Sales Secrets: Handling Objections, Building Value and Role Playing With Joe Marcoux

Sales Secrets: Handling Objections, Building Value and Role Playing With Joe Marcoux

Chris (00:02):

Hey everyone, it’s Chris and you are in for a huge treat today. Joe Marcoux was one of my first sales coaches ever back when I was selling treadmills, and what he taught me improved not just how many treadmills I could sell, but he also taught me a lot about how to run a business. For example, how to put customers first. One of the first questions Joe asked me back when we were selling these treadmills was what time is your store open in the day? And I said, Oh, it’s open nine till six, Joe. And he said, why? Why are you open nine till six when the people who want to buy expensive treadmills and want to come to your store work from nine until six and they can’t come in? And I said, well, I don’t know. I hedged around and finally I said, Joe, it’s because I don’t want to work from six till nine in the morning.

Chris (00:46):

And then five until nine o’clock at night. Hilariously, after I opened the gym, those really became my hours. And of course it was different when I was working for myself, but Joe’s message was basically like, find out what your clients want and just do that if you want to get ahead. Today, that message is going to be carried through. Now this call is all about sales training and what gym owners need to do. The bottom line is that it’s our duty to save lives and get people fit and part of that means facing the uncomfortable truth that you’re going to have to convince people to get fit, that they’re not just going to come to that realization on their own. You’re going to have to convince them to spend money, that’s not just going to be obvious to them, and you’re going to have to overcome their squirming little lizard brain that objects to spending money on themselves. What we’re doing is not just taking their money. What we’re doing is convincing them that they are worth it, that it’s important for them to spend money on their lives. Now that takes commitment from you as a coach and a gym owner. It takes practice to get good at it and it takes a shift in mindset so that you’re not feeling like this stereotypical image of a used-car salesman. After all, we’re selling something that in the right hands is the most important thing in their lives. We have to get good at that. Today, Joe is going to tell us how to do that. You’re going to love this guy. You’re going to love this interview. Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. I’m your host Chris Cooper here every week with the best of the fitness industry. Got a sec? We would love to hear from you. I write emails to my mailing list every day and it’s a highlight when somebody takes the time to respond. If you’ve got feedback on my show or a guest you’d like to hear on Two-Brain Radio, email and don’t forget to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio wherever you get your podcasts. Joe Marcoux, welcome to Two-Brain Radio.

Joe (02:35):

Thank you so much Chris Cooper. It is great to be here.

Chris (02:40):

Yeah, man, I am thrilled to have you here and we’re going to learn a ton of stuff today too. As I said in the intro, you know, Joe was one of my first sales coaches ever, but the stuff that he taught me was more about how to run a business than it was about just how to sell stuff. And so we’re going to take a deep dive into that here. But Joe, maybe we should start with just what’s your bio and experience?

Joe (03:01):

You know what, I started off in the world of fitness equipment and exercise equipment sales back in 1989. And I just had a thing where even in grade school I had a thing where I knew that I was going to be involved either in physical fitness, possibly being in some kind of educational aspect. But I also had a penchant as we say in French, a pension for business. In fact, it was literally in eighth grade, I did a business work experience as being a physical educator, as a phys-ed teacher. And I knew right then and there, OK, well this is not where I want to be. I don’t want to work in schools and I definitely want to be in business.

Joe (03:53):

But I had this thing where I loved exercise, sports and helping people. Fast forward into after my first year of university, I got the opportunity to go and work in a specialty exercise equipment fitness store. And then two years later I decided to open up my very own at the age of 20, which I think of that though now, I have children today that are in their twenties and I can’t fathom the idea of them opening up a business. But I was 20 years old and I opened up a business, but then by the age of 25, I did a merger with a company called Fitness Depot. And at the time they only had seven stores across Canada and we quickly went from seven to 38 in roughly 18 months. And so I learned in that in that timeframe, you know, what was good and what was bad.

Joe (04:46):

And obviously, I mean, I had owned my own business for five years. So I mean, and I was making way, way too much money for my own good as a young person. Honestly, like at 22 the amount of money I was making was ridiculous. And I was selling products that I personally could not afford myself. And that’s something that a lot of people, even today when I’m doing training with some people, the staff of some of these stores, because they can’t afford the products themselves, they can’t sell those products. And whatever mental barrier I had back then, it wasn’t about that. For me, it was what’s the quality? And I believed in my heart, and you know, what was my why? I wanted to help people build a quality of life. And I want to inspire people. In fact, as I move this, you can see on my vision board to this day, that little piece of paper says my mission is I inspire and empower people to choose to build a better quality of life through the benefits of total health and exercise.

Joe (05:43):

I’ve had that up on my vision board whenever I switch my board, that is still a piece of who I am. So whether it’s through sales of exercise equipment, through health clubs, through now electric bicycles has been a niche that I’ve really worked at. However, it’s sales in the sense of helping people build a better quality of life through the benefits of exercise. If I’m working with people that are in that same space or that ecosystem of some kind, it matters to me. It resonates with me. I’m going to help people crush their business. So that’s basically my background. I started in retail and then where you and I met after I had sold the shares of my business, I became a representative for a division of Pro Cycle Group and they had a company named Bodyguard Fitness.

Joe (06:34):

I was their Canadian sales manager. So we met back in 2000. Which dates us and I’ve got a little bit of gray on the face now. And then after five years with that company, and the reason I resigned from that company is they changed my commission structure four years out of five. And this is what they said to me. They said, Joe, you just can’t make that kind of money. And for anybody listening or watching this, I will tell you this, as a sales person, there’s literally no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make as much money as you want. That’s one of the things that I love about the vocation of being a salesperson. If your belief and my belief is I’m helping people with the products and/or services that I’m providing through the sales process, then I should be able to make as much money as I want.

Joe (07:27):

And that’s the beauty of it is that, you know, as I learned to continue to hone my craft, and I have coaches of my own, I mean I pay for people to help me be a better sales trainer and sales coach. And in fact, I did a speaking engagement just a little over a month ago and I had the CEO of that company say, wait a minute, you mean the coach has a coach? And I said, it would be silly for me to say, yeah, you can hire me as your trainer or coach or come over to workshop and then yet I don’t have people helping me be accountable. I mean, I pay somebody a lot of money to put my feet to the fire so I can continue to grow my business and that’s what people do with me. So yeah, after everything that I’ve gone through, I’ve learned that accountability is by far one of the best ways to grow my business and grow myself as a person.

Chris (08:22):

  1. Well, we’re certainly going to come back to that point. So you mentioned, you know, you got into fitness because you wanted to help people. I think most of our listeners are in that same boat, but what they didn’t count on was like, I’m going to have to convince people that they need fitness. I’m going to have to sell this thing. So why do entrepreneurs need help with sales?

Joe (08:42):

You know what I think most of us as entrepreneurs, we have our hearts in the right place. The unfortunate thing though is that the acquisition of the skills of selling consistently evolve and the idea that, oh, well, because I am who I am as a, let’s call it a personal trainer or a gym owner or a person who sells exercise equipment. OK. In any of those three examples, if you don’t learn how to create and define to your leads what you are differentiating value is, and to be able to vocalize it in such a way where it is persuasive and not manipulative, politely persuasive and influential, so how can I influence someone while I still want to create impact? And of course create income. If you don’t learn these skills and you don’t put a systemized approach to it, you’re just flying by the seat of your pants. And I mean that was me in my early twenties and I quickly found out thanks to some great lessons from actual customers that if I built a system, I could template it. And that’s how I grew my business back in my twenties to be able to get into the Depot, which then they grew the business as a group.

Joe (10:07):

We went from seven to 38. You don’t do that in 18 months without having systems and being open to change. So entrepreneurs make the mistake because I meet with a lot of entrepreneurs, Coop, and they’ll tell you what they’ve been in their stores or in their personal-training facilities or they’ve been personal trainers for years and they can’t grow because they’re working in it and not working on it. And then the problem is that a lot of people don’t even measure their metrics, which do you want me to jump in on that? I’ll be very quick cause there’s so much when it comes to sales, a lot of people don’t measure the amount of traffic flow that they have coming in and the problem with that is that OK, I mean just get a counter. If you have a location, how many people walk through the door? Then the next step is if you’re in the electric bike business, the way I see it is how many people actually test rode the bike or if you own a facility, how many people signed a waiver and came in and did you give them a free trial to try your facility or did you give them a free trial to do some one on one with them or a group? If you count the number of people that walked in and then you count the number of people that actually signed on for a free demo, then the next metric of the basic three are how many people did you close on the first visit and then if you measure that, if you just measure number of people walking in, number of people who demoed and number of people you close, you have a baseline.

Joe (11:39):

The problem is most entrepreneurs, they don’t have a baseline. All they look at is their bottom line or their profit and loss and they’re just looking at, well, I got this many sales and then I asked them well, OK, so what’s your goal for next year? I’m going to grow by 20%. And then when I ask the question how are you going to do that? They have no idea. They can’t give me a—they don’t know how. And it’s like, OK, well if you’ve got to drive more traffic, then you’ve got to get more of this quality traffic to demo the product, and then you have to ask for the sale. And then within that, there’s all these other factors from a sales perspective that if you don’t realize that we’re always selling, always selling, and that’s the fun. There’s a stigma that we have as human beings that, Oh yeah, you know, salespeople are slimy, they’re manipulative and that’s not it at all. If that’s your belief, then that’s exactly what we’re going to be. You’re going to be stuck in that belief. And that is unfortunately the biggest problem with entrepreneurs. We need to be able to understand that our job is to help people. If that’s where your headspace is at, selling becomes easier.

Chris (12:53):

So you mentioned earlier that you know, mindset is actually a huge part of your program and I think maybe this is the time to dive into that now because a lot of us do have that image of the slimy used car salesman, right? Where does that come from? And how do we get over it?

Joe (13:08):

So I think where it comes from is one of the things, one of the exercises that I like to do is I like to, when I start, whether it’s Army of One sales training or another program I have is called SOS, which stands for sales objection system. One of the things that we do is we will create a customer avatar. So we go through our customer avatar and I post certain questions that helps the audience define who their specific customer is. What we end up finding out is most people have had an experience where they’ve purchased something and regretted it. They have buyer’s remorse or they’ve been, unfortunately been in a situation where they’ve been misled and they purchased something that was either a bad investment or a waste of money or something to that effect. And then unfortunately every salesperson gets lumped into that bad experience and emotions drive memory.

Joe (14:07):

So, of course, now all of a sudden you get this emotional response where, Hey, I don’t want to get stuck with slimy salespeople or back in the day of, you know, car sales, like everybody thinks the same thing, right? When you think of a slimy salesperson, we immediately see the used car sales salesman or the electronics. You know, you go to Future Shop or Best Buy, Future Shop back in the day or Best Buy. And that’s truly not the case. And so one of the things that as salespeople we have to remember is when emotions go up, intelligence goes down. Emotions go up, intelligence goes down. And this is both from the buyer perspective and from the seller perspective. So as a salesperson, I have to remember, I have to be cognizant of the fact that there are going to be times when I have to ask for the sale.

Joe (15:03):

And for a lot of people that’s scary. And this is where entrepreneurs make the mistake. Or their team make a mistake or any commissioned salesperson and make that error that, you know, they’re not emotionally prepared for rejection. And the truth is it’s not a rejection. It’s an objection. So there’s a difference, right? The average in terms of that no, times that you’re going to hear no before you get a yes in most transactions is five. Most people don’t even get to one. Most people don’t even get to one, Coop. So what ends up happening is, you know, you could do a great presentation or demonstration, but you never get to that point where you’ve asked for the sale because you know, you’re crapping your pants, you’re too afraid for somebody to say no.

