hard to provide the best education for me. And I think the one thing that I always knew as getting older—because I wanted to help people, and helping people was the main thing. But I also was extremely motivated myself by doing well and as my mom likes to say having the nicest car in the Walgreens parking lot, which belonged in my mind to the pharmacist. So I set out to be a pharmacist, premed in college. But you know, college ended up slapping me back in the face when I realized that physics and calculus weren’t necessarily my strong suits, but people were, and I absolutely loved people and I was fascinated by the psychology of them. I also grew up having a sister with some developmental disabilities and a mom who was a special-education teacher.

Ty: 01:52 – So it made sense to me that I would look into some sort of educational psychology or special education. And fortunately when I was at St. Cloud State University where I was doing my undergraduate, I was there to play football, but there also happened to be an applied behavioral analysis program and a graduate program at that. So I took a few classes learning about the science of behavior, BF Skinner, Pavlov and all that good stuff. And I realized that hey, this is a really excellent blend of science and psychology. They use data to make decisions. And it also happens that we had an internship site with a local elementary school where I got in as a graduate assistant and started helping with some work they were doing with some autistic students. And from there I absolutely fell in love and I saw the change between these kids in the science that they were being applied to it.

Ty: 02:45 – So I went on and got my master’s degree there from St. Cloud State. And then for the record, I am now still driving a Prius. So it’s definitely not the nicest car in the parking lot, but you know, the gas mileage is great and a van load of kids in between. But to be honest, Chris, I couldn’t be happier. So the way that I transitioned into CrossFit was after I graduated, I ended up moving to Milwaukee with my wife Hilary, and she was pregnant with our first daughter Sloan. And I decided that I’d maybe let myself slide a little bit after college football and I’ll never forget. One day I was working in the inner city in Milwaukee doing some in-home therapy with an amazing mom and her young son, she pinched my cheeks and she goes, you putting on some of that sympathy weight for your wife?

Ty: 03:29 – I see she’s pregnant. Well, needless to say, I left immediately, went to the closest YMCA and signed up. CrossFit was something that a few of my friends were doing at the time. And that was in 2007. And so, you know, I heard about it, went to CrossFit.com and I started doing the workouts in the Y, got kicked out about two weeks later for slamming bars and doing handstand push-ups against their mirrors. And then I found the newest CrossFit gym in the city, which was Badger CrossFit. So, fast forward about five years later, you know, we had been doing CrossFit competitively, competed at regionals. And you know, was really looking for the next thing and my good friend and best friend Derek, who’s now my business partner, and I were watching some playoff football and you know, we just kept kicking around the idea of opening a gym ourselves just because, you know, we really wanted to serve the population up here.

Ty: 04:20 – Well, Hilary was pregnant again this time with our son, our third child. And if you know her at all, she’s all about action and not just talk. So she’s like, all right guys, let’s fricking do it. So that night we registered, we got the application in and got the LLC. And then we got our friend who was a realtor connected a few days later we were looking at spots, threw down some money. A few weeks later we announced the birth of our buildout of Packerland CrossFit. And then the next day, the morning, March 4th, we actually announced the birth of our son Callan. So now it’s just 17 months later of opening a gym. Last month we just checked, we have 110 members, we’re bursting at the seams and we’re currently looking for new spaces and not only two years in, it’s been a wild ride, Two-Brain has been a huge part of it. And that’s really the story of how a dude who studies human behavior and now owns a CrossFit gym.

Chris: 05:14 – That’s amazing, Ty. And you know, you’re definitely one of the best, most deserving owners out there. I just want to back up one second. Can you share with people like what is the difference between applied behavior analysis and like psychology?

Ty: 05:29 – Yeah, most definitely. So applied behavioral analysis tends to study the individual. And so it’s a science, it’s a single-subject design type psychology meaning that we’re going to look at one person and their environment and how is the environment, how can we affect the environment, how can that environment change their behavior moving forward versus group psychology, which would typically use like a control group and experimental group and look for changes those two groups. So ABA or applied behavioral analysis focuses on that person, whereas the rest of psychology tends to focus on groups of people.

Chris: 06:07 – Okay. That’s amazing. I just wanted to kind of get that in there because you know, the next step that we’re going to take in the rest of this interview is going to be about how your background will actually help gym owners. And I wanted to make it clear that we’re not talking about like a psychoanalyst here. We’re talking about somebody that studies human behavior with the intent to change it. So Ty, how does that background help you change the behaviors of your clients in your gym?

Ty: 06:36 – Well, when we take that approach of the individual and we take it into the gym, everything changes, in my opinion because it really allows us to treat every single member as an individual right from the start. So, we do this by meeting with them during what we call the No-Sweat Intro and having them take that time to really just talk, and this is before any service is being sold to them. This is before anything is being prescribed to them, but during this meeting we’re asking questions about their goals. We’re asking about their fitness history, but most importantly we’re asking about their life. We genuinely want to know about their family, where do they work? What are their names of their pets? What are their preferences, what do they do outside of the gym, and anything else that they value in their life. It’s really our goal during that initial conversation to build the start of that personal relationship that we will then carry through the rest of their time with us. Because I mean, yeah, Chris, you and I are both fitness coaches. That’s why we started this. That’s why we are so passionate to continue to live in this space. But fitness is really how we deliver, but it’s really a relationship in which that fitness gets delivered, in which results then take form because we may think we’re in the fitness business when in reality we’re in the relationship business.

Chris: 07:53 – Oh that those are words to live by in this industry, man. Thanks. Give us an example of like how that information comes into play later. What do you do with the pest name?

Ty: 08:05 – Yeah, for example. So what we are looking to do with them is to build that personal relationship and that connection and when people tend to have details remembered about them, about their life, it’s going to be a lot easier for them to really relate to us and for us to relate to them. And so if I know that they have children, for example, I have three children myself, that’ll be something that we can then talk about and then we can relate to. And that piece then can turn into their motivator or as like we like to call their “why” later on, which is a huge, huge, huge part for goal setting.

Chris: 08:41 – Okay man, that’s really awesome. So let’s zoom out here. You know, this time of the year people are making resolutions, they’re joining gyms. People are seeing an uptick in their membership, but every new client that comes in the door has this kind of like aura of skepticism. Like are they really going to be able to make a change? Right? So why do big resolutions like this usually fail for people?

Ty: 09:03 – Well, I like to then ask myself a question. So when we have a resolution or a goal that tends to fail, we ask, is this a can’t do or is this a won’t do? And when I ask that question, it really helps me frame how I’m going to help that person. Because if the answer is I can’t do, well then the goal that we set is far too large. They may need to reevaluate the goal itself. We might be missing some prerequisite skills or some steps that we may have missed along the development of that goal. Or we may need to, you know, just fully recalibrate and go back a little step. Now, if the answer is a won’t do, we’re talking about motivation, and when we have motivation issues, that’s where we come back to that why and an understanding that we need a stronger motivator or a stronger reason for them to commit to something that’s not easy. Getting started with fitness is a challenge for a lot of folks. And so it needs a pretty big why most likely to get the ball rolling.

Chris: 10:01 – And so you’re trying to uncover that why in your No-Sweat Intro or later in the goal-review process, too.

Ty: 10:06 – 100%. That’s really the main thing. So by establishing that personal relationship with people, it allows them to open up a little bit. And sometimes people don’t know what their why is. You know, they may come in and say, oh, I want to lose weight, but they don’t really know why they want to lose weight, you know, and having it just be because someone else told me to is not good enough. It needs to be internal and it really needs to connect to their soul. So why do you need to lose weight? Well, I want to lose weight to fit into a dress. Well why do you want to fit into this dress? I want to fit into this dress look nice for pictures. What kind of pictures are you talking about? Oh, we have our family pictures coming up for Christmas cards and I really want to look into that nice dress. All right, now we have a tangible, very concrete goal of looking nice in the dress for our Christmas cards. And that is only really accomplished through having that conversation and building that relationship with them.

Chris: 10:55 – And I noticed that you asked why over and over and over there and until you kinda got deep enough that the question was really answered. You know, is that a trick that gym owners can maybe use in their No-Sweat Intros and goal reviews?

Ty: 11:09 – Yeah, I think it’s a phenomenal one. And you know, we took it from some of our other friends, but we call it the seven layers deep. And so it’s a challenge sometimes to ask why seven times, but give it a shot and you’re going to be really, really surprised of how specific and how concrete you can find those reasons because a single surface-level why typically is not going to be personalized enough or strong enough to really motivate that intense behavioral change that we’re looking for from fitness.

Chris: 11:42 – Really interesting, Ty. So, that’s like the won’t do, what about the can’t do? Going back to that, somebody comes in and they say, Ty, I need to lose 30 pounds by spring break.

Ty: 11:54 – Yeah. So 30 pounds by spring break obviously is a massive goal for any coaches out there that are looking. So if we just say, oh we just need to lose this weight or you know, someone else comes in and oh I need to, I want to qualify for the CrossFit Games. Well I mean those are great goals and I think we always want to let them know that it’s an awesome goal. Like, hey, I think that’s a great goal. Now that could be six to 12 months down the road. Well let’s talk about something that can get you there. And it’s something that we can actually focus on that’s smaller, breaking it down for the immediate future. And a lot of times when I’m looking at goals, I don’t want to have to focus on a goal that’s objective in measurement in sense that like if we start just with losing the weight, that weight isn’t in their control, what is in their control could be coming to the gym three times a week for the first two months. And so we want to focus on something that’s more action oriented and in their control and something that I can measure and have them then focus on that specific broken-down step. So a lot of times it’s attendance. A lot of times it might just be focusing on some nutritional guidelines or focusing on some reporting and it’s those types of things that we can measure to get the ball rolling that I can then personally reinforce with them to get things going in the right direction.

Chris: 13:13 – Hey guys, Chris Cooper here. I wrote the bestselling fitness business book of all time, but I often think about taking it off the shelves. Here’s why. Business evolves quickly and while the ideas in my book “Two-Brain Business” still have value, my program has evolved. That’s where my most recent book comes in. In “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” I break the entrepreneur’s journey into stages because the things that work in the first stage don’t work in the second and vice versa. Everything I put in that book is based on thousands of hours on the phone with gym owners and tens of thousands of dollars in research. I know what works, when it works and why it works. I’m not just going to try and inspire you with pie-in-the-sky philosophy and memes about grinding and hustling. I’m going to give you step-by-step instructions based on what the best gyms in the world are doing to succeed. You can spin your tires like I did 10 years ago as a struggling gym owner or you can avoid my mistakes by reading a book based on a decade of knowledge. Check out “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” on Amazon. I wrote it to help people like you. And now, back to Two-Brain Radio.

Chris: 14:16 – Okay. I think you said something really important there because a lot of us just take for granted that the client will make that mindset pivot on their own between I want to lose 30 pounds and I need to show up at the gym every, you know, three times a week or whatever, but they don’t. So if I’m a client sitting in front of you, how do you make that pivot in my mind?

Ty: 14:37 – So the important thing is like I think you just said Chris, it’s the why is important. Okay, I want to lose the 30 pounds. And we kind of talked about how to get even deeper than that, but the why doesn’t necessarily tell us what. And so those whats need to then be the goals. And so it’s our job as the coach to map that out in the client’s journey. And so it starts really simple and it needs to be something that we know they can accomplish. I know you can get here during these days, what times work best for you and not just taking for granted that they’re going to pick a time that works best for them. Let’s talk about their schedule. Remember we had already had the conversation with them about their kids. When do they drop the kids off from school? Okay, 8:15? Perfect. You should be able to make the 8:30 class. I’d love to see you here at 8:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And then we make that happen. And so by really, really leading them in and taking all the guesswork and all of the variables out of it as the coach, I feel like that is one of your most important jobs, to get those clients rolling and then naturally they’ll start to contact those other reinforcers down the line.

Chris: 15:41 – Yeah, I agree Ty. I really think that’s part of coaching. You know, coaching isn’t showing up and teaching movement. It’s really digging so deep that you’re helping people change their behaviors. So let’s say that I sign up, right? And what are the first steps that I take in your gym and how do you kind of keep me on track? Because when I meet you the first time, I mean you’re a motivating dude, right? Take my money. You know, what happens in two days or three days when that novelty wears off?

Ty: 16:07 – Yeah. So that’s where there’s two pieces really for reinforcement. We talk about—let’s bring back in the science of behavior here because that’s what we’re talking about. There’s two things that tend to motivate people, and the first one is to gain access to preferred things. And so for me as a coach, you know, I try to use my personality and I try to use that relationship that we built to then reinforce them by having interaction with them, by praising them, by texting them, by celebrating them maybe on my social media and making it a big deal that they’re showing up multiple times. Now, the other thing that tends to motivate people and their behavior is to avoid pain, right? To avoid the painful situation. And so as a coach, it’s also my job to provide that accountability. If you said you were going to be here and we agreed upon your why and you’ve already paid me to be here, so then you’re not showing up.

Ty: 16:56 – Well, it’s my job to hold you accountable. I need to be the one that reaches out to you. I need to text you personally, right? Not a Facebook message, not an email. It’s a text message. Hey, saw that you didn’t come in for that Wednesday class that we talked about. You know, what’s going on. Is there anything that’s going on in your personal life? Are you feeling well? And really reaching out and at first I think that was as a coach tough for me because I was like, I don’t want to bother these people. But then the more that I did that, the more thank-yous I got from these clients letting them know that like, hey, because you’ve texted me and because you reached out to me, I didn’t want to let you down as the coach. And so I showed up that next day even though I didn’t want to because I wanted to avoid letting you down. And so either one of those two pieces can definitely play into your favor, but it definitely needs to also come from a place of genuine relationship and that’s where we have to keep in touch with those clients.

Chris: 17:48 – That’s great man. I really don’t think like knowledge is the problem anymore for clients. Like people know in general how to lose weight. I really think that more and more our job is accountability, but luckily more and more we have tools to do that. Would you say just, you know, being exposed to the 500 gym owners in the Two-Brain family, would you say that you guys do more follow-ups with clients than most gyms?

Ty: 18:12 – Well, you know, Chris, it was interesting because as this podcast daily is being recorded today, I got your email about goal reviews and I think that’s something that, you know, full of vulnerability here, we need to do a better job at, and it’s not to say that we don’t do them, but I think we do a really awesome job of getting people going and staying with them as they’re contacting that natural reinforcement and natural contingencies. But then later on, I think we need to continuously do better at monitoring their progress, at sitting down on those 90-day whatever it is that you have set up with them and then reevaluating their progress. It’s really nice to be up front with them and for your sales process to get those people contacted right away. But it tends to be those people who have been with us for a year or so that we’re going to need to continue to improve our systems on.

Chris: 19:04 – Okay man. So for the gyms out there who aren’t doing quarterly goal reviews with their clients, and this is the majority of gyms, man, you’re not alone there. How can they bring those topics, you know, those levers back into the conversation when they see the client in a personal-training session or in a group class.

