Chris Cooper: Increase Revenue and Retention Through a New Client Journey

Chris Cooper: Increase Revenue and Retention Through a New Client Journey

Andrew (00:02):

It’s Two-Brain Radio with your host Chris Cooper. How do your clients engage with your business and what does their arc look like as they enter and eventually leave your business? Most importantly, could you change something to keep your clients longer? Here’s the good news. You can increase retention by examining and adjusting your client journey. Chris helped an online group of gym owners do exactly that on May 24th. What follows is the audio from that presentation. Now here’s Two-Brain business founder Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:34):

Hey everybody. Good morning, happy Sunday. Thanks for joining me again. It’s been a pretty exciting week. Lots of gyms reopening around the world, lots of gyms finally getting kind of like an opening date. And a lot of the gyms that are reopening are actually finding that they’re getting brand new clients or they’re getting a lot of their formerly canceled clients back. So it’s been a week just full of wins. If you’re still waiting to reopen, I hope that you know these stories shine as a light at the end of the tunnel for you and show you like not only are you going to emerge from this crisis, but you’re gonna emerge stronger than ever. A lot of people too are starting to say like, well, what if I want to emerge from this COVID cocoon a slightly different butterfly than what I went in and that’s totally acceptable.

Chris (01:18):

I’ve had three people this week say, I think I’m going to move my coaching practice completely online. And while you know, at first glance, it’s always sad to hear that like a physical gym is closing, I’m actually really thrilled for these people because they’ve understood that they can shift their coaching practice without actually ending their coaching practice. It’s just a different platform. And you know that one of the top three business stories that gets recounted in 2020 is the Netflix story and how Netflix made this massive pivot from mailing DVDs to online. But the thing is Netflix didn’t actually make a massive pivot. Their operations stayed exactly the same. They were, they are selling videos and movies, they’re selling access to content. Their audience stayed exactly the same, right? They’re still selling to the same people when they went online and they added more people because they were online, all they did was change their platform.

Chris (02:14):

And so while I don’t think that the Netflix story is an example of, you know, a massive pivot, I do think it’s a great example of success. And I think that the same thing can happen in the service industry. Even if you want to keep your gym open, have a physical location like I do, you can still add by doing online training. So what we’re going to talk about today is the new client journey. And this journey is true. Whether somebody meets you online, somebody starts at your bricks and mortar gym, somebody starts at one and goes to the other, or somebody does both. And the reason that we’re really talking about this right now is that retention rates in gyms are too low. As more and more data becomes available and you know, we started really digging into this stuff back in February, it’s clear that gyms are getting clients, like the marketing knowledge is out there now, but they’re only keeping clients about half as long as they should.

Chris (03:07):

And that means that gym owners are getting onto this marketing treadmill of like, I need more clients, need more clients, need more clients, but it’s only because the clients are running out the back door almost as fast as they’re coming in the front door. If you’ve been trying to market your gym for the last couple of years, you know that while there are great new tools like Facebook, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier or necessarily any faster to get new clients. So I want to make sure that every new client that you get sticks around longer so that you can maximize your ROI on that client. You can help them change their life and you have to spend less time marketing and selling. So to retain clients longer, we dug into the data during COVID because data was really important during COVID. COVID was a test of retention.

Chris (03:58):

If you had amazing retention before COVID, you probably held onto a lot of your clients. You still lost a few. That was unavoidable. If you had really poor retention before COVID, you probably lost all of your clients during COVID and even if you were OK at retention before, you had to get really, really, really good at retention during COVID. Now what worked during COVID, the one-on-one communication with your client and every day pivoting to say, what can I serve you with now? What do you need most from me? And really giving you that new perspective on coaching, that I hope, was a real eye opener for a lot of people because that’s what’s going to have to continue if you want to build a thriving coaching business and today we’re going to walk through that model of learn, design, deliver, refine. JoshMartin at is really the pioneer of this simplified version.

Chris (04:52):

I love it, but this is really like the bones of the new client journey. Learn, design, deliver, refine. So we’re going to walk through all four of those. The last reason that we’re talking about retention today is that gyms are seeing an uptick in interest. So they reopened the doors and suddenly their members are coming back and they’re bringing their friends and suddenly new people who have found fitness online during the crisis are saying, I want to take the next step and do this with a coach. And also a lot of other people, you know, the urgency of the COVID crisis made the decision to join a gym more important. So they moved that up in their budget and on their timeline. So gyms might be tempted to just go back to running free trials and to signing people up. And in the short term, I think that’s actually going to work.

Chris (05:38):

But the problem is that that never worked really well for retaining clients. It worked for signing people up. It helped the sales process. And so back between 2007, 2009, the most common practice that you used to hear at gyms was running like a free trial. People would come in, they’d have like community Saturdays or something. Hopefully they might sign up, you know, but that never really worked and those people weren’t retained well. So today it’s really important that we talk about the client journey. So more than ever before, the new client journey has four stages. There’s the learn stage, the design stage, the deliver stage, and the refine stage. All right. And of course, as always, if you have questions, by all means, just post them in the chat. And I will say your name and repeat your question before I answer it in case this goes out as a podcast.

Chris (06:30):

So learn, design, deliver, refine that is are the bare bones of a new client journey. And today what we’re going to start with is learn. The learning phase that we have always taught was the no sweat intro. Now the no sweat intro is a shortened, scalable time restricted version of a strategy that’s called motivational interviewing. And motivational interviewing is something you’re going to hear a lot about in the next six months. And it’s something that’s been used a lot by therapists, by you know, any kind of psychology workers or psychologists, psychiatrists, you know, psychotherapists, it’s something that high-end diet nutrition coaches have been using for a while, like through especially Precision Nutrition, you know, today we’re going to talk about the three different versions. The key to understanding what to use and when and how deep to get with people and when to use motivational interviewing is this. The more personalized your service, the more expensive your service has to be because the more of your attention somebody needs one-on-one, the more of your focus, it means the less you can scale. So your attention has to be expensive. The minimum for a high value service. So if you’re prescribing a hybrid service, and I described this as like the NGPO offering in the last few podcasts, the more expensive that service is, the deeper your intake process has to go. OK. So the absolute minimum is the no sweat intro. No sweat intro is what brought me, or what brought you to my gym. What would you like to have happen here? Why is that important to you? And then here’s a prescription. OK? No sweat intro is a short version of motivational interviewing that you can do in about 15 minutes. It works really, really well and compared to come and try a free class or bring a buddy Saturday, it’s way better at retaining people and moving people into the right service, right?

Chris (08:35):

You have to know their goals and you have to know their reasons before you can give them a prescription. That’s just coaching 101. The next version of that is short-form motivational interviewing. So it goes slightly deeper than a no sweat intro. It takes a little bit longer, but it shows a higher conversion rate for higher ticket personalized coaching. This form motivational interviewing like Precision Nutrition’s the five whys takes about an hour. But if you’re selling nutrition or personal training or online coaching, this is probably necessary. And every expert that we’ve interviewed and brought into Two-Brain in the last couple of months has repeated this. So step one, the bare minimum of is a no sweat intro. Step two is a short form motivational interview like Precision Nutrition. Five whys, I’m gonna share my screen with you here and walk through it.

Chris (09:27):

And step three is a truly deep motivational interview and I’m going to talk about that in a moment. So here’s second level worksheet. The five whys from Precision Nutrition. I will link to this in the blog post and I uploaded it to our Facebook group. If you want to just pull it out. The reason that five whys works is you get to like the reason behind the reason for success. So when somebody comes into your office the first time, they know you’re going to ask them why this goal is important to you and they’ve got a response plan, OK? And that response does not expose them to you. It protects them. So you have to keep going. So the five whys you’re going to start with, you know, why are you doing this? Why are you joining my gym right now? Why do you want to start a nutrition plan right now?

Chris (10:12):

OK? But then you have to go deeper. And so you say, why do you want to achieve that now? What’s your reason for wanting to lose 10 pounds? What’s your reason for wanting to shape up and get in shape? What’s your reason for wanting to build immunity? You know, and five bonus points for anybody who hears I’m joining a gym to build my immunity. Then you want to go deeper again and say, why is that important? And so what you’ll notice as you go through these five whys as you’re getting deeper into psycho psychological reasons instead of external motivations, like, Oh, I just want to look better. The key is you’re getting into internal motivations. Like I just don’t feel good about myself when I weigh this much. OK. And then the fourth question, the fourth why is why will that make a difference?

Chris (10:56):

How will that change your life? And now you’re actually having the client like project this change that’s going to happen. They’re kind of starting to define the end point and they’re being very vulnerable and open with you about what they’re hoping to achieve. And then finally, why will that matter? So the five why’s again, I mean you can get it from the precision nutrition worksheet, but the first is why are you doing this? Second is why do you want to achieve that? Third is why is that important? Fourth is why will that make a difference? And faith is why will that matter? Now, this series of whys has been proven to work, but you can definitely come up with your own as long as each goes deeper and deeper. When I was talking about this worksheet with Kevin Wood a few weeks ago, maybe it was only a week ago, time really compresses.

Chris (11:43):

He was saying that there’s a predictive value to using the five why’s at intake and he says that, you know, if somebody has an emotional moment with him, if they cry, if they need a Kleenex, he knows they’re going to stick around for at least nine months. If they don’t have that emotional moment, if he can’t forge that deeper connection, he knows that they’re probably not going to stick around for at least nine months to a year. And so during the COVID crisis, he said that he could have predicted the people who are going to quit during COVID and it was the people who really didn’t get deep into the five whys and they wouldn’t give him like the real reason for wanting to work out. The people who did trusted him to deliver his coaching no matter what the platform was that he used.

Chris (12:26):

And so if he had changed their prescription to be more online or more habits based or more mindset based or more nutrition based, that would have been fine with them because they knew that Kevin knew their deeper motivation for wanting to achieve what they wanted to achieve and that he was guiding them on their journey to achieve that whatever road that journey took. That’s a really key part of the new client journey is understanding what they want to accomplish and their motivation. What they want to accomplish is never fixed my movement, it’s never, I just want to try CrossFit. It’s never, I want to move better. Their motivation is always, I need to feel better about myself or I need to give people a reason to like me. You know, you have to get deeper than the service that you’re offering. OK? So that’s five whys.

Chris (13:19):

The third level is motivational interviewing. Now, long form motivational interviewing is good if your service is very long term and mostly centered around behavior change. So if you’re doing therapy on someone that requires a massive mindset shift, psychotherapy, maybe physical therapy, that’s when you would do a long form motivational interview. And I’m going to append a video from our resident psychotherapists Bonnie Skinner, on how to do motivational interviewing if you’re in the therapy business. If you’re in the coaching business, there’s a fantastic intro from Josh Martin in our Two-Brain Coaching first degree program on how to do motivational interviewing in a gym right now. What do you have to do? What are your steps? You have to show the client their plan in advance. They have to see a vision of the future and you have to really connect on a deeper level than ever before.

Chris (14:14):

At the bare minimum, you need to be doing a no sweat interview. A no sweat intro, even better if you can do it is like the five whys from precision nutrition. OK. So if the client journey follows the path of learn, design, deliver, refine, the learn stage comes through this kind of interview where you form a deeper connection and get to their root. Why? All right, I’m just going to take a look at questions here. If you have them, by all means, just put them in the chat. And I’m glad Bonnie is actually with us. If you have questions, you can see Bonnie in the chat and you can just ask her questions about what motivational interviews I’m going to share her later. OK. So next, the design phase of the new client journey. Now I’ve got a video here that I’d like to share with you called how to solve any problem in fitness. When you’re designing a client’s program, that is more than just designing their workouts, right? We commonly use this term programming, especially in microgyms right now to refer to the workouts that a client is going to do and usually that programming is broad, general, inclusive because we’re giving it to everybody. It’s the same workouts for everyone, but that’s not the same as their program. Their program includes the four cornerstones of your business, so nutrition group coaching, online habits, coaching and personal training. Not every client will do all four. Not every client will prioritize one specific one. Some clients might prioritize nutrition and they might back that up with exercise coaching and they might prefer to do that exercise coaching in a group or another client might need to start by creating solid habits in their lives. So they do your online coaching program for a little while before they work into your coaching.

Chris (16:01):

And some clients might come in the door knowing that they want group coaching, but you say, you know, to bringing you up to the speed of the group, ensure your safety, make sure that you get the most out of this experience, we start everybody with personal coaching so that you know, you learn the movements and stuff, OK? And that is the client’s program. That is their long-term view. And that’s what we’re going to talk about designing here. So good fitness coaches, they know how to help a client reach their goal, right? So if you start with a goal, let’s call that point B, then you’re going to measure the starting point. So let’s call that point A. And a good coach maps the path backward from point B to point A, OK to get you here, starting from here, here are the steps that we’re going to have to go to.

Chris (16:49):

So after they’ve mapped that process, a great coach prescribes the fastest path to their clients, right? Like this. Well, Alice, here are the steps that you’ll need to take to reach your goal, to get there quickly. You’ll need to exercise five times per week and follow a simple nutrition plan. How does that sound? Then the coach overcomes barriers like price objections or previous injuries like this. So if Alice says, I can’t afford that, then the coach says, no problem. If you can’t afford to move that quickly, we’ll take it a bit slower with the budget you just gave me. I’d say we should train twice per week, but one-on-one and really focus on that nutrition plan. Or if Alice says, Oh man, my back is just so tight, the coach can say, no problem. Your back is tight from work. We’ll take it a bit slower at first. With the limitation you just gave me, I’d say that we should train three times per week and have one specific mobility session per week instead of four workouts, and this is all part of the design phase. You still haven’t actually dictated what their program is going to be. You’re asking them what they can commit to so that you set a framework around what the program is going to be designed to look like, right. But the next step is that the coach motivates their clients by reminding them of their wins, showing them their progress and calling them when they don’t show up, and everybody just got really, really good at this. You’re in COVID. Along the way, the coaches track their progress and they adjust their plan because no plan survives first contact with the enemy and the enemies now our big sugar, Netflix and stress, and those enemies are pretty damn good at this game and they’re bombarding your clients 23 hours a day.

Chris (18:32):

So you need to be better than they are at telling a sticky story and making sure that your clients resist their urges and temptations, right? So Two-Brain gyms meet with their clients every quarter to adjust their plans. We’re going to, we’re going to come up to that in a minute. The thing is like nobody can ever afford to lose sight of the client’s goal. The coach can’t afford to lose sight of the client’s goal because the client never stops thinking about that goal. Clients don’t do your workouts for the sake of being good at your workouts. They do them because they want to achieve that real goal. And if you haven’t started with some kind of interview, you don’t know what that real goal is. You just know the surface level, the fake explanation that they’ve given you at intake, right? Clients are willing to trade short term pain to reach a goal if they trust their coach.

Chris (19:20):

Now we call this the prescriptive model because great coaches don’t sell group programming. Great coaches sell one on one relationships and they sometimes deliver exercise in a group setting. So here’s the prescriptive model. Just as a review, I’ll share my screen and what you’re going to see when I share my screen here is basically learn, design, deliver, refine it. And right now we’re talking about design. So you know, a no sweat intro is the bare minimum now, to bring in a new client. During no sweat intro, we’re going to start thinking about how to design a client’s program. That program will include four cornerstones, nutrition, group exercise and or personal exercise and or online exercise. We’re going to take an objective measurement that the client cares about. So if a client comes in and says, Hey, I just want to lose 10 pounds, and you say, why?

Chris (20:08):

And they say, so I look better in a bikini. You say, why is that important? And they say, so that people will be jealous of me at the beach. And so that I’m not self conscious about yourself. You say, why is that important to you and you know you keep getting deeper. It doesn’t make sense to then measure, you know, functional movement screen because they don’t care about that, right? What you have to measure is like body fat percentage or or measure skinfold or circumference measurements. Something that’s going to measure the client. Now the client comes in and says something like, Oh, I can’t even touch my toes anymore. I’m losing flexibility. I’m always tight. Great. Do a functional movement screen, by all means. From there you’re going to make your prescription and that is the design phase. The key though to understanding the prescriptive model, if you’re looking at this, if you’ve been through this in the Two-Brain incubator or ramp up program if you’ve been reviewing this with your coaches, is that deliver is the part that most people focus on, but it’s actually the least important part.

Chris (21:07):

You guys all know how to deliver workouts with excellence. Many of you have received coaching in how to deliver nutrition with excellence. Some of you are even pursuing how to deliver mindset and habit training with excellence. You’ve taken weekend seminars, you’ve read the books, you’ve watched the videos, you know, you’ve been certified of the four stages of a client journey. Learn, design, deliver, refine. Deliver is the least important part. It’s just the most popular. It’s the most fun, it’s the most sexy. When you’re looking at the prescriptive model here, what you’ll see is a breakdown of nutrition and exercise and that defines your delivery. So when you’re designing a program and you ask a client the question, would you prefer to do these workouts one on one with me or in a small group? What you’re doing there is just creating the program around the delivery method that they prefer.

Chris (22:00):

If you say, would you like to do some of these workouts at home, you’re just asking them how you want the workouts to be delivered, right? And then from there you’ll design the whole program. Then you’re going to deliver on the program with excellence for a few months. But then the most important part and the most overlooked part is refine. You have to come back to the client. You have to measure their progress. You have to show them their progress. You have to be transparent about it and be honest about it and then you have to prescribe either continuation of what they’re currently doing or a change in tactic. Now this is where the learn stage becomes so important. Motivational interviewing, no sweat intro, five why’s that establishes this foundation of trust. You’re saying, I am on team Alice. We are going to work together to get this and if the program isn’t working after three months, Alice doesn’t have to say CrossFit doesn’t work for me.

Chris (22:57):

Alice just has to say to the coach, this isn’t working. What else should we do? That’s what makes a great coach. It’s what makes a great business mentor, is that foundation of trust. The continual revisiting, measurement, update of their goals and then the pivot to something that is working because if your client is left to decide on their own, is this working, then they’ll have to make another guess. Maybe they guessed when they found you. Maybe they guessed when they tried CrossFit. Maybe they took a guess when they followed their friend’s advice and came to a Pilates class with them, but if they start guessing again, they’re going to choose something else and they’ll always be able to say, I did CrossFit and it didn’t work. This is something that has plagued me since we launched our CrossFit gym in 2008 we brought people in.

Chris (23:46):

We did not onboard them correctly. We just did free trials. Then we put them through like this two day on ramp where they did over 300 squats regardless of their physical condition. Most of them quit after on-ramps saying, this is too hard. I can’t do this. Instead, what I should have done was what I was already doing in my personal training gym, which is a no sweat intro, a conversation, habits, building, nutrition coaching, one on one training and then introduction to a group when it was appropriate and desired. Learn, design, deliver, refine. Learning, we talked about that. That’s your intake process. Designing is making your prescription. It’s the prescriptive model. It’s including the four cornerstones. Deliver. You need to deliver with excellence. This is where business systems come in. You need to know that not only you, but your coaches are delivering consistently up to a high standard.

Chris (24:36):

And so you need to be evaluating your coaches. You need to be improving your education and your delivery, not just taking more certifications but learning things like, how to have a presence at the front of the room and public speaking and hiring people for personality instead of just technical knowledge. All right? That’s the deliver phase and that’s the phase that I’m going to spend the least time on. The fourth phase of the new client journey is refined. And I already said that this is the most important part, but it’s the most overlooked part because you have to measure over and over what matters to a client. And you need to plot those results against their plan. You have to review their progress and change their plan regularly. So goal reviews are more important than ever. What we learned over the last two months is that gyms go out of businesses, but coaching businesses don’t.

Chris (25:31):

Coaching businesses do OK. And when they come out of a crisis, not only are they emerging into a field with fewer competitors, they’re also emerging into a field with a whole new crop of people who want your coaching. There are people right now who have been kicked out of their gym. The fragile model of selling access, 24/7, 19 bucks a month, come to my gym, use the equipment, is dead. All the people who paid for that model have no gym anymore. This is your chance to show them what coaching is. It’s an amazing opportunity for you to demonstrate the value of coaching versus selling the value of access. It’s not just selling a program like saying CrossFit is better than your spin class, or CrossFit is better than your bodybuilding workout at Gold’s gym. That’s not what you’re selling. You’re selling coaching. So, I want to talk about data and retention, but before I do that, I want to just take questions on the new client journey, on the learn phase, design phase, delivery phase, and refining phase.

Chris (26:36):

We’re also gonna talk a little bit about goal reviews and what’s included. All right, so Vitor from Brazil, my friend says it’s usually no sweat intros were meant to last 20 to 30 minutes. Do you think it’s possible to fit the five whys in it? I think so. I mean, you know, you learn the structure of an NSI so that you can become a master at it, right? So that you can deliver it masterfully. An NSI takes me about 15 minutes. Not because I’m rushing anything but because there are parts that I know I can skip. And the thing is like the step after mastery is artistry. And after you’ve delivered 500 of these NSIs, you’ll find that there are parts of the structure that you can skip. Now if you haven’t done 500, forget that I even said that. Follow the structure. Master the structure, right?

Chris (27:26):

Mastery is really, really important. Artistry is something different. Could you fit the five whys into a 20 to 30 minute, no sweat intro? I don’t think so. And the reason is that you have to sit there and listen. It’s not a tick box. You are filling in the blanks so the client can see that you’re engaged. But a lot of the times you can’t take somebody from, Hey, I’m here to join your gym to crying in your office in 20 minutes. And that’s not the goal. But that’s what often happens when you start peeling back these layers of emotion. So five whys is new to me. We mentor based on experience and so I sought out experience from people who use five whys and these people all say that an interview at intake using the five whys takes about an hour.

Chris (28:19):

Brian says, we’ve done the five whys with our nutrition clients frequently, but have not done it in the NSI. We only ever went surface level. I’m guessing we should get our reps in regularly in advance of implementing with your team. So Brian has found either, one, you ask them the five why’s off a script and it comes across as cold and scripted. Well that’s a good point. Or two, you go totally off track and a client goes down a rabbit hole on one of the why’s and never get to why four or five. I’m guessing reps is the best way to get this nailed down or even a scenario deck. Yeah, man, it’s reps. Brian, you nailed it. OK, so you have to practice this and just get really good at listening. What I’ve learned after almost 20 years of using a no sweat intro at intake is that the less I talk, the more likely the client is going to sign up and the more likely they’re going to sign up for a higher level package.

Chris (29:15):

Think of the no sweat intro as revealing the client to themselves. You want to ask the questions that let them take a look inside themselves. Keep in mind like when somebody comes into your gym for the first time to sit down, they know you’re going to sell them a gym membership, meaning they’re almost sold. All you have to do is get out of the way. And this was a really hard lesson for me to learn in the intake. I thought I had to sell them. So I was giving them facts and figures and data and I had like this really, really thick binder with graphs in it and like, here’s an article that I wrote for teenagers and here’s a graph of here’s what linear periodization is. You know, here’s a yearlong macro cycle. I was literally showing this stuff to people who wanted weight loss.

Chris (30:00):

Then I realized I just had to get the hell out of the way and let people talk themselves into it before I could talk them out of it. So I just started asking questions. Now I see there’s another great question coming up here. If you’re going through the five why’s and somebody gets to the third why, you know, why is that important or whatever, and they say, the bottom line, Chris, is, I’m just ready to change. So what can you do for me? Then you’ve gone deep enough, right? You don’t have to keep going. You don’t have to make people cry. You don’t have to turn into a therapist. You don’t have to install a couch in your office. At that point, you’ve gone deep enough, they know that they want to sign up, you can get deeper later. So you’ll say, all right, here’s my prescription, here’s what I want you to do.

Chris (30:48):

How does this sound? If they give you a limitation, maybe it’s budgetary, maybe it’s time, maybe it’s physical condition, then you refine their program to fit that. As I said earlier in the design phase. But yeah, if you don’t get through all five why’s, that’s OK. Get as deep as you need to get. If the client cuts the interview short by saying, just sign me up, then just sign them up. Take the money. OK, Andy says, what happens when you try and use the five why’s? but the client doesn’t give anything than surface level responses. So Kevin actually answered this question, Andy and you know, as usual, you’re a step ahead here. I asked him this question when I was talking to him last week and he said that it doesn’t always happen, that sometimes, you know, they’ll just give you the surface level answers and if that’s the case, then sign them up anyway.

Chris (31:36):

Right? They’ve already sold themselves on your service. They know, here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to try it. I think the key though is to revisit some of the why’s later and kind of work it in slowly, right? Like relationships have a ratcheting effect. You pry your way in and then you sit at that level for a while and then when there’s an opportunity, you pry your way in deeper. So you ask your client, Hey, how was your husband’s surgery? Are they OK? Are they recuperating well? And you’ve worked yourself in a little bit deeper. And then you work with them a little bit longer and maybe a month later you say, how’s your husband doing? You know, and the deeper you get, the better affinity marketing works, honestly. But also the longer that client is going to stay. So even if you can’t take a deep dive with the five why’s right at intake, you can fully work your way in over time by implementing goal reviews and having these conversations preset with a client.

Chris (32:31):

Bonnie, our resident psychotherapist, says with any of these methods, it’s the connection that’s essential. It sounds more complicated than it is. And Bonnie, that’s my fault. Also with motivational interviewing, the most important question is what has gotten in the way of your progress in the past? It allows you to have the client tell you what you as coach needs to be aware of and help the most with. That’s fantastic insight. Thank you Bonnie. Mike says Coop. So you do the NSI, then set up another chat to do the five why’s. No. You do one or the other. So if somebody is coming in, they mentioned group training, we do an NSI, you know, and then at the goal review session, I might get deeper into the five why’s. If somebody else is coming in a brand new and I’ve got an hour, I’m going to go through five whys as deeply as I possibly can.

Chris (33:24):

They’re not additive. It’s really like one or the other. OK. Should we be moving away from the NSI and go to the five whys intake process only? No. So you have to have some kind of motivational interview at intake. If you have a large gym and you’re getting 10 to 20 new people every single month, then the NSI is fine. You know, it’s a good start. The key though is that you have to book these people for goal reviews and constantly work your way deeper with them over time. OK? You don’t have to go straight into the deep end the first time you encounter a swimming pool, you can work your way down. But that’s what’s important is if you’re doing an NSI at intake to speed up your intake process, that’s fine. But you have to have a plan on the back end to keep getting deeper with a client instead of letting them, you know, just fade away.