Joe (15:54):

And the truth of the matter is no just means no for now. Because what we need to do is create value. If I, you know, Warren Buffett says value is what—price is what you pay, value is what you get. So you know, if I can create more value than the perception of the price, then the sale gets made, and so in the world that you’re in specifically, how do you do that? It’s about creating relationships, right? It’s asking the right questions, showing you care. It’s not about the products or the equipment that you have in the facility. Hell, man, you and I both know you can have workouts with no equipment. And great workouts with no equipment. It’s just what’s my systematic approach and then what are the objections that I’m going to end up hearing often and then having that emotional resilience or having that emotional intelligence to be able to handle it so that I can manage my own emotions as a salesperson and have the intelligent response, and this is where everybody screws it up.

Joe (16:59):

They screw it up. And I’m telling you, I do four to eight-hour workshops handling objections. And I’m telling you, people walk out of that and their sales will skyrocket. And I offer a hundred percent money back guarantee on that. I mean, you will walk out understanding what your emotional issues of sales are when you walk out of an SOS.

Chris (17:22):

So that’s interesting, Joe, all the stuff that I’ve learned from you, I’ve never heard you put it that way, which is that we’re carrying a lot of emotional baggage as the salesperson into that interview. But also what I love was an objection is not a rejection. I think a lot of us really confuse that.

Joe (17:38):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah, for sure. I mean we, and again, it’s emotional response. So there are times in our lives where we’ve maybe even asked a question whether it was, you know, it could have been in the classroom, in front of an audience with other children, and you ask what would would’ve been, you know, maybe a silly question for the teacher, and then all of a sudden you get berated publicly and now you’re afraid to ask questions again in the future. It’s just the way that we’re wired. You may have asked somebody out on a date when you were a young teen and now you know, I mean, knowing what I know now as an adult, right? I mean we all say this, had I known what I know now, I would have had way more dates, right? It’s the same thing.

Joe (18:24):

I mean, and I can tell you, we will all get more sales just on the premise of asking, never mind knowing the statistics that I’m going to be told no four times or five times before I get to a yes. That’s it. And that’s the average. I mean, there’s some people with a sales cycle that’s months before they get to a large sale. I mean, I’ve done sales where, you know, the invoice was just shy of half a million dollars. That doesn’t happen in a 30-minute conversation. This is a process. Whereas when somebody is walking through the door, Hey, it’s no problem if they say no, just means no for now.

Chris (19:02):

  1. So you know, that’s a huge barrier to sales, emotional baggage and fear of rejection. I think another one is that people believe that the product is just going to sell itself. And I think that I’m probably most guilty of this. Like if people come in and they try my class, they’re going to understand its value automatically and I’m going to sign up or you know, if I write this article for the newspaper, they’re going to think I’m an expert and they’ll pay money to just be around me.

Chris (19:29):

In the product side, you’ve been selling some of the best products in the world for decades now. How much of that is true, that the product sells itself?

Joe (19:38):

You know what? It’s a great statement. When you combine—I’ll put it this way, you can have excellent product and bad people and your sales aren’t going to be all that great. You can have phenomenal people and mediocre product and it’s not going to be all that great either. When you have the best of both worlds, so of course if your product in your case being a class and/or training systems and/or nutrition and training programming, which of course is an acquired skill, when your skill level is super high and your emotional intelligence and, and sales approach are super high and you’re a good person, you care about people. I mean, I go back to “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek and you know, on my new book that’s coming out, that’s my first chapter.

Joe (20:36):

What is your why? When your why resonates with the why of your customer or your prospect and your product is awesome, I mean, yeah, through the uprights, you’ve got a winning combination. So the product will not sell itself because people buy from people. And again, I’ll use Simon Sinek as the example. People don’t buy what you sell, they buy why you sell it. People don’t buy what you sell. That’s your excellent product. They buy why you sell it. So you are the why, right? Because you are bringing that passion, that energy, that social aspect, that community to your facility. Those are some of the intangibles. I mean, in the bicycle world for example, somebody could come in and look at a bike, what they don’t see at point of purchase in the retail stores, they don’t see the after-sale service.

Joe (21:32):

They don’t see the opportunity to go out on group rides. The social community, they don’t see that point of purchase. You have to be able to define that and create that differentiating value. Otherwise tell you what somebody could go online and just click an order and get it delivered in a couple of hours. Right? And that’s the differentiating value that you need to understand how to define and explain eloquently without taking up too much time. Because that’s the other thing too. We need to be able to—when I look at the ability that these devices, these mobile devices that we have, and I can literally order anything that I want, my heart’s desire and have it delivered within two hours to two days by clicking, and I can make that decision to purchase literally within seconds, we need to be also take your sales time and time collapse it. And that’s another part that salespeople tend to talk too much as opposed to asking the right question. Entrepreneurs will tell, tell, tell, and telling is not selling. Selling is truly asking the right questions, right?

Chris (22:39):

Yes. So everybody in the Two-Brain group, even listeners to this podcast who are not in Two-Brain, I’m sure you’ve heard me say stop barfing on people. I got that phrase from Joe because somebody would walk in the door and they’d see this $3,000 treadmill, right? And I would think like, oh, the product sells itself. And they would say, why is this $3,000 when I can go to Sears and buy it for 1100? And I would just go through the spec sheet in my brain. I would vomit all over them for an hour and then they’d leave and go buy it from Sears. So tell us more about that Joe. Like tell us more about that mistake, telling is not selling.

Joe (23:13):

You know what, when you’re looking at wanting to sell, whether it’s your product or your service, think of it from this perspective. And we get caught up in it because what ends up happening is the customer asks you a question and as a professional and as an expert and somebody who’s passionate about the service and or product that you’re offering, you jump in in telling them what the product differences are and now you’re going what versus what. And if I’m going this product, which is a quality product, versus product that you saw at a different store or online, what versus what is spec versus spec. And now it’s just a race to the bottom and you know who wins the race to the bottom? Nobody. So when somebody asks you a question, the key here is to acknowledge and then ask a question so that you can take control of the conversation.

Joe (24:03):

So if somebody says, why would I join your facility? The answer, the answer to that would be, well, I can appreciate that you’re doing your research. Or you can say, Hey, you know what? I appreciate the fact that you’re asking that question. How important is it for you to have great results? What I’ve done is I’ve acknowledged and then I’ve asked a question and now they’re going to say something to the effect of, well, it is important for me to have great results. Then it’d be OK, so this is your first time in our facility. How did you hear about us? Because these are marketing questions and metric questions I need to measure. And then have you ever had the opportunity to have an experience within our facility yet? Clearly if it’s your first time here, you haven’t,

Joe (24:41):

so are you ready to try? And using the word try gives them the impression that they can, you know, they can return the product or they don’t have to necessarily join. So you know what? Why don’t you just give us a try? Does that sound good? And I’m asking questions. So in the case of, for example, where you want to show off your expertise because you do know everything there is to know about, let’s say the example of a treadmill and you start barfing specs. The real key would be, Oh, is this your first time in the store? How’d you hear about us? You ever tried this treadmill before? You know what? Just for fun, those three words are my baby, just for fun, hop on this. I want you to try this. OK, you ready to try this? Yeah. OK. Press that button right there and get them to do it and get them involved, right?

Joe (25:22):

Because one of the key things to learning, you know, tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I might remember, involve me and I’m going to understand. So I can show somebody how to do a squat or work with a kettlebell. And when I get them to pick up the damn kettlebell and get them to start swinging it, that’s where they’re going to start understanding how to do it. And say, OK, wait, we’re going to pivot here. We’re going to adjust this an, you know, it’s the same thing in the sales process. I am going to get people involved. And how do you do that? Ask questions. Don’t tell them about your product, ask questions because they already have the answers. Does that make sense?

Chris (26:02):

Yeah, it does make sense. There was a great book called “Built to Sell” a couple of years ago, where Dan Pink said, Hey, like your client’s coming in, they already have all the knowledge.

Joe (26:13):

Sure. For sure they do. Yeah, for sure. I’ve been in stores where people would say, why would I buy this one when I can get this one online for half the price? And that just opens up the what versus what. And so if you bought online, you can’t get any service and it’s like, wait a minute. You know, as opposed to saying that you could, you could say, Hey, you know what? I appreciate that you again, acknowledge, ask a question, Mr. Customer, I totally appreciate that you’re doing your research. And I think that’s great. Let me ask you, how important is after-sales service to you? And they have to answer the question and for anybody who is purchasing a product, service is generally a critical component. In fact, they’ve come into your place of business because they want you to convince them to buy local, right, and then it’s just like, why would I join your facility when I could buy this program online and just do it following YouTube?

Joe (27:14):

It’s like, wow, are you kidding me? In my mind, that’s where I’m going and it’s like, Hey, you know what? I appreciate the fact that you’re interested in getting some type of exercise and some type of fitness. How important is it for you to be able to have a community of people that are going to be there and share the energy and lift you up and make sure that you’re accountable to coming back every time you’re supposed to work out. Are you aware that accountability is a way for you to maximize your results? We already know the answer is yes, but if I told them, you know that blah blah blah, if you come across as defensive, it truly comes across as offensive, right? It’s like when somebody says, well, your product’s too expensive.

Joe (28:02):

Most people will react because they’re emotionally attached to their belief, which is your product is great. So the reaction is what are you comparing it to? And that comes off as offensive and as opposed to saying, Hey, you know what? Thanks for letting me know how you feel, Coop. Acknowledge, then ask the question, what are we comparing it to? And notice I didn’t say, what are you comparing it to? I’m making this—instead of being exclusive. I’m saying, what are we comparing it to? And that shift of just one word makes all the difference. Have you ever—let me ask you this, Chris, what has more power? Thanks, I appreciate it. Or thanks, I appreciate you.

Chris (28:45):

Oh, the latter.

Joe (28:46):

Right? One word, all the difference. And in sales it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Chris (28:59):

It’s interesting because most listeners to this podcast probably are selling the most expensive, you know, exercise program in town. They’re not selling at $12 a month access fees. So that price objection is one that actually does come up a lot. So Joe, like there’s a lot of knowledge already here. I really like for us to take something away that we can practice. And so one of the things that we were talking about before we got on was what you were calling emotional resilience. So maybe we can just dive into that for a little bit.

Joe (29:41):

So to practice handling an objection or the emotional resilience aspect of it kind of goes hand in hand and I mean, I’ll give you a tool that will help in that. Think of the most common objection that you run into. And if it’s the price objection, what you need to do is you write down the objection, whatever that objection is and how it’s thrown at you. Then what you need to do is it’s a two-step process. Step one acknowledge. So how would you acknowledge that objection, and then step two, ask a question. I mean I can’t make it any easier than this. Acknowledge, ask a question. Cause what happens is is that when we hear the objection, we get emotionally distraught. So what you need to do is with a partner or you know, whether it’s on the phone, better for it to be alive, by the way, and this only takes, I swear to you, five minutes a day. I mean it’s like brushing your teeth. If you were to do this on your biggest objection, what’s going to happen is that objection is actually never going to present itself. I find it really interesting, when we’re emotionally prepared to hear this objection, then it seems like the objection just fades away and it never, it never comes up. Or if it does come up, you’ll be instantly prepared for you know what? Wow, this program is just way too expensive. Thanks for letting me know how you feel. What exactly were you comparing it to? And it’s reprogramming your brain so that you don’t have that emotional response. Now, let me be very clear. We’re not taking emotion out of the picture.

Joe (31:34):

That’s impossible. When we need to do is we need to practice this and repetition is a way to mastery. You have to practice this on a regular basis, and this is where when I tell people, hey, when you come to a workshop, this isn’t pixie dust where you know, you come in, you suck at sales, and then you leave and all of a sudden you’re, you know, going to the hall of fame. I’m going to give you tools just like I gave you right now in one brief example that with practice you’re going to get so good at it that you’ll see dramatic results to your sales. But it has to be ongoing, because sales is a perishable skill. If you don’t practice them, things go bad. And then as you know, people go back to old habits and bad habits, no different than in exercise.

Joe (32:22):

This is the way I’ve always done it. OK. And how’s that working out for you? So the emotional resilience piece, it really comes down to this as a salesperson and as a trainer, I come down to this, write down that objection that that’s bugging you the most. Step one, acknowledge it. Step two, ask a question. So again, I’m using the example of your product’s too expensive. And to me, it just comes out of my mouth. Thanks for letting me know how you feel. What exactly are we comparing it to? And I get, you know, a variety of objections that come up. You know, I need to go home and talk to my wife and that’s a classic or I need to go talk to my significant other or you get, I want to go home and do some research.