Ty: 19:22 – So I think it’s something that once we can get that meeting done and get it on the books, that’s the number one. Right? And that’s your job as a coach. It’s my job to find a time that works for both of us. And then after that, it’s really the same question. It comes back to, you know, are we having success and if we’re having success, then we’re going to celebrate. Then we’re going to talk about it. Then we’re going to maybe do it on social media. We’re going to tell everybody that we know about it. If we’re not having success or if we want to have more success, well then we got to get back to brainstorming and we need to get back to is it the can’t do or the is it the won’t do, all right. Do we have to reevaluate some motivation and figure out the why again or is it mainly a systems thing where it’s a what. Are we not coming enough? Do we need to add on some personal training? Do we need to add on some nutrition? And I think that, you know, regardless of sales, that alone is really going to help your clients stick around because now they understand that hey, you really care and you’re here to help them reach whatever goal it is and they’re not just going to be forgotten about because the three new shiny members walked in the door behind them.

Chris: 20:32 – I think that’s crazy important. And actually, you know, I’m going to throw you a curve ball here cause I know that you just gained 34 clients over a span of about 10 days. How do you maintain all this one-on-one relationship building when you’ve got such a huge influx of new members?

Ty: 20:47 – Well Chris, I’ll tell you the one thing it starts with and it’s 80-hour work weeks, you know, it’s a lot of work. And so Derek and I took every single one of those members and we sat them down and we did a one-on-one No-Sweat Intro/goal-review session with them. From there we had each and every one of them do at least one if not two or three personal-training sessions with us. And we start every single client at our gym with personal training. And so our fundamentals typically is five sessions long. So every new member that we have is five sessions. Now for these ones, we didn’t have the time or capacity to do five with each and every one of them, but we thought it was important to at least to do one because coming back to the relationship piece, yeah I can fix your snatch technique and I can teach you how to jerk and that’s going to be done in the session.

Ty: 21:37 – And that’s going to be what you perceive is going on really. But what I’m focused on as the coach is building a relationship with you one-on-one and I think that is the one thing that Eric and I are so passionate about and Hilary is just as good at it with following up with clients who haven’t been there for a little bit as our CSM now. And it’s that piece that’s going to keep them around and it’s that piece that we truly, truly find ourselves excelling in right now and continuing to focus on. So that’s the main piece.

Chris: 22:10 – All right. I know it would have been tempting—so all these clients came from another gym that closed. It would have been tempting to just say here’s a group of 34 clients and treat them as one big mass of new members. So what made you guys say, no, no, these are the 34 individuals. They’re all going to go through our process instead of just treating this like the winning lottery ticket, you know?

Ty: 22:34 – Yeah. I would say, well you know, Greg Strauch at Two-Brain has been one of the main reasons, is that he wouldn’t have let us get away with that. So there’s our accountability piece, but we also had done that in the past. We had, when we first opened, we had three members, so a smaller scale, but three members come over from another program that had closed down and they were a CrossFit-style program and we brought all three in together. Well two of them were outgoing and a little bit more advanced from an athletic perspective. They picked it up quick and they’re still members to this day, seed members see clients at that, two of our best clients. But the other one we lost and I always think about her because we brought all three of them at the same time and she was a little bit behind, she was a little bit more introverted, a little bit more shy, wasn’t as athletic, but you know what?

Ty: 23:21 – She lives in the area and now is getting personal training at another gym. And if I would have taken that same approach as we had done with these 35, I’m pretty sure we could have helped her as well and we wouldn’t have had that loss. So we had a micro scale, which we were very fortunate of. We have the accountability of the group, but then also our basic principles of treating every single person as an and celebrating them and working with them through their own personal challenges and successes is why we did it the way we did it despite only sleeping for a few hours a night.

Chris: 23:56 – I like how you said that client got lost because I mean, nobody really quits a gym, right. The gym loses them, and a lot of gyms have been actually lost along the way because they missed that lesson. So, Ty, tell us what the Behavior Change Collective is all about.

Ty: 24:15 – Yeah. So shifting gears a little bit. So after—I was a clinical director of an autism treatment center for about five years and had been practicing as a board-certified behavior analyst. A BCBA for short, which is the certification that allows you to practice applied behavioral analysis or ABA. So I’d done that in the autism field for almost a decade and I had really found that there was a lot of parents who maybe their children wasn’t diagnosed with autism but still struggled with behavior and still struggled with challenging behavior, especially in the home or in the school. And so me working as a private practitioner in the center, I was feeling I was losing a lot of touch and not helping as many kids or getting as much reach as we would like. And so we started the Behavior Change Collective to help those people and to help those parents.

Ty: 25:06 – And we started it as a free Facebook page where we were just going live every week talking about different things about behavioral analysis, talking about lessons from our own life, from our own children. And we ended up seeing that it resonated hugely with a lot of people. And so over the course of about a month, you know, we got from zero to nearly 500 followers. And then, you know, approaching a thousand now. And so we found that there’s a huge need for this. And so I ended up leaving the clinic and going full time at the gym and then also additionally going full time into this venture. So what we currently do is we work one-on-one with parents online, via Zoom or via Skype, whatever they need to do, and we work them through the individual challenges that they’re having in their home. Additionally, I do work with some schools in the local area here to help them with any issues or things that they may need as well.

Chris: 26:02 – That’s great, man. I mean, I really like that you’re able to do this online now too. You know, a lot of listeners know that we have a program called Ignite Gym in Sioux Saint Marie. But you know, it’s mostly hands-on working with students in schools. So what’s the response been to the Behavior Change Collective so far, Ty?

Ty: 26:22 Man, it’s been phenomenal. And I absolutely—I will have to give Ignite Gym and you, Chris, a lot of credit for this because as you know, I came up and visited you guys about a year ago and you have a phenomenal program there. And this was one of the main reasons I wanted to actually open my gym because I wanted to continue to help kids but do it in my own way. I didn’t want to just do it through common applied behavioral analysis principles or kinda, you know, just working through that. I wanted to incorporate fitness. I wanted to incorporate lifestyle change. I wanted to incorporate the whole family. And so that response has been tremendous. We actually had just dripped a little bit of information on starting our own therapeutic fitness group here in Green Bay and over about 24 hours we had about 170 sign up on our email list. So I would say that, you know, for any gym that’s out there that’s looking to do this kind of work or if you’re motivated to do it, you know, reach out to Chris, reach out to me. You know, we know that this is a huge need and it’s going to really bring some impactful things to the lives of a lot of families.

Chris: 27:26 – That’s awesome, Ty. So I’m gonna put the link in the show notes, but where can people read more about the Behavior Change Collective?

Ty: 27:32 – So you can find us right now, you send us a personal email at BehaviorChangeCollective@gmail.com. That’s the easiest way to get ahold of us. You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook at Behavior Change Collective and currently we’re working on our landing page for the actual website should be done hopefully within the next month here. And so in the new year, we’ll link that to you guys, too.

Chris: 27:56 – Awesome, man. Okay. Parting shot. If you’re going to give a gym owner three things that they can do to improve the behavior of their clients and improve retention and revenue at their gym, what would those three things be?

Ty: 28:11 – Okay, so the first one that I would say is find that why define the why and use that, like we talked about with the seven layers deep or any sort of way that you can, but once you can get to that why you’re going to have all the currency that you need to keep them motivated. The second piece is encourage them to tell everyone around them about that why. And so now that also builds in accountability systems, not only with you as the coach, which you know you’re going to do, right? But it builds it in with their entire friend social groups. So really encourage them to enlist the rest of their people and their support structure around them. And then finally you need to track the progress and then you got to celebrate that progress with them or either course correct. So when you work through that stuff, you’re going to have to go through and you know, that’ll be individualistic to each person, but as you get through it, that’s going to be those three main things that you’re gonna need to do.

Chris: 29:06 – Fantastic, Ty. Hey man, thanks for giving us a half hour today. I’m going to say this was a very, very valuable podcast episode for listeners.

Ty: 29:14 – Well, thank you Chris for having me and thanks for everyone for listening, guys. Really, really appreciate it.

Andrew: 29:21 – Thank you for listening to another edition of Two-Brain Radio. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a rating or review. We really appreciate that. To find out how a mentor can help you add $5,000 in revenue to your gym, book a free call at twobrainbusiness.com.


Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday.

On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
The Speal Deal: 40 Minutes With a Fitness Legend

The Speal Deal: 40 Minutes With a Fitness Legend

Sean: 00:05 – Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On this episode I speak with CrossFit legend Chris Spealler. Over the years I’ve covered dozens of fitness events all around the world and I’ve seen the best of the best work with coaches to find success. Yet many business owners don’t think coaches can help them. If you want to hit a revenue PR, visit twobrainbusiness.com to book a free call and find out how a business coach can help you. Chris Spealler is an eight-time CrossFit Games competitor, seven as an individual and once as a master. He stood on the podium three times in his individual career. Spealler is also one of the most popular athletes in CrossFit history. He currently owns CrossFit Park City in Utah and he runs the online Icon Athlete training program now known simply as Speal. We talk about some of the more memorable moments from his competitive career, what it was like making the transition from training as a competitor to training for life and what sets good programming apart from the not so good. Thanks for listening everybody. Chris, thanks so much for being here, man. How you doing?

Chris: 01:20 – I’m good. How about you?

Sean: 01:22 – I’m doing really well. You have been a fixture in the CrossFit community for a while and I think people who are sort of late to the game might not know a lot about you. So I want to get to know you a little bit first here before we dive into all the competitive stuff and your history with CrossFit. What sports or athletics did you pursue when you were growing up?

Chris: 01:40 – Oh man, I kind of did like the gamut. You know, when I was younger I played soccer. I wrestled, I started doing that when I was about six and that kinda stuck with me for forever. But wrestled, I played lacrosse, I ran track and with running track that was like the hundred meter, the 400 meter. I tried the long jump, I tried the high jump, I wanted to shot put, but didn’t work out being 60 pounds and shotputting. I even played golf my freshman year in high school. What else did I do? Yeah, I kinda did, yeah, a whole bunch of stuff. But wrestling was my jam. I started that when I was six and then I did that all the way through college. I kinda decided in 10th grade I played lacrosse and wrestled. And then I remember my dad kind of sitting down and saying, hey, you have a choice to make bud. You can either be good at both these. And he said, that’s fine or you can try to be the best at one. And I thought, man, that sounds really cool to be the best at one. So then I stuck with wrestling.

Sean: 02:48 – Other than wanting to be the best at it, what is it about wrestling that appealed to you?

Chris: 02:54 – The fairness. As a kid growing up, shocker, I was small. I was really small as a kid, you know, I think in seventh grade I weighed 65 pounds. Ninth grade I couldn’t wrestle for half of the year cause I didn’t weigh enough. So you had to weigh I think 91 pounds to wrestle103 and I didn’t weigh enough. So when I was younger it was always a little bit of playing catch up and the fairness was so refreshing and it was kids your size, so I didn’t have to worry about not stacking up against kids that were six years old and weighed a hundred pounds. It was just another six-year-old that weighed 50 pounds, which was awesome.

Sean: 03:38 – What kind of work ethic did that instill in you growing up?

Chris: 03:43 – Oh my gosh. It was everything. Especially once I got to high school, I got really committed in middle school and I even wrestled at Foxcatcher for a little bit. And really kinda took that step once I got into middle school and then start of high school to having a big commitment to that. And in 10th grade I remember watching a video on Iowa wrestling and that legit changed my trajectory of the work ethic that I wanted to have, the athlete that I wanted to be, the person that I wanted to be, watching those guys work as hard as they did. I just wanted it, I wanted to be a part of that and that was it. I’m sure some people would disagree, but I don’t care. It is hands down the hardest sport. It’s way harder than CrossFit. It is the hardest sport out there.

Sean: 04:43 – I had a football coach, he used to say wrestling is the toughest sport because God made it first.

Chris: 04:49 – Yeah, agreed.

Sean: 04:51 – How does that lead you to CrossFit now?

Chris: 04:54 – Oh, so when I was out of college, I had the opportunity to go to the Olympic training center. My coach from college said, hey, if you want to go, you can. But I was not at that level, you know, I was not someone that was like Olympic caliber and I was nationally ranked in college, which was cool. But my heart just wasn’t there anymore. I just knew I didn’t have it in me to push that hard and I didn’t want to do it halfheartedly. So I had this four-year window of just being really lost and wanting to do more and wanting to train, but not really knowing how to do it or who I was. And I stumbled into CrossFit through a friend of mine. And it instantly gave me that feeling of purpose behind the training again. It felt like I was at the very least competing with myself because it was so young. The online community, we were posting each other’s times. It was very supportive on.com and it just felt like sport. So I didn’t feel like I was just wasting time doing chest and tris on Tuesday, Thursday back and bis Monday, Wednesday and running the days in between. It was sport to me, which was so refreshing.

Sean: 06:17 – Why do wrestlers make such good CrossFitters?

Chris: 06:21 – They’re just so much more mentally tough, like the willingness to suffer and that understanding of how far you can push yourself, I think is just unmatched for most people and most athletes. And then also truth is that a lot of the training fits really well with CrossFit. You know, a wrestling match in college is seven minutes long. And how long are most CrossFit workouts? You know, they fall into this like eight to 12 or 15-minute window. And then you think about the practices that we had to do, they were drill matches and they were all sorts of intervals that were short bursts and I had to go on long runs to lose weight. It just plugs into its so well.

Sean: 07:10 – Why did you decide to go and compete at the first ever CrossFit Games in 2007

Chris: 07:16 – I thought I could win. I remember thinking I could outwork other people, I can outwork them. And I remember thinking, you know, seeing my times and posting and also just there’s this curiosity because we were all just names on this blog. There was no image and there was OPT and AFT and Kelly Moore and Bingo and all these names that you just, you knew who these people were through their messages, but there was this real element of wow, we can get together as a community and do this together. And it was just such a cool time. It was such a cool time to be on the brink of that and experience that.

Sean: 08:05 – What did you think about the future of the sport after you competed that year in Aromas?

Chris: 08:12 – No one knew. I think we finished and I think on Saturday night we had a big barbecue in the back of like the warehouse there. I remember legit, they were just barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers and we were hanging out having beers and just being a community, there were like 50 of us there, you know, it was nothing at the time. And there’s no way any of us I think had any idea, not even where it would be in 2014 or 2020, or whatever, but even in 2008 to have 600 people show up? That’s bananas. It’s crazy.

Sean: 08:53 – How did your training then change, if at all, after that experience?

Chris: 08:57 – Yeah, so I really didn’t change much of anything after 2007. After 2008 when I had to do the squat clean and jerk, then I started doing some strength bias programming, but not a ton of volume. And then in 2009, when they tried to kick our teeth in with all the volume, we were like, wow, we gotta prepare for that. So then some volume started creeping in. I still focused on more of the strength stuff and I would do like little balloons of volume. So I’d do just one workout a day. But then about eight weeks out from a comp, I would start to do like two-a-days or three-a-days, usually two-a-days. And then that again shifted in, I would say, probably 2012, there was another kind of bump, and that all that time there was still this, constantly tried to evaluate where your weaknesses are. But in 2012, there was I think a pretty significant bump in training volume, training—I don’t know that style is the right word, but organization and periodization of CrossFit training, getting coaches, all that started kind of popping on the scene in 2012 and then just continually evolve from there.

Sean: 10:13 – One of your many memorable moments of the CrossFit Games came in 2011 and it was on the dog sled. What stands out to you about how you performed in that event?