Chris (34:12):

However, if you’re pivoting straight to online, your physical contact with this client is going to be pretty sparse, maybe never. And so you have to get deeper. And so if you’re going to be coaching somebody online, number one, the value of that service should be high. But number two, you have to get deep to build that bond of trust really early. So, if somebody’s, you know, taking you up on the online training, that’s a higher value service. You need to go for the five why’s or a motivational interview. If somebody is coming to your bricks and mortar and they say right from the start, I just want group training, then the NSI is definitely enough, yeah. Brandon says, so like you said, it’s about getting the reps in, testing both our traditional NSI and five whys. With time we will get better and better at reading what the potential client needs.

Chris (35:02):

Yeah, I think so. Brandon. I, you know, I don’t know if I’m any better at reading people, but I just stopped guessing. You know, I stopped projecting what I think they need onto them. And this has really been true about many areas of my life. I’m not good at figuring out or or guessing what people want. So I ask them. Five whys just gives you a template, right? It doesn’t have to improve your NSI. It doesn’t have to replace your NSI. It just tells you like you need to be asking more questions and telling fewer answers during your intake process. A client comes in, you’re excited for them, you know you can solve their problems. You’re just waiting for your turn to talk so that you can tell them the answer. That’s the wrong approach. I know it feels good to you right now, but you’re just barfing on them.

Chris (35:50):

What has to happen is you have to trust that you will get the chance to tell them all those things over time. If you can get them to sign up today and if you can build a relationship that will keep them around long enough to learn all that you have to teach them, even if that takes 10 years. OK? That’s the key is you have to buy yourself the opportunity to tell them everything that you want to tell them by doing things like a motivational interview at intake. Now, the key guys to all of this, and I think like the answer to all of this that you’re really seeking is goal reviews. So the intake process is great. Yes, it’s more work than do a free trial. It gets people to sign up. The problem is that the sales process doesn’t end there. The coaching process doesn’t end there.

Chris (36:43):

  1. You know, if you had a heart attack or you know, worse, you had like a chronic condition like diabetes and you go into the doctor’s office and the doctor talks to you, 15 minutes, here’s your prescription, go and never checks in on you to say, how are you responding to that drug? How are you responding to that treatment plan? Then it’s pretty much worthless. Like what? I’m supposed to just keep doing this for the next 90 years? Even though new drugs, new treatments might come on the market? The value of coaching is not in that initial interview, right? That’s a lot of the work. But the value comes in the follow-up and the pivot. That’s critically important to here. As we’re measuring, you know, length of retention in gyms, red lights are starting to flash in my brain because while it’s going to take you two to five years to really make a life changing difference in a client, we’re seeing that clients aren’t even sticking around for half that length of time.

Chris (37:42):

You know, in non-Two-Brain gyms, average client retention is like less than six months. You can not make a meaningful change in somebody’s life in less than six months. You might sell some memberships, your marketing might work, you might track your ROI on your Facebook spend, but you’re not actually changing the client. And if you’re on that flywheel of get more clients, lose more clients, get more clients, lose more clients, you’re not going to last very long. Eventually, you’re going to run out of clients and you’re going to have to try to create them from scratch. All right. Jeff says, I’m finding that spending an extra few minutes on the phone with them to get through some, maybe not all the interview questions from the first degree program is getting more people to show up to the NSI. I think the little effort to build some trust on the phone makes a difference.

Chris (38:28):

I think that’s absolutely true. If you’re not seeing somebody in person or you haven’t met them in person yet, you are going to have to work harder to build that trust online. Right, and Jeff says, the goal I’m trying and he’s tracking data this week, atta boy, is to listen and build trust on the phone as opposed to just set the appointment. I think that’s absolutely true. You know, if you approach every conversation as this is the new neighbor who moved in next door, I’m going to have to have a good relationship with this person for the next 30 years or life is going to suck. Then you treat that intake process or that first meeting a little bit differently. If you approach each one of these meetings as this person might be my best friend, this person might be the love of my life.

Chris (39:15):

Or you’re on your best behavior because it’s your first date. Think about the habits that you use that right. What do you do on a first date? Well, you know that you should probably listen more than you talk. See, you ask prompting questions about the other person and you invite them to talk more about themselves and you listen attentively. That’s what we’re really selling here when we’re saying we’re selling a relationship, you need to model your first meeting the way that you would have your first date on a relationship, right? Same habits. So let’s talk about goal reviews here. The learn design, deliver, refine approach really pivots on how often you meet with the client to talk about their goals, how often you update their plan based on their results. Most coaches don’t do this. Personal trainers do this really well, and that’s why client retention for personal trainers is like five times higher than client retention for group coaches.

Chris (40:12):

Now, the key thing that we’ve been saying is that you need to plan a goal review with every client, you know, every quarter. If you have a gym with 300 people in it, that is a lot, right? And unless you’re willing to pay your CSM or a coach to run these goal interview goal reviews for you, you know, it’s going to be a lot of time on your plate. The thing is though that like you have to look at this as retention spend the way that you look at Facebook as like marketing spend, you know, you could spend the same dollar in either place, which is going to have more effect? I think it’s easier to keep a client than it is to get a new client. I think that it’s doing the right thing for the client. So you know, what is your retention spend?

Chris (40:55):

You could also allocate like your sales and marketing budget toward keeping clients around longer because retention is just, you know, daily recurring sales. Right? So this does get pretty critical. It doesn’t have to be done every quarter. Right? The question is not do you need goal reviews with the client? Yes, you do. Period. The question is do you have to do it every quarter or is that too much? What many people find when they go through the incubator or the ramp up is that clients who aren’t used to doing goal reviews might not want to do it? Right, and so they just say, Oh, I’m going to do a client survey instead, or I’m going to send them this form, you know, and they kind of skip it. Or like, I’m just going to grab them after class and ask how they’re doing. This is the wrong approach.

Chris (41:36):

You have to have one on one conversations with people so that you can upgrade their prescription. It doesn’t necessarily have to be every three months. What we’re doing right now with your data is we’re determining where clients fall off in their client journey and then we’re setting up goal review processes to be to happen just before that. So let’s say that your gym is Catalyst and let’s say for example, and this is just totally random, I’m not using real numbers from Catalyst. Let’s say that we break all the clients in Catalyst up into cohorts. OK. Depending on when they started and how long they’ve been around. And when we look at those cohorts, we find that people who came in in the last three months or people who came in at the beginning of 2019 only stuck around for six months and people who came in back in 2017 tended to stick around for a year and a half.

Chris (42:31):

All right? So now we know that our first drop-off point is at six months and we also know that something changed in that time that lowered our retention rate and that we do that by breaking people into cohorts. You know, we’re hiring an analyst right now, but Mike Lee, the chief information officer at Two-Brain, calls these cohorts LEG bands after our retention metric. So what can we determine from that? Well, we know that if people right now quit after six months, then we need to schedule a goal review at the five month mark because we need to talk to them. We need to adjust their plan before they start second guessing the plan and just quit because they don’t know what else to do. OK. The next step is let’s say that, OK, we learned that clients who stay longer than six months tend to stick around for 14 months.

Chris (43:17):

Great. We need another goal review at the 13 month mark. At the 12 month mark. So that we can catch those people before they quit and immediately the return on that goal review is like seven months times your ARM. So if the average client pays you $200 per month and doing a goal review at month five keeps them around for another seven months, then that 30 minute goal review is worth $1,400 to you and that’s how you prioritize your time and that’s how you use the prescriptive model to make more money. One of the interesting things, and we did a brief dataset with 50 gyms. This was really cool, is of these 50 gyms chosen at random, if a client was around at the 14 month mark, they were probably going to be around at the 24 month mark. In fact, it was almost like a lock.

Chris (44:04):

So what that told us is if you do a goal review at the 14 month mark and you change their plan, you talk to them about their goals, you make a new prescription, you reinforce your coaching model, that goal review, that point of contact is worth 10 times your ARM, right? Another 10 months of membership. So if your membership is 200 bucks a month, then that’s a $2,000 interview. Like where else could you spend your time better? All right, so learn, design, deliver, refine, refine is like the most important part. Andrea has another amazing question. Any suggestions on implementing this process with multiple staff? I.e., do we need to have the same coach do NSI and five whys also do the goal reviews? I don’t think so. And in fact I think you’re actually better off to do this with like your client success manager or you the owner.

Chris (44:54):

So let’s look at the four phases of entrepreneurship because the answer is different at each phase. When you’re in the founder phase and you’re doing most of the coaching yourself or all the coaching even, and you’re doing personal training and you’re doing the no sweat intro and you’re doing the goal reviews. Yeah, you’re going to do all that yourself. You need to get good at it. When you get into the farmer phase and you start adding staff to help you though, you need to make your staff really, really good at no sweat intros, five whys, motivational interviewing and goal reviews. Now not every staff person is going to be good at this, right? Like it took me 15 years. You don’t have that long to wait to get good at this. What you have to do is identify the staff who are the great listeners and put them in charge of these things rather than say, OK, coach, you know, here’s how you do a no sweat intro.

Chris (45:40):

Here’s how you do a goal review and go. Because not every coach is going to be good at this. Not every coach is going to understand the value. Not every coach is going to want to. So I think you’re better off to train people to do it really, really well. For me, that would be a client success manager. You know, if somebody is struggling at Two-Brain for example, or they want a new perspective, they want to change mentors, you know, I think people should probably switch mentors about every year, but or maybe it’s like, Oh, that mentor possesses experience that my current mentor doesn’t. That’s fine. What I’d prefer them to do is sit down with Eden or Krista and say, my goals have changed. My previous mentor have brought me to this point. Now I’m looking at a slightly different horizon. Who is best for me? And let my CSM make that prescription because the CSM is like, they are dialed with all the options, and that’s the other thing is if you spread this evenly across your coaches and you have some part time coaches, they might not even know what all the options are.

Chris (46:41):

Right? Like they might not know, Oh, it’s OK if this person goes from five times a week to three times a week or they might not know much about your nutrition program. Right. The fact of the matter is they might just be uncomfortable selling something that’s more expensive than what the clients currently pay. So I really think like you need to develop specialists in this. If learn, design, deliver, refine is the key to retaining a client long term, then it becomes like the most important part of your business. You’ve got the four cornerstones, but the beams that link those things up are the conversations that you have with your clients. So for most of you and you’re in the farmer phase of entrepreneurship, I think you, the owner should be in charge of the intake process and goal reviews and let the delivery of your service flow through your staff.

Chris (47:27):

Because this is the crux. When you hire a GM later, you know you’re in the farmer phase, you’re trying to get to tinker phase or like you, Andrea, you’re in tinker phase already, what you need to do there is like train the GM to be amazing at NSIs and goal reviews and then maybe have a select team of people who run these for you. The other reason, you know, and this doesn’t get talked about often enough, is if you’ve got one coach doing the intake, doing their personal training sessions, doing their nutrition coaching, running their group class, doing their goal reviews, your client really doesn’t have a relationship with your business. They only have a relationship with that coach. You might call that coach for life or whatever, but like what happens when that coach leaves? You know what happens when that coach has hours change, they start coaching less, or even they just shift their class on the schedule?

Chris (48:21):

Well, you’ve got a fragile relationship there because it’s just one on one client to coach. Really to level up in this business, if you want to have a business instead of just being an owner operator, then you have to forge the client’s relationship with your brand. And that means bringing in somebody like a client success manager, a GM to do these interviews for you. If you don’t have those roles, I would still suggest that it’s probably valuable at least once in a while to have an objective eye on the client’s progress. So let me give you an example here. If for example, at Catalyst, you know I’ve had a client, she’s been with me for five or six years, we’re friends, I went to her daughter’s wedding and now we’re sitting down at a goal review and I say, are you satisfied with your progress? Maybe it’s just the Canadian in me, but she’s probably going to say, yeah, pretty good.

Chris (49:15):

Even if she’s not totally satisfied. At least once in a while. It’s great to have an objective, caring, empathetic person. Say, are you really happy with your progress? So that she can say, Andrea, maybe I’m not. You know, yeah, we’ll need a solid process for documenting client info answers and design prescriptive model. Yeah, exactly. And so this is like, this is where documentation and maybe even software come in. One of the things that gym management software should do, if it really was gym management software, is be client management software. Keep your clients’ notes and progress somewhere. You know, this is why a couple of years ago we said, well, gyms really need a CRM, right? Like tracking a client journey. Because if you can’t make notes on a client’s progress, I mean, what are we doing here? How do you prescribe something new? Right? The key to the foundation of all of this is understanding that people are not buying CrossFit.

Chris (50:16):

They’re buying a solution to their problems. They’re not buying Pilates, they’re not buying, you know, XYZ. They’re, not signing their kid up for jujitsu. They’re signing their kid up to be bully proof because they were bullied as a kid and they don’t want their kid to get bullied. They’re not buying the method, right? What they’re buying is the solution. And sometimes the method doesn’t work as much as we want it to. Sometimes they don’t like the method even when it does work. And so as a coach, we need to pivot to give them a new method that will help them achieve that same solution. All right. I hope that helps. You know, there’s an old adage, I think it was probably “Good to Great” or something I read a long time ago about people going into hardware stores and people, you know, they’re going down the aisle for drill bits and they’re looking at drill bits and you know, what kind of drill bits should I buy?

Chris (51:06):

And the sales person will often say, well you need titanium or you need this one or you know, this one’s really high speed or this one you don’t have to use a chuck to insert in your drill. It’s a quick release. Instead what they should be asking, and this is like the motivational interviewing of a tool store is what are you using the hole for? OK, why do you want a hole in your wall? And if the client says, well I just want a hole in my wall so I can hang this picture. And you’ll say, why do you want to hang that picture? Well this is a picture of my mom and it’s really important that I have, you know, my mom’s picture up in my dining room so that I can remember. And then you know, why do you want it in the dining room?

Chris (51:47):

Well, this, and then the salesperson can say, what you actually need is something that’s going to be more permanent and you know, here’s the solution that I would recommend. Or they could just sell them the drill bit and say, come back and let me know how it went. Right? Sometimes the right drill bit is the answer. You know, sometimes CrossFit’s the answer. Sometimes boot camp is the answer. Sometimes personal training is the answer. Sometimes they’re not the answer, but the answer can change. And the key is establishing trust so that when the answer does change on your side or on the client’s side, you’re still their coach. That’s the lesson here. And learn design and deliver refine is really the bones of the new coaching business. Maybe they always were. I hope that gives you something to think about as you’re enjoying the rest of your weekend. If you’re in the States Happy Memorial day, if you’re a gym owner anywhere in the world, happy thoughts on surviving the COVID crisis, you’re almost out. And we’re seeing some thrilling results from gyms who have made it through to the other side, which is, you know, more clients coming in, more people interested in their health. The urgency of the situation has created demand as urgency often does. It won’t last long, but enjoy it while it does and make sure that you keep those clients while they’re coming in the door now.

Andrew (53:11):

This has been Two-Brain Radio. If retention is top of mind for you after listening to this episode, you need the Two-Brain guide, “Never lose a client again”. You can get that guide and more than dozen others for free on Two-Brain business dot com. Just click on free tools at the top. Please remember to subscribe for more great episodes. Chris Cooper will be back next week.

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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Madison Nights: The Fitness Ballad of Cole Sager

Madison Nights: The Fitness Ballad of Cole Sager

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On this episode I talk with six-time CrossFit Games competitor and all-around nice guy Cole Sager. What’s the difference between a good athlete and a great one? An amazing coach. The same goes for great business owners. If you’re ready to level up your business book, a free call with a certified Two-Brain mentor at Cole Sager has been to the CrossFit Games six times in his career. He’s finished in the top 10 overall three times. His best career finished was fifth in 2018 and he also received the Spirit of the Games award in 2017. We talk about his time playing division one college football at the University of Washington, his knack for coming up with big performances when his back is against the wall and why his dad decided to name him after a fictional character portrayed by Tom Cruise. Thanks for listening everyone. Cole, thank you so much for taking the time to do this today. How are you doing?

Cole (01:05):

I’m doing really, really good, you know, especially with all things considered, you know, I know that definitely people who are much worse off than I am. I’ve been very fortunate to be relatively unaffected by things. So just getting the chance to just keep doing my thing.

Sean (01:20):

So how has your training been affected by this whole coronavirus thing?

Cole (01:24):

Yeah. You know, it’s, I am actually still able to do about 90% of what I would normally do. For people who don’t know, I train out of my garage anyways just about full time. And I would say about 90% of my training is done in the garage. The only reason why we would go outside the garage is, one social interaction. That’s kind of on a pause. So, you know, typically if you know, the same four walls start to get a little too familiar, we’ll get outside of the garage and we’ll go see people.

Cole (01:59):

But you know, now that CrossFit gyms are closed down, or just any gyms are closed down, obviously not doing that. But the other reason why we would get outside of the garage is if there was a movement that I just don’t have access to in the garage, you are limited on space. For most of the time, for me that means head space. I don’t have the space to do bar muscle-ups, so if bar muscle-ups are something that I gotta do, I gotta go to a gym to do that. So, but between bar muscle-ups and let’s see, yoke carries. There’s not really many things that I have to go do. I have, like I said, I have mostly everything that I need in the garage, which is really nice.

Sean (02:34):

How do you make sure that your fitness is where it needs to be in case we’ve, it looks like we’re gonna have the Games, but assuming that that happens, how do you make sure that you’re ready to go when you don’t have access to everything you need?

Cole (02:49):

Yeah, that’s actually something that you have to, you know, when the whole coronavirus outbreak occurred, between me and Ben Bergeron, who’s my coach, we sat down and we kind of asked ourselves like, what’s our trajectory look like? What’s the runway to the rest of the season look like and how can we be best prepared for any circumstance that we come to. We were planning on doing multiple more sanctioned events. I did Wodapalooza, but we were going to do several more or at least a couple more. And so when that was taken off the table, I was like, OK, great. Let’s reset. How can we change our training perspective and prepare for, let’s just say just the Games and let’s just assume that the Games are going to happen. And so we kinda took a step back and said, OK, well, where are our weaknesses?

Cole (03:41):

What are our strengths? We do SWOT analysis all the time, multiple times throughout the year, strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. And we’re always looking at like, OK, what are some areas that we need to work on? And so that’s what we reset. As soon as we found out that most seasons for most sports were either being postponed or paused, it was like best case scenario, we’re competed in August. Another scenario, they postpone it and then worst case scenario they have to cancel it. And it was like, OK, where can we start building a base now? Cause we have a pretty long trajectory. If we think about this, when the coronavirus outbreak occurred, it was right around the same time the Open would have been or right in the middle of the Open. Yeah. when the Open used to be in March.

Cole (04:27):

So if you think about that, that’s a really long runway and trajectory from then to the Games. A lot of time to prepare. So, that’s essentially what we’ve done is how can we take and build out a cycle from what would be the Open, you know, when we used to have the Open in March to the Games. And that’s kind of how we’ve looked at it so far.

Sean (04:49):

I’m curious as to why your parents decided to name you after a fictional character, Cole Trickle.

Cole (04:53):

That’s really good. That’s really funny. Well, Days of Thunder is an epic movie. Just a classic. My parents actually, I think the name that they were planning on naming me or at least talking about was Cain, is I think what they were planning on possibly naming me. And I think Days of Thunder came out to two to four months or something like that before I was born.

Cole (05:29):

So if you can just think of it like my dad loves racing, loves racing. He was into sprint cars and he had a sprint car at one point in time. And he always raced go-karts like I think from like maybe 12 years old or something like that. Growing up he’s racing go carts. And so he loved racing. So you come out with the Days of Thunder movie and it’s all about NASCAR and racing, you know, I know that his blood is just boiling. The way the story goes that I’ve been told is they were planning on naming me Cain. He walked into the delivery room after I was born and he said, Nope, his name is Cole. And I think it was just so much inspired by his just enthusiasm for that movie. And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve watched that movie. On repeat when we were children, I loved it.

Sean (06:16):

Other than Talladega Night, it’s probably the best NASCAR movie ever made, honestly. You often refer to yourself as a small town kid. What kind of values do you pick up growing up in that environment?

Cole (06:32):

Oh man, I love, you know, I think sometimes small towns get a bad rap, just because they’re, you know, I guess a little bit sheltered from some of the outside world. But at the same time, like I picked up on such good values and morals of just like kindness, caring for each other, community. And I think that’s something that why I was so attracted to the CrossFit community to begin with is because growing up I realized how important looking out for each other was. And that was just coming from a small town where everybody knew everybody. People would say hi to each other on the street and, you know, ask you how you’re doing and see if they can, you know, help or do anything for you, you know. So, you know, I think the most important thing I picked up from being in a small town and probably why I talk about it, why I will identify as a small town kid, is because it paints a clear picture of some of the things I’ve learned and that’s caring about other people, you know, and not saying that, you know, big city folk don’t do that. Right. But it’s just a little bit easier to get, you know, form that connection in a small town.

Sean (07:44):

Yeah. So growing up, I know you wanted to play in the NFL. When did your obsession with football begin?

Cole (07:51):

Oh, that’s actually a really good question. I played a lot of different sports when I was growing up. I mean I dabbled in just about everything up until about, I would say I was almost 11 years old when I started playing football. Most of my friends had been playing football for years before I had even considered it. But my older brother started playing first and that’s when I was like, Oh yeah, this could be really cool. Tossed on some shoulder pads and a helmet, hit somebody and was hooked. I was like, this is amazing.

Cole (08:24):

I was a pretty high strung kid. Like I said, I dabbled in everything and it was because I just didn’t want to sit still. I was super active, just wanted to move, move, move, move, run around and do this. I tried BMX, rollerblading, you know, just all the, all the, you know, fringe, extreme sports that I could kind of thing. I think when I first hit somebody and made contact and then realized that there’s also skill to it, I was like, Oh, this is a cool sport. Yeah. So about, about 11 years old is when I really was hooked.

Sean (08:55):

Well, it worked out for you go to being, you know, you were a really good high school player. I gotta give you props 162 yards rushing four touchdowns and one interception in a playoff game. So yeah, pretty, pretty impressive. But then you go from that to having to now walk on at the University of Washington. So what was it like for you when you go from, I’m pretty much a superstar to, for lack of a better term, cannon fodder.

Cole (09:17):

Yeah. Yeah. You know, that’s actually, it was 100% expected. It was not outside of my expectations. And I think that, you know, one of the things that I did notice in a small town, and this is kinda what I referred to is sometimes small towns can get a bad rap is because small towns have a way of kind of being like a magnet. They pull you back to it, or the they’re like a vacuum and can sometimes can suck you in and keep you there. And if you’re outspoken about your dreams of getting outside the small town, there’s skeptics who had the same things and jus in their circumstances of life, they didn’t get out. And so I got a lot of, that’s awesome. Like keep dreaming, but it’s unlikely that it’s going to happen, you know.

Cole (10:08):

So I had that a lot. So that my expectations weren’t blown out of proportion. I was what I would consider a running back in high school, but I was technically listed as a fullback. And the reason why it was because a lot of through growing up and playing sports, certain people just have influence and they’ve been around longer and the coaches know them better, can trust them. And so for whatever reason I was actually—not only that, I was also one of the bigger of the skill players on the running back. So I just weighed more. So that also played into it. So I got to put at fullback and that was kind of like huh. Like I expected to be running back my senior year.

Cole (10:56):

I figured that, you know, I was talented enough, but it wasn’t going the way that I wanted. And so just like continuing to be conditioned that way of having people telling me, Oh, it’s unlikely, you know, having that circumstance, like it’s just not going the way that I wanted. It started to paint a picture of like, OK, this is actually going to be a tough journey. You got to buckle down and get ready to do this. So I was actually talking, I went on, my junior year, after my junior year on that summer before my senior year, I went on a scouting, my own little scouting trip and I went to a bunch of different football camps in the area. I brought game film, resume statistics. I brought everything with me in nice little like manila envelopes that like I packaged it really well, you know, and I went to all the major schools in the Northwest that I could, I went to their camps and just trying to be seen.

Cole (11:51):

Eventually started talking to some about like some possible scholarship, maybe being seen. Just all of that also depended on how I performed for my senior year. So after my senior year, things were going good. I was having some communication with some of the coaches at UDub. But that year they had their 0 and 12 season and all of their coaching staff was fired after that season. And a new coaching staff was brought in. Well, that year, we had the smallest recruiting class in UDub history at 12 guys. And so anyone who has already signed, they were kept on. Anyone else was like, it was all just completely nullified and they were just going to focus on building out a new program kind of thing. That means that I had no contact at UDuB anymore. And that was, I was born and raised in the Northwest, born and raised in Washington.

Cole (12:41):

So I was a dog my whole life, you know, like everybody in my family. So that’s, that’s why like UDuB was the goal. And that’s also where I walked on. And so not having a contact at UDub anymore, it was just like this is, I mean, this is kinda what you expected. It wasn’t going to be easy, so you gotta figure out a way to get down there. I signed myself out of class my senior year. I had just turned 18, so I could do that now. So I was like, I signed myself out of class and I drove down to UDuB and I sat in the UDub football office for four hours until the running back coach would come out and see me and handed him the same concept that I took around to the camps.

Cole (13:27):

I had a DVD with my highlight reel stat sheet and everything. And I sat there and sat there until he would see me and then I called him once a week for four weeks until like I got the answer that I wanted pretty much. I was just extremely persistent, just beat down the door. So, that was kind of the journey of walking on just knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy. And I think that set up the rest of my career as a walk on. It’s like, you’re going to have to work for this.

Sean (13:56):

And then after your freshman year, you earned the scout specialties player of the year award for your hard work. What did earning that mean to you after that season?