Joe (33:11):

Now they’re talking to you, the expert. So I’m going to go home and do some research. I really appreciate that you want to be well-informed. What is it specifically that you want to research that you and I didn’t get a chance to talk about today? And you know what really happens is if you’re not prepared with those scripts, that’s where the emotional reaction comes in. And then you say things that you regret later. I mean, and that’s the emotional memory that you get all frazzled. So with practice, and this is where you start off with a script, you’ll learn the script and then you master it. And every master was once a disaster. If you think, I know all this stuff just by, you know, I learned it from other people. I learned the SOS system from some other trainer that I was working with 25 years ago.

Joe (34:04):

I repackaged it and repurposed it so that it works for me and my people. And now people pay me thousands of dollars to be able to have massive increments to their business, because I shined it up in such a way where I made it even simpler. You can’t get any simpler than two steps.

Chris (34:21):

Well, so what are those steps, Joe, let’s talk about SOS.

Joe (34:25):

So that’s exactly what I just covered with you. So the sales objection system is a two-step system. It’s write it write down the objection. Step one, acknowledge. Step two, ask a question. Now there’s exercises that we’ll do for example, in a workshop where I call breakthrough exercises where it needs to get to get done in the silence of a room where, and I say that whether you’re a room full of people, whether it’s six people or 600 and again it’s the question of being able to hear that little voice in your head.

Joe (35:06):

And the one I’m talking about is the one right now where you just had, what little voice that like we have constantly, we’re always talking to ourselves and it’s that little voice that we’ve been designed from inception, from thousands of years ago to always keep ourselves safe. If you want to break out of your comfort zone, that’s where you get into the money zone. And you know what? There’s a feeling of this isn’t safe. You just got to keep stretching. It’s no different than when you do a stretching program and you want to be able to do the splits. You’ve to keep practicing and keep practicing and keep practicing, and it’s discomfort, it’s not pain, it’s discomfort. Well, once you get to that point, then you get, regardless of your age, Hey, guess what? I am now able to do the splits. Well, Hey, guess what? I’m now able to sell for millions of dollars’ worth of whatever it is that you listeners are selling, whether it’s training or whether it’s product, it’s actually easy. It’s just a question of small gains daily.

Chris (36:05):

OK, so if you’re talking to a gym owner and you’re saying you need to get reps, you need to develop this emotional resilience, pick one objection that you get. What exactly does that look like? Like you’re saying five minutes a day, are they roleplaying or are they doing it in the mirror? How’s that work?

Joe (36:22):

if you’re solo, obviously, and I mean, my new book’s called “How to Be an Army of One in Sales,” if you’re a solo-preneur, then absolutely you have to do it in the mirror or on the drive out loud. You have to, you know, and this is a thing, I mean there’s practice—it’s like having a band. You know, you and I, before the podcast started, you asked me if I was still playing music and it’s interesting. Occasionally I’ll get together with people and we’ll play music together. Well, here’s the thing. If you’re a musician or if you’re in sales with people, you need to practice on your own and then when you get together with the band or your team, you rehearse. But if you haven’t practiced, then your rehearsal’s going to suck. And then when you go to game time or gig time or show time, you’ve done your practice alone, you’ve rehearsed with the group and now you’re out on stage and you’re crushing it. That’s how all the greats are great. They’d practice, then they’d rehearse and then it’s show time. So there’s no difference when it comes to sales. Even if you’re a solo-preneur you practice in the car. Then at your place of business, before you unlock the door, you rehearse as people are there and you’re standing at your counter or your chair or wherever it is, you role play it so that it becomes part of muscle memory and then it’s game time and it will just flow.

Chris (37:42):

That’s amazing, Joe. That is such, such a great place to leave it because I’m not sure that people understand the difference or even when we mail them a scenario deck, if they’re a solo-preneur, they’re saying like, well, how can I do role playing? Am I going to use my dog? But that was a great illustration of the difference between practice rehearsal and show time. All right man. So Joe, where can people learn more about “Army of One” and the SOS system and you?

Joe (38:11):

You can go to Joe M a R C O U X as an X marks the spot dot-com. So You can follow me on Instagram at @joe__Marcoux. Yes, that is two underscores. Those are probably the two best places. I’ve got a lot more content that’s coming out for general sales. And then the intent that I have for the listeners and I’m going to put it out there so that we make it happen, Chris, is that, we work together. I’d love to be able to have the opportunity to do something for your group and really help level up their game. I’m really lucky that I’ve had the opportunity from different trade associations to call me in or different manufacturers call me in for their annual dealer meetings. And it’s not just about sales, it’s also about coaching. It’s about consulting and motivation. That’s all part of it. Zig Ziglar, who I’ve seen live when I was younger, used to say that motivation is like bathing. You gotta do it daily. And so is your sales practice. You gotta do a daily if you want to excel.

Chris (39:16):

That’s awesome, Joe. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing a little bit of knowledge and some advice for gym owners, man.

Joe (39:22):

Yeah. It’s my pleasure. I hope I get a chance to come to back in the future.

Chris (39:26):


Joe (39:26):

Right on, Coop.

Chris (39:31):

Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Chris Cooper and I’m here every Thursday. Every Wednesday. Sean Woodland brings you the best stories from the fitness community. Every Monday we’ll bring you marketing tips and success stories from our clients. Please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio and share this show with any friends we can help.


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.

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The Real Barrier to Entry

The Real Barrier to Entry

“Hi, tell me about your gym!” she said. She had just walked in off the street—but our street didn’t have foot traffic. She’d driven across town, found us despite the poor signage and boldly walked up to the front desk.

I was desperate for new clients. But still, I had no idea what to say.

“Well, we’re a CrossFit gym,” I started. “Have you heard of CrossFit?”

“Just heard of it. How does it work?” she asked.

I went into the description of “constantly varied functional movement” and so on.

She looked at her watch. I was losing her.

“Sorry,” I said. “I’m the world’s worst salesman.”

“Well, sell me.” She replied. “I don’t have much time.”

I told her about classes and gave her the rates. Miraculously, she signed up. I was surprised: My usual “sales pitch” took almost an hour and didn’t always result in a new membership. My “short form” bullets of price and schedule were actually successful.

It was my first inkling that maybe my normal “sales pitch” wasn’t the best.


The Hard Truth About the Gym Business


Looking back over the years and data now, I can see that my fear of “sales” might have been the biggest barrier to entry to my gym. I thought I had to convince skeptics with facts and data. What I really had to do was say, “Here’s how I can solve your problem for you.”

When you’re trying to convince someone to do something, you’re selling.

Selling gets a bad reputation because it’s a tool often used for evil. When we think of a “salesperson,” we sometimes think of someone dishonest: a man or woman who wants to trick us. We think of a one-sided deal: a lemon that’s going to break down as soon as we leave the parking lot. We think of a character we don’t want to play: the poorly dressed shyster who’s going to leave town as soon as we write the check.

But if you’re trying to convince someone to join your church, you’re selling belief.

If you’re trying to convince someone to stop doing drugs, you’re selling sobriety.

If you’re trying to change someone’s life through diet and exercise, you have to sell fitness.

The uncomfortable truth in business is this:

If you can’t sell them, you can’t save them.

All that money spent on Facebook advertising? It’s a total waste if you can’t convince them to sign up. Only Zuckerberg benefits.

All that time spent researching advertising, listening to podcasts and even going to gymnastics clinics? A waste of time if you can’t get someone to pay you for your service. Sorry.

All the technical expertise in the world won’t help your business if they won’t pay you for it.

Maybe you should get good at this part.

Maybe you should spend one-tenth as much time learning how to convince people as you do learning how to teach the clean.

Maybe you should get more reps in growing your business and fewer reps in the butterfly pull-up (or arguing about the butterfly pull-up in Facebook groups).

Maybe you should spend twice as much time selling as you do advertising (or, as we teach, 20 times).

Maybe you didn’t think about this when you opened a gym. It’s time to think about it now. Because the stuff that makes you a good coach doesn’t really make you a good business owner. If you’re not training your sales process, the biggest barrier to entry in your gym is you.

We teach the sales process step by step in the Incubator. Then, in Growth Phase, you can have our sales specialist, Jeff Burlingame, train you and your staff to be even better.


Other Media in This Series

The Dark Side of Your Business
The Secret Sales Script
Sales Secrets: Handling Objections, Building Value and Role Playing With Joe Marcoux

Pat Sherwood: The Diabolical Science of Suffering, SEALs and Snatches

Pat Sherwood: The Diabolical Science of Suffering, SEALs and Snatches

Sean (00:05):

Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. Today I talk with current director of media for CrossFit Health Pat Sherwood. Over the last month, I’ve interviewed some truly amazing guests like Stacie Tovar, Tanya Wagner, Adrian Bozman, Chris Hinshaw, Rory Mckernan, and Julie Foucher. If you’ve missed out on this stuff, check out our archives for the best stories from the fitness community, and to avoid FOMO, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. I’ve got spectacular guests coming every single week, and speaking of spectacular guests, Pat Sherwood: He has worn just about every hat you can wear in the world of CrossFit. He has been a member of the seminar staff, an analyst on the Update Show, and he still runs his own online affiliate CrossFit Linchpin. We talk about his experience going through BUD/S to become a Navy SEAL, how he got involved in CrossFit, what it was like becoming one of the first members of the media team and what he defines as good programming. Thanks for listening everyone. Pat, thank you so much for doing this, man. How are you?

Pat (01:11):

I’m doing well, Sean. My pleasure. Thanks for having me on board.

Sean (01:14):

Let’s start way back in the life of Pat Sherwood. What sports or athletic endeavors did you pursue when you were younger?

Pat (01:22):

Oh my goodness. I was born with no athletic ability in any way, shape or form. I as a young kid just played a little bit of little league baseball. That was about it. But that was before sports were crazy. I’ve got kids now and sports are crazy. I don’t want to be that old guy that’s like, I don’t think it was the same, but I don’t think it was the same. We just, you know, we got a T-shirt from like Frankie’s pizza and we went down to an old ball field and hit it around. And anyway, now it’s crazy. So I did that. I ran track in high school and in college I didn’t do anything other than just train every day to go into the Navy. So that was about it. But I was never good at any of them.

Sean (02:08):

So before CrossFit and before the Navy, what did fitness look like for you?

Pat (02:12):

Oh man. We used to get after it, we had a Gold’s gym in the town next to mine in high school, we had the high-school crew that would go in, and Monday, Thursday it was chest and tris. Tuesday, Friday back and bis. And then Wednesday and Saturday must’ve been legs and abs and somewhere in there I’d hit the elliptical or maybe the stair machine and thought I would just turn into a ferocious animal.

Sean (02:36):

How’d that work out for you?

Pat (02:38):

I was wonderfully mediocre and I was eating, you know, just a horrific diet at the time that I thought was healthy. So I had isolation movements at low intensity mixed with a poor diet; shocker, like I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.

Sean (02:55):

You mentioned preparing, ?going into the Navy, but what motivated you to join the Navy and become a SEAL?

Pat (03:00):

I don’t know. I have some military in my family, but like not a huge presence and it was never ever like a thing or talked about or pressure, you know? I just, for whatever reason, even just from the time I was a little kid, I think I knew that I wanted to go in and serve. I don’t know why. Just felt like that was the right thing to do. Probably watched a lot of Chuck Norris Missing in Action movies and too much of the A Team. But I just wanted to go in. And then when I wanted to go in, I just—this was of course pre-internet time, I just started reading books on the different branches of service cause I didn’t know a lot about any of them. And then I learned about special operations community in the various branches.

Pat (03:49):

Started looking into that and figured, well if I’m going to go in I might as well try to do what would appears to be the most challenging. And then I read about the SEALs and BUD/S and I was like, well I guess that’s it. So that was kind of the—that was my simple decision-making tree.