Chris: 10:22 – Honestly I feel bad for Barber. He beat me, but the crowd cheered for me more than they did for Barber. But it was one of those things where I remember thinking to myself, I remember trying to push the sled and it was the first year that Reebok came out with Nanos and I remember looking down at the floor and seeing my feet slide on the floor and thinking, these shoes suck. Like it must be the shoes’ problem. And I just had to kind of wrap my head around it and realize what I was doing was not working and I had to find a way to make it move. And then from there, honestly it was just—I think that was one of the first times where I felt like I was sorta able to bridge the gap with the community of like, well, if he can do it, maybe I can do it. And I think that event in particular was where that really started to feel like a real privilege to be in that space of, well if Chris can do it cause he’s a smaller guy, maybe I can do that too. And then that just kinda propelled, not because of anything I did, but I just think because of the programming.

Sean: 11:52 – In 2012 you had that great performance at Regionals. And this is actually really when I got introduced to how popular you were among not only the fans but also the CrossFit media staff. You chased down Matt Chan in the final event to earn a spot at the Games. I remember we had everybody around a phone and Justin Judkins was calling the event to us over the phone and there were audible tears in the room. I remember hashtag Speal was trending on Twitter. What was going through your head during that event?

Chris: 12:20 – Oh man. I remember having to beat Hathcock by a lot. I don’t know how far it was, but as I was doing the workout, I could see him falling off. And I just kept thinking, just get a bigger gap, get a bigger gap, get a bigger gap. Zach Forrest was way out in front and I knew I couldn’t catch him. He was like crushing that workout. But I also think he was not in a position to go still. And I remember even talking to him and being like, don’t hold back like you do you, you know. And I just remember seeing Matt at the end of the gym and it’s just like this acceptance of, well, if I’m going to beat him, like I have to kind of run with these dumbbells. And I did. And then I just knew the muscle-ups—it was just such a, that was so cool, man. That was old-school CrossFit to a T because the gym was so tiny and it was packed with like wooden bleachers in either end, open, you know, probably 200 people there, but it felt like 20,000 and just freaking out. It was a really awesome memory and experience for sure.

Sean: 13:40 – You missed the Games in 2013. What effect did that have on you?

Chris: 13:45 – That was hard. That was really emotionally difficult because going into that year, I had kind of made a little bit of the decision or at least thought, I don’t think I’d made the real decision, but I thought I’m going to be done after this year. I can’t keep up with the volume in this anymore. And then when I didn’t make it, there was just this odd finality of it. This feeling of unfinished business or did it really end that way? And I remember I’d be sitting at lunch or breakfast, I was sitting at breakfast with my wife Sarah and our son at the time, he was three, my daughter was one, and I was sitting at a diner eating breakfast and just broke down in tears like, and she knew why and my son, daddy, are you OK? And it was really difficult going back into the gym and training, thinking, well I’m not going to go back anymore, but still doing tons of volume cause I felt like I needed to. And like deep down I knew I wanted to go back. So there was a big roller coaster there for two or three months and then that’s when I decided I can’t leave it like that. So I’ll take one more dedicated shot and then really, really know and decide that no matter what, this will be our last year.

Sean: 15:11 – So it works for you. You get to the Games the following year where you were the only man there who also competed in 2007. What was it like being the elder statesman of that group?

Chris: 15:24 – Elder. Honestly I didn’t think of it that way. I didn’t notice it, cause so many of the guys that were there that year, I think again, that was another defining year where there was still a lot of us around that had been there from the start. And then once 2016 hit, 2015, 16, it kind of like started to shift. A lot of the athletes started to shift. So what was cool about it is I was still around so many of the guys that I knew well, like Bridges and Froning and Bailey and all just all your buddies, you know, that you’re throwing down with. Seeing other guys from around the world that you get to know like Khan Porter, just like getting to know these people. Brandon Swan. But then also seeing this young crowd come in. I remember Will Moorad being there and just being like a really respectful kid. And just you started to see this wave of new athletes coming onto the scene and now those new athletes have either kind of moved on and done something else or they’re some of the best in the world and so it was neat to be there to see that shift. But for me, it didn’t even resonate really that like, wow, I’m the only one here was there in 2007.

Sean: 16:40 – That was also your last time competing as an individual. And I will never forget the interview you gave and then you walked off the floor there at the tennis stadium in Carson. What was it like doing that in front of that crowd?

Sean: 16:53 – It just came so naturally, I think. And it was for sure emotional for me, but it was also time, I knew that it was time for me to step away, and it was so appreciative. That whole weekend I gave myself a chance to definitely compete, to do my very best. I also knew I was not going to win the Games, you know, at my age, at my size, at my ability, I just wasn’t good enough. So I had goals that I want to achieve personally, but I still let myself enjoy the weekend and look up at the crowd and just enjoy the experience and soak it in. And I just felt so much support from just the CrossFit community in general on the clean ladder, you know, like that evening. What a cool experience. I mean, I’m the last place, you know, and all that kind of combined to just give me a chance to say thank you. And I could not have asked for a better way to say goodbye for sure.

Sean: 17:59 – Hi guys. Before we go any further with Chris Spealler, I wanted to ask you a question. Remember when pictures of bloody hands and vomit attracted clients to your gym? Well that stopped working in about 2011 or so. It’s also not enough to be a great coach or programmer. The key to success in 2020 is building a personal relationship with each client, then helping that client’s friends and family. Total ad spend on that? $0. The average gym owner can also add $45,000 a year in revenue just by keeping each client a few months longer. Two-Brain’s new Affinity Marketing and Retention guides will give you everything you need to know. You can get both and 13 other guides and books for free. Visit TwoBrainbusiness.com/free-tools. And now more with Chris Spealler.

Sean: 18:53 – You touched on this a little bit when you were talking about the dog sled, but why do you think you were so popular as a competitor?

Chris: 19:04 – Hopefully cause I was relatable and a nice guy. But I think a lot of it is—I do think part of it is just the relatability. So when people do connect with you outside of it, I was lucky that I taught seminars for CrossFit headquarters, so I had brushed shoulders with, you know, 50 people every weekend that looked up to any of the athletes out there. So they got to know me a little bit better than they probably would other athletes that didn’t have that opportunity. And then I also think it’s the size thing, right? I do think I played the underdog role more than probably anybody that I can think of. Cody Anderson’s like the only other person that I can think of that has kind of filled those shoes and had a chance to play that position. But I think the next biggest, the next smallest guy out was like 175 pounds. They’re 30 pounds heavier than me. So I think there’s this element of that again, well, if he can do that, maybe, maybe I can as well. And that was just cool. It was cool to be able to be there and do that and hopefully provide that.

Sean: 20:19 – Were you ever intimidated walking out on the floor?

Chris: 20:26 – Not really.

Sean: 20:26 – Why not?

Chris: 20:27 – I just didn’t care. I wanted—I liked when people would doubt me and I evolved a lot as an athlete. When I was in college I had a really difficult time with like the mental aspect of wrestling and wrestle-offs and people saying things or doubting me and I kinda got to this point as I matured, I loved it. I was like, doubt me. I dare you to doubt me. Please doubt me cause I want to prove you wrong or I want you to underestimate me. I really liked that role. But there were definitely times where I was intimidated in the warm-up area. So not when I went to the floor cause it’s game time. But when I would be in the warm-up area and you’re hanging out with guys that are 200, 210 pounds and slinging weight around that you are trying to do for your one-rep max, you just have to ignore it. So there were a number of times where I’d have to kind of separate myself from that. And I did, I separated myself from that a lot so I didn’t see it and I didn’t get intimidated by it cause I knew it would intimidate me. But once I got on the floor, I just knew if certain things would be a head-above-water event, we’ll call it and then just let it be what it is.

Sean: 21:50 – I always remember a lot of shots with you and your family and you mentioned them earlier, but what sense do your kids have now about what you were able to accomplish as a competitor?

Chris: 22:01- That’s a good question. I don’t think they really know yet honestly. It’s funny, my son, just last night he was saying to me, hey dad, like I remember you competing in the CrossFit Games and like doing certain—he was specifically talking about when I would kind of take a knee and just say a prayer for myself, really. And he was like, I remember seeing you do that there. And I think I saw you do that at the Rogue invitational. But I don’t think it’s really clicked with them. They’ll find out someday, I think. And they don’t know. It’s funny. My son, he said some of his friends in school, I walked into his school and they’re almost as tall as me, the fifth graders are as big as I am. They see me and they’re like, yeah, that’s—I’ve heard them sometimes, yeah, that’s Roark’s dad. He’s the strongest man in the world. I’ll be like no no no, not that, very different. He’ll be like, he’s a bodybuilder. I’m not that either, but there’s a little bit of this from their friends, I think, they come around the gym and see some pictures and things, but for Roark and Myla they’re kinda just like, eh, that’s neat, Dad. Normal.

Sean: 23:27 – You competed as a master in 2017. Why did you decide to give that a go?

Chris: 23:34 – I fell into it kind of just by chance and I just wanted to experience it to make sure that I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I don’t want that to sound bad. And I don’t mean that in any degrading way toward any other masters athletes that work tremendously hard to get there. But I just wanted to give myself that experience and there was this piece of me that thought like, oh, that’d be kinda cool to be someone that like stood on the podium as an individual and as a master, that might be kind of neat. But I really wasn’t like worried about that. But I think I more did it to answer the question that I had. Am I missing out on something that I feel like I should be doing?

Sean: 24:19 – I have a feeling that most competitors, once a competitor, always a competitor. How were you able to now switch that off?

Chris: 24:31 – Yeah, it’s taken a long time for sure. You know, like for me to really make that shift, to genuinely not be concerned about where I finish or place or a time in a workout, it’s taken me, it’s been almost six years since I walked off the competition floor, you know, and I would say just in the last year and a half, two years, I’ve really been able to let go of that. And I think a lot of it’s growth. A lot of it’s just realizing what else I want out of my life and what I want out of my fitness. I really don’t have any desire at all to compete in CrossFit in any form or fashion. It just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. And I’m so appreciative of those experiences and I would never trade it. But I really just want my fitness to serve me, to ride my dirt bike and ski and downhill mountain bike. And I mean, I missed out on a decade of adventure and life outside the gym cause I was trying to win the CrossFit Games and now I get to have that back and it feels so dang good.

Sean: 25:41 – What was it like going into the gym then once you made that decision and now you’re making the transition from training as a competitor to someone who’s just training for health?

Chris: 25:51 – It took a while. It took a while to trust the fact that training for an hour or less a day is enough to do that. And to realize that one workout a day is enough. Even now, up until about two months ago, I was training six days a week instead of five. And now I just started like, it sounds weird to me, but Thursday I take off and Sunday I take off. I used to do that when I was competing, cause of all the volume. But once I got done I was just used to that volume so I could train six days in a row and not even whatever. It didn’t bother me. But it’s different now. So the volume’s less, the time is less than the gym. I really do only do one workout a day. And I focus on working hard during that time and I focus on modifying things so I can have longevity. I can’t snatch very heavy anymore. I have to be careful with overhead squats. I can’t run long distances. My box jumps, I step down. I mean like, I’m your regular dude in the gym that maybe just has a little bit more capacity. It’s taken me a while to get there, but knowing that it’s giving me everything I want outside the gym has made it easier to trust what I’m doing in the gym.

Sean: 27:19 – Why did you decide to start Icon Athlete?

Chris: 27:22 – Oh man. I mean at first, like in the very infancy of it, Sherwood and I kind of put our brains together and Pat was like, Hey, you know, think about doing this. And I was like, yeah, let’s do it. And shortly after, like within four or eight weeks, there was like, oh, you know, like I think he was still doing some programming for the masters at the time and we just wanted to be very like black and white and not have any kind of confusion or overlap there. So he was like, you know, I’m more comfortable stepping away. So then I just kind of ran with it. And at first it was just sharing that knowledge that I had had of how to compete. And at the time it was very much that world. A lot of people were looking for competitive programming. And it’s been funny because as I’ve evolved as a person and an athlete and my desires, it’s really influenced Icon. You know, like right now we’re at a place where we have a very small group of athletes and by very small I’m thinking like three off the top of my head that are like Sanctional-level athletes and I want to support them and give them as much knowledge as I can to help them. But our goal is not to have 50 athletes walking around at the Games with an Icon shirt on or X amount of masters athletes. Like my real passion now is to give people really—I really think the community needs to be steered in the right direction again, and I think we’re at this teetering point where people need to know it’s OK to do less and they need to get back to this concept of they don’t do CrossFit just to be good at CrossFit, like stop. That’s nonsense. If you’re a competitor, that’s why you do CrossFit. But you should be doing CrossFit so you can do everything else you want to outside the gym. So one of the things that we’re really trying to do with Icon is really give people those experiences now. So in April we’re going to release in January this event that we’re going to go do, and we’re just going to use our regular hour-a-day training to prepare for it, which just means that we’re going to do our workouts and then we’re gonna meet at this event. And if people can’t get there, we’ll have like a fun virtual way to be a part of it. And then we’re just going to use it, and we’re not going to use it at a CrossFit competition. It’s going to be outside the box of that. And I think people need that to have longevity in CrossFit and they need that to stay motivated and have some goals and really see like their hard work pay off, you know?

Sean: 30:15 – Yeah. Well along those lines, what sets good programming in an affiliate, in your opinion, from not-so-good programming?

Chris: 30:27 – I think volume. I mean if I had to say one word, it would be volume and variance for sure. But volume, right? You could have the best variance in the world and still have way too much volume for your regular affiliate-goer and you could have subpar variance and a really appropriate amount of volume and probably have a healthier gym for it. So I think paying attention to the ebbs and flows of your community, Doug and I kid around, he trains at the gym with us. And it’s like this balance of tricking people into giving them what they need and making them think it’s what they want. I think there’s an art to that. And I think really making sure that you’re very aware of your demographic and you serve them well. I don’t think there needs to be a separation from people that like to compete and not, I don’t think there ever had to be here’s the Games and here’s the affiliate. But I do think there is a difference in how you train for those things and you better dang well be serving your community based off what they need and even what they want a bit, and not what you think they need just because you like to compete or you like to follow the CrossFit Games.

Sean: 31:49 – Along those lines, if someone did come to you and was serious about wanting to be a competitor, what advice do you give that person?

Chris: 31:56 – Start slow with the volume. And we’ve got a one guy in our gym that really enjoys competing and he follows some of the higher-volume stuff with Icon that is basically layered in what the other program that we do at the gym, which is great cause he can still work out with the class and still be a part of that and do the additional stuff. But we’re still less is more. You got to build into that. Don’t go from one workout a day to trying to do four a day for the next six days a week and you’re going to explode, you’re going to get hurt. It’s just you have to ease into that. So we encourage people to just to add in one two-a-day per week, maybe two, and give that a six or eight-week window, adapt to it. Then another day, adapt to that. You get to ease into it. Otherwise you’ll burn out.

Sean: 32:44 – Masters are always looking for sort of the secret sauce as to how to train in the most effective way possible. What is the secret sauce for masters?