Cole (14:05):

It was actually a really big deal for me because one of the things that was said when they said, OK, you can come play, but we don’t have scholarships to give out. We’re not doing that. So you can either, you can come, you can walk on and try to earn your scholarship or you can go somewhere else. It was pretty just pretty cut and dry. But the coach did say he was like, if you, if you come and earn a spot, you will earn your scholarship. You just have to earn a starting spot on one of the teams, whether it be a special team or offense, defense, whatever. And so having that, getting that reward at the end of the year was almost like the hard work does pay off if you really put the work in and you really want it and you put, you throw your whole self at it, like you can, it will pay off and you can get what you want, but you have to give everything. Yeah.

Sean (15:05):

So when you look back on your time playing for the Huskies, I know you were in some big time environments, but one of the things that stand out the most to you about that experience?

Cole (15:14):

I think you just kind of talked about it just like being some of the big, big environments. I remember my freshman year, the first time I walked out onto the field, it was bigger than I expected. We practiced on the game field in the main stadium. So it wasn’t like it was an unfamiliar spot for me. But, I think I would liken it to the same way that if you, if you went to the StubHub center right now and you walked out into the tennis stadium, what would it feel like? It would probably feel like a tennis stadium, kind of a small, you know, just whatever. But when you walk out on game night and you come out of the tunnel and they start spraying out the smoke and the band is playing and the crowd is cheering and you run out there, you can feel the thunder of people’s applause in your chest.

Cole (16:04):

It is so incredible. And I wish—I’ve said this so many times, I wish that more people could experience that kind of thing in life because it’s like it is electrifying and just thunderous in your soul and it will just like pop you away. It was, that’s the first time getting to experience that at UDuB was absolutely incredible.

Sean (16:25):

How do you go from division one football into CrossFit?

Sean (16:28):

Oh, you know, that’s actually a really tough thing to do for a lot of people. Because you go from some of the biggest stages in the world. Honestly. I mean, I was talking about it. I played, you know, I played in Louisiana and I played in Nebraska. Those are 110,000 people stadiums like so, you know, so and not to mention like UDuB is considered one of the prettiest college football settings on Earth.

Cole (16:58):

Like it’s a beautiful setting. So going from that to CrossFit was really, really difficult for me, especially with the dream of like I want to play in the NFL and like I’m not so idealistic that I didn’t realize or just expect that it would be a really hard journey to get into the NFL. I knew that, I mean it was the same way that going from high school to college was, but just going to be even harder, you know? But, but again, same concept, if you throw your whole self at it, like you can make something happen. So I was willing to do that. But it was after having a conversation with a friend who really encouraged me to try CrossFit, well actually he didn’t even encourage me to try CrossFit. It was like 100% you’re going to stop playing football and you’re going to go compete in the CrossFit Games.

Cole (17:49):

There was no like, Hey, come do a CrossFit workout with me. I had decided to do CrossFit and go to the CrossFit Games before I had even done a CrossFit workout. I was like, I’m going to be a Games athlete and I’m going to compete to win the Games. And I hadn’t even done my first workout. So like it was and the reason why the transition happened, and I think that the reason why, the most important aspect of it is having a purpose behind what you do. And I talk about that all the time, but it was the reason why I wanted to go to the NFL was to build a platform to impact people’s lives in a positive way, to be a light, to be a beacon of hope for people who maybe who have given up on their dreams and had people, you know, maybe tell them that it’s not going to happen.

Cole (18:34):

And be that voice of reason in people’s lives with like if you work for it and if you care and if you give of yourself and like you can make those dreams come true. And that’s really why I wanted to play in the NFL because I had NFL players all throughout my childhood influence me in that way. And I just, that was an impact to my soul so much that I wanted to be that voice. And essentially what it came down to for me is when I was getting to the end of college and have a friend influenced me to start doing CrossFit or to start competing in CrossFit. He said, just look at the community, look at the people who are in this space. You can achieve the same thing. Just go look at the community.

Cole (19:19):

And that’s when I did, he sent me a video of Dan Bailey and Rich Froning, and you may have heard this story, but you know, it was just a video of them just talking. They were talking about the community, about being a positive influence, talking about their faith. And, after watching that video, I was like, wait, these guys are like, one, they’re ripped, two, they’re the leaders of this community at this point. They’re there like some of the best athletes and they’re talking about being good people for the community. Like, that’s really cool. That’s something that I have a lot of interest in like, and so that’s when I told him, OK, like send me another video. Like what else do you got? And that’s when he started sending me footage of the CrossFit Games. And in my head I had painted this picture of when my older brother had done CrossFit, when I was in high school.

Cole (20:10):

He was talking about like doing like push-ups and pull-ups with bands and different things like that. And I was like, I don’t have any interest in doing that. Like I do bench press, I squat heavy. I’d be like, I’m a football player, I move stuff. And so I just had this big ego surrounding it. And after my friend sent me some footage of CrossFit Games, so old CrossFit Games footage, I was like, Oh my gosh, these guys are so cool. This is awesome. I definitely want to do this now. So, that was a transition, but the biggest part going from college football, like, and like, don’t get me wrong, it is really easy to get caught up in like, Oh, look how much success I’ve had. I can’t go to a small community. It’s like, no way I’m better than that.

Cole (21:00):

Took my heart was how much the community cared about people, how close they were. And it was like, I want to be a voice of reason or a voice of hope in a community that cares about growth, a community that really wants to grow and challenge themselves. And when I started to see that I was like, this could be a really, really cool place. So yeah, let’s do this. Let’s go compete at the CrossFit Games.

Sean (21:27):

Well you get to Regionals like just a couple months after you got yourself into a gym and started working out. So how were you able to get so good so fast?

Cole (21:34):

You know, I kind of alluded to it early on in this interview, even playing sports as a young kid, that is one of the biggest things because I know plenty of football players who all they did is they played football.

Cole (21:48):

They could not come into CrossFit, they wouldn’t have enough body awareness to master some of the things that we have to be able to do. Whether it be from body weight to gymnastic stuff to moving a barbell efficiently. Like they just don’t have the motor patterns built up within them. They can develop it. Absolutely. So I’m not saying that, like you can absolutely develop it. And there’ve been plenty of athletes who are great CrossFit Games competitors who didn’t play a lot of sports, but they got really good at CrossFit. But I think for me to excel so quickly was because I had exposure to a lot of different sports. And then not to mention having my college football background, people look at us like, Oh, you played football. But in reality, what I did for four years was trained for four years.

Cole (22:38):

I mean, most of our time in college football was spent training. 75% of our season is spent in the weight room, not on the field. So, not to mention I was also, and I think this is one of the things that was the most important for my success as an athlete in CrossFit was the fact that I was a walk on and I had to earn it because essentially the route that I took was I have to show up at 6:00 AM and do the team workouts to the best of my absolute ability. But I also have to show up at 2:00 PM when classes are over and I have to get my own workout and I have to go above and beyond what all the other athletes are doing. Because if I don’t, I’m not going to get better than them.

Cole (23:20):

Like I’m, these guys are like, I’m telling you, like college football players are natural freaks. Like they’re incredible athletically. And it was like I’ve seen some of the most athletic individuals that you can see on this earth, like it’s they’re specimens. So seeing that and being aware of that, it’s like I have to put in the extra work. Well, that started to develop a foundation for the work that I would have to do as a CrossFit athlete. Train multiple times a day, do multiple different modalities within a training session and different things like that. So having that base in college really helped me excel once I started doing CrossFit.

Sean (24:02):

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Cole (24:55):

I actually was a little disappointed with 13. Yeah, to be quite honest. I knew, I had a deep feeling that I could at least place in the top five, and wouldn’t have been surprised if I made it in the top three, not because of, I wasn’t so full of myself, but it was more so like I am just one of those persons like I will shoot for the stars, like shoot for the stars and you land on the moon. Like, OK, like, like great, perfect. But I’m going to shoot for the stars. I’m going to go out to the, I’m going to find the farthest star I’m going to shoot for it, you know, so it was like, this is actually, this is one of the things that was just echoed over and over and over and over at UDuB, but find a way to find a way.

Cole (25:46):

And that principle was something that I was really taking in my start to CrossFit and those first few months it was just like, you know what, just find a way, find a way to find a way and just make it happen. So going into Regionals, I was very like also like realistic that, you know, like you could end up in 13 place, you could have been dead last. Like, you know, that’s going to be totally fine. You’re gonna learn something from it. And that was one of the things that I was OK with this, cause I know that it’s something that I can learn from, but part of me was shooting for getting to the Games that year, like six months into CrossFit. Like, that doesn’t mean anything to me, but my effort and ability and willingness to find a way to do it, that’s what mattered to me.

Cole (26:38):

And so, yeah. So I mean, absolutely 13th was great, but yeah, like secretly wanted to be on the podium.

Sean (26:43):

How did your training change after that?

Cole (26:45):

It began with a lot of questions, a lot of trying to seek answers from people. You know, I had just started, well once you perform like that so quickly, you get people in the community like, Oh wow, like this kid could be pretty good. And so that opened up some doors to start asking some other people, actually, Mo was actually a CrossFit Games athlete, back in 2012 and 13. And she’s from my hometown. So I had actually reached out to her and she was gracious enough to kind of take me under her wing for a little bit and just show me and teach me some things and say like, yeah, this is some of the things that I would probably focus on if I was you.

Cole (27:38):

And I was still living in Seattle, so I didn’t get a lot of time to, you know, like we didn’t train together or anything really. But I’d come up on the weekends and I would try to get as much knowledge and information as I could. I mean, I think I watched every single YouTube video on CrossFit, you know, and listened to every coach’s or read every coach’s like, you know, forum or blog or video or anything that I could just to glean some information. It was about gaining knowledge for me.

Sean (28:13):

So one year later, you’re at the Northwest Regional again and you win it. So what did that do for your confidence?

Cole (28:21):

That was a big confidence booster. But it was more so it was more so, like something that, how would I say, like it was just proving that again, the work would pay off and that you were meant to be here. Like what you set out to do, like don’t count yourself out. It is really, really easy to start doubting yourself. It is really easy to do that, especially when you’ve had, you know, maybe a childhood full of some voices that were maybe full of doubt or just saying that you couldn’t, it’s easy to let those creep in and it’s even easier to let that your voice become that voice. And that’s something that I practice a lot of drowning out those voices or my own voice of self doubt.

Cole (29:16):

And so in that year of prepping for another year of CrossFit, it was essentially just like, Nope. Like you’re just going to do the work. You’re going to expose yourself to as many things that challenge you as much and as often as possible. And you’re just going to prove to yourself that you can do it. But the only way that you can prove that to yourself is by challenging yourself in ways that you would be challenged at the CrossFit Games or at Regionals. So I’m doing every single regional workout you can think of from the past. One of the things that I gleaned really early on was if you want to know the future of CrossFit, just look at its past, like you can kind of build off of it from that standpoint. And really quickly, you can see the development of that.

Cole (30:00):

Even back in 2014, you could see that, Oh, OK. Like we’re all getting fitter. They’re just going to continue to build off of the past because they have to because we’re getting fitter and we’re doing this better. So learning that. And then also that year, I befriended just a wonderful human being, Rory Zambard. We ran into each other. I was actually, there’s a mountain, just outside of Seattle called Mount Sai. It is super steep. It’s I think 4,000 feet elevation gain in four miles. Like, it’s just a super steep hill that people actually will use to train to climb Mount Rainier. And we were out doing, uh, my wife and I were out doing a run, and we ran into Rory and I had kind of been thinking like, man, I really could use a training partner, somebody who knows what they’re doing.

Cole (30:55):

And we just happened to run into each other. And she was like, Oh my gosh, like you are doing so good. Like I’ve just kind of seen some things that you’ve been doing. And, you know, I was wondering if we would ever be able to cross paths down here in Seattle. If you ever want to come join me for a workout. I’d love that. And she had just gotten back from, actually she was preparing for the 2013 Games at that point. And so you fast forward like six months. We finally connect, we start working out together a little bit. And that’s when we started training together for you know, probably six months before the 2014 Regionals. And that was super helpful. Obviously she was on level one staff. She had a ton of information and knowledge. She had connections to people who had even more knowledge. And so having that was extremely, extremely, valuable.

Sean (31:44):

I’m guessing I know the answer to this, but what were your expectations going into the Games in 2014?

Cole (31:50):

Actually the expectations in 2014 were go see what you got. I am an individual who takes a long game approach. I don’t look at things and say this is going to happen instantly and, or just like the conditioning of life that I’ve had as a young kid growing up, but it was anything that I set out to do never really came like that. It was like everything I had to work for and it came slower than I expected and that was fine. So the 2014, it was like, go give everything you got. Take some risks. They might pay off, take a chance, go do your thing, see where you end up, see how it pays off. And again, it was just very much a learning experience, but at the same time, everything that I was doing, it was like if you take this risk and it pays off, it could actually put you in a really good position. In 2014 a lot of that didn’t pay off. But again, a great learning experience and not upset with the performance there.

Cole (33:02):

I think I took 17th that year and that’s great. That’s awesome. I’m at the CrossFit Games. But I was definitely hungry for more. I was definitely thirsty for more.

Sean (33:12):

So what did you learn from that experience then?

Cole (33:15):

That I had to be a little bit more of a mature athlete. You know, I think that you can go out and just be a reckless individual and this is something that I really should have understood because this is the same way as football. I mean, I’ve been playing sports my whole life. It’s the same way in all sports. There are phenomenal athletes who are reckless in their behavior and they miss a lot of assignments. They’re not lined up in the right spot. And because of that they miss plays or they have plays made on them that otherwise shouldn’t have been and they should have been prepared for. Same way goes in CrossFit.

Cole (33:51):

If you are prepared physically, which is also something that was a learning experience, you have to be prepared physically. You have to know how to capitalize on your fitness and this as much strategy as it is being physically prepared. And the strategy just wasn’t there back in 2014 and the understanding of how to be strategic with my fitness, because I was a football player, we went for 20 seconds maximum and then we got a minute rest. I was like, all I gotta do is go hard for 20 seconds. You can’t do that in CrossFit. You know, maybe I think the only reason why I excel at it is maybe Grace. Grace is the only workout that you can go as hard as you can for just like until you die and hope that you outrun the other competitors.

Cole (34:43):

And that’s actually, that was the first workout that I ever did, was Grace. And I think it was because, Oh, I only have to do 30 of those. Great. Yeah, I’ll just go hard for 30, you know? CrossFit isn’t that way. It’s way more strategic than that.

Sean (35:01):

The West regional. I think it was 2016 is one of the moments that I think of when I think about you. You needed a huge performance in the final event to get into the Games and then you go out and you win the event. How did you deal with the pressure that, I’m guessing you must have been facing going into that final bit?

Cole (35:18):

Yeah. Yeah. You know, that was fast forward two years from 2014 and a lot had changed and all of a sudden I had become a reoccurring athlete at the CrossFit Games.

Cole (35:28):

There was the expectation sponsors had just start to really come on the scene for CrossFit athletes around that time too. So I was looked at as this up and coming athlete. And so because of that, some brands were willing to, you know, take a chance and sponsor me as an athlete and that starts to add a little different layer of pressure. But at the end of the day, like I said, I look at everything from a long long term approach, a long game approach. One of the things that people don’t know is I had just left my full time job a few months before the 2016 Regionals. So when I got into, and 2015, I was in a similar position going into the final event in 2015, but it didn’t have the same pressure. And it was because I was essentially just proving that I was meant to be at the CrossFit Games in 2015.

Cole (36:27):

I also didn’t have all of the sponsorship pressure that I did in 2016 and I also still had a full time job in 2015 so like there’s backup plans, right? But not in 2016. So we get into that final event and we’re like, I was currently down by the largest largest deficit that anybody had overcome at the time. And, I didn’t know that though. I didn’t know that, I wasn’t aware of that at the time. All I knew was I had to go out and give everything I had and that is either going to be enough or it’s not, and then you’re going to have to own the consequences of how you prepared that season. And this is going to be a wake up call dude either way, but you got to wake up now and you gotta go and make something happen.

Cole (37:25):

So I definitely could feel some of the pressures of all of that, but at the end of the day, it was like, look, you set out to do this for one very specific reason. So go do what you gotta do. We will handle it on the back end, however you need to handle it. Like life’s going to go on, you’re going to be fine and you’re going to keep competing. So just go do your thing. But from here on out, go give your absolute best because what you’ve been giving earlier this season, and the reason why I keep saying earlier this season is because your preparation is essentially what allows you to perform at the level you do, you’re going to have to own up to the consequences of whatever the outcome is. Just an absolute miracle. I stepped on the floor and I took care of business and it’s one of my favorite combinations, thrusters and rope climbs. So that was great. But there was a lot of things that had to align. Like, if you go back and you do the math of what person had to fall off to what place and had to struggle at what time. And like you add all that up like divine intervention, cause I don’t know how that happened.

Sean (38:39):

You were on this upward trajectory where if you took a seventh at the Games and then you took fifth, but then in 2017 you fall out of the top 10, but you won the Spirit of the Games awards. So what did that mean to you?

Cole (38:53):

Yeah, the Spirit of the Games award has probably been the greatest accomplishment, if you will, or just award I guess, that I’ve received in sports. And the reason why is because it was like winning an award for character. Something that is far more important to me than any sports accomplishment. It’s the perspective that I keep on sports. I am doing this because I want to grow as a human being. I want to grow as a person. I also want to be a good example for people for younger generations or people who are struggling in life. I want to be a voice of hope. And so to receive that award was very, very humbling. It was like, you know, keep focusing on being a good person because that matters way, way more than any sports accomplishment that you can achieve.

Sean (39:50):

Why is having a positive impact on people such a big deal to you?

Cole (39:55):

I think it’s so much so a combination of having people, friends when I was younger, doubt me quite a bit. And again, not because they were malicious, it wasn’t that, it was just what their reality painted was like you have very ambitious dreams, young man, like probably not going to happen. You know, so having a combination of that and then also growing up I had and saw a lot of people give up on their dreams. And it was something that just kind of broke my heart. And, you know, I don’t know if it’s a personality thing or maybe there’s something that made me just aware of it when I was younger. But seeing that and seeing just the, you can almost kind of see it in people’s eyes when they give up on something you can, like, you don’t want to see like, just a little bit of life leave them.

Cole (40:52):

And I am a very, a man full of faith. I’m a very faithful man. And with that, I think that something that has developed in me is the value of people’s soul. I believe that one of the most important things on earth are the souls of men, the souls of people. You know, you can achieve all the things you want. You can get all the possessions you want, but at the end of the day, like if you are just empty and your heart is just a wreck, like what good is life? You know? And, I just saw that with a lot of people. I saw that with a lot of friends who maybe just didn’t have the privileges that I had growing up or the parents that I had who were so supportive and loving, and saw them slowly one by one, give up on themselves, give up on their dreams.

Cole (41:45):

And saw that with a lot of adults and realizing that a lot of the reason why adults would tell me that my dreams are probably not gonna happen is because they had something bad happen to them and they gave up on themselves. And having some mentors, a few mentors or just even some athletes and like I kind of mentioned before some professional athletes who were a voice of hope in my own life, just having that is something I was like, you know what, like I’m going to choose to devote my life to being that person for other people because it, I don’t know, it just really, it really hit something and really plucked something in my heart that I just don’t want to see people go through life that way, you know? So, yeah.

Sean (42:30):

We are under this crazy new kind of season structure before everything happened with the coronavirus. What’s it like as an athlete trying to navigate your way through this new structure?

Cole (42:41):

I, you know, for me it’s pretty simple. I’ve referred to it a lot. But I look at things on a longterm perspective, and just that gives a sense of patience. It’s like, you know, and then the other sort of thing is a lot of this is outside of our control. I can’t whine and complain about anything because at the end of the day, I am still very fortunate with where with where I’m at. And so zero complaints, and then at the same time I am truly, I truly believe that if we come together as a community, as people, as a world, we can really make a difference. And so it’s essentially like I have put my focus on where can I do my part and how can I just kind of keep doing and staying focused on my path while supporting other people. And being a helping hand. And so I don’t really have the extra bandwidth to spend worrying about other things and where the season’s going and what’s going to happen to it because I think it’s more important to be focused on how can we get past this as a society.

Sean (43:52):

Yeah. In 2019, the Games, I think were a learning experience for everybody given the cuts and everything that happened. And you were barely on the outside looking in when it came to the final 10. So what did you learn about what it takes to be successful at the Games under this new structure?

Cole (44:08):

Yeah, that was actually one of the things that really hit home after the 2019 season was you used to be able to get by with having, for lack of a better way to put it, like a throwaway event event that you just didn’t perform too well. You don’t have that luxury anymore, in my opinion. I believe that the way that our sport is going, it means that you have to capitalize on every opportunity that you have from the beginning. Because if you don’t and you find yourself in the back of the pack, you’re going to get cut. And here’s a good example. In 2016 we talked about 2016 Regionals. Well, let’s talk about 2016 Games. I was in dead last at one point in time after the second event, I took dead last in an event. And so because of that, had it been the second cut or even the first cut, I would have been cut from the field that year.

Cole (45:09):

But you fast forward through the rest of the weekend. That was my best place, best placement at any CrossFit Games to date. And essentially my point being, you can’t have those anymore. You can’t can’t afford to have that. You have to set the bar, set the standard from the beginning that you belong in the top 10 or the top 20 or whatever the cut is going to be and you have to get there and then stay there. And yes, it pays to win, but it doesn’t pay to win until later in the weekend now. If the point structure is the way that it is, it doesn’t pay to win until the end, but what it does pay is to capitalize on where you’re at, or getting into and making those first few cuts.

Sean (45:48):

When your competitive career is eventually behind you, are you OK with people remembering you for how nice you were as opposed to how fit you were?

Cole (46:01):

Absolutely. Absolutely. When you think of, and I think that goes back to winning the Spirit of the Games award, you know, if people remain remember me for my character or just my personality or just being a good guy, that means way more to me than my physical accomplishments. I think that my physical accomplishments are not an end. They’re a means to an end. So, you know, whatever I get from competing, I will use to the best of my ability to continue to be a voice of hope, to be kind to people. That’s one of the things that that really touches my heart is can I get to the very top? Because there you can just love on more people. You can be kind to more people. And maybe give some attention to some of the people who otherwise wouldn’t ever get attention.

Cole (46:56):

And that changed the perspective and the trajectory of their life. Like how cool would that be if more leaders looked at the forgotten and said like you matter too. You know. And that’s something that really means something to me and is a really, is a driving force and it’s why I can lock myself in a garage in kind of a lonely place for, you know, and just beat myself down day after day after day after day because that kind of thing matters to me.

Sean (47:26):

Cole, it is always a pleasure to speak with you, man. I really appreciate you taking the to do this and best of luck with everything and I hope to see you compete in Aromas at some point this summer.

Cole (47:35):

Yeah. Yeah, me too. Me too. I’m really looking forward to it. Thank you so much for your time.

Sean (47:40):

Big thanks to Cole Sager for joining me today. If you want to follow him on social media, he is on Instagram, you can find him @colesager35. Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe and join me every Wednesday for inspiring stories from the fitness community and interviews with your favorite athletes and coaches. Miss an episode? Don’t worry cause you can find them all in our archives at I’m Sean Woodland and we’ll see you next time.


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

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Post-COVID: The New Breed of Fitness Coach With Josh Martin

Post-COVID: The New Breed of Fitness Coach With Josh Martin

Mike (00:02):

The fitness industry has been under assault for months and it’s forced everyone to reconsider absolutely everything. Now, gym owners who prided themselves on teaching squat mechanics find themselves working more as life coaches and less as tacticians. Today on Two-Brain Radio, I talked to Josh Martin about how coaches can reimagine themselves as they work to sell services and help clients. Josh is here right after this. If you joined the Facebook group Gym Owners United yet? If not, why not? If you’re looking to rebuild your gym, you need to be in this group. Inside, gym owners from all over the world are learning from and supporting each other. You also get daily actionable advice from the one and only Chris Cooper. That group is Gym Owners United on Facebook. For access, be sure to answer all the intake questions. This is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin here with Josh Martin. He’s the owner of CrossFit for Glory just East of Tampa, Florida. He’s a certified Two-Brain mentor, the co-owner of Two-Brain Coaching, the son of a major league baseball pitcher and an all around good guy. Today, he’s going to talk to us about the hyper-speed evolution of the fitness coach over the last few months. Josh, how are you down in Florida?

Josh (01:05):

Mike, I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me back on the podcast.

Mike (01:09):

It is always a pleasure. If you guys are not checking out the Two-Brain Coaching website where Josh and Chris Cooper are blogging, you guys need to do it. I’ve been following along Josh, and that prompted this podcast. You guys have some really cool kind of mindset stuff that I want to get into, but before we do that, give me the quick update on For Glory and Florida. Where are you guys at right now? And again, this is being recorded May 19th for airing a little bit later.

Josh (01:30):

Yeah. So, you know, by the time this airs we will have been given permission to re-open gyms here in the state of Florida. Our governor just announced the prior Friday that we could open. He did give us permission to open on Monday, May 18th, but we’re opting to take things a little bit more cautiously. Make sure that we could deliver an amazing experience at our gym that really prioritizes our members’ health and safety. So we’re bringing our staff in, we’re actually walking them through some mock scenarios of what it should look like. And then we are going to open on Wednesday, may the 20th. Ironically that is literally two months to the day of when we officially closed the physical location due to the C OVID crisis. So, yeah, I mean we’re super excited to be getting back into our physical space.

Josh (02:25):

Florida’s requirements in terms of, you know, what gyms have to do are actually pretty conservative. Meaning we’ve got some occupancy things, the cleanliness piece, we’re going to take it a couple of steps further and limit the number of people in classes. But other than that, the members have really been super accepting of what we’ve put out there. They’ve just been wonderful during this whole time. And honestly, the heroes of this whole thing are my coaches. And it’s why I love talking about things like this because I do have an amazing staff that really delivers service that we sell, which is coaching. So we’re ready to rock and roll and hopefully by the time this airs, things are operating pretty smoothly at our gym here.

Mike (03:09):

We’ll definitely, I’ll be following along personally and if anyone wants to check it out, definitely go look at CrossFit For Glory and see what they do as they reopen. Let’s get right on to coaching then. You mentioned that your coaches are really the stars of the show here. The mentality has changed, right? So three months ago, most coaches would have said their primary job was cueing and coaching movement, right? Teaching, squat, knees out, chest up, all that stuff. Now they’re finding at least many of them are finding that isn’t the game. And maybe it never really was. As we go into selling with a new mentality, like I’ve seen your blog about this. What is the primary role of a coach now?