Sean (04:02):

How did you prepare for that?

Pat (04:04):

I prepared OK, but man, if I had a time machine to go back and talk to myself there’s so many things that I would do different, which is cool because I’ll get—people will reach out to me now and I can give them far better advice than I did. But I did just death by volume. I did so much training, you know, those were the days of long slow distance. So I ran every single day. You know, a short run was three miles, a longer run was 11 miles.

Pat (04:37):

There was, you know, mile repeats at the track. There was just going to the pool three to four times a week, putting on swim fins and just finning for 75 minutes. There was, I mean hundreds and hundreds of dead-hang pull-ups and push-ups and flutter kicks mixed in with all the classic, you know, bodybuilding stuff that I said before. And it, you know, it was adequate for sure, but I could have made my life a little easier if I knew then what I know now.

Sean (05:07):

When you get to BUD/S, what was it like going through that training

Pat (05:18):

It was unpleasant. BUD/S was—that’s a great question actually, and it’s tough to articulate. I mean, BUD/S sucks, I mean that’s just the easy way to say it. It really, really, really, really sucks, which is, you know, as somebody who speaks for a living, that’s a great sentence, right? It’s just, they don’t teach you how to be a SEAL in BUD/S. BUD/S is just six to eight months of them trying as hard as they can to get you to quit within the confines of the law. You know, they can’t kill you. They can shoot real bullets at you, but whatever they can do to make you just get in your head, beat you down, to wear you down, to make you question why you’re there. And it’s just a very long time to get kicked in the teeth, you know, half a year or so.

Pat (06:08):

And the cold is such a unique aspect of BUD/S. I mean when in doubt, they can just freeze you. It doesn’t matter. You know, it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of summer, somebody sticks you in 75-degree water on a summer night, they just keep you in longer. It will still drop your core temperature to the point that you’re jack-hammering and freezing and you go hypothermic. So I mean they have it down to a science, a diabolical science where given this ambient temperature, this temperature of the ocean, we can keep them this long in the water before somebody dies. And so we will pull them out right before that point and have probably had a bunch of quitters before that. And then when we pull these frozen zombies out of the water, you know, roll them around, get sand in every crease and crevice of their body, and then to heat them up, we’ll just put boats on their heads and run them for four miles down the soft sand.

Pat (07:03):

And then when they’re warmed back up and dying, well then we’ll just put them back in the water until the brink of hypothermia, then we’ll pull them back out and run them. And we’ll just do this until people just quit left and right. And so it just sucks, you know? But it’s one of those things where they just have to make sure that the people that graduate training to the best of their ability are those people that, heaven forbid, if they get into a situation down the road, real life, that they won’t quit then. And so it is a very effective selection process, I would say. I didn’t like it.

Sean (07:37):

Given all of that, what are some of the mental tricks or things that you told yourself that allowed you to keep your head during that time and not quit?

Pat (07:46):

Man, I don’t think you can casually want to be a SEAL or fill in the blank, you know, whatever your goal happens to be. So I don’t think you can do that. So for me it was an obsession. It was literally an obsession to a clinically unhealthy point. I mean, it’s all I thought about, all I read about, all I trained for and somewhat of an identity and probably not making it through training would have bestowed upon me a level of shame that I didn’t want to have. And so on top of that, on top of being my life dream, everybody knew that I was there. You know, there’s a peer pressure there, but of course the people who quit had peer pressure also, but for some reason they tapped out. But I also had every now and then in the back of my mind, my grandfather, who was just the coolest dude to ever walk the face of the Earth, he was a Navy vet, World War II, very rarely talked about it, but his ship in World War II got kamikazed, it went down.

Pat (08:47):

They had to abandon ship, the whole nine yards. I mean, like literal, terrible war. And I couldn’t imagine ringing out, seeing my grandfather, who would never hold it against me, ever, you know, would love me the same no matter what. And telling this guy who survived something like that and I’m saying, Hey, you know what? You know, it was just too tough, Gramp, you know, it was really cold and I was tired. And so I decided it was more than I could handle. You know, my life’s not genuinely in danger. No one’s actually shooting at me and I decided to quit. So that was always in the back of my head. And then there was one other thing, you know, it’s kind of like coaching a movement. Like you might give somebody, there might be 10 different cues that you could give, but one hits home with that person and the other nine just fall on deaf ears.

Pat (09:38):

There’s this one thing an instructor said that it hit me like a ton of bricks and this was leading up to hell week. I think hell week was the fifth week. It’s when most people quit. And the week beforehand there was an instructor giving us like a little pep talk, which was rare because usually they don’t care if you quit. And he said, look, here’s the deal. You guys are all sitting here and you know months from now what your graduation date is, which I think was February 27th, 1998, was the day that our class would graduate, which seemed very far away and he’s like, so February 27th, 1998 is coming no matter what. No matter what happens, you can’t stop the hands of time and you are going to be somewhere on February 27th so right now you need to choose where you want to be. Do you want to be standing with your class on graduation day full of all the pride of having endured what we’re about to throw at you, or you can quit and when February 27th comes, you’ll try really hard to act like you don’t know that the rest of your class is standing in their dress uniforms and they sucked it up and had you sucked it up, it would all be over.

Pat (10:49):

And they’re like, he’s like, you know, God forbid you’re not where you want to be on February 27th and I was like, Holy crap. After he said that, I couldn’t imagine that date of the calendar coming and just saying to myself, the time went by, like had I just sucked it up, it would all be over for the rest of my life. And it’s funny, like when you’re there, seconds seemed like hours, like time’s not going by, but now in the blink of an eye, that was 22 years ago, time flies by. So anyway, that one stuck with me.

Sean (11:21):

What did you learn about yourself after not only making it through that entire ordeal, but also from your time serving in the Navy?

Pat (11:28):

I have no idea how I did it. I don’t know if I was in a different phase of my life where I’m just a soft civilian with a couple of kids right now. But I think back, that’s definitely like, how in the name of—how? How did that happen? If there’s a cold rain outside right now, I will push women and children out of the way to go inside.

Pat (11:53):

I cannot stand being wet and cold and maybe it’s cause I went through all that stuff, but I think about just what I endured, and man, I don’t know. I do think it is just, you know me, Sean, I’m a slow, dumb animal. No one has ever described me as you know, a talented athlete or a beautiful mover or technically proficient. But I think I can just grind. I think I can shut my brain off and just suffer. And so I think in an environment like that, I just learned to tap into that place of just enduring the suck and somehow telling yourself that the seconds will tick by, you know, breakfast will come, then lunch will come, then dinner will come, the sun will come up the next day. Even though the night seems really long and really cold, the sun will come up in the morning.

Pat (12:43):

And I dunno, I think I just learned to grind, quite frankly.

Sean (12:47):

What did you do then when you got out of the Navy?

Pat (12:50):

When I got out of the Navy, man, I didn’t know—I got hurt. And that kind of helped that decision for me. I thought I’d be in 20 years and that, that took us a sidetrack, which turned out to be a blessing. But then when I got out, I didn’t really have a back-up plan, you know, cause I barely graduated college with a degree in sociology, which was not a really sought-after resume. Oh, you’ve got a 2.5 in sociology, let me get you a corner office, Sherwood.

Pat (13:23):

So I wasn’t sure what to do. And I had what I felt anyway was a limited skillset. And so I went and worked for a company that now has become a bit infamous, you know, bad press and whatnot, but Blackwater out in North Carolina. So I went down to—I was in Virginia Beach in North Carolina, which is just a few hours, hour-drive away. So I went down and just continued to, you know, do a line of work that involved carrying a firearm for probably the next, at least three years, maybe a little bit more than that. It was three to four years. I was down there with them doing stuff overseas. And then when I figured out I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life, because while it was decent money in overseas contracting, you can’t spend your money if you’re dead. And so I figured out this is not what I want to do long term. And so I got out of that line of work and then that’s when I started to get involved with CrossFit and you know, opening an affiliate and CrossFit HQ and all that kind of good stuff.

Sean (14:30):

How did you find CrossFit?

Pat (14:32):

There was a gentleman by the name of Dave Castro, I think you’ve heard of him. He’s a positive motivational speaker. Dave and I went to BUD/S together back in 1997. Class two and five. So I met Dave in 97 and you know, we went through BUD/S together, graduated together. We both ended up at our first command together at SEAL team four, we were there for years together, hung out together, you know, outside of work became buddies and he’s from the area out in California that HQ was at and he went back out to California and he was always a climber. I think there was some famous climber working out at the original CrossFit and he wanted to go meet that guy and sought out the original CrossFit gym and then just by happenstance, got involved, fell in love with it. And then he called me, I was still on the East Coast. He called me and turned me onto CrossFit, I started doing it for training.

Pat (15:32):

And then when they slowly started having seminars on the East Coast again down in North Carolina, I was asked to like just drive down and volunteer, you know, take out the trash, get coach Nicole coffee or whatnot. And that was kinda how it all started.

Sean (15:46):

What then led you to the seminar staff?

Pat (15:48):

Well through helping out at the level ones, I just, I didn’t screw it up so they just kept giving me a little bit more responsibility and a little bit more and OK try running a group, you ran a group, try this, you know, relatively easy lecture. OK you did that and just did another lecture, another lecture, run more groups. And then little by little that went from volunteer work to part-time independent contractor work to full-time occupation work. So it just kind of baby stepped from one to another.

Sean (16:23):

I’ve asked this of every seminar staff member who’s been on here, Zach Forrest and James Hobart as well, but what is your craziest story from your time in the seminar world?

Pat (16:34):

Oh man, the craziest story. You know, there was one or two times at a physical altercation. Due to a participant not treating a staff member with kindness. Luckily that didn’t occur, but actually one of the craziest ones occurred with James Hobart. I don’t know if this is the same story that Hobart said and he might have already talked about it, but James, I, and several other people, Austin Malleolo was there, were doing a seminar up in Canada. We were doing a lunchtime workout, doing a run. And while we were doing a run, we saw a guy, you know, we’re running through a neighborhood, we saw a guy in his driveway basically physically abusing a woman, kicked her in the chest, and while we were running by. And we’re like, Holy cow. So we went over as good Americans would do, you know, the world’s police. And we decided to take matters into our own hands. And we, you know, let the gentleman know that we didn’t think that that was appropriate behavior and he disagreed with us and you know, a hullabaloo occurred at a small degree and then we went back and you know, the police were involved and whatnot. But that was probably a singularly bizarre, unique experience that occurred during a level one, but overwhelmingly fantastic. But yeah, if you do enough of them and you cross paths with enough people, you’ll see some wacky stuff.

Sean (18:18):

You competed at the CrossFit Games in 2009. A lot of people don’t know that. What was that experience like for you at the ranch?

Pat (18:28):

Man, it was—at the time, I mean, it was great. The short answer is fantastic. At the time, just didn’t really know, it wasn’t obviously what it is now, with the recognition and the pageantry and everything else that goes on. It was still just, even though it was in its third year and it grew each year, it was still just a very gritty, dirty throwdown behind the ranch with nothing fancy going on. And I had no interest in really like competing, like being a competitor because that kinda wasn’t the vibe back then. It was just this fun thing that Hey, if you happen to make it out there, come on out and throw down. And so I went through the qualification process, somehow qualified, so blows my mind, went out there and just had a blast throwing down with my buddies and even a lot of, you know, names that were starting to make themselves something out there in the community at that time.

Pat (19:27):

And you know, Chris Spealler and people like that. And I finished wonderfully, I think middle of the pack, you know, I did not do, you know, I didn’t crush it in any way, shape or form. I think I made it through four workouts and then got cut, and was honestly stoked to get cut, and that was plenty of working out for me. Like, I’m tired, I’m ready to go, you know, grab a hot dog, get in the crowd, cheer for somebody else. But it was a blast and obviously it’s cool just to now knowing what that event has become and the worldwide recognition, it’s cool to at least have somehow been involved in it on the competitor side, even if it was quite some time ago.

Sean (20:12):

You go from seminar staff to the media side of things with CrossFit. How did that whole thing come about?