Sean: 32:54 – You know, it’s funny because I’ve thought about this recently and I’m kinda like, there’s this weird element because I’m 40 now and I kind of wonder why. Why is there such a draw? And maybe maybe I’m wrong. Why is there such a draw for that community to go to the CrossFit Games? I feel like a large amount of masters, it’s like they kind of want that or they want to train like that. And for me I’m like, I just wonder why. Like what’s the purpose behind their training? Is that what they want? And then if they go, did that fulfill like what their expectations were? So I really think for a masters athletes, maintaining our strength is like super important. Right? And I think to do that, one of the best things we can do is, I’m gonna sound like a broken record, but minimize the volume. You have to give your body a chance to recover to make the adaptation that you’re asking it to do. And that does not come by lifting heavy seven days a week. You know, a lot of the programming that we do within Icon, we have our masters athletes lift heavy twice a week and we have them continuously see improvements, set PRs and make gains and it’s cause they’re recovered. So I think that is important. I think understanding whether mobility or technique is an issue cause mobility can be a big thing for masters athletes and which one is that. Don’t try to, you know, don’t try to make the shortcut there. If improving your mobility is going to improve your lift, then improve your mobility. Don’t worry about the weight on the bar. And then I think just being smart with the variance and the volume of the programming, you know, it doesn’t need to be that much different from what I do. In fact, a lot of the stuff that our masters do, in some ways, it’s more than what I do right now. So I really think it’s important to be aware of that and letting your body recover and make the adaptation that you’re asking you it to have.

Sean: 35:06 – What are the biggest lessons that you have learned, maybe not only about yourself, but also just life in general through this whole CrossFit journey that you’ve been on?

Sean: 35:17 – Oh man. That’s a great question. There’s so much to that, you know, because for me, I look at it almost as like, it’s kinda like juggling these three balls where it’s I had and have the CrossFit affiliate and I look at that as, you know, the brick and mortar, but I also have this great online community as an extension of that. But there’s also this other one where I was a competitor and then there’s this other one where I worked for CrossFit headquarters. So all those have such value to each one and for a different reason. But I think, yeah, if I had to sum it up, regardless of whether it’s the affiliate online programming, the gym, working for HQ, competing, ultimately, whatever I wanted to get out of CrossFit is what I put into it. So however far I wanted to go with competing, however successful I wanted my affiliate to be, the best trainer that I could be for CrossFit headquarters, the tools were given to me, but I had to go to work. No one gave it to me. And I think that that’s a common thread throughout the CrossFit community. However good you want to be as an athlete, got to get to work. However good you want to be as an affiliate owner, you got to get to work. However good of a trainer you want to be, there’s this constant pursuit of making yourself better. No one’s going to do that for you. And I think that’s a little bit unique. I think that’s everywhere. But that was I think a little bit unique to my journey.

Sean: 37:22 – This is probably right along the lines of what you just talked about, but when you look back over your CrossFit career, what are the things that you are the most proud of?

Sean: 37:31 – Honestly, I think, and this has nothing to do with what I did, I think it was just being able to be a part of it from the early stages. What a cool privilege and opportunity to have been there in the right place at the right time with the work ethic that I had. And to be able to just help pave the way for seminars for CrossFit that I helped write, coaches development, building and growing our affiliate here in Park City. Turning that into an online community, going to the CrossFit Games and being able to like—it’s just so cool to have been there when it was nothing and to have seen it and appreciate that. And I mean that’s so valuable. You can’t put a price on that and no one will ever get to experience that again because it’s only a one-time thing.

Sean: 38:28 – Final question for you. How do you want people to remember you as a competitor?

Sean: 38:34 – I think just heart. Yeah. I want people to look at me and undeniably be like, that guy had more heart than anyone else without question.

Sean: 38:50 – I would absolutely agree with that statement and I really appreciate you taking the time to do this, my friend and I absolutely look forward to seeing you back out on the floor at the Rogue Invitational.

Chris: 38:57 – Thanks, Sean, I appreciate it, man.

Sean: 38:59 – Really have to thank Chris Spealler one more time for taking the time to speak with me. If you want to follow him on social media, he’s on Instagram. You can find him at @cspealler. Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio, everybody. Please remember to subscribe. Leave us a review. I’m Sean Woodland and I’ll be back with more great stories from the fitness community every week. In the meantime, check our archives for interviews with your favorite athletes, coaches, and personalities. Thanks for listening today, everybody. We’ll see you next time.


On Wednesdays, Sean Woodland tells the best stories in the CrossFit community on Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland.

Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday, and Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world every Thursday.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
Simple Sales Tips: How to Sell This Pen to Anyone

Simple Sales Tips: How to Sell This Pen to Anyone

Mike: 00:02 – Mateo, sell me this pen. Sell me the pen.

Mateo: 00:05 – Hey Mike.

Mike: 00:06 – Sell me the pen. C’mon, Mateo.

Mateo: 00:09 – So look, you gotta stop asking me to do these things like this.

Mike: 00:14 – No, no. Sell me the pen. Every time I ask you, you come up with this amazing way to sell the pens. Come on, give me one more. Sell the pen.

Mateo: 00:19 – I’m not a wolf of Wall Street. I’m not like, I can’t just sell you the pen. I don’t even know. I don’t even know why you need the pen. I don’t know your life story. Like I can’t sell you this pen right now, Mike.

Mike: 00:31 – But I mean, every single time I ask you about this, you end up—I buy the pen from you. I don’t know how it happens, but all of a sudden I give you $10 and I have my own pen in my hand. You’re sure you’re not going to do this?

Mateo: 00:40 – I’m pretty sure, Mike. I can’t sell you this pen right now.

Mike: 00:44 – Oh, right. It’s all right. I am not Leonardo DiCaprio. My name is Mike Warkentin from Two-Brain Media. Mateo flat-out refuses to sell me this pen. So instead we’re going to grill him on sales techniques. We’ve taken over his podcast and he’s going to be the guest this time. We’re going to dig into sales secrets with Mateo. We’ll find out how he sells pens, closes deals and makes people fitter right after this.

Anouncer: 01:07 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.

Chris: 01:28 – One of my favorite finds has been ForeverFierce.com. I linked up with Matt several months ago at Forever Fierce and he had some fantastic ideas, and so he and I have put together a couple of packages that we think are really gonna help CrossFit affiliates everywhere. Two-Brain mentoring clients use Matt almost exclusively. He’s got fantastic designs and he takes all the work out of it. All that time that you spend searching the internet and Pinterest and junk like that for great CrossFit T-shirts? You don’t have to do that anymore. Matt has fixed that for you. You can put your logo on one of his templates, which are fantastic, and your clients will never know the difference. It saves you so much time that you could be using on other things like real marketing. He’ll also go so far as to remind you when it’s time to reorder. He’ll give you suggested order sizes, he’ll help you set up pre-orders so you’re not even fronting the cash from the inventory. It’s all amazing stuff built to help affiliates, and that’s why I love this guy and this company, ForeverFierce.com. They do all of Catalyst’s shirts, all the Two-Brain shirts, all the Ignite Gym shirts. They do everything for every business that I own.

Mike: 02:31 – And we are back with Mateo Lopez. Mateo has still refused to sell me the pen, but we’re going to talk marketing with him and see what he does in sales calls. Mateo, how are you doing?

Mateo: 02:39 – I’m good, Mike, how are you?

Mike: 02:41 – I’m excellent. And here is a special thing that we’re going to try on this episode. So you talked to me in a previous episode, subscribe, check our archives if you missed it, we want people to call their leads back, how fast?

Mateo: 02:53 – Right away, as soon as possible.

Mike: 02:57 – So what I’ve done here is offline, Mateo and I selected two gyms at random and we are going to book appointments in their systems. And then, well, I have my notifications on do not disturb. I am going to keep an eye on my phone and see if anyone calls or texts or messages or emails and we’ll see if by the end of the show, these two gyms call back. If they do, we’ll tell you who they were. If they don’t, we won’t shame them, but we’ll give you guys some advice on what you should do.

Mateo: 03:23 – We won’t publicly shame them.

Mike: 03:25 – No public shaming, but so I’ve entered my info here and I’m going to click this and yes, I want more info from this gym.

Mateo: 03:36 – So Mike has opted in. We’re going to see if these gyms call him back to try and get him to book an appointment.

Mike: 03:42 – Yeah. And I’m going to go back and cancel cause both of these gyms are not in my market, so I don’t want to take up any of their spaces. But, so what I’ve done is I’ve clicked through the first screen and now I’m here on a second screen where I can book an appointment with one of these two people. I’m not going to do that. Correct?

Mateo: 04:00 – We don’t want you to do that. We want them to call you and say like, hey, we saw you were interested. Let’s just get you booked.

Mike: 04:05 – OK. So I’ve hit number one. One of these is in the US market, one of these in the Canadian market. I will tell you that. And we’ll see what happens here. All right. Now this one is actually, interestingly enough, this site is oddly enough, giving me a bit of problems. So what I would give you a piece of advice right now, I’m clicking a button. Nothing’s happening. Test your site, right. Test your funnel. Mateo, do you recommend that? I’m sure you do.

Mateo: 04:34 – Yeah. You want to make sure your funnels work and everything works properly before you turn ads on. You want to make sure that if they click the submit button, something actually happens and you collect the info. And I have tons of horror stories of starting out that way before. And yeah, we get launch ads and like people, it says we’re getting leads but I’m not getting any leads. So yeah, make sure that, yeah, you gotta test your funnels before.

Mike: 05:01 – OK. So I hammered it a bunch of times and I actually just gave up on that one. I went to a different gym and I just quickly put in the information, auto filled that and I clicked through and I’m seeing their second page is asking me to book an intro. So I’m not going to book either one of these intros, but both of these gyms now have my contact info and I’ve got my phone here and we’ll see if I get anything.

Mateo: 05:20 – Very excited. We’ll see what happens.

Mike: 05:23 – I’m excited too. I saw you guys, you and John, your partner at the marketing team, I saw you guys do this at the Two-Brain summit where you had people partner up and then call each other’s gyms to see what happened. Did you ever talk to people afterwards and see what kind of response rates were to see if people could get through right away?

Mateo: 05:40 – I thought we asked everyone to like raise their hands, who picked up? It was like three people or something like that. And we want to do that because all the gym owners were there, right? Yeah. So they’re typically the ones probably handling the phones, if they’re handling the phones, right? So we want to be like, hey, this is what’s going on when you’re not there, people are probably inquiring about your gym and no one’s there to answer the questions and sell them.

Mike: 06:06 – So that was incredible. And I was talking to you before the show, if someone called me right now, I’d be on a podcast with my notifications snoozed, I wouldn’t get that and I needed to set something up for someone. So that’s the first piece of actionable advice from the show are test your funnels. Make sure they work, make sure that they do what they want every time. Make sure they’re easy to use. And the second piece is have someone there to take these calls or follow up with these leads. And if it’s you and you can’t do it, make sure you’ve got a back-up plan.

Mateo: 06:34 – Yeah, you got to have staff notifications. No matter what you use to collect leads, no matter how you gather that contact info, you got to make sure there’s a mechanism by which your staff’s being notified that hey, someone just inquired.

Mike: 06:46 – All right, well nothing yet, but we’ll give these guys a bit of time. We’re going to talk about what happens when you actually get these leads and people call it, whoa. Hold on right here, Mateo. Give me one second. I’m going to pull up. OK. So I got a 360 Fitness in Red Deer, Alberta. I have a text message. It says, Mike, we received your consultation request. Please book in here. Sideways smiley face. And it’s got a link where I can book immediately.

Mateo: 07:14 – There you go.

Mike: 07:15 – What do you think of that? That came in like, I don’t know, two minutes after?

Mateo: 07:19 – I told you my boy Jack Wheeler wouldn’t let you down.

Mike: 07:22 – Jack Wheeler 360 Fitness. So Jack, if you’re listening or if anyone knows Jack, high five to you, that is amazing.

Mateo: 07:29 – So he set up an automated SMS, it looks like. And it looks like he, yeah, they’ve set it up so that if you don’t book, you’re going to get that text right away. Like, hey, you didn’t book, so you should probably book now. And that’s great too, right? Like automations are really good, especially if like you don’t have the staff or the bandwidth in place to be by the phone 24 seven having that automation is definitely way better than nothing.

Mike: 07:53 – I’m going to guess that’s probably on a timer too where they’re waiting for me. They’ve given me a bit of time to go through that second screen. Just probably happens almost instantaneously if you want it to, but I’m going to guess just based on what I know about Jack, I’m going to guess that at some point I’m probably getting a call from a staff member.

Mateo: 08:10 – Probably at some point.

Mike: 08:11 – The only thing that might happen is I have a phone number outside the area code. They might know it’s something weird at that point, but who knows. We’ll see what happens, but either way, I’ve got a first contact here and if I wasn’t interested in that thing and maybe I stepped away from the computer. Maybe I didn’t book. Whatever reason, I now have a contact. I’m in his system and I guarantee I’m going to get some emails from Jack that’s going to tell me some awesome stuff. And I’m going to get some free stuff, right? Like he’s not just going to spam me with garbage. He’s actually going to give me some lead magnets and things that I’m probably interested.

Mateo: 08:41 – I’ve been friends with Jack for a long time. He does a lot of content. He has a lot of eBooks, a lot of like recipe books and tons of social proof. You’re probably gonna get an email with like a million before and after pictures from his programs. So yeah, so that’s great.

Mike: 08:57 – All right, so I’ll get back on track here. Now that we’re doing sales, this is going to be the stuff. We’re gonna talk about what happens when people get into a call or into an office with you. The first thing I’ll tell you is back in 2009, I got out of radio and I got into fitness. So I took a bunch of fitness credentials, I had about three of them lined up at the time. I started applying at gyms and I applied at a globo gym. It was an online application, put in all my information and I felt like I was pretty qualified. In fact, maybe overqualified. One thing that I answered was do you have sales experience? And I said, no, because I didn’t want to sell. And I had sales experience. I’d worked in a shoe store for a long time.

Mike: 09:34 – I had worked selling knives and wasn’t particularly good at it, but I did have sales experience enough to check that box honestly. I put the thing in and within a day I got the auto instant reject email saying, you are not qualified to work in our gym. And I was like, wow, I have all these credentials and all this stuff. I think I’m good at teaching squats, but I’m not qualified because I didn’t want to sell. Interesting part is I opened my own gym and I said, man, I’m opening a gym, I don’t have to sell. I’m just going to teach squats and be awesome at it. And oddly enough, that worked for a while just based on the CrossFit name, based on my friends bringing people in, based on me being an OK coach or maybe even a good coach. All that worked. And then eventually I realized I had no marketing. Guess what I had to do, Mateo, I had to learn to what?

Mateo: 10:14 – You had to sell.

Mike: 10:14 – Yup. Back to square one in 2009. So right now we’re going to ask you some questions and we’re going to try to figure out how to make people better at sales. Let’s talk techniques.

Mateo: 10:30 – Well, I was just going to say, my approach is really just—there’s tons of like, we could talk about, you know, ways to handle objections. We could talk about certain techniques, but really, I think for me what it comes down to is just trying to figure out, you know, this idea of current state and then desired state, right? So everyone who comes in, anytime you want to buy something, the, the reason you’re buying that thing is because it’s a vehicle to take you to the thing that you want. Right? So if you’re in a current situation, you don’t want to be in that current situation. You want to get to your future desired situation, you’re buying a thing because you think it’s gonna help you get there. Right? So let’s say your current situation is that you have low-back pain, your desired situation, your dream future scenario is that you’d no longer have back pain.

Mateo: 11:25 – So you’re going to buy or schedule an appointment with a chiropractor to see if they can get you from that current situation to your desired situation. Current situation being you’re in pain, desired situation is that you’re not in pain, right? That’s, that’s pretty much the driving factor behind why people buy things. And once you understand that, you can kind of design your sales process around that idea.

Mike: 11:48 – Caterpillar to butterfly.