Josh (03:41):

Yeah. So this is a great question to start off with Mike. I really believe that the mission remains the same. Meaning, you know, we want to keep a client. That’s always what I tell people is the first role of the coaches retention. You want to keep the client, but ultimately so that you can get them to their goal. So I think the mission is still the same. What we’re finding though is that the strategy is what really differs these days. So what you talked about is one strategy where I’m cueing, you know, movement, corrections, movement faults, fixing these things, identifying things. But what we’re saying now is that you need to have a broader perspective whenever you are trying to get somebody to that goal. It’s not just, Oh, squat a little bit deeper, you know, lock the bar out a little bit stronger.

Josh (04:37):

One of the principles in fact that we teach it at Two-Brain Coaching is something that we call sleep, eat, move and manage. And the last piece manage is in reference to managing stress. But we want to work with clients and getting them to their goal by looking at how well do they sleep? Are they getting enough of it? Looking at their movement? Yes. Movement is a part of it. Looking at their nutrition and then finally looking at their stress management. You know, do they have a daily practice to manage it well and then manage it often? So tactically I think we’re all doing the same things. We’re offering services online, we’re offering them in person. The mission is the same, still getting the client to the goal, but the strategy is really where the coach needs to become a lot more flexible so that they can continue to get that client to their goal.

Mike (05:28):

You know, it’s funny because when I was coaching, I would look, I think I stopped my thinking a couple of steps too early where I’d say, OK, I want you to squat a little bit deeper. In the client’s, you know, why would I want the client to do that? Well, you know, full range of motion is going to be better for your joints. It’s going to be stronger, more muscles engaged. It’s going to help you, you know, just do this movement properly according to our standards. OK, so what does that really benefit the client? Ultimately this whole, the next steps that I stopped asking questions about were, what does that do? And now what if the client squats to the standards, the client is going to get stronger, client’s going to avoid injury, the client’s going accomplish the goals. That’s really the steps that I missed is that the client’s not there to squat to depth.

Mike (06:07):

The quiet is there to accomplish a goal of being stronger, fitter, healthier, picking up a child, whatever that goal is, and so my instruction squat to depth is related to that goal, but I stopped short of that in my thinking because I wanted, I was looking one step short I think. So it’s really cool. What you’ve got there is you’ve got this four pillar thing where movement is just one of the aspects. But interestingly enough, in the coaching world, it seems to be the one that we almost focus on, at least many of us focus on way too much to the detriment of probably the other three. And like you said, if I’m the best tactician in the world and I can make anyone squat well, it doesn’t matter if I’m a jerk and I can’t get that client to keep showing up for classes or doing my workouts. Right.

Josh (06:47):

Yeah. I mean, nobody ever came into the gym and said, you know, Hey coach, I’m looking for somebody that can make sure that I’m squatting to death. That’s my ultimate goal. You know? And even the client that walks in and says, you know, I want to lose 20 pounds. You know, if we just take that at face value, we’re really going to be missing out on the deeper connection that we can make with that client. And ultimately being able to ask those deeper questions or questions that get you deeper is what’s going to inform how you coach that client on a day to day, weekly, monthly, yearly, decade, long basis. Right.

Mike (07:23):

I go back to the thing that Chris has said many times, it’s the analogy of you don’t go to the hardware store to buy a drill bit, you’re actually going to buy a hole. The drill bit is just a tool that creates the hole and you don’t really care, it could be any product. Right, and so that’s the same thing where you know you guys are what’s been called method agnostic, right? Where it’s like CrossFit is a tool. Pilates is a tool, boot-camp style training is a tool. Whatever fitness thing you want to call, that’s just a tool to accomplish the client’s goal. And so I really love what you’re saying that coaching is about getting clients to their goals and that can be through, it was sleep, eat, move and manage was the last one. Did I miss that?

Josh (08:00):

Manage. Yeah. Yeah. Can I share a little story with you though?

Mike (08:04):

Yeah, do it.

Josh (08:04):

You’re talking about like, the idea that we put out that we’re method agnostic and like Pilates, you know, CrossFit, whatever, a lot of us came from the bodybuilding background.

Mike (08:16):

I did.

Josh (08:16):

It was very isolationist like curls and skull crushers. So I’ve never publicly acknowledged this, but I’ve told my staff, but I’ll come clean during this COVID crisis, once a week, every week for the past two months I said we’ve been closed, I have done a old school, traditional bodybuilding workout. I go outside, I write down like, you know, bicep curls and you know, skull crushers and dumbbell bench press. And it’s been great, you know, and I’m not getting caught up in like, Oh, is this going to make my Fran time better? How is this going to help my clean and jerk?

Josh (08:57):

The goal is to move for me, right. In that session. But the goal is not, you know, those other things. So the bodybuilding work has been great. It allows me to still kind of stay in what Chris talks about all the time is flow state. So I get a lot of deep thinking done. It’s how I conceptualize a lot of things, whether it’s for the gym or for Two-Brain in some capacity. So I’ve really had a lot of fun doing that. It’s probably not something that we’re going to program like in the gym in like a traditional CrossFit class setting. But for me personally when my coach was asking like, Hey, what do you need? You know, out of your workouts that you want to do, it was simple. I just wanted to move during the day and when he through that stuff in there, it was a great change up for me.

Mike (09:43):

You know. And I’m right there with you. I grew up on that stuff and when I’m in times of stress, which we’re definitely in, I gravitate back towards some of that stuff and it’s because I maybe don’t have Murph in me right now. Like that’s a really hard workout. Bodybuilding training is unbelievably difficult as well, but it’s a different style of difficult where I can motor through a set of eight bicep curls sooner than I can motor through, you know, 300 squats. Right? To loop this back, cause this is a rabbit hole we should go down a different time, but to loop this back, you’ve got—you as a coach, you need to know what your clients are needing. And if I was a coach working with, or if I was a client working with you, I’d be saying like Josh, dude, I have unbelievable workload right now.

Mike (10:25):

I know I need to be healthy. I know I need to be fit. I’m trying to like, I’m not going to do Murph. I don’t want a beat down. I don’t want Fran. And it’s not that they’re bad workouts, it’s just like my stress levels are way up here. I don’t need to fight my demons and go three minutes of Fran and whatever it is, what I really need here is just to move. And my wife, God bless her, when I was struggling with some of this stuff, she said to me as a coach, just go in the basement and do 20 minutes of something. She’s like, I don’t care what you do but just move for 20 minutes down there. Then come upstairs and we’ll have supper. And that for me was, you know, that was life coaching more than it was fitness coaching. Cause she didn’t know what I did, but I felt better, you know? And so that’s kind of what I want to get at in this podcast is helping people understand that there are these other aspects. So I’ll give you this, I’ll circle back with another question. We’ll get us back into that discussion. You know, it’s like we talk, it’s possible that some of us have focused too much on lumbar curves in the last decade. So you brushed that little bit, but tell me a little more about this. As gyms reopen now, what should coaches have been focusing on the past and what should they focus on now as these clients are coming back or not coming back in this stressed kind of uncertain state.

Josh (11:31):

Yeah. So I think first Mike, what people need is right now, it demands a realization that the barriers that folks have to exercise in a structured setting like you and I are used to, going to the gym, doing thrusters and pull ups. But the barriers that folks have to exercise as a means to getting healthy are really much more rampant than we actually probably realized. And what I mean by that is for you and I, it’s a normal lifestyle. I get up, I go work out and I just continue on with my day. It’s just become this habitual thing that I don’t really have to put forth the thought that what I’m doing is in the best interest of my health. But when you remove something like a physical location, you know that somebody has kind of attached this habit to go exercise in order to be healthy, it’s like, Oh well I don’t want to exercise at my house. It’s not something, you know, that I ever wanted to do. That’s not what I signed up for. And not to beat this pun to death, but in the CrossFit space, we refer to our gyms as the box and really a lot of gyms just need to step outside the box in what they’re delivering to their clients. And we mentioned it briefly earlier a couple of times, but that really, I fundamentally believe that means adopting those four pillars and integrating them in whatever way you can, the sleep, eat, move and manage pieces. Because these are really the four pillars as coaches that we need to focus on to make a difference in somebody’s life. Especially given, you know, the stresses like you identified that people are under, you know, you talk about Murph and if you are a CrossFitter who has done that workout a couple of times, even just hearing that word, you can feel the surge of adrenaline because you know what it’s going to take to kind of dig into yourself and to put forth like an honorable time because it is a kind of a very purposeful thing that we’re doing.

Josh (13:36):

But that also negates or necessitates a tremendous stress response from your body.

Mike (13:41):

I’m going to take a bathroom break right now, Josh, I’m just going to stop you right there because you mentioned, Fran and Murph. It’s crazy how it does that, your heart rate bumps up right away.

Josh (13:50):

It really does. And we’ve all got these like little things you know that do that to us and right now is not the time to introduce like all this excess stress into our clients’ lives. So I think what coaches need to do is realize that there is more that we should be focusing on delivering to our clients. Here’s ultimately what it’s going to do. It’s going to make the accountability piece that is necessary for success infinitely easier because the client is going to be majorly bought in because we’re not asking for a wholesale change of their life. It’s just these little things that done consistently over time that make a tremendous difference.

Josh (14:32):

It’s going to be motivating for them. You’re not going to have to continually make that phone call. Hey Sally, I saw you didn’t do your workout again from home today. What’s going on? And then you try to joke with her or trick her into working out. But if it’s, you know, Hey did you turn the thermostat down two degrees in your house last, night, Oh great. Did you sleep better? Awesome. Then you can connect that to how Sally is going to get to her goal down the road. And then kind of putting those two pieces together. It’s about retention and compliance. Are your clients sticking around, you know, if you’re doing a good job and they’re making strides towards their goals? Yes.

Mike (15:12):

So that’s the interesting part now is we’ve kind of established here that coaches are not just mechanical things. There are four pillars that they’re trying to address there. It looks to me more like life coaching and behavior modification than it does as just hardcore straight up fitness barbell movements and things like that. So here’s the hard part. We always try and give people actionable stuff as a Two-Brain principle, especially on this podcast. So we’ve got coaches now that maybe didn’t see themselves as this and maybe this was a wake-up call and you know, we’ve got these guys who have long prided themselves on being tacticians and perfect programmers and this is what they took pride in and how they value themselves. They’re now forced to provide something else entirely. You know? So how do people, and we know confidence is like a huge deal in selling, right?

Mike (15:55):

So if you’re going to sit down and sell your services, it was very easy for some of these guys before to say, I am an amazing programmer. I an amazing coach. I will prevent injury. I’m going to get you stronger. I’m going to make you fitter. Now they have to start selling services that maybe they’re not as comfortable with, where it’s like, I’m going to provide accountability, I’m going to provide motivation. I’m also going to provide the movement stuff. But I’m going to help you learn how to sleep and eat better. And I’m going to give you accountability to bring you into that. We’re going to keep setting goals and I’m going to interview you. We’re going to maybe do it more online consultations and talking. I’m not going to watch your Snapchat videos as often as I’m going to talk to you about your goals. How do coaches change their mindset now to sell that with confidence when it’s something new for them?

Josh (16:33):

Oh man. Yeah, this is a big one. So I think the first step is in doing some self reflection as a coach and admitting that you have more to learn. And this goes back to something that we, I got this from Chris probably 10 years ago and have talked about it so often. It’s in all the courses we built on Two-Brain Coaching, but it’s adopting this beginner’s mindset. I think the term is shoshin in Zen Buddhism, but it is in realizing as a coach that like it’s a journey for you too. And right now is the perfect time to go back to square one and realize, OK, the first thing that I have to do is actually sit down and learn where my clients want to go. And don’t just take it, like I mentioned this earlier, don’t just take it at face value because what many coaches are finding out right now is they didn’t actually know what their clients want.

Josh (17:35):

So early, early on in this thing when we were saying, OK, you need to customize today’s workout for each client based on their goals. We were getting these questions like, well I don’t know what my clients’ goals are, you know? And so I think that that’s the first thing. And so you’re looking for action steps. So the first thing that I would tell people to do is sit down with all of your clients one-on-one and find out what it is that they want. Then you’re going to come alongside them and design a plan that meets them where they are and something that they can start doing without a whole lot of change in their everyday life right now. Because ultimately that is what is going to stick over time. And so not to beat more principles from Two-Brain Coaching into this podcast—

New Speaker (18:27):

Please do.

Josh (18:28):

But the four-step piece that we use is called learn, design, deliver, refine. So first you want to learn what it is your client is coming to you for, and don’t just take it at face value. They don’t care about a bigger clean and jerk or Fran time or you know, like you said, squatting to death. Nobody says those things on the first day and you’ve really got to ask those deeper questions to get to the root of why they walked into your door or today, you know, in a lot of cases we’re doing consultations on Zoom. So that’s the first thing. Then you want to come alongside them and design a plan that is going to meet them where they are and progress them nice and steadily. Then you’re going to figure out how are you going to deliver it? Are they going to come in person?

Josh (19:17):

Are you going to coach them online? Are you going to do a hybrid of both? And then finally, this is the piece that we know coaches were missing out on because when you ask them what their clients’ goals were and they didn’t know, it’s because you skipped the refinement, which is basically goal setting. So you want to make sure that you are continually checking in on your clients, knowing how they’re progressing and doing it in a formal setting, not just a text of, Hey Mike, how’s your goal coming? It’s no sit down, let’s take a look back at all this work we’ve done over the last 60 to 90 days and measure are we getting closer to that goal? And then you refine the plan and it’s just like this infinite feedback loop and that’s how a relationship between client and coach really blossoms.

Mike (20:05):

Guys, if you’re listening right now and you want to work through a process like this, you can go on the Two-Brain Business blog at, go to the blog and we’ll get this link in the show notes and there is a series that Chris has written and it’s six different articles in two parts and it’s Your Gym 2.0 series and Chris guides you through it. There’s worksheets you can download and what he does is he leads you through this exercise where you identify your clients, you find out what your best clients want, you prescribe, you figure out the services that will help them most to reach their goals. You prescribe those services, and then you develop service packages relating to the needs and wants of your entire clientele. And he’s got pricing tips, everything. So there is a ton of actionable stuff that you can find on that blog.

Mike (20:44):

So do go check that out if you want to work through that. He’s also got a webinar that you could watch and work along with him. That falls right in line, of course, Josh, with what you’re saying. People just often just don’t know what their clients want, right? And now when they find that out and you know, you’ve blogged about this as well at Two-Brain Coaching, you’ve got this, you’re trying to interview people, figure out what they want and there’s techniques to that that you guys are explaining how to do. Then you’ve got the prescriptive model where you’re taking, you know, you’re not a doctor, but you’re looking at the needs and wants and the problems of this client. You’re prescribing a solution. So here’s where I think some people are getting hung up on stuff.

Mike (21:21):

This is a completely different mindset for a lot of people and for so long they thought my physical space, my shiny toys, my atmosphere, my cueuing, those are the things that I sell. That’s what I derive my value from. I love my clean gym. I love my Aleiko bar. I love the atmosphere, I love my community. But now online you’re kind of selling like milk jugs. Sometimes living rooms, workouts done independently where you don’t actually see a client, at least if you’re working online. So how does a coach, like what’s the value of the package that you’re offering? So if you say, you know, you’re providing all these different elements of coaching, movement is only one, is this more or less valuable than what we were offering before? Like how do you put a price on that? How do you get your mind around it to think what I’m selling is super valuable.

Josh (22:05):

So I’ll tell you a funny story that kind of brings this message home. And when you talk about the value of coaching, you actually told a part of this story earlier of like, you know, you don’t go to a hardware store to buy a drill bit. You go to buy, you know, the hole, so when all this started, excuse me, all of this being the COVID crisis, my wife reminded me that we had a pull-up bar that I had never installed into our new garage and we moved out of our old house a couple of years ago. It’s just been sitting in the corner collecting dust and I was like, man, I’m really need to put that thing up. So I’ve got a tool set, a drill and everything and I have some drill bits and I know that I’ve successfully installed this pull-up bar before at my old house.

Josh (22:55):

So I knew that I could do it. So I get started, you know, drilling into this thing and I know that I’m hitting the stud, but it’s just not working and it’s because the drill bits that I have, even though it was hardheaded, were not the correct wood drill bits. So I could have sat there for hours just kind of plodding away at this thing. So I had a drill bit to get this hole, but ultimately what I needed was the right drill bit. So I hopped in the car, drove down to ACE Hardware and this is, they actually had it like cordoned off. You could barely get into the store. They said, what do you need? I said, I need some drill bits to go into wood studs. They came back with two options. I didn’t care what the price was because I knew that this was the right tool for the job.

Josh (23:39):

So I buy them. I don’t even remember what I paid for these things. And within 30 minutes of getting home, guess what? I had that pull-up bar ready to go and I was doing it. If I would have just kept the other drill bits, I would’ve gotten that thing up eventually. But it would have been hours and hours and hours of my time. So the reason I tell that is because to me the value of the right tool is just gone up tremendously. And here’s why I say that. If you were just telling clients to, Hey Sally, go find a milk jug, fill it up with some rocks and we’re going to swing this thing like a kettlebell. I’m sorry, that’s just not fun. Nobody signed up to do that. And as a coach, you probably didn’t sign up to try to get somebody to find something around their house to do your workout with kettlebell swings. And so if you can adopt the mindset of sleep, eat, move, manage, and realize that there’s more than one pillar you need to focus on to get your client to their goal, build that relationship, probably starting from scratch now. But if you can do that with your clients today, man, the value of that to me from my perspective has gone up tremendously.

Mike (24:57):

So for people who are out there, let’s say they’re selling an unlimited CrossFit membership and it’s $185, whatever it might be, and they’re looking at this plan of, you know, life coaching, accountability, stress management, you know, telling people how to sleep and eat the whole deal and move of course, does that, if I would just present that to you, are those two things equivalent? Is one more valuable than the other? Is the life coaching plan, is that not worth $185? Like how do people frame that? Do you think they’re equally valuable or how does that work?

Josh (25:26):

Oh yeah, I think that’s a tough, tough one. Honestly, Mike. What we found is that if the messaging and the communication that gyms have been talking about prior to COVID crisis was about, look at my shiny equipment, look at how clean my gym is, all of these things, really what’s happening is now your clients are associating the value that they’re paying every month with the equipment that they’re getting. You know, that they’ve got all the new shiny toys and the Aleiko bars and all this stuff. But the ones that were saying it’s about the coaching because ultimately that is what truly gets somebody to their goal is the coach and athlete or client relationship, I think that’s probably the tough part that people are having right now is making sure that that communication is about the coaching service, not about the access to a facility and equipment.

Josh (26:28):

So what I think the gyms that really probably see that their clients are identifying with access to a facility, they need to start talking about what coaching is providing to these clients and how it gets them to their goals. And you can start to introduce these other elements. This is really become like in a way, you’re turning a cruise ship so you can’t tell your client, Hey, I’ve been offering you this unlimited CrossFit membership, you know, for $185 a month and you’ve been getting to come into the gym and use these barbells and this pull-up rig, but now you’re not going to have any access, but I am going to tell you how to sleep better and how to eat better and how to manage your stress. That’s because to them, truly that’s not what they signed up for. So it’s got to be kind of a slow introduction of these things if that is what you want to ultimately do. But it starts with that relationship that you’re kind of having to rebuild by meeting with each client individually, one-on-one again.

Mike (27:35):

Yeah. And that mirrors my experience where we switched to online stuff and we’re doing the Two-Brain plan where we’re messaging clients their personalized plans. We also are running some Zoom classes and some clients just right at the beginning were like that’s not what I’m into. I don’t like it, I don’t want to do it. And we totally respect that because that is 100% not what they signed up for. We had others who were like, I’ll give it a try and loved it. We’ve had others that were like skeptical, gave it a try and loved it. But it was like the Indiana Jones when, you know, the gold idol where he switches it for a bag of sand. It’s like there was a transition there, you know, and I’m not saying it was like a shady transition, I’m saying it was, there was a different perception of value that needed to be created and we worked really hard to do that.

Mike (28:17):

We tried to overdeliver and say, OK, we can’t give you barbells and Assault bikes and all this other stuff now, but we can give you increased personalization, more check-ins, more accountability, more. And you know, we’re running like nutrition classes and we’re doing like group social nights and trivia nights, all the things that, you know, a lot of the Two-Brain gyms came up with, games and things like that. We’re trying to create more so the value is replaced even though there’s no physical facility and it’s interesting, Chris just published a blog and it’s called, you’re gonna want to check this out, Expensive or Free, how to charge what you’re worth. And so if you guys are struggling with ideas right now and the value is like, I don’t know how to ask people to pay this for this, this thing, this new coaching, the first thing that Chris has got on this list, there’s eight different things, but the first one is be worth it.

Mike (29:04):

You know, and Chris just said, your value to a client doesn’t come from what you know, it comes from how you make him or her feel. And that’s really an interesting thing because how you make a client feel doesn’t relate to a space. It doesn’t relate to a barbell. It relates to a personal relationship. So that really, that really syncs up and it’s great that Chris published that blog right at this time. Josh, I’m gonna ask you one more question here and this is a big kind of a summary one, but you know, for gyms that have opened or will reopen, what are the greatest things that coaches can learn from the COVID crisis? How can we help our clients better going forward after we come through this like crucible stress experience?

Josh (29:41):

So this is such an awesome opportunity that has come through all of this. I’m an eternal optimist, and so I’m always looking for the opportunity, you know, even in a crisis like this. And to me the opportunity is to get to know your clients again, you know, figure out what it is that they were really struggling with through this. And then you can start to kind of tailor the service now that you are offering that client to better fit what it is that they’re dealing with today. Because if I’ve learned anything through this, it’s that people’s goals change much faster than we probably thought that they did. You know, three months ago, because when we went from gyms open to gyms closed, you know, and now I’m dealing with, you know, we’ve got two young kids at home. My wife is, you know, deep into the homeschooling stuff now with them.

Josh (30:45):

The goals that people have are right out the window. You know, my goal is to make it through the day without just trying to pull out the little bit of hair that I have left. Right? I mean, so I think it’s just an amazing opportunity to sit down with all of your clients. You could do it on Zoom, call them on the phone, don’t do it through text message or email. That’s a one-way communication street. You need to have communication be two way for this to really work. But it’s an opportunity to reinvest in what it is that matters most to them because ultimately that’s, you know, what is going to create this long lasting, fruitful, fulfilling relationship between, you know, the client and the coach long term.

Mike (31:32):

When you present it like that as a like an in-depth, long-term fulfilling relationship in which I have an expert who knows my goals and helps move toward them, that going back to my question before, that sounds like $185 service or more. That sounds like it might be more money than that.

Josh (31:50):

Yeah. I mean, I don’t even know what I would have paid for the right drill bit to be delivered to my house that day. But if I posted like this is frustrating to me, somebody get me the right tool and they said for a hundred bucks, I’ll drive it out to you, I would have paid a hundred dollars for that thing. You know? And so the same thing as here is, yeah, the value is just, it’s tremendous. But man, what an amazing opportunity we have all really been gifted right now.

Mike (32:14):

Guys, this is Josh Martin. He is at You want to check that site out regularly. He and Chris Cooper are blogging all the time about the evolution of coaching, how to be a better coach, not just a better quote unquote fitness coach, but a better coach overall, and that means behavior modification, helping your clients get to their goals. Please visit that site. Josh, thank you so much for being here today. We appreciate it.

Josh (32:37):

My pleasure. Thank you, Mike.

Mike (32:39):

Yeah, and thank you all for listening to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin with Josh Martin of Two-Brain Coaching. If you want more actual advice based on data, check out Gym oOwners United. That is a group on Facebook. In it you’ll find daily topics from one and only Chris Cooper, as well as the support of a host of business owners from all over the world. That group again is Gym Owners United on Facebook. Please join today and remember to answer all the intake questions. Thanks for tuning into Two-Brain Radio and please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts.


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Your Gym 2.0 Part 3: Be Expensive or Be Free

Your Gym 2.0 Part 3: Be Expensive or Be Free

Andrew (00:00:02):

Welcome to another episode of the Two-Brain Radio with your host Chris Cooper. The fitness industry has evolved at warp speed over the last months. Now as gyms reopen or prepare to reopen, their owners are looking for ways to create new services and present them to clients. On May 17th, Chris led an online group of entrepreneurs through discussion on how to do exactly that. The overarching message: Your services must be expensive or free. There’s no middle ground. What follows is the audio from that presentation. Now here’s Two-Brain Business founder, Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:00:35):

Hey everybody, good morning. Feels great to be here with you this Sunday morning. It kind of feels like the first day of spring, you know, a lot of us are emerging from the COVID captivity and rubbing our eyes like wow, daylight and people and noise and life is coming back. And I’m really, really, really thankful to everybody who’s kinda stuck with the gym business in this industry. I think that the opportunity is massive for you, but more than anything else, I think that you have borne and the responsibility of leadership just tremendously well through this crisis and I think you’re going to get repaid for it now. All the Two-Brain gyms who have reopened have found that people were really, really eager to come back, including past members who quit or put things on hold before COVID hit.

Chris (00:01:24):

And we’ve seen this over and over in a lot of different markets where people are suddenly prioritizing the health and fitness part of their life and the community part of their life and just trying to get back to this vital vibrant state of being again too. So there are a lot of forces connecting right now and that’s like, you know, spring is always really great for the fitness business, getting outside, but also the captivity part. You know, people are rebelling against that and they’re ready to be healthy and you know, around people again. And so I think that you’re about to witness this phase of early adoption in some gyms. The struggle is really just, you know, how do we fit everybody back in. Our current members want to come back and former members want to come back and you know, how do we handle everybody?