Pat (20:17):

Oh man. I think it was just right place at the right time. So when that occurred I was starting to get a little burnt out from all the travel with the seminar staff. It’s a rugged schedule. It’s fantastic. But it’s tough. I mean you’re in a different city or country every weekend of the year other than Christmas and New Year. So if you’re full time, that’s 50 trips a year and it could be just going to Perth, Australia, for the weekend, which messes you up for 10 days. And so it’s rugged, and I’ve been traveling basically since I entered the military cause that’s a bunch of travel. Then I did the overseas contract work. So I really started living out of a suitcase and airports when I was 21 and never stopped. So after four or five years on the seminar staff, I’d been traveling almost continuously for 13 to 15 years and I was starting to just, you know, blur.

Pat (21:14):

There are points in time where I wasn’t in any one particular location for more than 10 days for like three years. And so that’s tough to put down roots, tough to have any kind of normalcy. So I kind of let Dave and Nicole know like, Hey, I’m not there yet, but I feel the burnout coming and if it does come that doesn’t benefit anybody. Obviously the participants won’t be getting what they deserve. I won’t be having a good quality of life. And so just putting it out there, if there’s something else, it’d be great. And the company was still, you know, growing, and different departments were still very young. So there wasn’t really a huge media department that I could easily transition to. But there was one starting to emerge. And again, just through good timing, you know, I spoke for a living, so I was comfortable doing that.

Pat (22:01):

I’d done some of the like Zone Chronicle videos, just very low budget Blair Witch Project and I was looking at my phone, which back then that was a lot of media experience and so they kind of offered me the job there in the media department, which was more of a regular commute to work, show up to HQ. You know, if you work for CrossFit, you’ll always travel to some degree. But it was significantly less travel than being full time on the seminar staff. So I accepted that and it was a blast and a heck of a run. You know, I met fine characters like yourself over there.

Sean (22:34):

What were those early days like for you guys covering the emerging sport of the CrossFit Games and not having a ton of experience doing it?

Pat (22:41):

Man, I think potentially ignorance was bliss. Meaning I didn’t know what it took to be a good media professional, so I probably didn’t know what I was doing wrong. So we would just go down there and click on cameras and it was the wild West. And you know, whether the transitions between talking or packages were smooth or professional or whatever it was, we didn’t know, we were just throwing it out there. So it was very, very real, very authentic, very, you know, just off the cuff. And it was again a blast just to be a part of something growing. Every year that went by, we got a better idea of what we were doing or we’d get somebody in that knew what they were doing or give us a little bit of counsel or refresh or professional development and we’d get a little bit better at our craft and a little bit better at our craft. And the graphics got a little bit better until, I mean, you can go back, if I went back and looked at some of our early Update Shows, they would be tough to watch.

Pat (23:45):

I mean it would make me just uncomfortable seeing how many things we were doing wrong or how terrible we were on camera and to where we eventually wound up with such a polished, smooth production that still allowed everyone to be authentically who they were with their personality and delivery but done in a way that still makes a good show and the packages were slick and I mean there was just so much, I mean you well know there was just so much progress that occurred in a relatively small period of time. It was great.

Sean (24:21):

Out of that chaos, like you said, emerged some order. What were some of the things that you did to make sure you were as successful as possible anytime that you were on camera?

Pat (24:31):

Oh man. I would just, you know, peer pressure is an amazing thing, and so especially when I was on the desk with you, Tommy or Rory, each one of you guys pushed me to get better in a different way that you just don’t want to be the weak link in the chain. And so you would just put in monster amounts of preparation because there’s no hiding. If the camera clicks to you and you just stand there like a fence post and everything that you say is wrong and you deliver it poorly and your points aren’t coherent and you don’t know the package that’s coming up like you can’t hide, like it’s very exposing and you, I’ll give you a compliment, you’re so astonishingly good at what you do and it’s obvious because you make it look like it’s not hard.

Pat (25:26):

And that’s the trick right there. You just up there talking and Hey, let’s throw to this package and here’s a break. We come back from the break and catch up on what’s going on. And people at home are like, Oh, that doesn’t look that hard. It’s profoundly hard. I’ve had to host every now and then and it’s absurdly hard. So I knew that you were going to be squared away. I knew that Rory was going to be handsome and so I had to make sure my makeup was right and my hair was done because you don’t want to look ugly next to Rory. I look ugly and short next to Rory. So I was screwed there. And then Tommy is just an idiot savant with Games knowledge and facts and what color was so and so’s shoelaces in 2010, he just had all of that stuff on the tip of his tongue that you knew if you didn’t have your facts straight you were going to look not good cause he was going to have his facts straight. So it was just the crew that we had. I mean everybody that was there on the desk was ready, rockin, squared away and so help you God, you better have your ducks in a row.

Sean (26:30):

Hey guys, before we go any further with Pat Sherwood, 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 you have to do visit Two-Brain And now, more with Pat Sherwood. We and you eventually get on ESPN, CBS network television. What was your sort of welcome to the big time moment?

Pat (27:33):

Oh man. You know, just to let the listeners at home know, you know, before we started recording this, we were talking about Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm. And I kind of feel like a lot of my media stuff was Larry David-esque nature, and what I mean by that is people would die and kill to get on camera, right, in front of that big audience. And in a funny way, I’m actually relatively introverted, believe it or not, and I don’t like being the center of attention. With my small group of people that are my close friends, yeah, I’ll open up, we’ll be silly and cut it up. But like if I’m at some big party with a bunch of people that I don’t know, I’m in a living hell, and absolute living hell, I just want to run away. And so being on camera in front of thousands of people, like I never ever sought it out.

Pat (28:30):

Not by a long shot, but for some crazy reason people kept putting me in front of large audiences. I don’t know why, I never asked for it. And they’re like, now you’re on ESPN. And I’m like, ah, all right, I guess. And you know TV networks as well. And again, it’s just funny because yeah, it’s almost like Larry David when he’s writing Seinfeld, he kept hoping that the show would get canceled so he wouldn’t have to go to work anymore. It’s like, cause some of that stuff, it’s just funny because I would’ve never sought it out, but I just kept getting these opportunities and I guess we kept doing well so they kept growing and you know, for me, you know, you were there as well. For me getting on ESPN or you know, one of the television networks. It has a cool factor, right? So it has a cool factor but it wasn’t any different to me than anything else cause it’s still just the black circular lens of the camera, you know, and you don’t know, are there seven uninterested viewers at home watching or are there 7 million, you know, it’s still the camera. So I just tried to always, I tried to not let it get into my head, the size of the audience, cause then I didn’t want to just, you know, freeze up on camera, do something. But I had a definite appreciation and gratitude for the experience for the opportunity. And I can tell you a story to make fun of myself, which was I think the first time that we were on ESPN, we were at the StubHub or I guess it was the Home Depot Center then at the Games, and we’re having a production meeting in the morning before we go on, we’re going through the rundown, which I didn’t even know what a rundown was at that point in time.

Pat (30:17):

And there’s all this, you know, these are all professionals and so you know, you’re going through this multiple-page rundown and they have everything abbreviated in shorthand. I don’t know what any of it means. And something goes to me and again, I don’t want to look like the idiot on camera. So next to it it says this one word all together. HILITES. I didn’t know I didn’t have any coffee in the morning. I was looking at it, but in front of, I don’t know, 30 people there that were doing it forever, I’m like putting my hand up like quick question, you know, line item 41 throws to me and it says that I’m on the hell-eet-ees, and what are hell-eet-ees? Whoever was running it was very kind instead of just, you know, stomping me into the ground. Said that says highlights. Ah, the highlights. Luckily I just identified myself as a veteran professional in this room.

Pat (31:17):

I’m sure that meeting ended people were like, is this the guy we’re putting on? Do we have anybody else for when he freezes up that we can stick on there in a commercial break? Time’s gone by, my friend.

Sean (31:31):

One of the things that you did during your time with the media team that I thought was fantastic was that road trip through South America. How did the idea for that come about?

Pat (31:37):

Wow. Yeah, that was 2013 I want to say. You know, I was talking to Ian Wittenberg and we were both into motorcycles and we loved Latin America and Spanish. He’s obviously a filmmaker. And I’d done some seminars down there and I knew that the emerging CrossFit community culture in Latin America, it was phenomenal. And it was strong and passionate and full of enthusiasm. And I felt like it needed to be highlighted more. And at that time, I think I had also watched The Long Way Around with, you would know this, the guy who played in Star Wars, McGregor—

Sean (32:19):

Ewan McGregor?

Pat (32:19):

Yes. You know, he did a motorcycle trip, like around the world. He’s a millionaire so he could pull it off. And it was amazing. And he documented his adventures and I was so envious of—I wanted to have an adventure like that, but I’m not a millionaire. And I was like, you know what? What if we did it for a work trip? This is so crazy. What if we get two guys on motorcycles, minimal gear, and we drove from basically a road from the Canadian border all the way down through the US down through Mexico, down through Central America to the bottom of South America, popping into affiliates along the way, telling the stories. And you know, when I presented this, it had all that and I said, there’s just no way that you’re going to ride a motorcycle 13,000 miles and not have 57 things go wrong. Like so there will be unscripted adventure and action and heartbreak and comedy all mixed in with telling the story of Latin American affiliates that inevitably when myself and Ian get into trouble, those are the guys we’re going to call.

Pat (33:25):

So like there’s going to be this real thing happening and it somehow got approved. To this day I shake my head. I don’t know how I was paid to do that for a job for four months, but it was one of the richest, most rewarding, fulfilling experiences of my life, and that’s no exaggeration, it was through all these places in the world that the news would tell you not to ride through and don’t you dare do that and you’re going to meet these bandits and terrible people, and don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of danger and dangerous areas, but no matter where we were and no matter what country we were in, the overwhelming majority of the time the people that we met were so giving and open and welcoming and friendly that it just, again, it made me feel good about humanity again. It was awesome.

Sean (34:25):

You also started CrossFit Linchpin while you were on the media team. Why did you decide to go down that road?

Pat (34:31):

Man, I started Linchpin—I love programming. Always have, there’s the quick answer. Absolutely adore programming. I don’t know why, but it makes me happy. And I was always posting on my personal Instagram the workouts that I did, which was just something written on a dry erase board, like very low production value and it was gaining a very good following. So it must’ve been because they were good workouts, cause I don’t think they would gain a following if they were bad workouts, and people started to enjoy them more and more. I started to post more and more and then since I was programming for myself anyway, and posting anyway I figured why not affiliate my garage and then at least post these workouts through what would be my garage affiliate.

Pat (35:23):

And so I just decided to affiliate my garage and continue with the same posting and programming that I was doing but now do it through an affiliate. I didn’t know, maybe down the road I’d want to you know, open a bigger one and have clients. It’s nice to always have that opportunity. But in the meantime I could have the garage affiliate. So I just pulled the trigger on that. And it turned out to be a really good decision. It’sman absolute blast.

Sean (35:46):

One of the most popular things that you would post was the monster mash. How did that get started?

Pat (35:51):

Good Lord. I mean it started because people are crazy. People are crazy and even though they don’t say it, they love to suffer. People love to suffer. I don’t understand it, Sean. And that started with, again, back at CrossFit HQ with a few of our knucklehead friends, Heber Cannon, a young filmmaker in desperate need of a proper haircut.

Pat (36:19):

Marston Sawyers and Tommy Marquez and they were all competitive against one another. They’d all been doing CrossFit for a decent amount of time, so they had some capacity, and once a week they would, they would program something and want to throw down to see who is who in the zoo and who is the top dog. But obviously if you program for yourself, even if you’re very unbiased, you’re going to tilt it a little bit towards what you like, you know, chances are you wouldn’t program a 5k in something that you were doing.

Sean (36:45):


Pat (36:45):

And so they trusted my abilities and they eventually said, well, will you program this for us once a week, so I said sure. And it was three workouts they hopefully could accomplish within the course of an hour and you know, varied each week but try to be unbiased and cover a broad range of movements and time domains and rep ranges and loadings and capacities.