Mateo: 11:50 – Pretty much. You know, cooking takes too long. I wish I could be in a situation where cooking is faster. So I bought an instant pot because it cut down the time in which it takes me like, you know, roast a chicken or whatever. Right.

Mike: 12:10 – And Chris talks about that, right? Where he says nobody goes to a hardware store for a drill bit. You want the hole in the wall. Right? But the drill bit is the means to get that hole. And before I go on, I’m just gonna tell you, Jack Wheeler just emailed me. So I have a well done sir. A book with us here, he’s got his branding, he’s got his smiling face and it says, are you ready to rock this? And it’s got a whole bunch of stuff. So I can book a session right here in case I was still thinking about it. There are a number of easy ways. So again, hats off to Jack, you crushed it, dude. Mateo, let’s get back to sales.

Mateo: 12:41 – So yeah, and once you kind of have that idea—that you understand that framework, then you know, marketing and selling becomes a bit easier. I think. You know, your website doesn’t really shouldn’t say like, you know, come here for —this is the example we use all the time, like your website says like we have the best community for CrossFit. You know, that’s not really what gets people out of bed. That’s not what like usually when they’re looking for a gym, their current state’s not like I’m in a bad community. I want to be in a good community. Usually it’s like I’m 10 pounds overweight is my current situation. My desired situation is I want to look better for my vacation that’s coming up and lose 10 pounds. They’re going to look for the vehicle that’s going to take them there. And so then your job is to convince them like my gym and my service is the best vehicle for that. So, yeah, you want to really understand what is the current situation that your clients are in most often right? What is the current problem that they’re facing, the current situation that they are in. And then once you have that, then you can, you know, present your offer in a way that’s going to say, hey’ we’re going to get you to your desired spot.

Mike: 14:01 – So you have to do that. You have to be conversational. You have to ask questions and take notes, I’m guessing.

Mateo: 14:07 – Yeah. I mean, and also the work happens before, it’s like, why have all the people joined your gym previously? You know, like, look back at your current clients and see all right, what did they come in looking to solve? What was their current situation and where are they now? And you have to continue to have this conversation, right. Even after you close a client and they’ve been at your gym for a while, you know, when someone comes into your gym, their current situation was they want to lose a little bit of weight and the desired situation—that was their current situation, they’re a little bit overweight. The desired situation, they want to lose a little bit of weight. You sell them, after three months, they’ve lost a ton of weight. You got to have that meeting again with them.

Mateo: 14:48 – What’s now their new current situation? Well, the new is like, I’ve lost the weight, now the current situation is like, I can’t do a pull-up. I want to, right? So then you have to resell them and reshift your focus. OK, well now we’re gonna shift your program, your prescription, do some one-on-one sessions with me, help you with your pull-ups, yada, yada, yada. Right? So this is a conversation that has to continue to happen with your clients over the lifetime that they’re there.

Mike: 15:14 – And that becomes a part of the client journey and retention, which is another thing we teach at Two-Brain Business. Retention is the key to business, right? It costs a lot to acquire clients. I’m getting a phone call right now from Las Vegas, Nevada, and that is Julie Johnson.

Mateo: 15:29 – Julie Johnson.

Mike: 15:31 – I’m not going to answer it only because it’ll distract from the show here, but I am literally getting a phone call 10 minutes after booking this appointment. Someone saw it and is calling me. So Julie Johnson, that is at what gym?

Mateo: 15:41 – Ah, that’s Camp Rhino.

Mike: 15:42 – Camp Rhino. She’s one of our Two-Brain Business mentors, but she’s got a killer team out there, so she decided to call me even though I am in Winnipeg, Canada, with a 204 area code. I got a call from Las Vegas, so that is two for two.

Mateo: 15:53 – Wow. That’s amazing. Well, yeah, I kind of wanted to see what the sales staff is going to ask you.

Mike: 15:58 – Oh, I probably should have answered it, but I don’t have it wired in. That’s too bad.

Mateo: 16:01 – It’s OK. So that’s awesome. Shout out to you Julie.

Mateo: 16:06 – I’m getting another one. It’s ringing again.

Mateo: 16:06 – So that’s the double dial.

Mike: 16:10 – I’m just going to answer it and see what happens. Excuse me if this gets weird.

Mateo: 16:20 – Put it on speaker, Mike.

Mike: 16:21 – I’m doing really well and I’m just going to tell you, we’re actually on a Two-Brain Business podcast and you guys, we selected you guys, we wanted to try and enter contact information in two gyms and see if we’d get a phone call back from their marketing team. So I don’t want to waste a ton of your time, but I want to congratulate you for proving our point. I got a call back from you guys in like 10 minutes. Yeah, this is a super cool, we’re doing a whole show. I’m on actually on the other side of the line with Mateo Lopez, the marketing expert, and we put contact information in two gyms and the first one we got an email and a text immediately. And then from you guys, I got two calls back to back, asking me if I want to come back and buy and book an intro with you guys. Is that correct? Yeah. And so thank you so much for proving the point. I won’t take up too much of your time, but you proved exactly the point Mateo’s making, which is we want people to call. Yeah. And say hi to Julie Johnson for us. She’s one of our amazing mentors. And tell her that Mike and Mateo want to give her a high five.

Mateo: 17:22 – Tell her that you need a raise.

Mike: 17:24 – Thanks so much for calling. Have a great day.

Mateo: 17:31 – Should have told her that she needs a raise. Tell Julie that whoever just called you needs a raise.

Mike: 17:37 – You know what? And I’m just going to show you one more thing here that just popped up. I got a text message there. I’ve got another text message from Jack Wheeler. So I’m in two funnels right now and they are, if I was a guy who wanted to solve a problem, I know exactly how to do it.

Mateo: 17:54 – Exactly.

Mike: 17:55 – Jack is going to guide me through the six-week challenge campaign over the phone. He wants to chat. So we’re talking like these are two gyms that are—and the first one was automated. This second one may not be, it didn’t come from the same situation. And that call was a real live person who called twice back-to-back, didn’t leave a message, just called twice.

Mateo: 18:14 – That’s exactly it. That’s the key to victory right there, Mike.

Mike: 18:18 – So we just witnessed it live and I’m super impressed with these two.

Mateo: 18:22 – But I’m not surprised. I mean, that’s why I picked Julie. I was like, the chances that she’s got it dialed in are pretty high, being a Two-Brain mentor, and then Jack, you know, I learned a lot of the stuff I know about marketing from him, so there you go.

Mike: 18:38 – Let’s circle back now. We’ll circle back. We’ll go back into sales. And what happens now if I book these appointments. We talked about you’re asking questions, you’re taking notes, you’re researching. And we were talking about how this relates to the whole thing of retention and client journey. We won’t get too far into that because it’s not sales essentially, but you made the great point that you need—you’re continually selling your service, right. Every time someone wants to renew.

Mateo: 19:00 – Yeah, exactly that. That was the only point I wanted to make was that every time that they see that auto payment coming up in the month, your client, right. Every time that happens, you have to make that sale, right. You have to remake that sale and reevaluate what their current situation is and what their desired situation is, what their goals are, and make sure they continue to stay and come back every month.

Mike: 19:23 – There’s always a need and a desire. You said the first one might be weight loss. The second one might be pull-up. The third one might be muscle-up. The fourth one might be like—

Mateo: 19:32 – Yeah, maybe they want to do a marathon cause they saw their friend do it. You have to figure that out and continue to have that conversation with them and that check-in with them.

Mike: 19:40 – So you can really only do this if you’re in touch with your clients. If you’ve just got this massive pile of people that hey dude, I don’t know what you do and what you want. You can’t resell. Right. You’re basically working almost with cold leads inside your gym.

Mateo: 19:49 – Pretty much. Yeah. Pretty much.

Mike: 19:52 – Yeah. And Chris has talked about that when he talked about breaking through the 150-client barrier, which a lot of us hit. That’s part of it for sure is that you don’t know your clients well enough to resell your service. Your retention sucks. So you’re not breaking through cause you’re just trying to replace those 150 clients. If you had better—if you knew each client what exactly they want at each time in their journey, you would be able to resell your service. Your retention goes up. And I believe that we had that survey where we found out, if you increase retention of the average member by three months each year would make an extra 45 grand a year on average.

Mateo: 20:22 – Yeah. And guess what? All that can be reinvested into your ads and become even more competitive and more resilient against your competition because you can afford to spend more to acquire new clients. So, it all helps. But yeah, you were asking me once someone books, so let’s say you did book with Jack right now, you know what happens? I can tell you what happens with Jack actually. So if we wanted to use that as example, let’s say you booked an appointment with Jack. He’s texted you right now and said, Hey, I want to walk you through this. Let’s say he books you. When you walk in, what’s going to happen is you’re going to be greeted by their front staff and they’re going to have you sit down. They’re gonna have you sit down in this like leather chair. There’s like a couple other chairs he has in the gym by the entrance, and where you sit down, there’s a couple things. There’s a giant banner to the left of you. And it has just a ton of before and after pictures, like all like in this giant poster. So behind you, like behind the chair, so if you’re going to walk to the chair to sit down, you’re seeing some like awards and like, he does like a gala every year. So he gives a lot of money away to charity and stuff like that. So you’ll see some of that like local business like type of you know, awards and stuff that he has or pictures from the gala, you’ll see that on the giant banner. And then when you sit down, there’s going to be two things on the table.

Mateo: 21:49 – There’s going to be a giant, like that rubber kind of yellow fat replica. That rubber like piece of fat that they have in doctor’s offices sometimes. So that’s going to be sitting there next to you. And then underneath that is going to be another manual. It’s going to be like, you know, welcome to 360 Fitness type of a manual. And it’ll talk a little bit about the program, but again, that book’s gonna be mainly just like littered with before and after photos and success stories. And it’ll also talk about his smoothie program that he has, his meal program that he has. So that’s what you’re going to be sitting in as you’re waiting for your appointment.

Mike: 22:27 – So you’re already seeing proof that it works. You’re already seeing, you know, things that are gonna motivate you. And he’s obviously tuned in to what people want when they come to his gym. They want fat loss, they want transformation, they want, you know, smoothies and other services that he offers.

Mateo: 22:40 – Exactly. Right. All of these things are going to help. He’s framing in the conversation, he’s priming you, and as you said, you’re seeing all this social proof and you’re seeing the authority that he has built for himself in the community, right? With the kind of the awards and stuff. So you can trust this guy. He’s got the authority, you can trust the program’s gonna work, look at all the results and don’t worry if you like, are worried about your nutrition or whatever. Like we got that covered too. So all that’s happening before you even walk in to meet with a sales rep from his gym, and then from there, you’re going to go in and then finally sit down with someone and talk and it’s going to be, you know, you can find—I saw in the newsletter this week Chris has the playlist for, you know, our sales, our sales training on Two-Brain, on the YouTube channel. The stuff’s, you know, it’s similar, and a lot of the sales gurus teach the same thing. You got to ask questions, you got to go through the discovery phase. You have to understand what brought them there and what their current situation is. And then from there, you want to understand what it is they’re looking to achieve, their goals and their desired state. And then after you understand that and ask those questions and do that digging, then you’re going to present the solution, right? The solution is, you know, they are either lacking some kind of accountability. They either have been doing the wrong workouts. They don’t know what they need to do to work out or they don’t know what to do to put into their bodies so that they’re getting the results that they want. You figure out which of those is like the big one. And then you present how the benefits of your program are going to solve that specific problem.

Mike: 24:26 – So just to recap, we do over on YouTube, we have a series called How to Build a Sales Engine. Chris Cooper is telling you exactly how to hire a salesperson, how to develop that whole thing in your gym. We also have a video called, Do You Suck at Sales, where one of our great Two-Brain mentors is telling you how you can get better at it because it is a process that you can improve. You have born salespeople and you have people that learn how to sell. Check it out on YouTube. Please subscribe over there as well. I’m going to come back with Mateo just a second after this.

Ad: 24:52 – Sean: – “How to Add 10,000 of Revenue”? “How to Sell Your Gym”? “What to Do After the Open”?—Holy $hit, Cooper’s written a ton of help guides. Mike: – C’mon Sean. Just read the ad. Sean: – Did you know he gives this stuff away? Like for free? Mike: – Yup. That’s his thing. Sean: – I’d buy this stuff. Mike: – You don’t have to. Sean: – But I would. What kind of business expert gives everything away? Mike: – Chris gives it away so owners can fix their gyms and earn enough to pay for mentoring. Sean: – Oh, that’s actually pretty clever. Should we do the ad? Mike: – Never mind. Just tell them where to get the Free Help Kit. Sean: – Get your Free Help Kit at twobrainbusiness.com/free-tools. Click the link in the show notes. Mike: – Now do the thing from the competition. Come on Sean. Sean: – Come on, man. Mike: – Just do it! Sean: – Are you not entertained? Mike: – And we’re done here.

Mike: 25:43 – And we are back with Mateo Lopez. I am Mike Warkentin and this is Two-Brain Radio. We are talking sales with Mateo Lopez. Mateo, let’s go over your outline. Someone comes in, you’re ready to talk about their problems and solutions. You’ve got the solutions, they have problems. What is your outline? How do you do it?

Mateo: 25:58 – Yeah. So first things first, you wanna just break the ice, a little bit of chit chat, a little bit small talk. Make sure they’re comfortable with you and establish some rapport. Start to build some rapport there, right? The next thing is—

Mike: 26:13 – I’m gonna interrupt you and ask you a question. One of our mentors Jeff Burlingame recommends that you sit kind of on barstool side by side rather than across the table. Do you do something like that?

Mateo: 26:22 – Yeah, there’s a lot of psychology around that and a lot of sales gurus talk about this. Yeah. You want to sit on their side, right? And you don’t want to—or at least that’s his take. And I agree with that. Right? You can sit across from someone but that kind of creates this separation, this barrier. If you sit next to them, you’re now on their side, right? You’re there to help them. Versus like, you know, if you’re on the opposite end, you almost feel like you’re in a job interview or something. So you wanna do some small chat, small talk, chat and build some rapport there. Next is kind of just to say what we’re going to do, which is, you know, hey, today we’re gonna talk about why you’re here and figure out what your goals are and see if there’s a way we can help.

Mateo: 27:16 – And then you kind of taking the lead in that way too, right? You want to make sure that you are leading the conversation, right? If you start off by—I had a sales call with a software company just the other day and I booked a call, they called me. It’s like, all right, so you know, what questions you got for me. And I was blown away because this company does pretty well. And I was just shocked that like, that’s how they run their sales.

Mike: 27:43 – You were in control.

Mateo: 27:43 – Yeah. I’m in control, which is not what you want in sales. You need, as the business owner, as a sales rep, you need to control the conversation, the flow of conversation.

Mike: 27:55 – Did you sell these guys an incubator?

Mateo: 27:59 – I did not. But it was shocking. Like, yeah, you never want to leave the—so, what brought you in—what brought you in, that’s different, right? But like what questions can I answer for you? You’ve lost control once you’ve done that. So, kind of state what we’re going to do, and take lead is kind of the next piece.

Mike: 28:21 – So we’re dancing and you’re leading.