Chris (00:02:13):

So today what we’re going to talk about is if you’ve repackaged your services, if you’ve made any kind of pivot at all, maybe you’ve gone through the whole Your Gym 2.0 exercise and you’ve done the NGPO stuff that we’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks. Maybe you’ve just decided like I need to reprioritize or maybe you’re just going to take advantage of this great opportunity to change your rates or highlight another element of your service. Or maybe you’re trying to bridge the gap between online and in person coaching. So today we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about taking it to the people and actually delivering on this new service. This has been a great question that’s come up in the Two-Brain Business growth group over and over. If you’re in the ramp-up phase or in the incubator, you’re not ready for this conversation yet.

Chris (00:02:57):

Don’t worry, you’ll do this one on one with your mentor. If you’re listening to this publicly and you’re not sure what this means, NGPO, restructuring your business, Your Gym 2.0, you can go back and we’ll link to our previous podcasts, webinars and blog posts that will help you through this exercise. So first guys, if you have questions, feel free to just ask them and I will get to them as we go. Before we get going, usually I don’t just wear a T-shirt when I’m doing these things. So today I am though because I’m wearing my Signum shirt and I’m wearing it for my friend Rob Connors. This was his founder’s club shirt when he opened up Signum. And now today he’s embarking on a new journey and he’s taken some bold steps. He’s informed his landlord that he won’t be renewing his lease and he’s slowly informing his clients that he’s moving his business entirely online. Business leaders become great, not by inventing something, but by reinventing themselves and their business when it’s necessary. You’ll have to become a great leader to evolve your business here. But with models like Rob around and Signum, the journey is going to be a lot easier for all of us. So thank you, Rob. Now let’s talk about connection to set up today’s conversation. Innovation is a really hot buzzword in business, right? There’s a certain romance to that Eureka moment when an inventor creates something new or finds the answer to a vexing problem, right? And we need these people. We need the inventors and the creators and the innovators. But most of these people aren’t actually successful in business. The people who are truly successful in business are the connectors, the ones who can take this idea and connect it to an audience. And that’s what we’re here to talk about tonight.

Chris (00:04:48):

Health, fitness, mindset, constantly varied functional movement across broad time and modal domains, comorbidities, I can’t even say it let alone invent it. Elegant solutions to the world’s most vexing problems. None of these can change anything unless we, the gym owners and coaches can connect those ideas to an audience. And that connection is best done in person. So over the last few weeks we’ve talked about how to determine what your best clients need and then what the rest of your clients need. We talked about packaging your services and pricing them using the NGPO strategy tactic. Today we’re going to talk about getting your clients on the right prescription. We’re going to talk about how to introduce your new packages or prices or rates or concepts to your clients. Now the first thing is, point one, goal reviews are the nexus of this new service. In the courses, first degree, second degree,

Chris (00:05:50):

Josh Martin talks about the process of learn, design, deliver, refine when it comes to training people. And this is very, very simple, but it’s profound the more you think about it. You must constantly measure people’s starting point and their progress and then you must update their prescription. Now we’ve talked about goal reviews and the prescriptive model for years since was even a service. You know, I think that the prescriptive model first appeared in stuff I was writing around 2014. It wasn’t in my first book, but it was the crux of the second book Two-Brain Business 2.0 and this prescriptive model means constantly learning, designing, delivering, and refining. And that’s what’s key to this new NGPO model is having a really a robust learning process when you bring somebody in. Designing, that’s the fun part for most of us, you know, designing their plan.

Chris (00:06:48):

But that also means telling them here’s what your prescription is, and then delivering that prescription and then the part that most of us miss, which is refining and updating that prescription. So let’s start with learn and then we’ll get into design, deliver and refine. We’ve always taught since the dawn of time, this model of no sweat intro and the no sweat intro is like an abbreviated version of motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing has been a really, really hot topic recently, which is been amazing. You know, I love this topic. The challenge of motivational interviewing is it takes a lot of time. And so there are a lot of places out there now, that try to simplify motivational interviewing. What is motivational interviewing? It’s basically the process of getting people down to their core reason for coming to see you. So for example, all of us have had this experience.

Chris (00:07:43):

You’re talking to a brand new client, right? And Hey why did you come to see me? Well I just decided it’s time to get fit or you know, I just, I need to lose a few pounds. I’m not what I was in high school. I slipped a bit, right? That’s the surface level why? That’s the why that they’ve prepared in their head as they were driving over to the gym. You want to ask them, why do you want to lose five pounds? You want to get a little bit deeper and we’re trying to get to the root of their motivation. And this is what motivational interviewing is all about. Now, Precision Nutrition has been teaching motivational interviewing for quite a while, right? They call it the five whys. And you’ve probably read about the five whys in other books too, Simon Sinek uses it.

Chris (00:08:28):

Top sales coaches also use motivational interviewing, but they’re going to call it something else. I first heard about motivational interviewing a few years ago when I was in the Dan Martell group and these high level software manufacturers were talking about getting to the root of their clients’ needs using motivational interviewing and how well it was working for them. And when I got into it, I said, Oh no sweat intro. Yeah, that’s motivational interviewing. But motivational interviewing might not go deep enough, or no sweat intros might not get deep enough. Motivational interviewing requires you to ask why, why, why? Several times, at least three. The no sweat intro only asks why once. Now that’s way better than what most gyms were doing before we started doing the no sweat intro. When I started writing about the no sweat intro, it was because most gyms were just doing like a free trial class.

Chris (00:09:22):

Come show up. I’m going to throw you into this class. And if you like it, hopefully you’ll walk up to the desk and tell me so and then you’ll lay your credit card down so that I don’t have to ask you for money. The no sweat intro started the process of asking people what their goals were and why they had them, but we didn’t really get deeper. Motivational interviewing is taught in the first degree and second degree courses on Bonnie Skinner has done a couple of great motivational interviewing videos for us that we’ve built on something that’s called the personal roadmap that we haven’t released to you guys yet but we think might be useful for clients. Precision Nutrition uses it in our new nutrition coaching course that’s coming on the Two-Brain Coaching platform in the next couple of months. You’re going to get into motivational interviewing and the online coaching course that you already have access to on the Two-Brain Coaching platform.

Chris (00:10:14):

Brad Overstreet talks about motivational interviewing. This is getting more and more important. It’s not just a matter of measuring what people care about. It’s a matter of knowing why they care. When I got on a call last week with Kevin Wood, who’s been using motivational interviewing for a while, he says that he can predict how long a client’s going to stick around by whether or not they cry in that first intake. The challenge of using motivational interviewing to that depth is you’re going to have to spend like an hour with a brand new client. However, with this new model of the prescriptive model and NGPO and higher value services, you’re going to have to get deeper. So start with a no sweat intro, absolutely, but plan for a no sweat intro to take twice as long. Instead of 15 minutes, it’s going to take 30. You’re going to have to ask why more and more.

Chris (00:11:05):

And as you start to get deeper into people’s motivations, you’re going to start to form that bond of trust. Brad Overstreet calls this building team Chris, you know, or if the client’s name is Cindy building team Cindy. Getting everybody on the same page and working together. And that’s where that model of trust comes in, which is so key to the prescriptive model. So I said that you have to constantly measure before and while designing your prescription. After you’ve done the motivational interview of getting to their real why, now you can make a prescription following NGPO. As a quick review, NGPO is the four cornerstones of your coaching business, N is nutrition. G is group coaching, P is personal coaching. O is online coaching, which is more like accountability. So after you’ve gone through, your no sweat intro, you make your prescription. The key though, the nexus of this I said is goal reviews and that your prescriptions must be renewed or updated at least every three to six months.

Chris (00:12:11):

Now the process for doing this is on your roadmap and I wish I could share my screen more easily on a Zoom call, but I’m going to try here. The process for this is on your roadmap. Let’s take a quick peek here. OK. And I’m going to give you a brief view of the actual objectives on a roadmap. This is client focused highway, so if we get to client focus here, OK. Your process is first doing the seeds and weeds module. You guys have done that, that was the first step, then your seed responses. Then you know, practice making upgrades. Here’s where we really are. Milestone four in the client focused highway on the roadmap is upgrade five clients with new prescriptions after goal review sessions. So a lot of the questions that spurred this webinar were how do I pivot my current clients who I’ve been training online to this new model or to these new services when I come back into bricks and mortar. This is how you do it.

Chris (00:13:13):

You set up a goal review. If you’ve been doing goal reviews all along, fantastic. Hey, we might as well use our remaining time in captivity to talk about your goals. If you haven’t been doing goals reviews all along, this is actually the best opportunity you’re ever going to have in your life to start them. So what you say is, dear client, as we get ready to come back into the box, our time together is going to become more precious because you know we can’t fit everybody in every day. And so I want to make sure that we are optimizing your progress through the time that we have together. What I’d like to do to really dial in your plan is to get on a Zoom call with you. Do you have 10 to 20, 30 minutes where we could get together for a coffee over the next week?

Chris (00:14:07):

And so you know your timeline for doing this is like the time that it’s going to take to get from where you are now to fully open again, you might have a week, you might have three months, you know, none of us are really sure, but start with your seed clients. Book this conversation with them, go through some motivational interviewing and then make them a new prescription. It’s important to understand here that the right prescription is the goal. This is not necessarily an upsell. While many clients will be presented with an option that allows them to pay more and get more value for your service, it’s also true that some clients are overpaying for what they’re currently getting. You have to accept this, that if somebody is, you know, they’re coming to your gym five times a week, but that’s not really what it’s going to take to get them to their goals.

Chris (00:14:57):

You might have to back the office, Hey, you know, your goals are to perform better at cycling. You should really only be coming to the gym twice a month through the summer to maintain your strength and mobility. And you know, you’re doing your cycling four times a week or whatever it is. If you’ve got an athlete who’s in season and they’re a basketball player, you know what, you should really only be coming to the gym twice a week for half an hour at a time. We’re gonna work on your mobility and recovery to keep you strong through the season. These are what top coaches do. So the reason that a lot of people don’t do regular goal reviews, number one is it does take some time. But as you’ve experienced with online coaching, this one on one connection, it does take some time. We’re going to have to adjust your prices so that that time is worthwhile.

Chris (00:15:46):

Absolutely. The other thing that stops people from doing goal reviews is they feel like it’s a sales meeting. Like they’re going to have to upsell. That’s not the case at all. There’ve been many times when doing goal reviews that I’ve actually told somebody, you know, you need to back off a little bit or you need to switch to something that’s less expensive. Or even you need to take three months off from the gym. Here are five books, I want you to read them before you come back. And the books were like fiction, you know. So how often should you do goal reviews? We say every three to six months. These are not surveys, these are not like an email. How are you doing? Tick off the services that you want to do. These are more like motivational interviewing where you’re saying to a person, are you completely satisfied with your progress?

Chris (00:16:33):

You know, are you tempted to speed it up? Do you have questions about your progress? Are you happy? It’s not, Do you like the service? Do you like the coaches? How would you rate our programming? That’s not it. It’s are you happy with your progress? This client centric approach has never been more important than it is right now. This is what we’re trying to teach in Two-Brain Coaching. And this is what we’ve always taught through the prescriptive model and goal reviews. So, this also opened up the opportunity to grow your client base, but I’m going to get to that in a moment. So the client focus row is really, you know, where you want to focus as you’re going through this. So let’s take a brief break here for questions because I know we’ve got some comments. So please, if you have questions, by all means just, you know, ask them in comments.

Chris (00:17:26):

Here we go. All right. All right, so all the questions are people saying good morning and hello Rob. By all means, if you have questions, please ask them and we’re going to be moving on to the next thing. OK. The question I just got was how often should we really be doing goal reviews? So when you went through ramp up or incubator, you saw a plan, a goal review for every three and that should be like your default expectation that you’re going to meet with somebody at least every quarter. The truth is that people who have high value clients and are making a living off like 10 people online, they really start every session with motivational interviewing. How are you feeling, what do you need today? And that’s the crux of their delivery. And then they make up the program based on that.

Chris (00:18:13):

We have been saying do it every quarter because we want people to get into a regular routine and not forget to do it, not overlook it. The truth is that you want to have a goal review as a client is starting to think about what’s my next step or definitely before they start doubting their progress. So it’s like as often as that, but not too often because somebody’s going to have to do this. It’s going to take up a lot of your time. The smaller your client base, the more frequently you should do goal reviews. If you have 10 clients, you should be doing a goal review, you know, basically every week. It’s less formal. It’s more part of that conversation. If you have a big client base, you’re going to do them less often. Right. Brandy, can coaches do the goal reviews the coach that knows the client best?

Chris (00:19:04):

Yes, absolutely. They can, as long as they’re doing it the right way. And you’re just going to have to hedge a little bit against the icon problem of like the coach being that client’s only point of contact because if the coach ever goes to start their own business, they’re basically going to own that client. That’s our problem with the whole concept of a coach’s book of business. So if the coach is coaching group classes and they’re doing some goal reviews, that’s fantastic. If a coach is doing personal training and doing the goal reviews with their clients, that’s also great. You just have to make sure that the brand is also in constant contact with the client too. I hope that makes sense. Other than that you have to understand like how long clients are usually around before they drop off. So if we’re trying to optimize goal reviews or deliver them when necessary instead of every quarter, then you have to look at your LEG and you have to say, OK, when do people drop off?

Chris (00:20:05):

So if my average length of engagement, my LEG is like 13 months, then I know that I should do a goal review or a no sweat intro or a motivational interview, whatever you want to call it, at intake, after they come out of my intake program, when they finish on ramp basically, at the 13 month mark and then probably halfway in between. So for example, if somebody, if my LEG is 13 months, then I better be having a meeting with everybody at the 13 month mark to try to get them to 18 months. Right? And I know that that meeting is worth hundreds of dollars, whatever my average ARM is. If my LEG is 13 months, I should also be having a goal review with them like halfway to that mark to make sure that they’re on the right track, right?

Chris (00:20:56):

Because people will start to doubt their progress or doubt your service for months before they actually cancel. So to determine when you should be doing goal reviews, look at your LEG. OK, that’s goal review. Divide that LEG in half, that’s another goal review touchpoint. Then keep working backward. When you reach the end of your on-rmp program, that’s a goal review. And when you reach your intake program, your intake process, your no sweat intro, that’s a goal review too. So that’s four. Let me give you an example. When ww took some sample data from 50 Two-Brain gyms, and this is the start of our deeper data analysis that we’re using from the dashboard and the roadmap, what we discovered was that there are certain points when people tend to quit gyms. So that first point is right after the on ramp, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Chris (00:21:48):

It just means that people haven’t been converted well. So we know that every gym needs a consultative process goal review at the end of on-ramp. Then we noticed that people tended to drop off just before the eight month mark. So if they made it through your intake process, they were likely to stick around for about eight months. And again, guys, this is just example, this is not prescriptive. This is a sample of 50 random gyms. It might not be true for every gym. You have to do this analysis for yourself right now. But let’s say that you know, if this were true for everybody, we noticed that people dropped off after about eight months. Well, if we put a goal review of the seven month mark and we could keep people through that eight month mark, they were likely to stick around for 14 months.

Chris (00:22:33):

So that’s another six months. And if you multiply that by your ARM, that means that that goal review to you is worth six months times your ARM. So if your average revenue per month, your ARM is $200 and you multiply that by another six months of retention, that’s a $1,200 10 minutes that you’re spending or you know, 30 minutes if that’s what it takes to do your goal review. And the really interesting thing was that if a client was around for 14 months and they didn’t cancel at the 14 month mark, they were likely to stick around for another 10 months. They were likely to be there right up until their two year anniversary. So the goal review at that point, the 14 month point is even more important because you’re keeping them for another 10 months. So 10 months times your ARM, that’s a $2,000 appointment.

Chris (00:23:22):

Now it’s not an upsell really except that if you consider that retention is really just like reselling people on your service every day. So how often should you do a goal review? Every quarter unless you’ve been tracking your LEG data over time and you see when your dropoff points are, then your goal review should happen about a month before each of those drop off points. Now the next hire at Two-Brain HQ is a data analyst so that we can provide this data, you know, as a whole, but also for each one of your specific gyms. So within the next several months, we hope to be able to say to you like, Hey Justin, your dropoff points are at seven months, 11 months and 17 months. That’s when you should do your goal reviews. All right, that’s a great question. I don’t think anybody anticipated going that deep down the rabbit hole.

Chris (00:24:11):

Let’s see here. Erin has a great question. She’s driving and so she might not be able to type. I understand. When doing these motivational reviews, since we aren’t doing a hard sell, how do you present the new prescription? Erin. Yes. So let’s say that you ran into somebody on the street and they said, what should I do to lose weight? And you said, there’s no way I’m ever going to make money off this person. What would you tell them? And that’s how you present it to your client. So you would say, well, if I was in your shoes, I would focus on my nutrition first and then I would try to get exercise three or four times a week. What kind of exercise do you like? All right, the most effective exercise for your goal is constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity or you know, whatever your exercise philosophy is, if CrossFit is your exercise philosophy, then you know that’s part of your prescription.

Chris (00:25:03):

If Pilates is your exercise philosophy, then that’s part of your prescription, whatever. Then you say, would you be more comfortable doing these workouts and this nutrition at home or in the gym? And then if they say in the gym, you say, would you be more comfortable doing these workouts in a small group setting or one on one with me? And then you make the prescription. So you say, OK, well look, if I were in your shoes, here’s exactly what I would do. If you flipped your pricing binder and you say, this is exactly what you just told me, and if they say, Oh wow, that’s too expensive. Then you say, OK, what budget would you like to fit this service into? And I’ll give you your new priorities and then you work backward through your pricing binder to say, OK, well you know, you said that $200 a month is your budget.

Chris (00:25:56):

If my budget were $200 per month, I would focus on nutrition as I said earlier. So you go to the nutrition pricing page and you say, here’s this, but you know within your budget we could also fit in one personal training session per month. I think that would be really useful. I could give you some walking homework to do in between. OK. Now it takes practice to make it feel that natural and I’m going to have to record me doing it, which means I’m going to have to do some more because when I’m talking to a client, it actually sounds that natural to the client and the only reason why is reps. I am the most awkward person in the world when it comes to asking people for things or help or money or favors. Trust me on that. The only reason that I got over it was reps.

Chris (00:26:41):

All right, so, next. So goal reviews are the answer. If you have more questions about goal reviews, by all means ask them. But the process is laid out in the client focus highway on the Two-Brain roadmap and you can work your way through that. Now, how to promote these new services. Let’s pivot to this. We want to get more clients using these new services. And over the last few months since we moved to everything online, we spent about $40,000 testing Facebook ads and digital marketing strategies in gyms. And what we’ve been saying to people is like, don’t go out and test a bunch of ads. Don’t guess, don’t throw money at Facebook. Let us do that. And so what we’ve been delivering is, you know, here’s what’s actually worked and we’ve been delivering that to people in ramp up and in growth along the digital marketing sections of the online coaching highway.

Chris (00:27:37):

But here’s what we found. Number one, even though costs are way down on Facebook, like we’re at 2015 advertising costs, it’s really, really not expensive to get people to book a free consultation, organic marketing right now, including like just your own Facebook posts, is incredibly powerful. So it’s not that digital marketing is less powerful than it was before. It’s that organic marketing, referrals are way more powerful than ever before. And I’m not sure if that’s because your audience is looking harder at trust or your audience trusts you more right now. Or maybe they’re just getting bombarded by Facebook ads. But right now you really need to focus on asking people for referrals. You really need to focus on affinity marketing because this is what’s most powerful. What’s interesting is a lot of you have just posted the Hey, I’m looking for five women in Saint Marie Ontario to join me for this.

Chris (00:28:39):

A lot of you have had a lot of success from that and then been frustrated when you turn to the next step and started doing digital marketing. Well what should happen is that when you’re working your way through the roadmap and you stumble on something that’s working for you, you just keep doing that thing and you slowly add other things on top of that. But you don’t stop doing that. So affinity marketing is working better now than it ever has. Some of us haven’t been doing enough of it. We should never have stopped. So when you’re working through the affinity marketing strategy, there’s a specific highway for that on the roadmap. OK, I’ll just buzz over there and take a peek and share my screen here. OK, here we go. So when you’re on the roadmap under the get more leads section, that’s the first line affinity marketing, right?

Chris (00:29:30):

And you’ll notice milestone one in affinity marketing is book three goal review sessions with your clients. So we’re right back to the goal review. Now the strategy here is when you’re having this review and you’re talking about people’s goals and you’re saying, are you happy with your progress, that you follow the process from there. If the person says, I’m not happy with my progress, or I’d like to speed it up more, or what else could I be doing? You pivot into a new prescription. If they say they’re totally happy with their progress, we pivot toward asking for referrals. And the way that we do that is through affinity marketing. So we know the people that they live with, the people that they work with. We know a few things about that client. And then we say, you know, how can I help your friend?

Chris (00:30:15):

Do you have a friend who this service might help? How can I help your coworkers? Do you think that this service is something that could help the other people at your workplace? You know, the other people at your golf club, we go through that process. That’s all laid out step by step, starting with people with the tightest affinity and working our way outward, like you’re starting with the bullseye at the center of a target and then working our way out from there. So affinity marketing is really like what’s working right now. The thing is that affinity marketing is always what’s working and that’s what digital marketing should build on. Every new person that comes in through digital marketing should lead to three or four other referrals. It’s just we can’t be complacent. We can’t wait for this to naturally happen. We have to take charge of that conversation through affinity marketing.

Chris (00:31:05):

And that’s really what the strategy is. OK? So if we think about your new business as if you’re starting over from scratch and you’re back in the founder phase, and you know what works in the founder phase is really building on your personal connections. So you should be posting to your personal Facebook page right now. You should be sharing tips freely with all the people who are paying attention, but not paying you money. You should be reaching out to people personally. Who were your former clients? You know, if you look at the people who said, we’re getting new clients back in the Two-Brain business growth Facebook group over the last week, a lot of those people were former clients and the box owner kept a connection with them. They would check in with them during COVID, but also before, how are things going?

Chris (00:31:56):

How things been going since the move? How’s your new schedule at work working out? You know, how are you feeling post-injury or whatever. Those are the people who are coming back right now. If you haven’t been doing that, start right now. You know, start today, text all the people who put their memberships on hold at your box and say, how are you holding up? Just start building that relationship of trust. There’s no upsell. There’s no automated text message or email that’s going to bring those people back. All you’re going to do is build up that platform of trust until you can finally say, I think the right thing for you, my friend, is to come in and do some exercise. All right? Now you can follow this step by step on the roadmap, in the affinity marketing highway. There’s a section called the gold standard in goal reviews, and that tells you when you’re doing a goal review, how to pivot to affinity marketing.

Chris (00:32:51):

All right, so let’s look at questions here. All right, so this affinity marketing is the answer that you need. It might not be the answer that you want because you know, again, people are less than comfortable saying, do you have a friend who might benefit from this service? Or you know, do you think your husband could benefit from this? But when you’re doing it now I want you to think of like your NGPO, your cornerstones, as different options that might help the people surrounding your favorite clients. So you know, if you really want your client to succeed, you have to take care of the people who surround them. You have to create an environment where they can be successful. That environment exists in your bricks and mortar gym for one hour a day, three times a week. That environment might not exist in their home 23 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chris (00:33:46):

The best thing that you can do to help your clients be successful is to create that environment in their life. And that means creating change in their spouse, in their peer support group, and the workplace. If you really, really care about a client, you’ll take those extra steps to create the environment in which they can succeed. You might think of that as affinity marketing. You might think that as help first, you might think of that as coaching or leadership, you have to create fertile ground for success. And that’s what happens through affinity marketing, right? You’re giving people everything that they need to be successful, including support and environment. All right, our third topic is the be expensive or be free strategy. Now what I’m talking about now is the audience building highway on the roadmap. So first we looked at the client focus highway to do goal reviews, to talk to people before they come back into your gym.

Chris (00:34:42):

You’re not raising their rates, you’re not sending out an email saying these are our new packages. Pick one. You’re not doing a survey. You’re booking a conversation with every single client and you’re planning for more Google reviews in the future. Then we talked about the affinity marketing to promote your new services and that’s the affinity highway, affinity marketing highway on the roadmap. Now we’re going to talk about building a bigger audience for this service or for your gym using the audience building highway on the roadmap. The reason that we’re focusing on this again right now is that organic marketing, organic lead gen is working exceptionally well and it’s mostly because people are looking for answers and they’re looking for answers from people that they can trust. And so now we’re going to talk about audience building. So on the roadmap on the get more leads category, there’s an entire highway dedicated to audience building.

Chris (00:35:36):

And the thing that you need to understand is authenticity and publishing content. Because what we’re going to talk about right now is your platform, being in the spotlight and you know, staying in front of your audience. I wrote about this a ton in “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” and right now people who publish actual content are doing better than people who are spending money on ads. So you’re at home, you’re hearing from your clients more often than ever. You’re more in touch with their questions, you’re more in touch with their concerns and what they actually need. Now is the time to start answering those through content production on the roadmap. You have a good lesson on authenticity and publishing. Then you have our entire social media playbook with templates. Then you have some prompts. Now, I just started Seth Godin’s storytelling course. Honestly, I signed up for this course because I thought like I owe some money.

Chris (00:36:36):

I’ve been reading Seth, I’ve been following his model basically using what he does as a template since 2008. I’ve been publishing since before that, but I write in the model that Seth writes, you know, I repeat a lot of his messages and I just tailor them to my audience. I felt like I owed this guy something. So I signed up for this storytelling course just basically so I could give him $450. And the very first thing that I saw in the course was that awareness doesn’t work. Affinity does. There’s like the headline of the first lesson. And that’s amazing to me because all this time, you know, if you had a business, even before Facebook, all the advertising salespeople were selling you was awareness. We can put your sign up at the football field, we can sell you a block in the yellow pages.

Chris (00:37:32):

We can sell you a radio spot, a TV ad. We can basically sell you awareness. The problem is awareness doesn’t create any kind of desire. Sure, it helps people who are looking for a gym already hear about you, right? And they used to say stuff like, you’ve got to get your name out there, but that doesn’t solve the problem. Affinity solves the problem. Your relationship solves the problem. Trust solves the problem. And trust is based on authenticity. So now what we’re going to talk about is how to build that trust through content production. And we’re going to talk about our ethos and what I’ve learned about from being a content producer for the last, you know, 15 years, 20 years now, because when people try to sell an online service, they try to sell a product, right? And you can’t sell a product.