Pat (37:09):

And then at the end of it they could kind of look each other squarely in the eye and say, I got you today, I’m the best today. And I started posting those on my personal Instagram as well and they were wildly popular. And so that got transferred over to Linchpin as well. And the term monster mash, I’m sure it exists in various places, but that was also something back to the SEALs, which was every Friday we would normally have a monster mash and a monster mash was just, you know, we’d work out PT every day, but whenever a monster mash came up, it was a particularly grueling, long, miserable PT session. And so I thought that was a very fitting name for these workouts. And then doing them on Monday had the added alliteration and there you go.

Sean (37:57):

What do you define as good programming?

Pat (38:02):

Ooh, good programming—good programming, it obviously increases your fitness, work capacity across broad time and modal domains. It obviously increases your fitness and fitness is obviously not just your engine. Fitness is not just your deadlift went up, your back squat went up. It’s also your body-weight stuff, so it moves the needle forward on all of those things simultaneously. It does so at a pace and frequency that pushes the athlete just hard enough and challenges them just hard enough to get the adaptation from the workout because that’s what you do, right? Like you stress the system, the system recovers for a bit and it adapts. You stress the system, recover and adapt. So you have to stress the system, but good programming stresses it enough to get the adaptation and allow them to recover; to come back in the next day, the next week and hit it again with intensity without overstressing the system, which might lead to some short-term gains but then doesn’t allow for adequate recovery.

Pat (39:14):

Hence it does not permit long-term gains in any way, shape or form and overstressing the system could be potentially injurious to shoulders, knees, backs, things of that nature, which you don’t want, but then overstressing the system and the athlete also could have the potential negative effect of what happens between the years. Now this athlete’s overtrained, they’re tired all the time, their muscles ache, working out doesn’t seem fun anymore. I don’t want to go into the gym. You don’t go into the gym as frequently, now you start to backslide and when you do go into the gym you’re not fired up so maybe you don’t or can’t bring the intensity that you should because the programming was improper. Now you’re backsliding. So good programming, while obviously covering all of the facets you would have to, like I mentioned before, of loadings, rep ranges, time domains, the way that the body and the external object move from pulling off the ground to below parallel to overhead to various planes of movement, like all of those things going together but then have to go together in this beautiful symphony that’s just enough to get what you want and keep the athlete healthy and happy and not too much because bad things happen. But then it can’t be too little because then all you’re doing is delaying progress as well. So I know this is a very long convoluted answer, but good programming has to take—or maybe you could say that’s great programming, but it has to take all those things into consideration, which is why I think there’s far more that goes into it than most people realize. It’s not as simple as, well, yesterday we went below parallel, so today we’re not going to. OK, true. That could potentially be a good place to start, but there’s 500 other facets that have to get taken into and a whole bunch of big-picture stuff and then a whole bunch of nuanced items as well that I think separate what people can do and sustain for a week, a month, or can you do it for a decade and be still hitting PRs and feeling great. So that’s my really short, concise answer.

Sean (41:28):

Along those lines, what makes someone good at programming?

Pat (41:31):

Oh boy. I get this question a lot. I don’t exactly know and here’s the only reason I’m going to say that. You have to have a baseline competent technical knowledge of how the human body works, of all those various different pieces and components that I mentioned a second ago that have to be taken into consideration. You have to understand how those interplay with each other, how much is too much, how much is a little bit. But then after you get all of that, you could have all of that basic knowledge, which potentially you could get from a book or an article or a website. But that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be a good programmer, because there is, you know, what’s the phrase, like it takes 10 years to become an overnight success? Like you know, 10 years of experience takes 10 years.

Pat (42:32):

So, OK, great. You read all that stuff, fantastic. But now, even though you have that knowledge, you have to start to apply it to different groups of masses of people and what you think might happen may not happen when you have real, live human subjects. And you might find out that what seemed like it was too little is actually too much or vice versa or this isn’t enough rest or this was too much rest or fill in the blank. So even once you get that technical knowledge between your ears, you have to then begin programming. And that’s how you can become a good programmer is you have to begin programming and you’re going to be a beginner, or novice programmer that makes a fair amount of errors for a very long time. There’s no escaping the novice programmer phase and it doesn’t last a month.

Pat (43:20):

It lasts a very long time. And then you don’t jump to expert, then you barely squeak into intermediate and you’re there for years. And then you get glimpses of being an expert and then you still screw up every now and then and little by little you just gain—again, you can’t buy experience. So you have to have all that technical knowledge and then you just have to do it for a very, very, very long time to become profoundly good at it. And some people love it and some people hate it. I think I’m just lucky in the fact that I really enjoy it.

Sean (43:51):

What is your current role with CrossFit Health?

Pat (43:53):

So my title is media manager, but what occupies the overwhelming majority of my time is once every four days on you will see a video of an older individual or a, you know, an individual that doesn’t appear to be in your classic ripped, shredded 10-pack abs, you know, shape, be it physically or the age range is greater than we normally see, in a living room set, working out with milk jugs or whatever it happens to be.

Pat (44:28):

So I’m in charge of creating that content. So there’s a never-ending every four days for perpetuity, there has to be a video up there. So I’m regularly flying down to HQ, setting up filmings, putting the athletes through that stuff, making sure that it gets edited, uploaded, all that good stuff. And then on top of doing that, you know, we have, you know, one day to two day courses which occur for physicians that have attended the MD L1 course and hold that credential. They all come back to CrossFit HQ for a series of speakers involving you know, how you should eat, good science versus bad science. All kinds of fascinating things that occur. There’s a lot of networking interaction that takes place with that. And so I’m intermingled with all those physicians and speakers and helping those events be successful as well. And just whatever miscellaneous stuff crosses my inbox.

Sean (45:24):

Sorry to interrupt, but you mentioned the doctors who come through that level one seminar. What’s the reaction you get from them after they’ve gone through that for the first time?

Pat (45:34):

The docs are great. They really are. They are just as fired up and you know, most of them that come through are, they’ve already bought into the fact that doing functional movements with variance and intensity, that’s the way that you get fit and eating unprocessed foods. That’s the way to long-term health. So it is great to see an orthopedic surgeon or you know, fill in the blank, your favorite specialty that understands deadlifting and squatting aren’t actually bad for your back and knees. They’re a physician who will be telling you this is what you should be doing to keep your body healthy long term. So that is such a breath of fresh air. And it’s very interesting, you know, I feel very lucky to get to interact with these individuals so regularly and hear their stories and maybe some of their frustrations that they’re dealing, with potentially their hospital administration or the old guard that’s in there, still not on board and thinks that if you deadlift, you’re going to blow your back out. And you know, blahbity blahbity blah. So it’s interesting to see this new upcoming wave of people entering the medical community, which hopefully will slowly start to take over and we’ll be getting not only the treatment that you would like to get at a hospital if you happen to break your bone, they put it back together, but then when they say, Hey, what should I do for physical therapy and how should I eat, move? They’ll be giving you some pretty darn solid advice.

Sean (47:04):

This is a question I asked to Julie Foucher and I’m curious to get your reaction on it, but it always seems that whenever we talk about health care, especially in the United States, the part that gets left out is personal accountability. Why do you think that’s not part of the bigger conversation right now?

Pat (47:21):

Personal responsibility in the age of Instagram and the Kardashians. I mean personal responsibility is something gentleman of our age talk about, Sean, we say what’s happening in America right now? I agree. I think you nailed it. I don’t know. We could have a very long conversation about this. I don’t know when personal responsibility just fell to the wayside and I think it’s mixed in with far too many people wanting to hit the easy button on something that you can’t hit the easy button on. A pharmaceutical intervention of taking some sort of pill that will supposedly do something to your health is a lot easier to do than a lifestyle modification. It’s far easier to just eat what you’re normally eating, sit in the couch and just pop the pill and hope for the best than to say all these delicious, tasty foods that I’ve become accustomed to eating for decades, I now will have the mental fortitude to never eat them. You have to work hard. There’s going to be some sweat pouring down your face and your lungs are going to be going and there’s going to be some muscular discomfort. To some degree, it’s not a pleasurable experience in the moment, but the results that you get from that hard work are increased health and wellness. So you’ve got to make difficult choices with food, which is as addictive as any other drug. And then you need to make a choice to not sit on your relaxing couch and watch Netflix, but get up and put yourself through an uncomfortable scenario more often than you don’t. And I think—I don’t know what it is. And in today’s culture they’re like, can I just take a pill instead? And they’ve been told by plenty of people and advertising that yes, you absolutely can.

Pat (49:13):

So go ahead and pop that pill. And I think, hopefully we’re starting to turn the tide and let people know that, A you haven’t been told the whole story. B, it’s not as effective as you hoped that it would be. And C, some good old fashioned hard work works just as well as your grandparents knew that it did.

Sean (49:30):

Your latest job now is fatherhood. What has that taught you?

Pat (49:35):

Oh man. Fatherhood is—so I’m the stepdad to two amazing boys and they are absolutely phenomenal and I’ve been in their lives for about five or six years now. They’re eight and 10 and they are absolutely the coolest thing in my entire life. My everything, hands down. And it’s taught me that I wish they’d came into my life a whole lot sooner, first and foremost. But then it has taught me patience to a degree that I just didn’t have before.

Pat (50:14):

You know, you just have to be patient with kids. And it really has made me a better man for sure because it has made me more self-aware. I reflect more and pay far more attention now to my behavior, to how I’m conducting myself to the words that I use because they’re also a little sponges. And so if they see me not working out and you know, stuffing Junior Mints into my face and washing it down with a Mountain Dew and just sitting on the couch and watching Netflix, that’s going to be what gets into their brain versus do they see me making better decisions? Do they see me going out into the garage and working out? Do they see me reading a book more than watching Netflix? Like all of these little things mold these little pieces of clay into something. So that is a profound responsibility and an honor as far as I’m concerned. And then the other part about kids, which is so cool is that they think work is stupid.

Pat (51:15):

Which is awesome, because by my nature, I’m a workaholic and I could just be at my computer or immersed in something. I like to be busy. I like to be productive, so I could work myself to an early grave. And it’s good to have these two little crazy people that sanity check me that wander into my office at five and they’re like, are you still working? And I’m like, Oh yeah, I got something I could, you know, I could finish up real quick. And they’re like, you said you’d be done at five. It’s five isn’t it? And I was like, you know what? It is five, so let’s pause the computer and let’s go throw the ball around. And that’s, I needed that in my life, you know? So they have given me probably far more than I have given them. They’re awesome, man.

Sean (51:58):

Throughout your kind of time at CrossFit, it’s been like, OK, I want to do this and I’m moving here and I’m doing this and now it seems like you’re settled. What’s that feeling like for you right now?

Pat (52:10):

Settled is great. So I’m 44 now and I just think I was a very late bloomer in life. Just you know, so like I said, had these kids in my life and done this stuff for probably the last five or six years, which means I didn’t really settle and have some sort of sense of normalcy until I was 38, 39 years old. Most of my time before that was, you know, bouncing around the planet and living out of a suitcase and all that and you know, being solo. So going back home at night and to an empty house and you just got nothing to do so you just, you know, watch Seinfeld until you fall asleep after four hours and now life is—I can’t imagine, I had no idea that life could be this hectic and crazy and there’s just kids going in different directions with school and sports and I got to hop on a plane and fly somewhere and my wife has something going on and you get them to their friends appointments and so-and-so is going to the dentist.

Pat (53:12):

I mean it is nonstop burning the candle at both ends from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. But with that being said, all that craziness and hecticness comes a life that is full, like it’s full of people who you love and they love you and it’s full of experiences and it’s full of laughter and that chaoticness, well that’s life and it’s a household full of life and so I mean I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Life is busier and more crazy than it’s ever been, but at the same time better than it’s ever been and the two are definitely linked.

Sean (53:50):

Well listen man, I appreciate you taking the time to do this and best of luck with the family and best of luck with everything professionally that you have going on as well.