Mateo: 28:23 – Exactly. Then we kind of, we beat this dead horse, but figure out why they’re there. Right? So figure out, you know, what brought them into to see you to that that day. And then you want to dig as deep as you possibly can, you know? So what do you mean by that? Or tell me a little bit more about that. Or OK, so you said you’ve been trying to lose 20 pounds. You’ve tried, but you haven’t been able to. Why do you think that is? Like, why does this problem exist or how have you tried to fix this? How long have you been trying to fix this? How long have you been trying to deal with this? So you’re trying to probe and get as far down to that why as you possibly can.

Mike: 29:04 – And what are you looking for there? You’re looking for like, you know, they’re probably like emotional, visceral stuff, a little bit of their history. You’re looking for like what they’ve tried, why they didn’t have success, all those different things.

Mateo: 29:14 – Yeah. You’re looking for those things because you’re going to use that later on to present why your solution or why your service is going to help them overcome these things that have blocked them in the past.

Mike: 29:28 – So you’re collecting info.

Mateo: 29:30 – So it’s like, oh, like I’ve been trying to go to the gym but like, when I get there I just don’t know what to do. I do the same workout every time. All right, so you, you write that down and then later on you’re going to say, oh well here’s the thing about our program. Like workouts are constantly varied. So like your body is going to be constantly adapting to new challenges and so you’re going to lose a lot of weight very quickly. Blah, blah, something like that. I just made that one up. But you get what I’m saying?

Mike: 29:56 – Some of the stuff you’re looking for, I’m sure you hear this one where someone’s like, man, I’ve tried so many gyms before. I did all the workouts, I never lost any weight, I did what they told me and I just, I’m so frustrated. And then you’re going to ask me what?

Mateo: 30:08 – Well, yeah, so for that one, let’s say they’re like, they’re addicted to classes, right? They go to classes, nonstop boot camps, and they’re just saying they go all the time not losing any weight. That’s a dead giveaway that something’s going on with their nutrition. Right?

Mike: 30:19 – Yeah. And that gives you an opportunity then to present these ideal solution, which is—

Mateo: 30:23 – Right, later on we’re going to present your program, but you have that in your back pocket. So you’re building all this data on this person, this profile, right? So you’re figuring out why they were there, what brought them there, and then you want to understand, like I’ve been saying this whole, I feel like it’s been an hour, their current situation, you know, where are they currently at and why are they stuck? That’s all this discovery phase, all these questions. That’s what we’re really trying to do here. So at this point there’s—I think this is where people—like, I think people love doing that part of the sales part. What I think people don’t like is this next piece right, where it’s called kicking the bruised knee. Right. So causing a little bit of agitation or a little bit of pain. Right. So, you know, are you currently happy with—OK. So you said you’re trying to lose the weight. How much do you weigh right now?

Mike: 31:28 – I’m about 20 pounds overweight.

Mateo: 31:30 – OK. So, and how does that make you feel? Are you happy with that weight or, you know, some of those questions, right? Some of those things where, you know, you’re kicking the bruised knee and agitating, causing a little bit of pain. So that part, there’s a lot of different ways you can do that and more tactful ways. That’s the part that I have trouble with the most with selling. And you know, there’s different takes on that. Right? But the goal there is to have them see and realize that, yeah. Like I have been doing this the wrong way for a long time and you know, I’m tired of it. It makes me sad to think about how long I’ve been dealing with this and not addressing it.

Mike: 32:19 – Let’s be real here. So like I’m not a wizard or a genius here or a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that I can help most people lose weight, become fitter and likely avoid a ton of diseases and a ton of conditions, right? We all know that. Eating well working out is going to be your best bet. Every doctor says it’s a good idea, right? No one says it’s not. So you’ve got this person who has a problem, maybe they even have health concerns and things like that. Really by presenting the solution for them, and this is where Chris talks about this in the book “Help First,” really what you’re doing is you are trying to help them solve a problem that they know is a problem, right? So when you’re talking about kicking the bruised knee, like you know, obviously we’re trying to help them connect with that desire and the reality of the situation. But really, if they didn’t know there was a problem, they wouldn’t be sitting in your office trying to solve it.

Mateo: 33:04 – Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly right. So then the next phase here that I like to go into and you know, again, I’ve been saying this, the whole show is really figuring out what they want their desired state, their future state. You know, this is a little bit of bright spots, stuff like that where it’s, so where do you want to be in the next three months? You know, what do you want your body to look like? Or how much weight or whatever. Let’s say someone’s like, I’m not very strong right now and I want to be strong, I’ve been skinny my whole life, you know? Where do you want to be? You know, what’s motivating you to get there? Oh, well, you know, I want to be stronger for my kids so I can play with them.

Mateo: 33:46 – You know? What kind of an impact on your life would losing this 25 pounds have or would having more energy or sleeping better, eating better have on your life? You know, those kinds of things. Those are the kinds of questions you want to ask in the next phase to really figure out where they’re trying to go and what their vision is and so that you can support that vision and also if you have a defined goal, right, then you’ll be able to really say, yeah, we’re going to help you get to this goal. And here’s how.

Mike: 34:14 – It’s pretty easy to be comfortable with that too when you’ve been in the business long enough. When I first started, I was nervous, but I know after 10 years of doing fitness, like if someone says I need to be stronger, that’s not even hard. Like an expert can do that pretty fast. We can help people lose weight. That’s little tougher cause you can’t control eating outside the gym, but selling with confidence at that point, it’s pretty easy.

Mateo: 34:34 – Yeah. I mean, and running off that, you know, let’s say they’re aiming a little bit low, you know, maybe they’re like, yeah, I don’t know. I just want to be able to like touch my toes or whatever. It’s like, all right, man. I mean, we can help you with your mobility, but like, I don’t know, don’t you want to be able to run faster or you know, have more energy or whatever it is. Right? Like you want to help them kind of craft this out, right?

Mike: 34:57 – So you’re highlighting goals. These are rewards and things that they can like check off later on and see the success of service.

Mateo: 35:03 – Exactly. Right. So and then the next piece is you want to really like have them—you want to hold up the mirror and have them admit, like, you know, one of the things like they either they want to do a thing but they can’t do it fast enough, they’re losing weight, but it’s not fast enough, they want to do it faster. Or they’re motivated to work out and come to the gym. They just don’t know how to, what workouts they should be doing. Right. So it’s an inability to do it on their own. Or it’s like, look, I work 10 hours a day, I have a very stressful job. I just want to come into the class, do exactly what the coach tells me to do and just like turn my brain off and follow a system and guidance of someone who’s like, you know, fitter than I am. You know, you’re looking for one of those three things. For them to admit like, yeah, I need one of those things in order to get to my goal. That’s what you want them to, to say and want them to realize that.

Mike: 36:04 – That’s where you get those questions like wouldn’t you agree and things like that where you’re kind of presenting things and having them kind of agree with what you’re saying.

Mateo: 36:09 – Yeah. Like the easiest way to do that’s is like all right, so you say you want to lose 25 pounds. What’s stopping you from doing this on your own.

Mike: 36:17 – I don’t know how.

Mateo: 36:19 – Perfect. Great. You’re done. Or like, sounds like you want to have more energy to play with your kids. It sounds like you just want to increase your conditioning a little bit, what’s stopping you from doing this on your own?

Mike: 36:32 – I need accountability.

Mateo: 36:34 – I know I should be running more but I can’t get myself out of bed. Exactly what you’re saying. Right. So, that’s the simple, that’s the easy question there that you can get the answers you want and then the rest is just kind of summarizing, you know, where we’re at and having them acknowledge, kind of the gap, right. The gap between where they are currently and where they want to go. Acknowledging the gap of like, I’m currently not able to play with my kids cause I got low back pain or whatever. And I want to get to the place where I can, I’m strong enough to play with them, and let them see like, those are really far apart because I’ve been trying to solve this on my own for a while. I haven’t been able to get there. Right. You want them to see that there’s a space in between those two things. And you want to highlight that. And then once you’re there, that’s when you present, you know, your kind of expertise like, hey, well my area of expertise is helping women over 30 lose 25 pounds in 12 weeks or whatever it is. Right? Like, Hey, well, you know, here’s the good news. Like my area of expertise is like helping dads fix low back pain. I don’t know. I know whatever it is. Right? But that’s where you state where your position of authority is in, and then your solution and your offer.

Mateo: 38:06 – So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get you enrolled in our 12-week transformation program and here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to help you in our eight week muscle gain program or whatever it is. Right? You explain that. And you talk about the benefits of this program that will help them overcome challenges they’ve had in the past and the outcome. How we’re going to get them to where they want to go. What you don’t want to do here, and where I see most people mess up is talking about the specifics of the program. We’re going to get you started with a PVC pipe first, and we’re gonna, you know, we’re going to have you talk with this person. You know, we have a Facebook group you’re going to get, don’t talk about the features of what’s actually included. You’re really just explaining how, you know, typically we take people who are over 30 and are overworked and don’t have a lot of energy and we get them in 12 weeks to, you know, lose 10 pounds and, you know, beating their high-school mile time or whatever.

Mike: 39:17 – Yeah. So don’t you don’t talk about the drill bit in graphic detail. Show them the hole in the wall and say I can create this for you. Solve your problem.

Mateo: 39:26 – Yeah. And then you want to state your offer and ask them if they’re ready to get started and then you want to wait. You want to just chill and let them sit with that for a minute.

Mike: 39:37 – So what would you say, what would you say to me? Like how would you state your offer and let it sit with me. Just something very general. I am 20 pounds overweight and I need a nutrition and fitness program. What would you say?

Mateo: 39:52 – I would say, my area of expertise is helping dads over 35 lose weight and get stronger in 12 weeks using our proven system, our proven 12-week strength-building program. It’s going to help you lose weight, have more energy and get stronger. And we take the guesswork out of it for you. It’s going to be awesome. And then I’m going to say, typically his program is three payments of 299. Are you ready to get started? Something like that.

Mike: 40:43 – Yeah. And I’m putting you on the spot with this one and not giving you any information to help you craft that. But what you’ve done is you’ve shown your expertise, you’ve then laid out a program with some proof, saying you know this a proven program, you’ve got all the pictures on your wall and all this stuff, and then you’re quoting some prices and you’re just bouncing the ball over to me and asking me this. You’re basically asking for the sale, correct?

Mateo: 41:05 – Yeah. I mean, now I’m thinking about it, it was based on what you’ve told me, I think that a 12-week muscle building program is going to be the right fit for you or it’s going to help you lose weight. It’s gonna help you get stronger. It can help you play with your kids. This program is three payments of 299, are you ready to get started?

Mike: 41:24 – And that’s where you’re going to get either you’re getting a sale or you’re going to get an objection. Right? And if you get objections, you are then confronting based on the information that you acquired earlier.

Mateo: 41:33 – Yeah, I mean, objections are really just like—objections are going to come up if you didn’t do a good job of understanding their problem and presenting the solution in the way that they can understand. You know, that’s really it. And there’s tons of stuff that we go over in our course about like how you can get around some of these, but you know, there’s some funny kind of one-liners you can use and if you want to learn more about that, you know, you can definitely talk to a Two-Brain mentor. But the reality is like any of that stuff, that should really be used as a last resort, right? You really shouldn’t have those kinds of objections if you’ve done your job in the first like three quarters of that conversation.

Mike: 42:21 – So guys, if you are interested in working with a mentor to get better at selling, you can do that at twobrainbusiness.com. You can book a free call and we’ll talk to you and you find out if this program is right for you and in that program we are going to teach you all this stuff so that you can get better at it. Please check it out today. I don’t know if I’m selling that properly Mateo, that wasn’t my best sales pitch, I’m guessing. I should have let you do it.

Mateo: 42:45 – You didn’t sound super enthused.

Mike: 42:47 – But I don’t have a person that I need to talk to this person to find out why they need to get better at selling. And it’s probably, you know, we’ve probably got gym owners out there who are like, I have gotten a bunch of leads come in and I sit them down and we have an awkward conversation in which I give them control and they kind of asked me some questions. I answer and I talk about how good my programming is and they walk out and I don’t have enough money to do the things I want to do in life. Right. That’s probably the person who’s listening.

Mateo: 43:16 – I think it’s the opposite, Mike.

Mike: 43:17 – What is it?

Mateo: 43:17 – Most people are like oh yeah, I’ve got a 90% close rate. If they come in through the door, I’m selling them. That’s most of the guys, most of the people that we talk to. And I think that’s probably true in some respect, but like if someone has found you all on their own, they’ve gone through a lot of work, most likely. Research, you know, strength training or conditioning or weightlifting or CrossFit or whatever it is. They know this is a methodology I want to try and they Google the ones that are near you. Yours pops up, they sift through your site. It doesn’t have an easily book a call now button available. So if they do walk in, they’ve done most of the selling themselves to themselves. So that’s probably why your close rate’s pretty high. At least when I talked what I talk to most gym owners, that’s what they say. It’s like, oh no, closing’s not a problem. It’s getting them in the doors.

Mike: 44:23 – And we’ve talked a little bit about that in previous shows, so guys, if you have questions about how to get people the door, we’ve talked about targeting, we’ve talked about creative, ad, check that out on our archives, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. There’s lots of different stuff in there. And again, we can teach you how to do it. So let’s leave them with something actionable here, Mateo. If you had a salesperson and you were trying to make that salesperson better, what would you advise? Are you going to get that person like to do like sales training drills or just like sit down and work through scripts? Or what’s the thing that you would do to help people out there right now? Either get better at sales themselves or help their staff get better?

Mateo: 45:00 – Yeah, you should be doing mock intros and mock consultations constantly, right? Just constantly doing these exercises and you know who is going to walk in through your door and you know what the objections are going to be. Right? So just, you know, pretend—I was gonna say you can pretend you’re one of those people, you should pretend you’re yourself, right? You’ve shopped around for a gym before. See if your staff can sell you, right. Based on the gym that you would want to work out at, based on what the program is that you’re looking for, right? So just have your staff try and sell you and then tell them that you need to also sell them and just work on that and constantly do those mock interviews over and over and over again. I don’t know if this is still available, but Chris used to sell this scenarios deck. It was like a flashcard deck with different scenarios. There were some salesy questions in there that are really, really good too. So, you know, those are the things I would do.

Mike: 46:06 – And, our growth clients actually, Chris just sent that sales deck to everybody in our growth program, so that is coming as a Christmas gift or holiday gift for them. So we’re going to get some people practicing that. Mateo, sell me this pen.

Mateo: 46:24 – Mike, what brought you in here today, to the pen store?

Mike: 46:29 – I really need to write, you know, I just, I need to write my memoirs. I’m a writer and man, I’m struggling.

Mateo: 46:39- So it sounds like you came into the pen store cause you need to write your memoir. What stopped you from writing the memoir?

Mike: 46:47 – I’m not a tech guy. I am not a tech guy. Like I don’t like typing on phones. I don’t like keyboards. I don’t like typing with my thumbs. Like t’s much easier for me to do stuff when I have pen and paper.

Mateo: 46:58 – OK. So from what I’m hearing from you is you don’t like technology, you need to write your memoirs. What would it be like 12 months from now, your memoir was written, how would that impact your life? How would that change you?

Mike: 47:14 Well, I think I’d be on a book tour. I would probably be in your city of New York signing copies of books and I might need a pen to sign those copies.

Mateo: 47:21 And why is that important to you?

Mike: 47:23 Well, I feel like I have something to tell the world, you know, I really want to get my story out there.

Mateo: 47:29 But why? Why is that important?

Mike: 47:30 I don’t know. I guess I have some low self esteem and I feel like I really could probably change that if I get my story hear.