Chris (00:38:29):

You can’t sell your programming. You can’t compete with 19 bucks a month. The best programmers who are selling fitness programming out there are charging 19 bucks a month, first free, you know, I’ll even send you some demo equipment worth $300, you can send it back if you don’t like the program, right? You can’t compete with that. Don’t try to. The most successful service providers online followed this maxim: Be expensive or be free. The fitness industry is being driven by technology more and more. This creates new opportunities to reach mass audiences really quickly. So it’s tempting for us to say, I’ve got this new product, I’ve got a thousand followers on Facebook. If 1% want it, now that’s 10 people. I’m rich. But that’s not how it works. In the tech world, they call this scaling up. Building a product and then selling it to as many people as possible.

Chris (00:39:25):

And this usually means the incremental cost of production goes to zero after the product is built. So like the first one costs a billion dollars, but the second one costs nothing. Or it costs you five hours a week to write your programming, but after the first person buys it, the incremental cost to produce that programming is zero because you can sell the same programming to many people, right? When you’re selling a product, volume is the only play now. You have to get scale really fast, but that’s not you because you’re not selling a product. You’re selling a service. You’re intention is finite, right? No one is making more hours or more focus or more care. You have this relationship of trust and authenticity with your clients and you can’t scale that to a thousand people. That means that coaches can’t compete on volume. They can only compete on attention and care.

Chris (00:40:22):

All right? So yes, there are people out there in the CrossFit world, people who are CrossFit famous are selling programming and they’re selling skipping ropes for cheap, and they’re getting this large audience to pay for it, but that’s not your best move for three reasons. Number one, they’re selling a commodity. That means downward price pressure. Even if their product is getting sold at 19 bucks right now and they’re making money, a year from now, that’s going to cost nine bucks. Second, their stars are fading by the day, right. Their reach declines every time a new CrossFit Games champion is crowned. If you haven’t won the CrossFit games, it’s going to be harder and harder to sell your advice as a product that scales. And the third is you don’t have an audience to start with. So if you’re CrossFit famous or you’re famous because you are a trainer on the Biggest Loser, or you’re a competitor on Survivor, or you were in the NFL, you can sell something to that audience, but your star is going to fade over time because you’re no longer the world champion or the first round draft pick.

Chris (00:41:23):

OK, we’re going to do this for 30 more years, so we have to build an audience for ourselves. But that’s their plan. OK? Selling a product. Our plan is to be expensive or to be free, not to be in the middle, not to be cheap. That means you give out your knowledge for free, but your coaching is expensive. OK, so Stuart Brand famously said on the one hand, information wants to be expensive because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other. Stewart said that to Steve Wozniak at the first hackers conference in 1984. There was no Facebook, there was no Gmail, there was really no internet back then.

Chris (00:42:14):

But what it means and why it’s relevant today is you can build trust in your audience without asking for anything in return. And trust is the new currency for what we’re about to sell. It means you can be generous to build that trust and it means you can ultimately earn what you deserve. So I’m going to give you two examples of this expensive or free strategy. The two examples are and twobrainbusiness. So started publishing a free workout of the day every single day in 2003. It’s all the information that you need to get fit and healthy. There’s a workout to do. There’s some diet tips. There might even be a link to like a political rant or something else, right? But if you want to become a CrossFit coach, then that’s the most expensive certification on the market. And when the first L1s came out at, you know, I don’t think they were a thousand dollars, but when they reached a thousand dollars a decade ago, they were triple the price of the most expensive certifications back then, which was the NSDA CSCS.

Chris (00:43:20):

And they also required travel. You had to actually show up and be there for more than just a test and they actually required you to demonstrate your knowledge and not just tick boxes on the test. Now, I took the NSCA certification back in like 1994. I showed up. You didn’t talk to anybody. You had a Scantron sheet, whatever it costs, 250 bucks. We thought that was expensive. Then CrossFit came along, made the price of an L1 way more expensive, costly in time and social risk because you might fail in front of people when you’re demonstrating and from a price point, but it was way better. So if you want to be a CrossFit certified coach now, that’s expensive. CrossFit, but they don’t sell the knowledge. Information is the tool and informed audience is the advantage. You all took the L1, everybody listening to this podcast, thousands of people took the L1 because of the free knowledge that built your trust and your esteem in the brand and your desire to become a CrossFit coach. Let’s look at We’ve published free information every single day since 2013 when I started don’t There’s a huge amount, over a thousand blog posts on alone. I also publish on and I have a monthly column on elite FTS, like medium. LinkedIn, there’s a lot of content, our YouTube channel.

Chris (00:44:48):

But if you want mentorship where the most expensive, at least I hope we are, as an actual mentorship company in the fitness industry. We don’t sell information. Information is our tool. Information builds trust, an informed audience makes our entire industry better. Informed audience is also our best friend because when people have read our stuff, read my books before they book that free call, before they go through the incubator, then they understand the concepts, but also the ethos of Two-Brain Business. That also keeps the wrong people out. Can you imagine what our Two-Brain Business growth group would look like if there was like, you know, five negative condescending attacking people in there? It would not be the same. There are zero of those people because we give away the information for free. And the people who who want to be critical, who want to attack, they’re filtered out by that information or they can get all they want from that information.

Chris (00:45:48):

They don’t have to go any further and join the Two-Brain family. All right, so before we get to a publication strategy here, we’re going to get there. I want to give you a few notes on free that might answer some of your questions in advance. So notes on free. First, your free information should still be valuable. Your free information should still be true. If you’re doing a bait and switch marketing promise that doesn’t build value, it erodes value. And finally, your free content doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be consistent. Consistency is still more important than anything else when it comes to publishing free content, building trust in your audience. OK, it’s fine to have a couple of typos. It’s not fine to skip three months. Notes on expensive. The value of your attention is what’s important, not the value of your time.

Chris (00:46:42):

So the more one on one attention you provide, the more expensive your service should be. That’s true even if you’re providing one-on-one attention online, but you spend less time coaching overall. It also means that in a physical gym, group training is your discount option because you’re providing very little one-on-one service to a client in a group training class. Does it still have value? Absolutely. Should you discount your prices further to sell it? No. Group training is the option that you sell for people who cannot afford your highest value service, which is your one on one attention. And finally, my last note on inexpensive is before you can charge what you’re worth, you have to actually be worth it. And so I’ve given you some links here this morning in the Two-Brain Business growth group, I shared a link to a Seth Godin article that talks about value and the example that he gave was two of his books, one of his books took him 10 years to write, working two hours every single day on it. The other book took him like three weeks to write. It just poured out of them. And you know, which book is more valuable? Well, if you look at the market, the market actually likes the second book better. They’re both priced the same. The second book that took him only a few weeks to write has outsold the first book was took them 10 years by like six to one. Now, if you look at price and value, for me, most people will say that Two-Brain Business, the original book, was the most valuable thing that I’ve ever written. Help First took less time, right? Two-Brain Business 2.0 is more tactical. Like you could, technically in my mind, that’s the more valuable book. But I wrote both of those books together in 70 days.

Chris (00:48:28):

They just poured out of me. “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” took almost a year. It cost me $20,000 to have editing and layout and production and all that stuff. It’s probably the best book that I’ve ever written, but it’s very few people’s favorite book. So what’s more valuable? Two-Brain Business, the original book, is more valuable. So here’s the foundation of content marketing, which I learned, and that’s like the free part of this equation from and its editors. Before T Natinon, and now it’s called like T or something. Nobody had ever heard of Dave Tate, John Berardi, the founder of PN, right? This was their first public platform. This is where they built their audience. Before they had started writing free articles on, nobody had heard of them, including me. So I started publishing every single day on Catalyst Fitness in 2005.

Chris (00:49:22):

And then a member said, you’re just like Seth Godin. So I looked up Seth Godin and started reading him. In 2009, I started a little blog about the gym business called don’buy in 2012 I was hired by CrossFit media and invited to their media summit and the ethos of CrossFit media in those days as explained by Tony Budding, was we publish every day. Those were literally the first words that he spoke when we met in San Diego. Same meeting. Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit Inc says, talk to the smart kids and they’ll tell everyone else. So that kind of shaped what I put in my messages. I didn’t worry about writing for everybody anymore. I worried about writing for the industry leaders. And that’s why the industry leaders are the people who are in the growth group right now and in the tinker phase and coming through ramp up.

Chris (00:50:10):

So I think you know the same thing is true if you talk about writing for the caring people, right? If you write for the caring people, those are the people that you attract. And if speaking personally, if we can help gym owners leverage their care better and leverage that care for decades instead of for years, then we can have a meaningful impact on the world. Now that doesn’t mean that we sell mentorship cheaply or that we give it away for free. We don’t. It means that we provide information for free. It means that we share enough secrets to actually help gym owners thrive. Some of those gym owners then use the profit from those secrets or from our free material to pay for mentorship, which is our real service. You’re going to find the same thing in your gym. People will take your free information and they will be use it and they’ll act on it and they will tell it to their friends.

Chris (00:51:00):

They might even copy you and start a fitness blog and they’ll get a little bit fitter. And that is great because an informed, educated audience who’s a little bit fit and interested in taking the next step is your target audience. These are the people who are closest to buying from you. So when you’re producing this content and building this audience, you need to be supportive. You need to understand that people are going to take this information for free and start on their own, but that’s what’s going to prepare them to buy from you in the future. That’s what’s going to prepare them to trust you and that’s also what’s going to stop them from buying from anybody else. Our motto at Catalyst when I started producing content was teach our clients to know more than any other coach in town. That meant that our clients and the people on our email list knew too much about fitness to fall for the stuff that the other guys were selling.

Chris (00:51:56):

They weren’t falling into the trap of the pyramid scheme supplements. They weren’t just going to the gym and doing, you know, chest and triceps day anymore. They were actually trying new things. Maybe they weren’t paying me money yet, but they were paying attention and that meant that they were too smart to fall for all the traps that pulled many of my best future clients away. Does it take a while? Yeah, it does. There’s a reason that I started talking about CrossFit in 2003 and don’tbuyads in 2009. Audience building and trust is a slow play, but it’s the difference between finding the love of your life and getting married to them and using like a onetime dating app to get laid. This is the longterm play and this is actually the best time to start it. So before I get into tactics to start content production, I’m going to take a look and see if we’ve got questions here.

Chris (00:52:50):

So let’s see, questions. I see a few. All right, so Eden’s got one as an example for me, if my husband isn’t on board with nutrition, then it’s a hundred percent harder to stick to my goals. If I’m your client and you can get my husband bought in, I’d be thrilled. Yeah. So you really need to like create that environment in the household too. Especially right now. You know, a lot of your clients are paying attention to you, but their biggest struggle is creating that environment in their household because they are three feet from the carb cupboard all day. Their kids are sleeping later, right? They’re eating breakfast later and that means they’re staying up later at night and you know, they’re getting naps in the afternoon that they didn’t get before. And so if you think about your service as creating the environment for your client to succeed in, then you might be able to prescribe NGPO a little bit easier.

Chris (00:53:43):

You know, or get another client. You can’t sell Zoom classes to two people in the same house. You can’t do it. You can’t say, Hey, your wife is in the screen. Get her out of the screen. She’s got to pay for her own subscription. You can’t do that. What you can say is, I noticed your wife has been paying attention. Why don’t you invite her to do some of these workouts with us? Now, her needs are going to be different from yours, but this is a great starting point for her. And I’ll tell you what, do you mind if I talk to your wife about her nutrition plan? Because it has to overlap with yours and support yours. But it’s not going to be the same as what you need because she has different needs than you do, right?

Chris (00:54:25):

And that’s how you differentiate. That’s how you use affinity marketing online. All right. So if you guys have questions, guys, feel free to post them here. I want to talk about starting to produce content that builds trust in your audience and why this is the best opportunity and prompt you’ll ever have. Use the COVID crisis as a catalyst to produce content. It’s funny that the people who start with Two-Brain are told, you know, produce content and they rarely do it. The people who have been in the Two-Brain family for a long time have tried every other option that we’ve given them and finally come back to this consistent content production. And that’s what’s working to build their audience. So Sharday asks, is it better to be posting free content on your personal page or as your daily weekly Instagram posts?

Chris (00:55:18):

So Sharday we need to talk a little bit about content and your platform and your amplifiers. So your content should live on your website. Think of your website as a boat and you’re in the middle of the ocean and you’re fishing. And your goal is to get as many as many people, as many fish into your boat as possible, and then roll them back to the dock where you can sign them up or sell them. Your boat is your website. OK? Because nobody buys a fitness membership or books a no sweat intro off Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or any social media platform. Those are your amplifiers. Your number one goal on Facebook or Instagram is to get people off Facebook and Instagram and onto your website. So if you think about Facebook and Instagram is like the lures that will bring people to your boat, that’s how you use them.

Chris (00:56:13):

So look at what we do and follow our model. We publish on our blog, we post links to that blog on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, everywhere that you can think of. We also have a net because our lures, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, will bring people close to the boat, but it might not convince them to come aboard or we might not be able to land them. And so our net is our email list and our email list is just basically we give people free things that will help them. They sign up to hear more from us and then we send them our a copy of our blog every day because they might not see it on social or they might not be coming on our website every day. That net reinforces our message and gets it right into their inbox.

Chris (00:57:04):

So hopefully that answers the question. Post your free content on your website, share your free content on social. If you’re more comfortable in front of a camera, you can use YouTube if you want to. But again, YouTube should link people back to your website and that can be a hard jump to make. Nobody in the fitness industry makes a living on YouTube. They might be selling workouts or subscriptions or something on YouTube, but people have to go to their website to pay for it. If you’re selling ads on Facebook because or on YouTube because you’ve built a massive audience, you might make dozens of dollars doing that. But the bottom line is you have to get people back to your website to sign up. OK. And if you go into the audience building highway on the Two-Brain roadmap in the very first section, maybe in the second milestone, you will download our very specific social media playbook.

Chris (00:57:59):

And that’s very step by step. OK. And the first page in big red letters says your number one goal on social media is to get people off social media and onto your website. OK, thanks. Andrew says exactly. We’ve been posting Monday to Friday for the last year. Blog is on the website and then share it through Instagram feed, Instagram stories, Facebook feed and email list. Perfect. I’ll tell you exactly what we do at Two-Brain. So I write, you know, usually about two weeks in advance. Warkentin would love it if I did it three weeks in advance. And then, those are saved his blog posts, he cleans them up and edits them and Tiffy adds graphics. I record them or parts of them for YouTube. And then when they’re published, the links to those things are shared on Facebook, Facebook stories, Instagram, Instagram stories, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah by our media team. You can do this yourself. We have an editorial calendar that we follow through. Through the COVID crisis. The strategy is exactly the same. Tactically, it was sped up because things were happening every two or three hours. That meant we were writing the blog posts like an hour before they were published and that was just due to necessity. Right now, you know, we’re able to plan out in advance. So what do you write about? What do you talk about? Right now you are in more constant contact with your clients one on one than ever before. So I want you to write down, keep, you know, open up a notepad or Apple notes or whatever on your phone, on your laptop, and I want you to start a new note called questions. And what I want you to do is every time a client asks you a question over text, through messenger, through email, over the phone, on LinkedIn, whatever, in your public Facebook group, I want you to write that question down.

Chris (00:59:55):

And then tomorrow I want you to write them the answer. This is what love letters are all about. So pre-COVID, the questions that we would get from gyms is like, what’s my best marketing strategy? How do I get five new clients? How do I keep clients longer? Right? Big broad questions that required three or four posts to answer. During COVID, the questions that we were getting were more, uh, abrupt. You know, man, how does, how’s Chris stay motivated? How’s he not getting depressed? We got that a lot. How do I lead my team? You know, yesterday we got a great question. How do I talk to my clients about these new services that I’m about to offer? This morning I got a fantastic question from Justin about should I start using my personal brand instead of my gym’s brand, right? And when we see these questions, we think about it.

Chris (01:00:47):

We say, who is the best in the world? Or what’s the data say? And then we create a response and that gets posted later. You have an opportunity right now because of all of your extra work, one on one with clients to identify what these top questions are and to post the response. People try to do too much. They try to jump from first date to wedding, you know, and create perfect media. Man. If you go back to don’ and you’d go to the very first posts on our page, they’re crap. Like they don’t even make sense. I’m all over the place chasing different rabbits. I don’t make a good point. Your best blog posts are probably 200 words or less. They answer one question and that’s it. If you find that you need to give a deeper response or this question begs another question, make that a separate blog post.

Chris (01:01:40):

You know, I like to set some time aside each week to really think through a problem. I write the question that I’m trying to ask or answer first. Sometimes I have to answer it in several steps and that’s basically the title of my blog posts. And then I fill in the blanks from there. You know, luckily we have such a massive library of work that I can sometimes lean back to stuff that we’ve previously written. Like this week, the series that you’ll read is called be expensive or be free. I wrote two of the blog posts and I modified a previous blog post for the third one. Eventually you’ll get to that point. And Andrea asks, how often do you dust off old posts and republish? Not as often as I should. The thing is, Andrea, like sometimes I forget stuff that I’ve already written about.

Chris (01:02:36):

Or sometimes like the answer needs to be updated, but in the gym those answers don’t actually change. Do they? Like the pendulum of fashion in the fitness industry swings left and right, but the answers don’t really change. And so if you’ve written a good answer one time, you can republish that several times. One of the best practices if you read blogs like HubSpot is to update your best post from before each year. So for example, HubSpot might come out with like top 10 CRM software for the health care industry, 2019, and then what they’ll do is they’ll pull that article up again in 2020, they’ll revisit it. They might write a new intro and they’ll change the title of 2020 and they republish. Right? One of my most popular blog posts of all time is how to sublease your space. I wrote that three years ago.

Chris (01:03:32):

There’s a very simple equation we share that publicly. It’s also in our modules. I haven’t had to update that, but if I wanted to, what I could do is reopen that and say how to sublease your space after the COVID crisis. How does this help you? If you’re writing for your gym and you’ve written stuff before, you’ve done a video before, you’ve made a good post before talking about like the plate method for eating. You could republish that as like how to stick to the plate method during COVID or how to stay on track with your eating during COVID and reference the previous material. The thing is like, you will get tired of your own voice and you’ll get tired of these messages long before your clients will. So you need to take that same message and repeat it. You might tweak it a bit.

Chris (01:04:21):

You might put it on a different platform like YouTube instead of your blog. But the bottom line is like nobody reads everything that you write. Nobody hears everything that you say. Nobody is dipping into your back catalog. Nobody’s listening to all your previous podcasts. The best thing that you can do is repeat your key messages at least every quarter. All right. And, honestly, like this is what we try to do too. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked about the prescriptive model on our podcast, in our blog and on YouTube. It’s not enough to just have that information out there today. We talked about the prescriptive model and goal reviews and affinity marketing stuff that I’ve literally written books about, but now it’s more relevant and we could reframe it as how to use that during the COVID crisis to help your business and why it’s more relevant again too.

Chris (01:05:15):

Alright, Elsbeth asks, what you suggest is a good strategy to manage consistency. I like offering free content because it’s free. No one complains, but on the flip side I get lazy and struggld to be consistent. I’m going to share with you, OK. For the first time ever, I’m going to draw back the curtain here. OK? And I’m going to share with you my actual tool. This is what I do and this is what I’ve been doing since 2009 maybe. OK. This is 750 OK. Now I did cut and paste some stuff here to get myself started, so I was doing some blog post editing this morning. I cut and pasted some of my edits here to get going. This is an old Ernest Hemingway trick. What Hemingway would do is he would stop writing in the middle of a sentence on one day.

Chris (01:06:04):

So the next day all he had to do to get going was finish the sentence. And that kind of greased the wheels for him. What I do if I’m struggling to get going in the morning is I will look at like, a previous blog post, make a couple of edits, and then actually cut and paste my edits in here. And then what you’ll see at the bottom of the screen here is my word count. So that’s what I’m at today. You can see that it was saved just basically right before I started this podcast is webinar. And you can also see my history, right? So here’s the days when I hit 750 words, and here’s the days of when I hit 449 words, you know, and here’s the days that I skipped. My best streak of this was almost two full years, but I’ve been keeping track of this stuff, you know, daily.

Chris (01:06:53):

And what you see if you went back through all my days here is now at first the most important thing for me was showing up and typing something and getting the little X, doing 750 words no matter what because that built consistency, right? Seth Godin says there’s no such thing as writer’s block. Just like there’s no such thing as plumber’s block. A writer shows up every single day and writes and it’s 750 words and that’s it. It might be crap. He might never open it up again. It doesn’t matter. They show up and write, there is no such thing as writer’s block. You might have a stretch where you’re not writing anything good, but those stretches will get shorter the more often you write, right? So just keep a diary. All the best writers in history kept a diary. So that’s where you start.

Chris (01:07:41):

What I find write now though is I will have bigger questions to think about than ever before. Justin gave me a huge question to think about today using personal branding versus gym branding. And so I’m not gonna write anything about that for a few days. I’m going to talk to a few contacts that I have in the industry. I’m going to think about it on a couple of bike rides, I’m going to think about it while I’m doing my flow state exercise, like cutting wood, but then once I feel confident in here’s the answer or here’s the direction that you need to go, I’m going to write a lot. And what you’ll see on some of those days, especially Sundays, is like 3000 words, 10 pages of written notes and that’s because I’m ready to write about that. Brand new content producers, that’s not going to work for them.

Chris (01:08:29):

They’re not going to be able to do a week’s worth of content on a Sunday. That’s not going to happen because you’re looking at the blank page and you’re like, how am I going to write 10 pages here? That’s why the essay writing assignments and stuff that we get in high school, they’re counterproductive. They teach kids like that writing is painful and it’s hard and you have to be focused for hours at a time and you have to stay up all night and you know, that sucks. Just like reading should be fun. And you teach people to make reading fun by reading whatever you want, including comic books. Writing should be fun. And you should teach people to write consistently by teaching them to write whatever they want. Write a rant. You know, you want to write a political rant about how your governor should not be locking down gyms?

Chris (01:09:14):

Fantastic. Do it on 750 Write it on a piece of paper. Don’t mail it, you know, don’t post it on your social profile. We haven’t talked about today is like the dark side of publishing content, which is you’re on a platform, you’ve worked really, really hard to build an audience to stand in the spotlight and you can use that spotlight to erode trust, right? Like if that spotlight reveals core values and character, if you let it. The interesting thing that happened to me this week was I was invited to speak at two political meetings for two political parties who are completely opposite of one another. One’s very, very conservative. One is very, very, like socialist in Canada. And I got invited to both because neither party had any idea what my political beliefs are. And I doubt anybody here knows that either.

Chris (01:10:10):

Right? So I don’t talk about politics or religion on my business platform because that’s not what it’s for. When you become a business owner, you have to understand it like your personal platforms of Facebook and Instagram, those become your business platforms, right? At first in the founder phase, you are your brand. And so if you’re doing things on that platform that makes people go, what? Or ew or I can’t believe that he believes that, or wow, that guy’s a staunch Democrat, staunch Republican. I’m not that. You’re hurting your business. And you know, the second you open a business, you become a public figure and you have to be aware of the content and the messaging that you’re putting out. You know, a big mistake that I see a lot of people using right now is they’re using their business platform as a political platform and that’s going to hurt them down the road.

Chris (01:11:02):

Unfortunately, it’s probably going to mean that their business platform goes away. All right, Brandy says, I love 750 words. Been doing it almost two years since you recommended. I’ve been able to go back and build blogs from these. I was initially hesitant to buy in and pay, but worth every penny and then some. Yeah, I mean, Brandy, I don’t know why you pay for 750 words. I’ve been using it for a decade. I think I pay $4 a month and I honestly think that like, that’s free. I don’t even know if you have to pay them, but it’s worth it, you know? OK. Next. Final question is where should I publish? You know, should I write a blog? I don’t like writing. Should I do a video? I don’t like video. The answer is that whatever makes you most comfortable or whatever is easiest for you to produce is the answer.

Chris (01:11:54):

A second ago, I said that the way you teach kids to love reading as you let them read whatever they want, including comic books. The way you teach yourself to love the writing or producing content is you do it in the easiest possible way. Don’t worry about what’s best. Don’t worry about you know what gets the best SEO or whatever. Do it in the way that’s easiest for you. If you find that you’re really relaxed with somebody standing in front of you, ask you a question and you can confidently answer, then do video. You know, pretend that I just asked you a question or get together with somebody else in Two-Brain and interview each other, right? Record the answers that you give and that can become your content. Post those things on YouTube first if you want to, and then just take the transcript of what you said.

Chris (01:12:41):

This costs about two bucks and post that on your blog. That’s all you have to do. If you like writing, if you like responding to emails better or texting, then by all means just copy and paste your responses to people in your blog. I mean, some of you know that I do this, some of you write me these very thoughtful emails. OK? And I’m like, Jennifer Worth, man, we had such an amazing conversation about unraveling the ball of yarn the week before last that turned into like three blog posts and you’ll see those in the future. How do I start those blog posts? I take my email responses to you and I treat those as the seeds and I copy those responses into 750 words or onto a blank word doc. And then I say, what if Jennifer didn’t know me? Right?

Chris (01:13:31):

So I removed the really familiar language and the references to your gym and your business and I generalize them a little bit and that becomes a blog post. So for me, answering questions just gives me amazing prompts and there are weeks that go by when I get so many good questions that I don’t have to think about topics. When I’m not sure what to write about and I really have to go looking for topics, it would be nice if that day came soon again, when this state of emergency has passed us, what I do is I go into our Facebook groups and I say, what do the people that I care about the most care about the most right now? What are they questions about? Sometimes I’ll see them asking questions and think, man, I answered that question back in 2012 or I answered that question two weeks ago and I might even share a blog post with them.