Pat (53:57):

No worries man. I appreciate the opportunity and I look forward to linking up with you guys next time I’m down there in California.

Sean (54:05):

All right man, take care. Thank you.

Pat (54:08):

All right brother. Thanks.

Sean (54:09):

Big thanks to Pat Sherwood for joining me today. He is a great follow on social media. Check him out on Instagram. You can find him at @Sherwood215 and you can also check out his programming at CrossFit Linchpin. He is simply @CrossFitLinchpin. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. If you’re a business owner who craves actionable advice that can move you closer to wealth, you’ve got to pick up Chris Cooper’s book, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief.” It is on Amazon today. We will see you next time, everybody.


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.

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The Secret Sales Script

The Secret Sales Script

The potential client is sitting in front of you.

You’ve done some uncomfortable work to get the person here. You’ve asked a client how you can help his or her friends. Or you’ve been sending texts and emails and double dialing to urge a person to show up for an appointment. Or maybe you’ve spent $100 on Facebook ads just to get a good lead. Whatever the situation, there’s a lot on the line.

Now what do you say?

That depends on the client. As you’re about to read, no secret sales script, no memorized lines and no “gotcha!” close will solve all your problems.

There is a proven process—we teach it in the Incubator—and great ways to overcome objections to price and schedule. Those are also in the Incubator. But the real truth we teach—the best way to sell anything—is this:

– Make someone comfortable.

– Ask what the person wants to achieve. Get a clear picture of his or her vision of success.

– Using your expertise, show a clear path to success.

– If you can, give the person the first step right away.

– State the price.

– Ask how the person would like to pay.

We teach this in a “tree” format: If the person gives X objection, ask Y question next, etc. But the core of a good sales process is care: If you care about the person, you’ll be curious enough to ask the next question.

The process should feel normal, not rehearsed. So the real secret isn’t a script: It’s reps.


The Real Game Breaker


In fall 2019, we tracked sales conversions in Two-Brain gyms. A few dozen did a “specialist” call with one of our mentors to focus solely on sales. And while every call showed a good return for a month, conversions actually dipped back to baseline after two or three months.

But why? The gym owners had the knowledge forever; they didn’t magically forget the questions to ask or how often to follow up with their leads.

I was happy to see the short-term improvements in conversions, but I wasn’t satisfied. So I started digging deeper. What I found was that it’s not really the script that matters in the long term. It’s not the knowledge of how to overcome objections. It’s the reps.

When we assigned Two-Brain gym owners more reps at selling, their conversion numbers came up—and stayed up. If they stopped practicing, their conversion numbers dipped again.

Like a tennis backhand, if you don’t practice your sales process, you get rusty.

To be effective at sales, you have to be comfortable selling.


Practice—Then Practice Some More


In 2008, when every client who came in the door at Catalyst represented money I desperately needed, I had a pretty poor close rate—maybe 70 percent. Keep in mind that these folks were sold on my service until I talked to them. Facepalm.

By 2018, I was so comfortable with selling that many new clients would say something like this while handing me a credit card: “Thank you! I was worried this was going to be a sales pitch!” The sales process felt completely natural to me by then because I’d done it 1,000 times.

The fastest way to increase your conversion rate is to practice doing conversions. That means getting your reps in.

We now prescribe practice reps to gym owners in our Incubator and Growth programs. We make it fun—we have a scenario card deck so people can “play” at sales. Here are five sample scenarios from our deck of over 50.

We also make gym owners practice sales before we teach them how to run ads because we don’t want them to waste money. On the Two-Brain Roadmap, we guide gym owners through everything in the correct order. For example, they have to reach Level 7 in Sales before they start Level 1 in Paid Lead Generation. That means reps.

Just like there’s no secret program or diet, there’s no secret sales script. Just reps.


Other Media in This Series

The Dark Side of Your Business
The Real Barrier to Entry
Sales Secrets: Handling Objections, Building Value and Role Playing With Joe Marcoux

The Dark Side of Your Business

The Dark Side of Your Business

When you get a coaching job, you should try to be the best coach you can.

When you open a business, you have to sell.

Fitness is a hard business. No one is compelled to work out. Most people don’t want to work out. No one wants to do meal prep on Sunday nights.

Like it or not, you have to sell people on the idea of doing something they don’t like. Then you have to sell them on the idea that they will like your service better than the alternatives. Then you have to sell them on the idea that your price carries better value. And then you have to sell them on continuing—every damn day.

In this series, I’m going to shine light on the “Dark Side of Your Business.” I’ll tell you:

– Why you don’t need secret scripts (and what you actually do need).

– Why you don’t have to feel like a slime ball to sell more.

– Why I write about “selling” more than anything else these days.

– The huge epiphanies I learned from my first coach, Joe Marcoux (he’ll actually be on Two-Brain Radio with me).

First: the two sides to your business.


Operations and Audience


Your business has two parts.

First, operations. This is how you actually deliver your service. Great operations mean excellent coaching and care for your clients, consistency in your pricing, and clarity in your processes. A great measure of your operational excellence is how long people stay with your gym (we call that length of engagement or LEG).

Second, audience. This is how many people pay attention and how many of those people pay you money. Great audience building means high-value sales, following a Prescriptive Model, and using the Help First philosophy. A great measure of your audience-building excellence is how much people pay for your service (we call that average revenue per member or ARM).

Now, most coaching businesses and certifying agencies don’t tell you about the second part.

They say, “Just be a great coach and your clients will refer their friends!” or “Follow the path from Level 1 coach to Level 4 coach and you’ll make more money.”

Of course, they’re selling certifications. But I don’t need to give you my opinion on the value of this advice: Just ask yourself if it’s been true for you.

The truth reported to us by thousands of gym owners is this: It’s not enough to wait and hope. Your clients aren’t salespeople. You have to take control of the conversation and build your audience. As a business owner, that’s your job.


How to Build an Audience


First, you need to know exactly what your “core” audience wants. Then give it to them. This almost always results in your clients paying more (an increase in their ARM) for longer (an increase in their LEG).

Tip: They don’t all want the same group classes forever.

Second, you need to know what the people closest to your clients want.

Tip: You can give these people what they want, too.

Third, you need to tell strangers how you’ll solve their problems.

Tip: If you can’t actually solve their problems, don’t waste money on marketing.

Start from the inside out. Most gym owners don’t actually know what their best clients want from them or how much they’re willing to pay for it. Why would they start spending money on marketing before they figure this out?

You don’t need to hire a special “sales training” or “marketing” program. We teach you how to do all of it in the first stage of mentorship, then give you access to sales specialists in the second stage.

“Don’t find an audience for your product. Find products for your audience.” —Seth Godin


Other Media in This Series

The Secret Sales Script
The Real Barrier to Entry
Sales Secrets: Handling Objections, Building Value and Role Playing With Joe Marcoux

“Your Gym Sucks”: How to Deal With Comments on Facebook Ads

“Your Gym Sucks”: How to Deal With Comments on Facebook Ads

Mike (00:02):

Oh, this is a great comment. “Love your vibe. Another good one. “This gym is fire.” I agree. Oh, another good one. “I can’t wait to get her done at your gym.” Ah, this is. Wait a second. “Hey loser. Your gym sucks. You suck. This ad sucks and your program sucks. I hate you and hate your logo.” Mateo, you see this comment on my ad? This is open hostility.

Mateo (00:26):

That’s pretty brutal there.

Mike (00:29):

I’m going to respond. I think I’m just gonna do something super defensive and obscenely passive aggressive. What do you think? Just go with it?

Mateo (00:37):

Well, as satisfying as that may be, I don’t know that that is the best course of action.

Mike (00:45):

All right, I’ll just delete this jerk store comment I was going to write. OK. All right. OK. Let’s talk about it. I don’t know what I’m doing. In this edition of Two-Brain Radio, we’ll go over dealing with comments left on Facebook ads. Should you delete them? Should you respond? What should you do? We’ll be back with marketing expert, Mateo Lopez right after this. Want to add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym? You can. If you want to know how, you can talk to a certified Two-Brain Business mentor for free. Book a call at today. And we are back.

Mike (01:17):

I am still bummed about this brutally hostile comment on my ads. So we’re going to talk about how to deal with it. Mateo, you’ve run a lot of ads. Have you seen some just vicious trolls coming out from under the bridge to rip into your ads?

Mateo (01:30):

I actually haven’t seen anything too vicious, but I have definitely seen like—personally, but with clients in other parts of the world and parts of the country, I’ve definitely seen my fair share of some weird comments.

Mike (01:45):

What kind of stuff have you seen? Was it as bad as the one that I just got?

Mateo (01:50):

Sometimes, you know, thinking this is like some kind of scam or I’ve seen someone just like hate on the image, especially if I use one of the stock images. I’ve definitely seen people just like hate on like, I hate this branding. I hate this image. I hate this like headline. Like this is so slimy or whatever. Like I’ve seen that before. Some people just like don’t like the—like you’re saying attention Hoboken locals. You ready to get fit? Like some people just hate that.

Mike (02:27):

What’s there to hate there? I don’t get it.

Mateo (02:31):

I don’t either. But you know—.

Mike (02:34):

Trolls gotta troll.

Mateo (02:35):

People online are strange these days. People are very strange these days.

Mike (02:39):

Yeah, I’ve seen some nasty ones. Again, personally, I haven’t had a whole lot of bad ones on stuff that I’ve done, but I haven’t done a ton of advertising. I have seen some other ones, and sometimes on Two-Brain Business we’ll get some people coming out and grinding axes and so forth. And then you’ll often see just on, you know, just on Facebook pages, you’ll see sometimes people roll in, not even on ads, just rolling in and dropping, you know, nasty stuff all over the place. So we’ll ask you this question. When you get cranky people on your ads and they leave comments, should you engage them? What do you think?

Mateo (03:12):

Honestly, I think it’s dealer’s choice on that one. The one I’ll see the most, what’s the price, what’s the price? What’s the price?

Mike (03:19):

Let’s get to that one in a bit.

Mateo (03:21):

And so if it’s something like that where it’s not openly hostile, you know, it’s just a question. If it’s a question, yeah, go ahead and try and do your best to answer it. You know that that’s an opportunity for you to start a dialogue with someone. So yeah, if it’s a question, feel free to start engaging and getting them to either start a DM with you or to book an intro with you, direct them to your scheduling link.

Mike (03:48):

I’ll ask you a quick question right about that. So would it be better to respond to that question in the thread and try and share with the world or would you recommend that people kind of, you know, hit like and go to DM? What’s better?

Mateo (04:01):

Yeah, it kind of depends on the question. If it’s something that you think people would benefit from knowing the answer to, like, this program is for everyone. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be in shape to start, click here to book your intro. That’s something that you can post publicly in response to someone asking you, Hey, this looks intimidating, a little scary. Or, Hey, should we do it? I’m scared. I’m nervous. Yeah. So that’s obviously a response that wouldn’t hurt for everyone to see. But yeah, something on pricing, that’s something like, yep, our programs are, you know, tailor-made for every person. They’re fully customizable, the best way to understand what’s gonna be the right package for you or right fit for you or right program for you, let’s take this offline. You know what I mean? But then in terms of the negative ones, you know, I’ve never really found a way in which you can turn that one around into your favor. I’d rather just not engage. Do not engage, do not engage.

Mike (05:01):

Yeah, it generally, and I’ve dealt with this more with nasty comments on blogs or things like that or articles that I’ve published in this or other jobs. There is rarely a way to engage people on the internet that doesn’t devolve into some sort of like, you know, mudslinging or passive aggressive or you know, whatever it is, it’s usually a bad deal. But at times there is a place for that. And I have waded into a few discussions and just said, like, you know, that is flat-out wrong when a guy has, you know, stepped out of line and is doing disservice to the readers. But in general, and that’s in an editorial context, in an advertising context, it’s even more different because you’re not looking to spark the best debate in the history of the internet in your ad, right?