Mateo: 47:39 So what I heard you tell me, Mike, is that you need to write your memoir, but you haven’t been able to because there’s only computers around and technology, you’re not a tech guy. It sounds like if you were able to write this memoir, not only would you be able to tell your story and impact a lot of people and help a lot of people, but it also sounds like you’d be able to feel a bit more confident in your own skin. Is that right?

Mike: 48:09 You nailed it.

Mateo: 48:11 Awesome. So, what I’m gonna do now is, talk about how I think we can help you. Are you ready to learn more? All right. Well, Mike, at this pen store, we offer pens, and with the pen, it’s a proven tool that’s been used for years, maybe even hundreds of years to help people write the stories they want to write. Now, typically this pen, it’s three payments of 9.99, but because you walked in today, we’ve actually got a awesome promotion going on now. It’s literally free. So, yeah. My next question is, are you ready to get started with this?

Mike: 49:07 I’ll take a dozen. Give me the first free one. I’ll buy the next 11.

Mateo: 49:10 Awesome.

Mike: 49:13 Man, I love it when you sell me the pen, Mateo.

Mateo: 49:14 I don’t know if that was my best work, Mike.

Mike: 49:20 But I’m setting you up though. I’m just giving you nothing here and I’m just walking in writing my memoirs. I appreciate it. Guys, if you want to learn more about this kind of stuff, we have mentors available who can do it. You want to go to Two-Brain business.com and book a free call. Do that. You’ll talk to people who can tell you if mentorship is right for you and will help you learn. This has been to Two-Brain Radio with Mateo Lopez. I am Mike Warkentin from Two-Brain Media. I’ve taken over the show. Please subscribe and leave a review. We have tons and tons of good stuff coming. Chris Cooper is our founder and our content machine. He’s also podcasting all over the place. Please subscribe, leave us a review and keep listening to Two-Brain Radio. Thanks guys.

Announcer: 49:57 Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.


Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday.

Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world every Thursday, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
How to Be Happy: Step by Step, with Bonnie Skinner

How to Be Happy: Step by Step, with Bonnie Skinner

Andrew: 00:02 – Welcome back to Two-Brain Radio. On today’s episode, Chris Cooper speaks with Bonnie Skinner, a registered psychotherapist in his hometown of Sioux Saint Marie, Ontario. Bonnie and Chris talk about depression, anxiety, and the connection between physical fitness and happiness. She’ll tell you how to prevent burnout and manage anxiety as a business owner. Here’s Chris talking to Bonnie about how to be happy.

Chris: 00:20 – All right, friends. My guest today is a good friend Bonnie Skinner, our local psychotherapist at the Two-Brain workshop. Welcome, Bonnie.

Bonnie: 00:26 – Welcome. Thank you.

Chris: 00:28 – And today, we are talking about how to get happy. Now, I published a blog post a couple of weeks ago that said that happiness is actually a correlate of fitness. Bonnie, besides being a very talented psychotherapist is also a CrossFitter. So Bonnie, first let’s start off with like, is there a correlation between physical fitness and happiness?

Bonnie: 00:53 – Absolutely. And I think that not only has the scientific data proven that I think, and even from my own experience, you can talk about, you know, the ability to create—I think what fitness does is it gives us the ability to create clarity. So when we start to address, you know, the needs of our body, needs for movement, the needs for exercise, those sorts of things, then our body has what it needs and then we can kind of focus on, you know, the needs of our mind or the needs of our souls or whatever, you know, kind of you want to call it. But that’s the link between the two. It’s the ability to give the body what it needs so that we can focus on figuring out what does my mind and my psychology need.

Chris: 01:28 – So it’s not just like the immediate effect of I’m going to go do a workout and then I’ll feel better for a few hours.

Bonnie: 01:36 – No, it’s a little bit more than that. So it’s, so for example, you know, one of the things that I’ve really found, so I started CrossFit about a year ago and one of the things that I found is that yes, the time, immediately, as soon as I’m finished at the gym is when I’m at my clearest. So I’m walking back to my office, I’ve got ideas in my head. I’ve got a blog post I want to write, I got, you know, programs I want to run. And so there’s that immediate sense of like, wow, like, you know, I’m jacked up, like this is fantastic. But I think there’s also a longer-lasting sense of, you know, you don’t have that kind of lower-level anxiousness. You know, your body has its needs. So it’s actually in a restful state, and in a restful state, we can start to figure out what are the other things that we need.

Bonnie: 02:21 – So for example, what’s meaningful to me, so when we talk about happiness, what we’re really talking about is contentment, right? It’s the idea that I’m at peace with my life and that’s going to come from whether or not we can answer, you know, are the things that are in my life no matter what it is or who it is, is it meaningful to me? So we can’t figure out what’s meaningful to us until we have this kind of, this quietness, this peace of mind. If our bodies are in a state where, you know, we’re not moving, we’re not fit, we’re not healthy, our nutritional needs aren’t met and our water needs, whatever the case may be, then our body is so busy triggering us that we can’t—we get pulled in between the two.

Chris: 03:04 – OK. So it’s not just the chemical response to exercise, there’s actually like some cognitive processing benefit. Do you think—can that happen immediately or is that more of like a long term?

Bonnie: 03:16 – I think it’s both. I think you can definitely have that, you know, myself, I can definitely attest to the fact that it happens immediately afterwards. But also there is long term effects that are well-documented scientifically.

Chris: 03:33 – I know for me, you know, one of my daily practices is when I start to feel stressed, I will work out. Is there like a better type of workout for people who are dealing with anxiety or depression or, you know, they’re not at the point where I want to get happy, they just want to stop being sad?

Bonnie: 03:52 – You know what, it can be as simple as walking, right? It doesn’t need to be—I think sometimes when people, you know, what we tend to tell depressed people because we’re family or friends or whoever, you know, oh, well you you just need to go and you need to work out. And we don’t define what that is. Really all you need to do is move. Our body will respond the second we start moving. The struggle is when somebody is in a severe depression, the part of our brain that is charged with helping us initiate activities is actually not that functional. So that’s why it’s kind of cruel to just say, OK, well just go do some exercise. It may not be that simple. But we do know that when people with depression or heightened anxiety do move, there’s an immediate effect to it, but also a long term one.

Chris: 04:46 – So you and I, you know, we talk about rumination and we’re going to get to like, you know, your thoughts on depression and anxiety here in a moment. Really, really important stuff. But are you saying like rumination isn’t just mental, that it can be physical?

Bonnie: 05:01 – Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So we tend to not think about anxiety. So I want to talk about anxiety in particular and then we’ll kind of get into depression. But we tend to think that it comes from, you know, some random trigger or something like that. But anxiety is a way of our minds telling us what we need. That our outside world is not congruent with what our inside world needs. So it’s an alarm system. So if for example, I am spending more energy in my day to day than I am conserving, so you know, you max out over time, then our body starts to tell us, you know, I’m not OK. I need something. I don’t know what it is. I need something. And if we don’t slow ourselves down and figure out what’s happening, why would my brain and my body respond like this? Then what we do is we keep powering through to the point where the body has to say, OK, I’m done. I’m done. I’m just going to turn this party off. And that’s what we label as depression. OK.

Chris: 06:03 – So anxiety is almost like a more active state of the same illness.

Bonnie: 06:09 – Yeah. So it’s exactly what it is. It’s the body’s alarm system to say this is not sustainable over the long term. So I may be anxious, for example, let’s say I’m starting a new job, right? I’m going to be anxious going in cause it’s a new situation. So my anxiety is going to turn on for the first week or so. You know, until I get to know everybody, I’m anxious. That’s a normal response. It says, hey this is kind of interesting. And then when I get acquainted with the staff and into my role, then the anxiety tapers off and that’s fine.

Bonnie: 06:43 – Cause I know what that is. That’s situational. Where we get into a problem is when there is a heightened baseline of anxiety all the time. So I move through my day with this general sense of like, oh, I’m not sure I’m OK. And when we look at what contributes to that, what we find is that people have overspent their energy in some other area without creating it. So where exercise comes into that is it’s actually a way of generating new energy for ourselves. So for example, if I, you know, if I go two or three weeks and I didn’t know I didn’t go to the gym or I didn’t take care of myself, I know that it shows up, right? And I may have to, you know, give myself a good story on the whole walk to the gym. But the second I’m there, my body immediately helps me get through the workout.

Bonnie: 07:35 – And after that, it’s almost like someone hit the reset button on my mental faculties, right? So we move through life spending energy in positive and negative ways. We tend to always think of it as negative, but it’s not, I can be excited about, you know, my upcoming birthday party this time of year. I’m excited about the new year. Right? But we also know that on the backside of that energy, there’s a bit of a lull. There’s a bit of a fatigue that’ll happen. So it’s about the energy management and that’s how fitness fits into the bigger picture, is the creation of new energy.

Chris: 08:06 – So, OK, so I’m anxious. I am exhausting myself with anxiety. Exercise will give me more energy, eventually, though, I could still run out and become depressed. Is that what you’re saying?

Bonnie: 08:18 – Yes. OK. So, think of it as a bank account, right? So we work jobs that help put money into our bank account. That would be the equivalent of going to the gym, connecting socially with those of who are meaningful to us. Having meaningful work and meaningful engagement in our lives. All of those things are inputs into that account. The things that are outputs would be things like caregiving, right? Paying bills, being able to take care of ourselves and others and being able to go about all of the little chores that we just consider to be life. So long as the inputs is enough to cover the outputs and both of them will adjust at any point in time, but if those two things are kind of congruent, then you have a fairly stable baseline, right? And so people can tell, you know, I think I’m doing pretty good. I’ve got lots of friends in my life. I like my job, you know, then when a problem happens or whatever it is, the car breaks down, I feel like I can manage that because, you know, it’s not chaotic. But you have a car break down after you’ve just had a bad breakup and you’re not sleeping and you haven’t been, you know, taking care of yourself and eating right and working out, all of a sudden now the output is higher, the inputs aren’t enough. Right? So over a period of time, and now all of a sudden, that seems so much harder to manage. And that’s what we find with individuals who have anxiety, is there’s this reactiveness to everything. It’s like I just can’t manage anything. And so that amount of an angst prolonged over time, so when I have heightened anxiety for a long time, that’s when the brain says this is not manageable and what I’m going to do, I’m going to start to disengage because now I’m in energy conservation mode.

Bonnie: 10:07 – The little bit of energy I have left, I’m just going to save, so now we start ignoring texts from our friends. We don’t show up at work, we don’t, you know, we don’t go to parties like we used to. We may not even want to shower and get out of bed and that is the brain saying I’ve been too taxed for too long and I have no energy left.

Chris: 10:25 – Do you find around the holiday season that you know, maybe levels of anxiety, they might’ve been a seven over 10, you know, high but manageable before, like can they kind of overflow around this time? Could there be a correlation between that and people not going to the gym, not going to holiday parties?

Bonnie: 10:44 – Yeah, absolutely. So usually they can go one of two ways, right? Because remember, outputs can also be positive. So a lot of people are heightened during the season, because it’s a very positive thing, it’s very energetic. I want to go shopping, I want to connect with my family, I’m traveling, whatever the case may be. So whether it is heightened because it’s a positive, exciting time or it’s really difficult because for a lot of people it’s a very stressful time, right? I don’t have the money to buy presents and I feel like you know, there’s this pressure, this commercialized pressure and all this case, but either way on the other side, and usually January and February, we know referrals are going to go up because people are going to feel that dip and they’re going to think there’s something wrong with me, right? I’m depressed, I’m down. And it’s like, well, the first thing we look at whenever I have, you know, that new intake in January, February, tell me what the holidays were like, right? Because if you went into the season with great inputs and lots of balance and a pretty manageable baseline, then this is a temporary dip.

Bonnie: 11:47 – And you know what, give yourself some good self-care for a month and things are going to be fine. But if you went into it already depleted, already at risk, already on the downside of that energy conservation, then you’re going to need a lot more support.

Chris: 12:02 – All right, so let’s talk about the downside now. You know, from the day I met you, you said that depression is not a disease. Tell me more about that.

Bonnie: 12:13 – OK. So the medical model of looking at depression is basically there’s something wrong with your brain. And so I have a lot of clients and even to this day, who will still come in and they’ll tell me, you know, I went to see my doctor and they gave me a medication, and I always ask the client, what medication is it? How long have you been on it? I don’t recommend people go on medication or not because I’m not allowed to do that. But what struck me was the amount of people who had no idea what medication they were taking or what it did to their body or you know, what the baseline was before. So for example, if I’m taking an SSRI, which is going to modulate my level of serotonin, if the assumption is my serotonin levels are low, then shouldn’t we know my baseline before we go messing with them? Right? So all of a sudden it’s like, it’s low. Well take this pill and it’ll increase them. But then we don’t know how much of an increase we want because there’s a serotonin center. So now we’re just going to modulate until you feel something different. And people say that something different is not necessarily feeling better.

Bonnie: 13:23 – So that medical model of depression is, OK, there’s something wrong with your brain. We need to correct whatever’s wrong and move on. Instead of saying, our brain has developed over millions and millions and millions of years, why would a system that fine-tuned just all of a sudden not know what it’s doing?

Bonnie: 13:39 – So the question that I feel like is better that I use in my practice is what is your brain responding to? And so when I go back and I do a timeline with my clients, so I say kick me back from zero to now, and what I’m looking for, I’m looking for the inputs versus the outputs. And when I find those, I can with my clients reframe that in a way that says, is this depression or is it depletion?

Chris: 14:06 – So you’re not looking for one traumatic event. You’re looking for their response to various events.

Bonnie: 14:15 – Yeah. So it could be one traumatic event. What I’m looking for is where are all of the ways that you are spending energy physically or psychologically that is not being compensated for with things like meaning, purpose, close connections. We’re social animals. We are designed to connect, right? If we don’t have significant connection in our lives or meaningful engagement or good nutrition, good fitness, good, you know, lots of water. I always ask my clients, how are you sleeping? Because we can replicate the same symptoms we see in trauma, those who are experiencing intense trauma, with a lack of sleep.

Chris: 14:54 – Wow. So a new client comes in today, they’ve got a clinical diagnosis for depression. Maybe, you know, what do you start with first?

Bonnie: 15:01 – I always start in the same place, so I’ll get a bit of a general history. Tell me about, you know, what symptoms are you experiencing? Why have you come in? Kind of what are the things in your day to day that you’re worried about? I will ask them about their history of depression. So when were they diagnosed? When did they notice a difference? What do they think their baseline is? But I will also ask them, what is your understanding of depression? Because the belief about depression can do as much damage as what we consider to be the depression. So if, for example, I have clients who say, you know, I’ve struggled with depression all my life. Then they’re saying things to themselves like, well, what’s wrong with me? Well, why can’t I do everything that everybody else can do? Right? Why is everything so much harder for me? What’s wrong with me? So now there’s a level of shame and blame that is actually, remember when I said the outputs could be physical or they could be psychological?

Bonnie: 15:58 – That’s a major psychological output. So if I have somebody who has the understanding of depression as I’m broken, I’m bad, there’s something wrong with me, I’m going to start there first because the first focus is to find ways to cap this bleeding of energy, right? You’re in conservation mode. Your brain has already decided to put you there. I’m not going to do something that’s going to, you know, I’m not going to start an intense therapy and that’s going to be even more energy out.