Chris (01:14:21):

But that prompts me to say, I haven’t written enough about this. I haven’t talked about this in the right way. I haven’t told a story that helps this message stick with them. And so I’ll start over and I’ll redo that content again. I’ll give you a great example guys. Back when I wrote the original Two-Brain Business, I wrote about the 4/9ths model and I talked about it like math, but I didn’t tell people how to present it and I didn’t put it in a context or tell a good story around it that made it easy to understand if you’ve just gone through ramp up, like you know, Amanda Chase is paying attention here. She heard me talk about 4/9ths back in 2013. When she went through ramp up this time she heard about the salary cap and also how to understand the math, but why it was important and how to present it to other people talking about dollars instead of percentages because that’s such a big topic and it’s so important.

Chris (01:15:19):

It’s like you’re carving a statue out of marble and every once in a while you got to go back to the statue and knock another edge off of it because that creates a clearer, more beautiful picture that’s simpler for people to understand. OK, so the key to creating content I think for gym owners is number one, don’t try to be perfect. Number two, find the thing that’s easiest for you to do. Number three, find a partner. Let somebody interview you. You know, like Leslie is in this group, three or four years ago on we had a 30 day content challenge. She actually won that challenge. You know, she can probably provide some more tips here too. But for you, if you’re struggling to make content, here’s what I would do. I would find a partner in the Two-Brain Business growth group.

Chris (01:16:08):

I would text them every single day one question that they should answer through content. OK. What would you say if a client asks you this, ask them to do the same for you. Write out the answer in a text if you want to or shoot a little video, send it back to them and it take that as the seed for your content and build a larger message around it. Explain yourself a bit more. Add in the elements that you’d have to add in if you weren’t talking to another coach or gym owner, and then post that on your blog. Show that blog post on Instagram, on Facebook. Right now, as you move toward a higher value service, I’m going to try and bring us back to this NGPO and presenting it to your clients again, the most important thing that you can do is to build trust and affinity with your audience.

Chris (01:16:54):

That’s it. It’s not the secret Facebook ad strategy. It’s nothing except for that build trust and authority. People are scared right now. They’re still nervous. As a leader, the greatest thing that you can do is show them that they can trust you, build affinity with your audience. And so if that means paying somebody to take on one more class a day while you build content, it’s worth it. That’s the best investment you can make. It’s not a short term play. You are not going to say, if I invest $12 paying somebody to take a cleaning for an hour so that I can write content, what’s my ROI on that going to be? It’s more like a college education. You don’t look at the ROI of a college education because a college education opens the door for you. And that’s what content creation does. Opens the door. It opens the mind, it opens the heart. Talk to the smart kids, talk to the kids who care the most. Ask them, how can I serve you? Tell them the answer to their most vexing problems, build trust in your audience. And as my mentor Todd Herman says, if you know how to build an audience, you are set for life. Thanks everybody. Thanks for spending an extra 20 minutes with me today. This is a huge, huge topic and we’ll answer more questions in our private Facebook group.

Andrew (01:18:14):

This is Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to visit and click COVID-19 at the top. On that page, you’ll find the things the best gyms are using to survive the COVID crisis. If you need some guidance, visit today.


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

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Steph Hammerman: Inspiration Is the Spark, Motivation Is the Fire

Steph Hammerman: Inspiration Is the Spark, Motivation Is the Fire

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I speak with adaptive CrossFit athlete Steph Hammerman. The Two-Brain Radio archives are full of great shows you might have missed. We’ve got amazing stories from the community, sales and marketing tips, and the best of the business world all delivered in three shows every week. So to the stay in the loop, subscribe to Two-Brain Radio wherever you get your podcasts. Steph Hammerman is one of the most well known adaptive athletes on the CrossFit landscape. She is the first Level 2 coach with cerebral palsy. She is a cancer survivor and has completed a hand-cycle marathon. She also owns Hammer Driven Fitness in North Carolina. To call her a fighter would probably be an understatement. We talk about growing up with cerebral palsy, how she started to and continues today to use her voice to advocate for others, how she got into CrossFit and why the societal perception of adaptive athletes still has a long way to go. Thanks for listening everyone. Steph, thank you so much for doing this today. How are you dealing with this kind of new normal that’s going on right now?

Steph (01:11):

Hi Sean, it’s so awesome to be here and thanks so much for asking me. This new normal is definitely interesting. I own an affiliate in Knightdale, North Carolina. We’re CrossFit HDF, excuse me, also known as Hammer Driven Fitness. So obviously we’re shut down like the rest of the world, but we’re using technology to the best of our ability and taking as much advantage as possible. We’re running classes daily, trying to keep people involved and you know, I think it’s really cool because not only are you bringing your community together, we’ve also talked about opening it up to the entire world. And while some may think that it’s risky, I think it’s been paying off and it’s been a lot of fun.

Sean (01:58):

You obviously have a lot to deal with when you’re running an affiliate. I’m just curious when things get back to normal, what are your intentions with keeping around what you’re doing right now as far as the online stuff is going?

Steph (02:11):

Yeah. So I mean, I don’t hundred percent have an answer what that’s going to look like because we don’t know the exact timeframe of when we’re going back to normal, but we’re trying to build it out to a point of maybe giving somebody an option, whether it’s daily or you know, three times a week. I’m not really sure what that’s gonna look like, but you know, there is a reality of the fact that some people might not feel comfortable right away going back into the affiliate and you have to be ready for that. You know, it’s definitely hit hard, but at the end of the day you kind of have to roll with the punches and I think that’s what we’re planning on doing. Yeah. Yeah.

Sean (02:50):

When you were born, I’m going way back here, you said that doctors told your parents that you would never read, speak or write because of cerebral palsy. How did your mom and dad react to that?

Steph (03:02):

You know, it’s interesting. I was actually just talking to my mom today, because I’ve done something pretty cool. I actually signed a book deal this morning.

Sean (03:11):

Oh, congratulations!

Steph (03:11):

Thank you. And so I’m working on that, but I was talking to my mom about it and, you know, there’s different ways that people can react and I’m very, very grateful for the amount of resources that my family was able to have access to. I think, you know, I’m not in their heads and you know, I don’t think we’ve ever really had a deep conversation about it, but I’m sure it was scary at the time. But I also have a twin brother that’s completely able bodied and an older brother that’s able bodied and a younger sister. So they kind of never really treated me any differently. I think that’s what made it the best was that I was treated like anybody else in my family, whether it was good, bad, whatever, in between, you just kind of lived your life. And so I’ve always lived like this very quote unquote normal life. And, I don’t know. I don’t see my life that’s very much different.

Sean (04:11):

What kind of lessons did you take from the fact that you grew up around able-bodied siblings who didn’t treat you any differently?

Steph (04:20):

Yeah. You know, it’s interesting because now that I’m looking at my life, I’m 30 now and I’m actually interacting with more people with different abilities than I ever have in my entire life. And for a long time I kind of stayed away from that reality because I felt like I didn’t want to be boxed in, right. I didn’t want to be friends with somebody just because they used a wheelchair or just because they had cerebral palsy. I certainly didn’t want to date somebody that had a different ability because I felt like that’s what people expected of me and part of my personality is if you say you think I’m going to do something, trust me, I’m going to prove you that I’m going to do the complete opposite. And so I think growing up with able bodied siblings only helped kind of build that fire, build that independence and be able to be where I am right now.

Sean (05:11):

You wrote that at a young age, I found my voice and it was the most powerful tool I would ever acquire and something I never take for granted to this day. What did you mean by that?

Steph (05:23):

You know, there’s some people that live with cerebral palsy that it affects them deeply. And I had one of my really good friends growing up, his name was Brandon and he lived with CP to an extent of the fact that he was actually like kind of trapped in his body. He was brilliant and he was a very attractive person, but he literally couldn’t speak. He didn’t say any words. He really couldn’t use his vocal cords, but he spoke with his eyes. And so from a very young age, I was taught that I was really lucky because I was able to voice what I needed, right? If you asked me something or I needed an accommodation at a very young age, my parents let me kind of fight for myself and advocate for myself. I went to a mainstream school by the time I was six years old, so I was mainstreamed from six years old, all the way to graduating high school and then going to college and really had to kind of fend for myself. So, not to say that I didn’t have resources to help me, but the fact that I was able to speak and was able to speak so well, you know, my parents realized that by the time I was three, I was explaining to people what CP was and they were like, she’s going to be just fine.

Sean (06:41):

You mentioned this before, but you are clearly someone who enjoys proving people wrong. When was the first time that you remember that you actually got enjoyment out of doing something that someone said you couldn’t?

Steph (06:53):

Oh, that’s a really cool question. You know, it’s funny. So I was probably six years old going on seven and I came home from school one day, it was like probably April-ish. And I said to my mom, I’m going to go to camp. And she goes, OK. And when you’re, especially in New York when you go away to sleep-away camp, you go away for eight weeks at a time and you don’t come home. And she’s like, well, what do you mean you’re going to camp? I said, well, I’m going to camp with my friend Jessica, and Jessica was my best friend at the time. And she said, OK, sure. And I was like, no, I’m really serious. So I went to my parents. I told them I wanted to go away to sleep away camp. Nobody in my family had been to sleep away camp.

Steph (07:40):

It was a completely able bodied, mainstream camp. The next thing you know, we had a visit to the camp and I was the first camper to ever use any sort of assistive devices. And that camp I went to for eight years and every bunk that I went to had a little ramp. So you knew where I slept. So to this day, that’s kind of like a little joke, but I think that’s probably when I realized like if I wanted something, I had to fight for it. And one of the rules in our house was if you want to go away and do something, you need to know how to do it either by yourself completely or with minimal assistance or know how to ask for what you want. And so while some of that seems to be like tough, you know, or a tough way to handle that, I think that’s what’s made me so independent was yeah, it was tough growing up and I probably hated it at the time that it was happening, but the best thing to ever happen was me being able to dress myself, me being able to do what I need to do to live this fulfilling life.

Sean (08:48):

You reacting to things the way you did at such a young age is obviously credit to your parents and the support system that you around you. What kind of values did they instill in you that allowed you to be such a fighter so early on.

Steph (09:03):

So I grew up in a very big Jewish family and my parents were not the only like support system, which I feel very lucky to say. My grandparents, especially my grandpa, my grandpa and I are very, very close. There’s like daddy’s girls and then there’s grandpa’s girls and I’m definitely like a grandpa’s girl and he is very successful in his life and he’s always taught all of his grandchildren, you know, there’s 17 of us and from every single one of us he’s taught us the value of hard work and if you want something you need to go after it, but you also need to work for it. And so I think that’s kind of just always been part of our life is, you know, if you want something that’s awesome and it’s really cool to, you know, have dreams and have wishes, but you also need to make a plan of action in order to attain them.

Sean (09:58):

You said that you started advocating for others when you got to college. What type of things were you doing?

Steph (10:05):

So college for most people, when they think about college, they probably think like partying and whatnot. And well, yes, I had a lot of fun with my friends. I was a social butterfly. I always have been. But as soon as I got to college, I started getting involved in everything I could from housing and residence life to community service projects. And I would just do any student activity that I could get involved with. But then my sophomore year of college I sat on the student board for, what do you call it? Like our political board, I forget what you call it. Like an advisory board. And I realized that no one was really talking about things that people with disabilities needed. Like the push buttons on the doors. Like, have you ever been around the whole campus and thought like, why aren’t some of these buttons working?

Steph (11:03):

Like, are people doing maintenance orders on them? And like kind of seemed like an asshole. But like I just needed to do what I felt was right. And so my school was very small. I went to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. And I became very outspoken and I became friendly with the president of the university. And I was like, I think a really good idea would be to stick you in a wheelchair for one week and let me know how you feel. And he looked at me and he said, if you create it, we will do it. And so what I did was I created an entire week of activities or an entire month, I’m sorry, of activities that students could do from fun activities to educational. And in the month of October they did them. And one of those things was going around the campus for an entire week as best you could using a wheelchair.

Steph (12:04):

And that changed a lot of people’s perspective. The president realized he had these big glass doors with like golden handles and he couldn’t get into his own building. And I was like, you know, you say that you want to have an open door policy, but how can you do that when you know some of your students use accessibility devices? And the coolest thing about this university is that they didn’t just do, they listened and they acted. So when he realized that he couldn’t get into his office or that an elevator wasn’t working, the next week, it was fixed. And so part of my job became literally like pressing all the buttons once a month, like making sure I knew where they were and I was the voice of, I guess you’d call like we had a disabilities office, but I was the voice of the students that basically said like, this is what we physically need. And so that was pretty cool.

Sean (13:01):

I’m curious what kind of reactions you got from people. You said that it changed their perceptions. What were people saying to you after this whole experience?

Steph (13:08):

I think, you know, it was frustrating for some, one of the other things that we did was we created a wheelchair basketball tournament. And so they had a really cool idea about athletics and we had a local basketball team come and play against them, but play from a seated position. So that was really cool. And so people’s reactions were more of out of frustration rather than like feeling bad for me. They were like, man, like this must suck. But at the end of the day, it’s part of my reality. So I don’t really know anything different. I talked to Kevin Ogar about this a lot too and their situations are a little different in the sense that when they were, they weren’t born like this, right? So they had a life beforehand and it was altered completely. And I think the first time I ever had a feeling of what that was like is when I was diagnosed with cancer. Because CP was part of my life and always will be, right. But being diagnosed with cancer then kind of shifted that of how my body’s reacting and how that changes. So I mean, I think people’s reactions are very interesting because I don’t ever let people feel bad for me. So it’s just not my nature.

Sean (14:27):

Yeah. You mentioned getting diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma stage three B.

Steph (14:32):

I didn’t mean to jump around.

Sean (14:34):

Yeah, no, that’s good because I was going to talk about this anyway. That was in 2016. So what was it like for you getting that news?

Steph (14:43):

You know, it’s crazy because I’m one that remembers a lot of things. Ty says I have a memory of an elephant, but it’s actually four years ago this week, my life started to really start to change. Four years ago this week I was actually in Cookeville Tennessee training with Rich and it was the first time we ever started to realize that I might be very sick. I was doing a workout with Chris Henshaw and Rich at the time. We had a couple of cool people there and for some reason I just couldn’t finish this workout that he had asked me to film with them. And I’d done it like so many times. And my fatigue level was just like really, really high. And, little did I know a couple of days later we would start to figure out that I would be diagnosed with cancer.

Steph (15:34):

So it was kinda crazy to be at the fittest point in my life and then realize like, you ain’t so fit homie, like kind of sick, you know? And so I think that was a little, it was very interesting to be in that space. But when the doctor looks at you and says, hi, you know, I’m your doctor and we’re going to fix this. But reality is I’ve never worked with anybody with CP before. My, like, my light bulb went off and I was like, this is an opportunity to educate. And so what I did with the doctor was I was like, listen, I don’t have time for this shit, so we need to figure this out. And so what I did with her for 29 weeks, 29 weeks of treatment, I wrote everything down from how I felt to when I use the restroom to what my temperature was like when I worked out, when I didn’t. And I hope that it makes a difference for at least one person.

Sean (16:32):

Yeah. Seven weeks into your 29-week treatment, your doctor says you’re basically cancer-free. Why do you think you were able to beat it so quickly?

Steph (16:42):

I’ll tell you exactly why. So I remember I had to have a surgery to put my port in and she said, you can’t work out for 11 days, or 10 days. So on the 11th day I went to her office and I showed her a video of me doing a clean, 35, 55 pounds or something like that. And I was like, just watch this. And so I made her watch it and I said, can I go back to doing this? And she said, I don’t know why you’d want to, but sure. I looked at her and I said, this is what’s going to save my life. I said, if you allow me to continue being exactly who I am and allow me to continue doing exactly what I love, I’m going to be just fine. So I had three questions for her when I first met her.

Steph (17:34):

And these were three honest questions. It might make you laugh. But these were real questions. I asked her three things. I said, am I going to die? Am I going to lose my hair and can we still have sex? That’s all I wanted to know, three things I wanted to. And she laughed and we laughed. And I said, listen, if you can tell me the answer to these three things, I’m gonna, you know, I’ll be just fine. So she said, yes, you’re going to lose your hair. No, you’re not going to die and yes, you can still have sex. And I said, OK, then let’s fix it. And I remember going into her office on the seventh week, I’d been training my entire treatment because I’m so grateful for this, but I have a very good relationship with Jason Khalipa. And he was able to connect me with a gym in New York.

Steph (18:20):

And, JP gave me a free membership to the New York Brick gym, which was amazing. And I remember going into her office on the seventh week and she looked at me and she said, I’ve never in my life seen somebody like you before. I said, what? She said, I don’t know, but it’s gone. And I’m like, OK. And I said, so am I done? And she’s like, we have to continue to do treatment. And she said that because I was so physically fit before I got sick, that’s the reason that I was able to fight so much easier and because we stayed so positive throughout the whole thing. So like, I’m not trying to make light of cancer, especially in this time right now. I know people struggle with different things. I know people, you know, might not survive it.

Steph (19:14):

I understand that completely. But coming from a personal perspective, we tried to make it really fun. If you know anything about me and my boyfriend Ty, like we just try to have fun with each other and we looked at it like, like a mini honeymoon in a sense. We’re not married, the world can calm down. Right. But we just started dating and like, we needed to figure out how we were going to make that work. And so we just had fun doing it, you know,

Sean (19:45):

Thirsty for more fitness talk? Every week Two-Brain Radio brings you three new shows filled with inspiring stories and actionable advice. Learn the ins and outs of digital marketing and sales on Mondays. Then join me on Wednesdays to hear from the top athletes, coaches and personalities from the fitness world. On Thursdays, Chris Cooper and other business leaders share their expertise on how to grow your business, solve problems and move closer to wealth. Want to chat? Email with feedback and requests, and don’t forget to subscribe. Now back to Steph Hammerman. I’m sure though that there were some rough times in there when you go through something like that. So how did you deal with them?

Steph (20:29):

So when they tell you that cancer is cumulative, they’re not joking. The more you do treatment, so like I remember my first like three treatments, I was like, I totally got this. This is a breeze. Like I didn’t feel anything. And then you got to like the 10th treatment. And I remember that was probably the first time ever thinking like, I don’t know if I can beat this and I the cancer has already gone, but I didn’t know if my body could handle any more of the medicine. And what people don’t talk about, and I think we need to be talking about more, especially as a woman, is your body changes so much. Some people lose weight, some people gained weight. I gained anywhere from like 50 to 80 pounds like it would fluctuate and my body changed, you know, drastically in just weeks.

Steph (21:20):

So going from being so fit to being and understanding your body to then having no control over how your body is is changing was like, it blew my mind. So I think that’s where I really struggled was mentally just being like, you know, I’m losing my hair. I lost everything on my face, everything on my head. Like it was crazy. And I think mentally going through like, do people think I’m still beautiful? Like how is somebody still gonna love me? Like those were real things. And unfortunately, like, I wish I could kind of go back and tell myself like, it’s all gonna be OK. You know? But during that time, I’m not gonna lie to you. There are some times where you’re just like, is this worth it? You know? Or like why me? I don’t think I ever really asked fully like, why me?

Steph (22:16):

But there were times where I was definitely frustrated and I just wished that like I could stop the medicine from making me feel a certain way. And, you know, I mean, I tried to make the best of it. You would go into chemo and two weeks later you would go again. And so it was just like the cycle, you would have, you know, three days, bad days, and then the rest would be good. And then, you know, it would start all over again. So, you know, it was a little, it was a mind game. Yeah.

Sean (22:43):

What’d you learn about yourself after going through that?

Steph (22:47):

I learned that a lot of people love me. I learned that I am worth it. Which I think was really hard to kind of learn. And I learned that I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. And I think that’s where I started to really think like, what’s next, you know, and like how can I make the most of this situation? Because if I just sat in the chemo room and just like felt sorry for myself, I don’t think I would be sitting here and talking to you.

Sean (23:21):

How did you start your fitness journey?

Steph (23:24):

That’s a really good question. So I’ve always been pretty athletic. When I was a little kid, they had these things called the games for the physically challenged. So it was different from the Special Olympics, but it was called the Empire State Games. And so I’d always been like involved in swimming. Swimming was always like a big part of my life. I used to do some horseback riding and things like that, but as I got older and in my teenage years, I started to kind of like neglect, you know, myself and really what my parents would advise of me. So good luck with that with your son.

Sean (24:03):

Thank you. I was just thinking I’m going to go through that.

Steph (24:07):

But then when I was a sophomore in college, I kind of had this epiphany moment. I saw a picture of myself on Facebook and I was in a sorority at the time and I just didn’t like how I looked. And it wasn’t necessarily that I thought that I was ugly or anything was wrong. It was more like, I just felt like I just didn’t like the way that I physically looked. So I remember giving my grandpa call and saying like, you know, if I could find a trainer, would you help me? Would you help me get this trainer? And he said, as long as you’re going to stick with it, I’ll totally help you. And I did. I ended up working with a trainer for quite some time and he’s the reason that I really started to become an athlete because I remember he looked at me and he said, you’re a beautiful woman, but you need goals.

Steph (24:58):

And I said, OK, well I want to lose, I don’t know what I said, probably like 50 pounds or something like that. And he was like, that’s going to happen. I need like a tangible goal. And I actually went to a race to watch my friend run and he was one of the best runners in South Florida. And I saw these people hop out of their wheelchairs into these bikes and in an able bodied race. And I was like, what are they doing? And little did I know these hand cyclists were real athletes. I didn’t know anything about hand cycling before. And I remember I looked at my trainer cause I was with him and I said, I want to do that. And he’s like, OK, well let’s go talk to them. And little did I know that my grandparents were connected with the head of this organization that did that. So I was like, of course they are.

Steph (25:49):

Of course that would be, right. But I remember telling the head of the organization what I wanted to do and he’s like, OK, what are you waiting for? Get on a bike. And I was like right now? And he’s like, yeah, get on a bike. So I did and I went in the parking lot and he is like, you’re really strong. Your arms are really strong. I think we’re going to sign you up for a marathon. And I was like, wait, what? He’s like, yeah, you can train for a marathon. Right? And so I looked at my trainer and he’s like, yeah, we’re going to train. And yeah, I did, December 4th of 2013 I did my first. Or 2011. Sorry, I did my first full marathon. 26.2 miles on a bike.

Sean (26:30):

That is insane. How did realizing that goal then change you moving forward?

Steph (26:35):

Oh, it was the best thing ever. So that was 2011 and I remember at the end of that race, it was four hours, 34 minutes and 16 seconds and you talk about like a clock and you know CrossFit and a clock, like that clock can read into your soul, like makes you think about things. And I just remember looking down at my hands and my hands were so gross and I looked up at the clock and I’m like, that’s cool, but I think I could do better. And so I had a friend that was coaching CrossFit. We’re going to fast forward to 2012. Had a friend that was coaching CrossFit. And I had told her that I was kind of getting a little tired of the trainer situation. Like I loved him dearly, but I was kind of bored and I wanted something new to do, but I wanted to be a better cyclist.

Steph (27:25):

And she’s like, without hesitation, she was like, come to my gym. I’m going to introduce you to the owner. And I was like, OK. So on May 3rd of 2012 I walked into my first CrossFit gym with my crutches in my hand in my power chair and I met this guy named Turbo, his name’s Scott Lefferts, but everybody calls him Turbo and he owned CrossFit Hardcore, the Garage in Boca Raton and this guy’s straight up from like New York. OK. Like full on like big buff dude looks really intimidating. And I said, hi, I’m Steph. I want to be one of your athletes.

Steph (28:05):

I started the conversation, I told him that I was a hand cyclist but I wanted to improve my times and he had never worked with any adaptive athlete before. And you looked at me and he’s like, you really want to do this? I said, yeah. He said, OK, get on the floor. I’m like OK. I got out of my chair and got on the floor and he’s like, OK, you’re going to get back up. I’m like, OK, I’m going to get back up. It took me like 25 minutes to get back up. And he was like, well that’s a burpee and we’re going to work on it. And I said, OK. And he said, you’re going to come back tomorrow? I said, yep, I’m going to come back tomorrow. And that was the start of my fitness journey.

Sean (28:48):

So what do you think about, what was it about CrossFit that hooked you?

Steph (28:54):

The people. And it’s eight years later now, right? Like it’s so crazy to think, and I really hope that people listening to this understand that, like that’s what still drives the CrossFit community now more than ever. Like you need to forget about the things that make us different, you know, whether you’re a different gym down the street, kind of break those walls back down because the people are what kind of kept me going. It didn’t matter that I used crutches. It didn’t matter how slow my Murph time was. It mattered that I was there and that I was doing it and that people would cheer me on regardless of what I was doing. And I think not to say that people have forgotten about that, I think that it needs to be reminded, is that like community is so much more important than just the fastest Fran time, you know, or going to the CrossFit Games.

Steph (29:55):

Like, yes, I think that’s important, but your average person just wants to be included. And I think that that’s what made this experience and continues to make this experience really special. You know, think about our friendship, right? Like we wouldn’t have become friends if I didn’t open my mouth and say, Hey, I want to know who you are. You know, and having that kind of conversation. I remember when you came to watch me do the mile time on my crutches and you know, you think just, and I’m not trying to take anything away from it, but you think because somebody is like a big name in the community, like you can’t go up and talk to them. Right. And that I threw all that stuff out the window because I just wanted to be around cool people. And I think that’s kind of what makes it different is like people ask me all the time how I make opportunities happen.

Steph (30:52):

And it’s literally I just open my mouth and say like, this is what I want to do. Like, can it be done? And if the answer is no, then the answer is no. But you never know what’s going to happen. If the answer is yes, it could change your life completely.

Sean (31:05):

Why did you think that CrossFit would be a great avenue for adaptive athletes to compete?

Steph (31:12):

You know, I can’t take credit for that. I think what’s really cool is that this community has grown so much, especially in the eight years that I’ve been involved. But I think it just naturally started to grow. You know, you talk about Stoutie, Chris Stoutenberg out in Canada that runs Wheel WOD programming and Kevin and all of our stories kind of intertwined with one another. I think that the adaptive platform is growing. I think that the reason that it works so well is that it can be adapted to anybody that needs anything.