Mateo (05:40):

Yeah, exactly. No, you’re not. You want people to take an action. Anything else is a distraction from that action. For some of the articles this happened last week in the CrossFit affiliate owners group, someone put this article about snatches or some post about snatches and it just fueled this a hundred-comment-long debate, which was the point. I think the point was to generate some engagement around this company’s, you know, brand or whatever. They were trying to get people to talk about this issue or whatever. But yeah, the place for that is not on your ad, not on your direct response ad.

Mike (06:17):

Along those lines, did you happen to see the Morning Chalk-Up the other week where there was that keto post? It was an op ed.

Mateo (06:26):

No, I did not.

Mateo (06:26):

Oh man, it got lit, my wife was telling me about it and I guess they put something up as an opinion editorial piece and the comments were savage and there were like some decent players in there, like a Layne Norton showed up and Patrick Vellner was in there and there was a bunch of people and it got heated to the point where they, I think they shut the comments down for a period just to cool people off.

Mateo (06:44):

What was the headline?

Mike (06:46):

I don’t remember, but I think someone was saying that the keto diet, you need to do it if you’re doing CrossFit. And there were people saying that this is irresponsible advice and all this other stuff. And again, I haven’t read the article so I can’t comment on it, but I know that there was a massive debate and again, on an opinion editorial piece, that’s where debate works and this one got out of control.

Mateo (07:05):

I think that was 100% on purpose. If I were to guess, that is 100%, that was very much probably, you know, they knew, I would be willing to bet they knew that saying something like that was going to be divisive and cause some outrage. And that’s the point with something like that. I mean, that’s how people sell newspapers. That’s exactly, you’re selling outrage one side or the other, or it’s keto is bad. Change my mind. You know, like that’s entirely the point of saying something like that.

Mike (07:41):

I wrote an op ed calling for about five years in a print paper a long time ago, and you literally some days will just pick an issue and take a side and write. And you’re trying to stir things up, but exactly what you said, getting that going in your ad when all you want people to do is click through and give you their contact info and book an appointment, getting people scrolling through these horrible comments and trolls is not going to do anything. So that is your first lesson here from this podcast is don’t start an angry debate in the comments of your ads.

Mateo (08:08):


Mike (08:08):

Let’s move on to the one the one you spoke about before, cause this is the huge one. And I had this happen on an ad that I put up. It’s the price stuff. We were offering a program, a six-week challenge, but the idea is that it’s customized to you. All our stuff said it’s customized to you. We find out all about you and it’s the stuff that you’ve written, Mateo, and we’re just trying to figure out what you need. We’re going to assign a challenge to you. And I got price, price, price, price, price questions and they spiraled. And as soon as there was like five or six, I think it turned into like 30 or 40. And all of a sudden that’s all anyone wanted to know. No clicking, no appointments booked, nothing. Have you seen that before? Yeah. So what do you do? What’s the way out of that?

Mateo (08:54):

So, you could go line by line and reply to each one and basically give your same canned to answer, which is this program has different levels depending on your needs. The best way to find out which program is going to be the right fit for you, book your No-Sweat Intro to find out, or you know, something along those lines, right? You could ahead and do that. Now there’s another option. And this might also help when you’re dealing with nasty comments and things like that. You can set up, at least at the time of this, recording, you can, I don’t know, people are gonna listen to this 10 years from now, this will still be the case. You can set up some moderation, I guess settings for your pages and that carries over into your ads.

Mateo (09:56):

So if you go into your business’ Facebook page, your business page in Facebook, you can actually go into settings and then you can scroll down. There’s something called page moderation. And then from there you can actually select words or phrases that you want to block. So that comments that contain these words, if someone replies to your page posts, for example, and they comment, if their comment contains one of these words, that comment will be blocked or need to be reviewed by you, right? So then you can put in words like price or scam, or this is bullshit.

Mike (10:39):

Or even designer sunglasses or Viagra or all the other stuff that shows up on my blog.

Mateo (10:45):

Exactly. There’s also a profanity filter as well. That’s a separate setting, but it’s right underneath where it says page moderation. So this will apply if someone comments on a post or makes a comment on your business page. But if you have these filters set up and you’re running ads on behalf of your business’ Facebook page, which in most cases, if you’re running ads, most of you out there are doing, those features will carry over. So if someone makes a comment, and they say one of your trigger words, there’ll be a blocked.

Mike (11:18):

And so you said they’re held for moderation. Like can you decide to let them go or how does that work?

Mateo (11:26):

I know they’re blocked. I have to see if you can actually moderate them, I know that they get blocked. I think you still get a notification. But I have to fact check that, don’t do a fake news on me, I have to fact check it. But I’m pretty confident you get a notification that Hey, someone commented on your ad, but I gotta double check that for you.

Mike (11:52):

So when you, and you can do this, like you can go through it without that filter. You can still go in and you can hide comments, correct?

Mateo (11:57):

Yeah, you could still go in one by one and do it. But if you don’t want anyone mentioning the word price or you know free, asking if it’s free, for example, you can block those two words and then that way no one will ever see those comments or think to ask it themselves, hopefully. Or maybe they will, but then they’ll get blocked.

Mike (12:21):

We will circle back in just a minute. First, this podcast is all about actionable steps and we always want to give you stuff to do. That is the Two-Brain Business way. Chris Cooper has created the new roadmap to wealth. It is an incredible app and it will literally tell you step by step how to create an amazing business. The best part, it is all based on data, the things the top gyms in the world are doing. There’s no guesswork. Just action and results. For more info about how a certified mentor can help you improve your business, visit to book a free call. Now, more actionable marketing stuff. So we’re talking about comments. And my question for you here is are there any issues, does Facebook look down upon thy ad if you block or delete or hide comments, what happens?

Mateo (13:07):

Yeah, I think that, you know, most of the business owners that we work with, they’re running ad campaigns and their spend is relatively small compared to the big players in the space. So, you know, I don’t think you’re generating enough traffic where you’re going to see a huge impact here. But yes, you know, Facebook wants to prioritize content, whether it’s a post or a paid post or ad. They want to prioritize the content that’s engaging, that people are looking at and sharing and following and commenting on. And so one of the metrics they use to judge engagement is comments, right? So if your ads aren’t receiving any comments whatsoever, they might rank a little lower. They might get a lower relevancy score. They might not get shown to the people in your audience as much as they would if the content was proved to be engaging by the Facebook gods.

Mateo (14:07):

So there is a little bit of a downside there. However, you know, I think you just have to weigh out the pros and cons. I think it’s beneficial to not have a bunch of bad comments cause that’s the flip side, right? You allow all the comments. Yeah, Facebook’s gonna see that people are engaging with your ad, but it’s in a negative way, right? If it’s a bunch of like a price or scammy or troll comments. So there’s a give and take.

Mike (14:35):

Yeah. The strategy that I use was exactly that where when I noticed that a number of price comments were triggering just a whole bunch more, I hid them and I messaged each of the people back directly and just gave them the pitch. And then I just put up a comment myself, just saying, here are answers to some common questions that people are answering. Or asking, pardon me. And I put up, you know, the same pitch that I was sending people by DM and that seemed to take care of a lot of it. And then what I was getting after that was legitimate comments about like, you know, when can I start or you know, do you still have spaces left or you know, I love that picture, whatever it was and that stuff, then I would obviously respond and that seemed to do the trick where I got rid of the nasty stuff and I was still generating some engagement.

Mateo (15:19):

Oh, now I’m learning from you, Mike, that’s a pretty good tip there. That’s a hot take there.

Mike (15:21):

Ah, I took all this, this all comes from your program, the Two-Brain Marketing stuff. And it was your ad copy as well. So that’s the stuff that was working, but I did get people, you know, once you see the price crew comes in and I’ll tell you this, I don’t think even one single time that I have messaged someone on price and I’ve tried like 10 or 12 or 15 different like schticks, not one has ever booked an appointment.

Mateo (15:47):

Oh yeah, no, I can speak anecdotally. I think that’s probably pretty true for me too. Yeah. If someone’s opening with that line, they’re probably not going to be—

Mike (16:03):

I tried, you know, it’s a premium service and it’s a 12 or $1,500 package. I’ve tried, we have things to suit all budgets. I’ve tried like our lowest offering, which is, you know, I think it’s about a hundred bucks up to, you know, it ranges from here to here. Literally nothing works. And the question that I ask is like, what do they actually want to hear? And I think what they want to hear is free.

Mateo (16:25):

Yeah. Yeah. Or if someone had a set price in mind that they knew they wanted to spend, then you just miraculously guess that.

Mike (16:35):


Mateo (16:35):

Exactly. Exactly. What you just said though, putting your comment as the top comment and in that comment a little mini FAQ there, I think that’s awesome.

Mike (16:52):

It seemed to help and that’s certainly, it’s like when I did that, it stopped the string of price comments and we started getting more appointments. So it seemed to work in this instance. And if you guys try it out and it works, leave us a comment and let us know. And I saw this in our private, marketing group, a question about, asking about comments popping up and so forth. And so I’ll ask this to you and you can answer it publicly. If you get a bunch of comments on an ad, should you try running, you know, copying that ad, running it again without the comments to see if it does better?

Mateo (17:29):

Yeah. 100%. You can just shut her down and try it again. And once you relaunch it, as long as you’re not, depending on the way you duplicate it, you can launch that ad on clean slate. So you definitely try that out for sure. You know, the way Facebook, it changes, but at one point, Facebook, the way they kind of presented your ad was, you know, you have your audience of a hundred people. It would, let’s just say for this example, it’s going to show it to that, you know, that, 20 in the corner over here and they’re going to laser focus in on that group. So if you were to restart it might choose a different pocket of that hundred, a different 20 or whatever it is, to show your ad to, so you might have better results showing it to a different cohort in your big audience if you have a large audience. So that could definitely work.

Mike (18:36):

So it’d be something to try, but again, it’s not foolproof, but if you’re out there and you figure that like the comments on my ad are the thing that’s preventing my ad from succeeding, you might just consider duplicating that thing and starting fresh.

Mateo (18:51):

Yeah. I mean, I rarely look at them. I rarely look at the comments. So, I don’t think that would be the make or break. Unless the first one was like, anyone who sees this do not click on it. It’s a scam. You might have to deal with that comment. But besides that, yeah, I wouldn’t stress out too much. Focus on your offer, focus on your copy, your image, focus on your lead nurture. Don’t stress about the comments.

Mike (19:26):

Haters gonna hate, trolls gonna troll. The last one I’ll ask is something we kind of talked about already, you said that engagement on an ad or any Facebook thing is a good thing. Does Facebook like it when you respond and interact with these people or do they just care that you got a comment from an organic person?

Mateo (19:45):

I don’t have a definitive answer for that, but yeah, if there’s a back and forth going on, I think that, yeah, if there’s some, any kind of engagement’s going to be going to be good. Having said that, if no one’s commenting and all the comments are just from you, I don’t think that’s good.

Mike (20:05):

It’s just talking to yourself and no one’s listening,

Mateo (20:08):

I don’t think that’s going to help. That being said, if you can generate replies right from people and they’re generally positive, right? That’s a good thing, right? If you’re getting the conversation going, people coming back for more, you’re gonna rank a little bit higher.

Mike (20:24):

And it still is a way to potentially, I mean, what we’re trying to do is start conversations. So if you can potentially start a conversation in a comment, continue in a DM and then finish it off in a sales meeting at your business, maybe that’s a win. So, the first thing that will tell you is do not, you know, fight the trolls. It is not the time to pull out your battle ax and slay a troll in the comment section of your ad. Do not do that. But comments are a good thing in general, unless they’re bad and if they are a bad thing, you can start looking at hiding. And you can also start using some of the filters that Facebook offers, with the caution on that is that if you hide every single comment on there, you’re killing your engagement. And Facebook may not be totally thrilled with that. So go case by case. Pretty accurate summary of what you advice you’ve got?

Mateo (21:12):

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mike.

Mike (21:12):

There you go. Thank you for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin with Mateo Lopez and this is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe for more great shows. If you’re a gym owner and need some help growing your business, Two-Brain mentors can show you the exact steps to add $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue. Book a free cal on to find out more. Thanks for listening guys.


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