Chris: 16:26 – OK. So our primary concern is helping people in the gym, but also like a lot of entrepreneurs get anxious often. And this is a big time of the year actually for entrepreneurs. So what can they do to make sure that it’s just a temporary dip as you said, and that they’re not, you know, long-term sliding into depression.

Bonnie: 16:46 – You know, the first thing I would do is look at what you feel like your overall balance is. Like if you think about psychological energy, again, just the same way we think about money. How much do you think you have, right? Usually people can tell you pretty quick whether or not they’re overspending. And then the question simply becomes, how long do you think that’s sustainable for, right? Do you feel like, I’ve just got this goal that’s going to take me into the new year and then I know I’m going to recover. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to always be in conservation mode. But if you think about it in terms of where’s my baseline right now and is that OK with me? Right? If not, what are my inputs? Right? What are my significant relationships? What does the state of my home life, my faith life, my happiness? Like what are the things that are meaningful to me?

Bonnie: 17:36 – Where would I say they are and how can they be changed? Right? So I have a lot of clients who say, you know, especially living up North here, you know, I love to get outside but I don’t get outside enough. And so my next question is what do you think the consequences of not getting outside very much and then for the first time in a long time they start to think about it it’s like, well yeah I probably wouldn’t be as snappy. I’m like, hey, OK well where can you start a five-minute walk twice a week? Nothing crazy. Don’t disrupt your life with the thing cause you don’t want it to be an output. But just, I always make it really simple for my clients and say, you know, like if you were to look at your inputs versus your outputs, where would you be today?

Chris: 18:15 – OK. And then identify the first easiest thing?

Bonnie: 18:19 – Right. So, I always look for what would make the biggest impact. So if you were to make one or two changes right now that you’d be like, if I could only do those things and nothing else, they would make the biggest impact. OK. What’s a way that you can address those two things, one or two things, in a way that’s not going to disrupt your life? So for example, if it’s you know, I never get outside much. How can you get outside twice this week, right? Where it’s not going to disrupt your life, not going to take away from the family, not going to make any other problems, but that’s what you’re going to do. It may be something as simple as where are the shoulds? So I always ask my clients, where are you walking around kind of shoulding yourself, what are the things you should do? Like I will send people home and be like, that’s your only focus for the next week is to figure out where you’re telling yourself you should, should, should. Cause what you’re doing is you’re bullying yourself all day long. Major output, major output. So it’s small incremental changes. I mean, as gym owners, you guys know this, right? It’s tiny little changes over the long run because those are the ones that become lifestyle changes.

Chris: 19:26 – OK. So when we say that you are shoulding yourself, that’s S H O U L D. Just so we don’t get banned in China again. So you know you said that depression is kind of like the inactive form of anxiety. And so if contentment is the inactive form of happiness, then what is like the active form of happiness?

Bonnie: 19:50 – Meaning and engagement. So, that sense of fulfillment is going to be closely connected to your values and your values is just, it’s the meaning that you’ve made of the world, right? So for example, if my belief—let’s not even talk about my beliefs, let’s talk about as a gym owner, obviously gym owners have entered that realm for a particular reason, whatever it was, maybe they wanted a healthier world, maybe they love fitness so much, they just want to share it. But there’s obviously a meaning component to that. So it’s around how do I take the things that light me up, the things that just automatically give me energy and identify that those things are going to be the sources of my happiness, right? What is it about? So, you know, when I was at the Two-Brain summit there, I had the opportunity to speak, and I said, you know, what got you into this business, right? And I will why you to death. He goes, it was a great opportunity. I was like, why, why, why and you know, then you get down to I feel like I want to help people. So, there’s a philosophy there that says my existence in the world is meaningful, therefore I want to do things that, you know, push that meaning forward.

Chris: 21:07 – OK. That’s interesting. I mean, you can make lots of money in fitness, but that’s not why anybody enters the industry. So how do you balance that? Because I know, you know, a lot of gym owners get into the industry because they want to help people. Bottom line. But then they started getting these feelings of burnout and they start feeling anxious because of, you know, they’re comparing themselves to others. Or you know, I’m working so hard, I’m missing my family. Why aren’t I doing better? So what happens when you’re working in the thing that you know, lets you express your values and commitment in the world, but you’re still getting burnt out?

Bonnie: 21:45 – So I think it’s important to remember that no one thing is everything, right? And what I mean when I say that is we can be doing something that’s very meaningful to us, that does make us happy or give us a sense of fulfillment. But it cannot be the only part of our life, right? So for example, you know, if we have businesses that it’s like, well that’s really fulfilling, but at the same time it takes me away from my family and my family is a source of connection, it’s a source of input, then it’s a matter of time before I start to have strain on those relationships. And that strain in those relationships starts to become a major output, right?

Bonnie: 22:28 – So it’s about how do I find balance across a variety of facets of my life. So we have the career facet, we have the financial facet. We have the social facet, we have family, we have our health, physical and mental, and then we also have a spiritual aspect. So at all times it’s about, you know, we are always going to be multifaceted individuals. All of those facets need to be addressed. They don’t all need to be high at the same time. Right? If know I’m going to throw some time into starting a business that’s going to take away from a couple, sure, but later it’s about checking in and saying, OK, how do we rebalance? How am I doing? Where is my baseline at now? What do I need? And being able to listen to ourselves cause the biggest mistake we make is not listening to the cues our bodies give us. Anxiety is just a cue.

Chris: 23:24 – Give me an example. What’s something that I might recognize as a cue that maybe I just don’t recognize the cue right now?

Bonnie: 23:31 – I’ll give you one from my own experiences. When I start to feel really stressed, I go home later at night. So it doesn’t matter what it’s about. It’s that kind of like, so my work is kind of, you know, I can become very immersed and not have to think about anything else when I’m at work. So what I notice is, you know, when I become extra stressed, I’ll throw myself into paperwork. I’ll throw myself into, you know, planning over the next quarter, I’ll throw myself into something else. And so that becomes my cue to say, OK, what’s happening? What’s happening? I can’t transition as well, you know? So, and it’s different for everybody, right? Some people may find they’re a little more irritable or a little more argumentative, right? Some people may find they’re actually a little bit more passive or like they just kind of disengage.

Bonnie: 24:17 – And that’s why it’s so important to slow down and have that clarity because those cues are going to be different. Now when we miss the cues and our anxiety starts to step in, there are some similarities, right? So that’s when you’ll get that general sense of unease, maybe increased heart rate. Some people experience panic attacks, kind of, you know, when it gets really intense. But anxiety and depression both have gradients where they start off very small, very kind of like, Ooh, I just don’t feel comfortable. And then they progress to that feeling getting louder and louder until it’s full-on panic attack. Now I’m socially avoidant and with depression it’s OK, maybe I’ll just, you know, I’ll skip that party today. But then it’s like, you know, I don’t call that friend back tomorrow right up to I just quit my job cause I can’t go in anymore.

Chris: 25:04 – So it sounds like, you know, a big part of what you’re saying is just, you know, self-awareness and watching yourself like as an observer and then I guess trying different things so that you notice, oh I’m waking up at 3:00 AM every single day and checking my phone because my anxiety is high. When that happens, I should do this. So what are some strategies that people could take if they’re a business owner to help them cope with anxiety when they notice that it’s creeping up on them?

Bonnie: 25:33 – The simplest one is to, again, step back and check the baseline. What do I feel like is working really well? What do I feel like isn’t, and what do I feel like is the, you know, the general balance. But in addition to that, it’s understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing, what the real issue is. A lot of people say, you know, I work because I need to feed my family. OK, fine. But like silly question. Why is feeding your family important? Right? And so to be able to answer those questions and say, OK, no, there’s a connectedness I have these people or I have a legacy issue. You know, like I want to be able to leave the world with something. That’s why I’m doing this. And it’s like, OK, that’s fine, but you can’t ever remember that you are human being with needs.

Bonnie: 26:17 – So yes, you can build a legacy. Yes, you can impact the planet. Yes, you can connect with others, but you also have needs yourself. So what do you need? And I think when we, you know, as business owners kind of move on in the world, we’re always thinking, what do our clients need? What is the marketing, what does the industry need, what does the world need, what does everybody else need? And then we’re like, we’ll get our needs later.

Chris: 26:38 – Totally.

Bonnie: 26:41 – And that’s the problem is that we don’t remember or we don’t take time to think about the fact I’m a human doing this work. I have needs, too. So in our work, so as a psychotherapist, when I’m not grounded, the risk to my clients is something we call countertransference. So now I’ve got a client who’s sitting in front of me and they say something and I become more easily triggered into my own stuff, right?

Bonnie: 27:07 – So, there’s a real like, you know, for us it, and I’m sure it’s in every industry, but we have to be very careful that I’m not just trying to get a client to do what I want to do because I’m stressed and just want to get through the session. But that will happen if we’re not grounded. And it will happen with business owners, right? Is there’s always a next goal, the next goal, the next goal and next goal and next goal. But the question is why, where are you going and why are you going there and is this the only way to get there? Right?

Chris: 27:37 – So before we started, I told you that I was going to ask you, like what are some habits that we can do on a daily basis to get happy? But I really think that the more important question is like, how do you start paying attention to yourself, you know, like how do you know when things are in sync or out of sync? And do you have any best practices for that?

Bonnie: 27:56 – Yeah, you know, I’ve got a, it’s actually an activity that I do with my clients. It literally takes 10 minutes and it’s called a PCI, just a personal check-in. And so I take life in six different areas. So the ones I mentioned earlier, so, career, financial, social, family, health, physical and mental and spirituality. I have them rate each one as it stands today. Then I have them tell me if it was a 10, what would it look like? So if I snap my fingers and you now have the perfect life in all areas, tell me what each of these areas looks like. And then what happens is they get a sense of where they actually want to be. And then the third question is, what steps can you take today to move in that direction? So the changes that they see that they, you know, if this part of your life was a 10, so family was a 10 and you know, it’s an eight now because you don’t get to spend enough time together, then the question becomes, OK, how do we start to spend a little more time with your family.

Chris: 28:58 – That is so close to, we published something called a personal flywheel to our clients. So we teach them like the business flywheel, here’s the handles that you can push, it’s on the white board behind you there. Yeah, the personal flywheel though, we say we have exactly the same handles that you do. We have different names because we want to call it like the six Fs, but it’s, you know, faith, fitness, finance, family, et cetera. So how often should people do these, like PCI, these personal check-ins?

Bonnie: 29:25 – I recommend at least once every two months. Right. It really kind of depends on how focused you are. I know I have times when I’ll go through the year and I’ll do one every month just to make sure that I’m on track. When we try any intervention that’s designed to keep us healthy and happy, we want it to be sustainable, right? So it’s putting it in and creating a ritual around it to say, OK, I’m going to go have my favorite coffee and sit down and say, how am I doing? There are Mondays when you come in that my door is closed because that’s where I am. Like, I’ve literally got my own up on my whiteboard. I’m like, OK, Bonnie, what are we doing again? And that reset is OK because then what happens is you stay grounded.

Bonnie: 30:10 – It allows me to say, OK, you know what? Feeling a little stressed out. Like I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks. Like, let’s do that. So what are the one or two things, again, we’re not going to create 20 new goals in every area of my life, but what are the one or two things that I can get the biggest bang for right now that’s going to get my energy baseline a little bit higher. So you sit down once a month, once every two months, and you have, I’ve seen it, it’s a circle. There are like the six handles on it and you sit by yourself with paper or whiteboard. How long does it take? What’s the process going through your brain as you’re doing it?

Bonnie: 30:48 – For me, it takes about, I usually draw it out to about a half an hour or so. I can finish all of the filling it out in about 10, 15 minutes or less.

Bonnie: 31:02 – But then to sit back and say, OK, what are the two now that I want to pick out and what are the things I’m actually going to do? Because from that, the last question is what are the steps you can take today to move it in the direction of a 10? Not to make it 10, but I’m going to take those steps and I’m going to put them in my calendar, right?

Chris: 31:20 – So first you have to define what a 10 is in each situation.

Bonnie: 31:23 – Yes. You got to know what your, again, that’s coming from that meaning, right? That’s coming from the, what am I trying to create? What am I really doing? Right? And then once you’ve established that, then you know where you are now.

Chris: 31:36 – So if a client was in front of you doing the PCI and they said, OK, well I’m a nine on finance, a four on family, two on faith, you know, and I’m an eight on fitness. So they identify family and faith as being low compared to everything else. So how do you say, all right, well here’s your first step. How do you determine that?

Bonnie: 32:00 – I don’t, because for me it would be me telling somebody what should be meaningful to them. Right? Which again is just another should. And so I always ask, the first question I asked is which one is going to make the biggest impact, right? Or which one is causing the most amount of problems for you? Cause sometimes people can’t think in terms of, you know, impact; they think in terms of problems. So if they say, you know, it’s my family because I’m fighting with my spouse, you know, I don’t get to see my kids and blah, blah blah. Then I want to build some emotional attachment to changing it.

Bonnie: 32:37 – So I say, OK, tell me when that is a 10, what is it going to change for you? Oh, I wouldn’t have to think about the fight that I have every morning. Like I wouldn’t be mad going home. I wouldn’t be anxious when I pull in the driveway. I’ll talk about that at length and then I’ll say, OK, what are some things, what are some ways we can change that? Because now there’s an emotional attachment to changing that, to setting that as a goal and saying what’s one thing or two things we can do? And then, depending upon the session, I may say, OK, what is the obstacle to that? Right? Oh, I really need to have a talk with my wife. What’s the obstacle? She’s really mad. OK, how do we communicate to open the door just to start to solve that problem?

Chris: 33:18 – Interesting. And then how do you hold people accountable for taking those actions?

Bonnie: 33:22 – I don’t. I ask them, you know, is it worth it? Do you feel like this is a place that’s worth you investing your time and energy? Because it’s not going to be easy. I’m very kind of direct with my clients. And I’m saying, you can come back tomorrow—not tomorrow, next week—and this can not be done and my life will still look exactly the same. And in some cases, people will come back and there won’t be a change. And so the question then just becomes, OK, tell me what happened. Well, I’m not ready to have that conversation. OK. You’ll do it when you’re ready and then the positive changes you’re looking for will come when you’re ready.

Bonnie: 34:02 – But for me to impose another level of, OK, well you need to do this because I need to move on with my work. That doesn’t make sense. And I think that’s a difference because—I also do know all the coaching, coaching is very different. Coaching is like we’ve got these goals and this timeline and here we go and you’re really wasting your money if we’re not doing that. And so you know there are some instances with some individuals where I’m more direct and there are some instances where we say, OK, what’s getting in the way? And we may have to spend a little bit more time figuring out what’s getting in the way.

Chris: 34:33 – Super, super interesting. So Bonnie, if people want to see more about the personal check-in or like you know the handles on that flywheel, where can I get that info from you?

Bonnie: 34:44 – Yeah, definitely. They can check on my website, Skinnerpsychotherapy.com, they can give me a call or send me an email. All the contact information is there. I’d be happy to speak to anybody.

Chris: 34:54 – Fantastic. Bonnie, thank you very much for coming.

Bonnie: 34:57 – Thanks for having me.

Andrew: 35:00 – Thank you for listening to another episode of Two-Brain Radio. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a rating or review. You want to know how a mentor can move you closer to your Perfect Day? Book a free call today at twobrainbusiness.com.


Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday.

On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.