Steph (31:53):

Whether you’re 80 years old or you’re somebody that recently got injured or you have cerebral palsy, there’s something that you can physically do. And I think that’s what’s pretty amazing about it is over time, you know, we started throwing workouts at each other in 2013, 2014 and now those workouts have turned into an entire platform that Stoutie runs every day. And so I think it’s not one person that thought like, Oh, this is going to be a good idea. I think when we were able to, I think it was, yeah, it was 2015, we were able to kind of all get together the core group of us, and kind of realized that there was like magic in a bottle and realize that we all had so many different things that we could offer to the community that, you know, it was important that our voice be heard. And I think, you know, I think Dave Castro, I think Greg Glassman did a great job of kind of letting, just letting our voices be heard and not really stifling it. But I think that it still has a long way to go.

Sean (33:04):

You did your first competition in 2013, I think it was the Crush Games in Miami. What did that experience teach you?

Steph (33:11):

Oh man, that was the coolest experience of my life. Again, that’s one of those experiences where you just, you just ask, right. I met Miko Suna and we’re still friends to this day, actually just messaged with him today and I said to him, I don’t know what I’m doing but I want to show people what I’m doing and I hear about this Crush Games idea and I just want to try it. Just let me know like if you’re willing to do it. And he said yes. And he introduced me to now somebody who’s one of my best friends, his name is Brandon Fullwider. And Brandon was my right hand person and literally just said, anything you need, just tell me your scales. Mike told me the workouts in advance. I scaled them to whatever I needed to be. I wasn’t really in a division.

Steph (34:01):

It was necessarily more like a, like an exhibition kind of thing. But one of the coolest things happened there where Brandon and I got to know each other and he kind of pushed me. He was a really good coach and I wanted to PR my clean. My clean at the time it was like 35 pounds and I would do it from my knees and he was like, I think you could do 40 and I was like, OK. And so at the last minute he ended up putting 42 pounds on the bar and didn’t tell me. And he was like, just try it. I’m like, OK. And I tried it maybe three or four times and Dylan Maletsky was there and Miko Suna had said like Steph the hammer Hammerman or something like that. And I had 10 seconds left and I swear this could probably be on like ESPN top 10 of the week or whatever. I have three seconds left and I made the lift and it was like the coolest experience of my life. Like the whole crowd went wild and I was like, that’s such a cool feeling. And that’s what led me to want to reach out to Guido and really start the ball rolling with, you know, Wadapalooza and creating more of an avenue because that feeling was so cool and I wanted to be able to give that to more people.

Sean (35:16):

Why did you want to become a coach?

Steph (35:19):

I think because people think I couldn’t, like I’m not gonna lie. Like I didn’t know if I could. And I remember I met, um, chef Wallach, David Wallach. And he looked at me and he was like, not only are you going to coach, you’re going to coach for me. And he was the first person to, that I knew of, that actively had adaptive athletes coaching. And I was like, cool. And people ask me like, how I became such a good coach and like, yes, I think it’s such a great compliment. I don’t think I’m the world’s greatest coach. There’s certainly things that I need to learn or need to be better at. But I took my mistakes one at a time and I learned from them, you know, and I think one of the things that makes me relate to people so well is that I just make them believe in themselves. I didn’t make you do double-unders. I didn’t make you do butterfly pull-ups. I didn’t make you do muscle-ups cause I can’t do that. You know, like I just made you really believe in yourself.

Sean (36:22):

What is the biggest challenge that you have when you’re coaching someone who is not an adaptive athlete?

Steph (36:29):

It depends on, now, I’ve gotten a little bit more comfortable, you know, obviously anybody can walk in the door. But especially if they’re coming from complete ground zero, just effectively communicating, realizing what cues might work for somebody and what cues might not. I think one of the coolest challenges that I’ve been given in the last three weeks is I’m working with a deaf athlete. And we’re having to, you know, work on some sign language. I think it’s really important that people not forget that people with disabilities come with all different kinds of different abilities. And you never know who’s going to walk in your door. So I think the most challenging thing for me is just finding what works, whether you’re an adaptive athlete or not, because not all adaptive athletes are the same.

Sean (37:17):

Yeah. You’ve said that societal perception of people with adaptive needs has changed, but it has a long way to go. So where do you think that we still need to make progress?

Steph (37:28):

I think in the CrossFit community it has gotten a lot better because I feel like a lot of us now, we’re putting ourselves out on social media being like, these are things we can do, right? So if myself or Kevin walks into your gym and you’re like, cool, I just want to work out with you guys, I really hope that it starts turning into, you know, instead of it being like, Oh, you’re so inspiring, to man, that’s really cool. Or man, let’s celebrate those real PRs. So I always joke that if you and I worked out together for six months, you would just realize like that’s how Steph works out, right? It would just become normal. And then you would start to understand the scales. So I think societal perception’s always gonna be there. I’m never going to change somebody’s perception if they don’t want it to change. If somebody wants to learn and they’re eager to change and they come to me and they say, how can I make this better? That’s different. But I think, you know, I think societal perception’s always gonna be kind of hanging over us and it’s job to just continually educate the best we can.

Sean (38:39):

How do you feel when people say you’re such an inspiration?

Steph (38:43):

I’ll be honest. It’s a very back and forth feeling because I want you to understand that when somebody tells you you’re inspiring, that’s great, but what did I physically inspire you to do? And so like my joke is, you tell me I’m inspiring, but then you go stick your hands back in a bag of Cheetos and go sit on the couch and watch TV. Did I inspire you to do anything? But when people tell me that I’ve motivated them to do something, that’s creating change. So think about inspiration as the spark and motivation is what creates the fire, right? And this blazing fire of people going to do things and move forward and make a change in their life. So while yes, I understand that a lot of people think it’s inspiring and they gain inspiration, think about the word inspiration. Inspiration has to lead to somewhere. If I’ve inspired you to do something, I’d love to see that end result.

Sean (39:46):

As an adaptive athlete, how do you want people like me to treat you when we see you at our gyms?

Steph (39:54):

Like normal. I don’t know, if I’m talking during class, tell me, stop talking. There’s no reason to treat somebody like a china doll, right? If somebody comes to a CrossFit gym and they’re coming to you and they’re being vulnerable enough to say, I need your help, right? Adaptive athletes don’t necessarily have to be people that use assistive devices. Adaptive athletes can be the guy and the woman that’s coming to you at 500 pounds and needing to save their life. You’re not gonna make somebody that’s 300 plus pounds go and run a mile, you’ll know how to scale that back. So I don’t understand why when you see an assistive device that automatically like goes out the window. And so I would love to see like that correlation kind of be the same. I’m coming to you and saying, I know that you do amazing things and I really need your help. I pay you for your knowledge. Right? I know I don’t pay you to baby me. Right? And so I think if you want it in real terms is I think one of the best things that Stoutie does. One of the best things that Kevin does and a lot of these gym owners do is, OK, we understand what you need. We’re going to meet you where where you are, but we’re also going to push you to a point that you didn’t know you could go.

Sean (41:22):

You always have something going on. You’re always working on something. So what is next for Steph Hammerman?

Steph (41:27):

Right now trying to figure out kind of how we’re going to kind of deal with this crisis. And you know, fortunately I hope it goes away soon. But like I said, I’m really trying to work on bringing a book to life. This has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and hopefully create this new kind of platform for people of all different abilities and you know, show people that fitness, not necessarily just CrossFit, but fitness in general is so important regardless of how old you are or what you look like.

Sean (42:03):

Steph, it’s always a blast talking to you. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and best of luck moving forward and I cannot wait to read your book.

Steph (42:09):

Thanks so much.

Sean (42:10):

I want to thank Steph Hammerman once again for taking the time to join me. If you’d like to follow her on social media. She is on Instagram. You can find her @Stephthehammer. Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Do you want to take the guesswork out of entrepreneurship? We have a ton of free resources to help you do just that. For free access to guides on marketing, retention, buying, selling, and more, visit TwoBrain Thanks for joining us everyone. I’m Sean Woodland and we’ll see you soon.


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

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How to Destroy Your Gym (or Save It) Through Sales in the COVID Crisis

How to Destroy Your Gym (or Save It) Through Sales in the COVID Crisis

Mike (00:02):

In most countries, the fitness industry has been online for more than a month. That means gym owners are selling new services and they can’t do it in person. Jeff Burlingame has talked to hosts of salespeople in the fitness industry and today he’ll tell you what’s working, what’s not and how you can adjust your sales process for the coming months. All that and some sales data right after this. Have you joined the Facebook group Gym Owners United yet? Why not? If you’re looking to rebuild your gym, you need to be in this group. Inside, gym owners from around the world are learning from and supporting each other. You’ll also get daily actionable advice from the one and only Chris Cooper. That group is Gym Owners United on Facebook. For access, be sure to answer all the intake questions. If you don’t, you don’t get in, and you need to be in there. This is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin here with certified Two-Brain mentor, Jeff Burlingame. Today we’re talking about how the sales process for gyms is evolving and it is evolving fast. I can tell you that right off the top. Jeff, you are in Michigan. How you doing?

Jeff (00:56):

Doing good, Mike? Doing good. How are you?

Mike (00:58):

We are doing OK up here in Winnipeg, Canada, and guys for reference, we’re recording this episode on May 7th. Situations are evolving fast, but we’ll have interesting stuff here that you guys can use because whether you’re open now, whether you are going to open, you’re going to need to adjust your sales process. So Jeff, we’ll get right into it and we’ll start talking. How many gym owners and sales people do you think you’ve talked to over the last month?

Jeff (01:23):

I’d say 40 plus, maybe, maybe 50. Not just my own people, but yeah.

Mike (01:32):

So you got a big cross section of people who are selling stuff online right now.

Jeff (01:36):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean we’ve all been forced into that situation, right? So I would consider any gym owner right now, if you’re not selling or trying to sell online, you’re missing the point. I think I’d say the vast majority of people, especially at Two-Brain aren’t doing that.

Mike (01:51):

OK, so we’re going to mine that data set. You’ve got 40 or 50 people that you’ve spoken to, and we’re going to talk to you about what you’ve heard, what we can take from that. So first question here is, you know, in the world, most gyms have been closed for a month or more. Some have reopened and a few, you know, very few never closed at all. But in most places gym owners have had to try and sell online services. And in a lot of cases, they’re doing it on the web only. So, what’s working best out there? What’s not? Like, are there any tire fires we can avoid or any sure-fire home runs, what’s going on right now?

Jeff (02:21):

Yeah, there’s definitely some things we can avoid. So, I mean, I guess, let me just start with like the general situation of here’s kind of what’s going on and hopefully this helps, you know, anybody who’s looking at their numbers going like, what the heck is going on right now? First of all, if you’re not converting a lot of leads in general into, you know, appointments or consultations or what we call it at Two-Brain, no sweat intros, that’s not surprising. And if you’re at a low percentage, maybe less than 25%, I’d actually be, if you were at 25, 20 to 25%, that would be a home run, that would actually be really, really good. So if you’re at that or above, good job, if you’re below that, don’t sweat it.

Mike (03:07):

What’s good in a normal time?

Jeff (03:09):

In a normal time, converting your leads into no sweat intros we’re looking for like 60, 70%.

Mike (03:15):

Yeah. So we’re looking at like, you know, 25, 30% drop here, something like that.

Jeff (03:19):

Oh, easily.

Mike (03:19):

And I think, I mean, I don’t know what your Facebook newsfeed looks like, but I can’t scroll more than about like three posts before I get some sort of online fitness thing. So I think there’s lot of people seeing a lot of stuff on there.

Jeff (03:30):

Yeah. So I mean, that’s just it, right? So that’s part of the problem is that you have moved into a commodity market, whether you like it or not. And a lot of, you know, especially CrossFit gyms, I owned a CrossFit gym for over five years. So I’m with this crowd. But micro gym owners, CrossFit gym owners, you know we like to tout that we are not a commodity, that we sell coaching not access. And what’s happened is our protected little market that was previously not a commodity market has now become such because all of these gyms, all of the gyms have moved online and we have too. So whether our online process is different or not is actually irrelevant in the eyes of the consumer. It looks exactly the same. So imagine if you will walking down a street with a bunch of little micro markets, little stores, you know in a small town they kind of like always look the same.

Jeff (04:24):

You have like your Ben Franklin, like your odds and ends store, you have a craft store, you have a dress store and you know, to the consumer, these are like every single town has the same stores. Well, we’re kind of falling into that situation here where all the gyms look like exactly the same. Like I saw this yesterday, you just said you scrolled through Facebook, you saw four or five ads for gyms. It’s all starting to look the same. So unfortunately we’re getting blurred in with all of these other gyms out there and some are offering valuable services and most are not. And the majority of it’s free and you’re probably offering something that you want people to pay for. So the problem we’re running into right now is we look the same. We’re in a commodity market and consumer trust, this is probably the most important thing, consumer trust is really low. So it’s not surprising when people are not willing to get on the phone with your hop on a Zoom call or pay for your services because there simply isn’t enough trust out there right now. And a lot of that is, well almost all of that is due to the situation that we find ourselves in where it’s not just, you know, the government, but it’s also like other businesses out there and there’s people capitalizing on this by five X-ing the cost of dumbbells and people are getting ripped off and the government is saying we’re going to open up next week, but now it’s two weeks and now it’s three months from now. So we just don’t know who to trust, what to trust, what to listen to, what to pay attention to. And that’s in turn impacting the trust that consumers have in businesses, for example.

Jeff (05:59):

So it’s very hard for them to trust you enough to hop on the phone, to believe it’s real, and if they do get on the phone to commit and pay you for your services. So that’s why I say don’t be surprised if your conversions are low. It’s not necessarily your fault. It’s not that you’re doing anything really wrong or offering a low value service. Please don’t undervalue yourselves or let that hurt you because as I’ve said previously on this podcast, I believe like, being labeled as essential or not essential is hurtful to people when you’re called non-essential, I believe all of you are essential. You know, and it just may not show in this time when people aren’t willing to pay you for your services. And that hurts for sure. I get it. But try not to be offended by it.

Jeff (06:43):

Try to understand the state of the mind of the consumer right now is there’s just no trust and you are in a high trust sales industry. All services are. So, I mean, you wouldn’t hire a general contractor without talking to four or five people that that contractor had worked with before or looking up the reviews. And if the reviews were not five stars, I’m sure you wouldn’t hire a three-star contractor for a kitchen job. Like, yeah, this will go fine. Probably. Or what are those commercials that have been coming out recently where you’re like, yeah, I’m pretty good. Like the surgeon, just got my license back. How are you at surgery? Like, I’m OK. You wouldn’t hire that person. And you know that that’s part of that trust building. You know, understand right now you might have 500 5-star reviews, but the trust is just so low that it almost doesn’t matter. You know, people are just looking for that free stuff because it’s low commitment. There’s no cost, there’s no risk essentially. And they’re willing to make that jump. You’re going to have to do a lot more, a lot more than you have ever done before to get people converted.

Mike (07:52):

So 25% conversion rate to get someone to see your ad and book an appointment is pretty good.

Jeff (07:59):

That would be amazing.

Mike (08:01):

Some are much lower?

Jeff (08:03):

Much lower.

Mike (08:05):

So that’s the first thing guys, do not beat yourselves up right now. If your numbers are not what they were pre-crisis, you’re in a tough market right now. So what are some people doing that’s working and what’s not working? Where do we go with that?

Jeff (08:18):

Yeah, so basically what we’ve learned from this, and you know, I’ve spoken directly to 40 or 50 gym owners, but I’ve also pulled data from many, many more than that. We have several hundred alone that are contributing data and helping us out within the Two-Brain family. And there’s many more outside of Two-Brain as well. So I’m just being a fly on the wall, kind of reading people’s numbers essentially. So what I’ve recognized as far as like trending data is just that low conversion rate from leads, which are cold traffic. Now that doesn’t mean people aren’t selling. They’re definitely selling. Some people are selling a lot, and they’re being very successful. Even in this time. The inconsistent sales are coming from cold traffic. They consistent much higher value sales are coming from a warm traffic. So this is not something new that we’ve spoken about at Two-Brain.

Jeff (09:12):

But you really should be focusing on your warm traffic right now because it’s just gonna be a bigger bang for your buck. And I know you guys are busy out there because now you’re not just coaching classes or running a business, you’re doing all of that on, you know, online on Zoom. Now you’re creating custom programs for people one to one. You’re calling every client you have. You don’t have the time or the energy to really invest into doing a hundred no sweat intros a week to make the numbers work in your favor. And you know, if you’re converting less than 25% of your leads to doing no sweat intros, you kind of have to talk to a hundred people in order to make enough sales in a month to make it worth it. Because guess what? Closing percentages on those are even lower than normal as well.

Jeff (09:54):

Usually 25% or less. Whereas at least from the CrossFit gym or micro gym market, we expect like an 80% plus conversion for sales in the normal market situation.

Mike (10:08):

That’s the 25% of the people that are booking, only 25% of those are actually buying.

Jeff (10:13):

Take that quarter and quarter it again.

Mike (10:17):

We’re running out of stuff to chop up, here.

Jeff (10:17):

It’s rough, because again, consumer trust is low. You’re in high trust sales, so you have everything working against you right now. That’s the problem. Now, that warm traffic though, we are flipping them like crazy. These are the people that your people know, right? So we’re talking about what we call it at Two-Brain affinity marketing, and I’ll be honest, it’s one of those things that it’s hard for a lot of people to grasp. It’s harder for a lot of people to do. So it’s gonna be low energy output, but it’s going to be like high stress and anxiety for you because what it requires is you to ask for help and to ask somebody who’s already paying you to help you more.

Jeff (10:58):

So just kind of ruminate on that for a second. And I believe most of us in this fitness industry, we don’t get into this to get rich and famous and all that. We get into this because we enjoy helping others. We enjoy helping people become healthier, better versions of themselves and to succeed with their wellness. And that’s the reward that we get out of it. Not, you know, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. We get dozens of dollars and we get super psyched about it because we make people happy and healthy and they live longer, better lives. And that emotional impact is what we do this for. So that said, it’s very hard for people like that, the empathetic, awesome people that run microgym businesses to ask for help. We suck at it, myself included. We’re not great at asking for help, especially if somebody is already contributing, maybe in a monetary value like paying for a gym membership. Maybe they’re paying their membership for you through this time when they’re not even getting what they originally signed up for. And now you think I have to turn around and ask this person to bring in three people that they know to sign up and pay me more money. You’re going to feel kind of bad about that. But guys, there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, your members want to do that. Like you got to believe that they want to have a gym when this thing ends.

Mike (12:19):

Yeah, they want to help and we’ve heard. That like we were texting them daily and we’re trying to give them the best service that we possibly can. And what we’re getting back sometimes is them saying, Hey, thanks for the workout. How are you doing? And you know, that’s just like this like punch in the stomach. You’re like, Oh man, that is just such a great thing. Like thank you for your concern. And they’re asking, others are saying, how can we help you? I have an email in my inbox from a member that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. But it’s a marketing idea, and so people are thinking about this stuff and they are trying to find ways. So I can tell you from ground zero where I’m sitting as a gym owner, that is happening and members do want to help. So you are not off base on that at all.

Jeff (12:55):

Yeah, a hundred percent. I’ve heard amazing stories of members paying for 10 memberships, lottery style to just help other members that are in need during the financial crisis if they’ve been laid off or furloughed or whatever. You know, and you know, you could look at the CrossFit support your box competition they put on, they raised $2.7 million and understand none of that, right? None of that went to CrossFit. I don’t believe. I think it all went back to the boxes or like a large majority of it did. But you know, basically reinvested that into CrossFit boxes. So your members would sign up, like they would be open and then they basically just knew they were donating to the box. So if $2.7 million, like if people are willing to do that or they’re paying for other memberships, you gotta believe that they’re willing to bring their friends and family members and loved ones into your business.

Jeff (13:47):

So ultimately what I’m saying here is what is working best is when our gym owners that we’re working with are going to their members and they’re asking a favor, a very big favor, mind you, but it’s just a favor and that favor is they come to them with a very specific offer within our marketing program right now, something we talk a lot about is having an offer, like a 21 day challenge. The reason that 21 day challenge is just because it’s a shorter commitment time frame and we can offer it at a lower cost, not a discounted rate. It’s still value for the service that they’re getting, but a lower cost comparative to personal training or a group membership or something like that. And it’s something that can be done online. So we go to them with very specific offer like the 21 day challenge, and then we give them some action steps.

Jeff (14:38):

We say, Hey member, we’d really appreciate it if you would help us out in this trying time, right? We have this amazing offer. It’s our 21 day challenge and we want to extend it to people that you care and be able to help people that you know, right? So how you could help us is you could pass this along to three people you care about this week. So we have the specific offer, the action steps, and a timeline that we’ve thrown in there as well. So I might send that out on a Monday via email. And I recommend this, host a Facebook live within my private members group. I might do a video for just my members. None of this is public facing. This is going straight to my members. And in all of that, be your authentic self. Be you know, be a little vulnerable, be a little transparent, not very transparent.

Mike (15:37):

The sky is falling, we’re screwed unless you help us.

Jeff (15:37):

We’re going to close unless you share this, right. We’re not doing that. Just say, Hey, times are tough. We want this thing to open back up as much as you guys do. Here’s one way that you can help, and just be a little vulnerable, a little transparent and extend that, you know, obviously very direct, very concise. Offer an action step with a timeline on it. And we’re seeing that work now. It doesn’t always work and it definitely doesn’t always work the first try. So if you do this and you say, Hey, Jeff, nobody responded to that. All I would say to you is send it again and again and again and again and just keep sending it. Because although a lot of people are at home alone doing nothing right now or with their family doing nothing right now and just like ticking away the hours until quarantine ends, it doesn’t mean that they’re just constantly answering emails and responding to texts.

Jeff (16:29):

Oftentimes we’ll see it, ignore it, do something else, get distracted in some way or another. Attention is, you know, it’s a fleeting thing right now. So if they don’t respond, don’t take it personally, send it again and try to find what we call like a cadence here where you can send it once every five days for example, or once every single Monday in a different format. You send it via video, email, Facebook live, whatever. You know, we’re not just hammering them in the face with this, we’ll also show appreciation. So what I’d also recommend is just second, third time you do it, if a few people have sent it out, we show appreciation to them. Hey, to all you guys that have already shared this 21-day challenge with your friends and family members, you’re so awesome. We’re so appreciative of that.

Jeff (17:16):

Thank you so much. And what you’ll find is your late adopters will see that. They’ll go, Oh, people are sending this out. I guess I could do that too. And all of a sudden they start sending it out too. So we can really reach a larger audience.

Mike (17:30):

We’re not asking for them to volunteer their friends to be, you know, the targets in a crotch-kicking contest, right? Like this is not just charity.

Jeff (17:39):

Volunteer as tribute.

Mike (17:39):

You’re not asking for that. This is actually, we’re asking them to help us by doing the marketing essentially and helping and connecting us to their friends who can potentially use this service, which again, health and fitness is a really valuable thing and we can always, everyone knows someone who could use more of that. Someone who could get off the couch, lose some weight, become more active, get stronger, whatever it is. We’re not asking these people for charity, we’re asking them to just put a valuable service that we’ve created based on the current situation, put it in front of our friends and give us an endorsement and say, Hey, think about this. Right? So we’re not, it’s not going to be—it pains us as gym owners to ask, but we’re ultimately not asking for like a free hundred dollars. We’re just asking for like, could you serve this over to your friends?

Jeff (18:25):

Yeah, a hundred percent and you’ve got to keep in mind too, like your, your mission, your vision of helping others live a healthier lifestyle, this connects directly to that because there are people that do not know about you yet, that are out there, but are connected to you by a member that you already have, that’s paying you for your service and believes in what you guys are offering. And this person may be struggling right now. They’re likely struggling right now. There’s a reason that there’s a phrase going around called the quarantine 19, which is essentially putting on 19 pounds during quarantine. It’s kind of like the freshmen 15, if you will. But yeah, it’s just, you know, we’re at home, man. What else are you going to do if you don’t have fitness or a healthy mindset going on right now, you’re probably eating the ice cream, drinking the beers, doing something unhealthy because boredom is like one of the number one reasons and stress, which is very high right now, that people will overeat, over drink, things like that.

Mike (19:25):

I’m bored in the house and I’m in the house bored.

Jeff (19:25):

A song came out of this, exactly.

Mike (19:28):

It’s a movement now, dude.

Mike (19:31):

And then the other thing, yeah. And the other thing is that as research and science is getting its head around the whole pandemic, there are articles and studies that are coming out that are starting to suggest that fitter people are more equipped to deal with this. And they have, you know, they avoid the daily deadly complications of COVID-19 so as people start to see that stuff, there are people that are going to be out there saying, man, I don’t want to die and I don’t want to get sick. And if I do get sick I want to come through it. And fitness might be a good way to do that. Now again in fitness, this is not the cure all for everything and it’s not going to prevent this thing. But they are suggesting that people who are fitter are probably going to have an easier time getting through this. So as that happens, maybe this is just the time for a friend, one of your clients to say to a friend, Hey are you interested this and that friend might be like, yeah dammit I am right now. Really interested cause I’m scared.

Jeff (20:21):

Yeah a hundred percent. And yeah, it’s on their minds for sure. And and like it’s funny, I’ve been doing our workouts in like our driveway, my wife and I, and people will kind of like go strolling by cause everybody’s still like out walking. I mean you gotta get out of the house, you gotta do something, weather’s getting nicer. OK cool. So they’re walking their kids, walking their dog and I can’t count like the number of times people have stopped at the end of the driveway and have either said A, you know, kind of clap real quick and say Hey, good for you guys and then keep walking by or just stop with their phone and like record what we’re doing. I’m like, yo, you can do this too man. Just go to your own driveway and do it.

Mike (21:00):

Call the guys at Friction CrossFit. It’s funny cause that’s what was happening. I remember talking to Greg Amundson, the original fire breather back in the day from Greg Glassman’s original gym. And he told me, he’s like, what we used to do is we would just go out and we would just start doing outdoor workouts with like a sign CrossFit Santa Cruz or whatever the name of the gym was at the time. And inevitably, especially at that point, cause we’re talking like this was old school, like, you know, probably ’05, ’06 kind of thing. People would see this crazy stuff going on that wasn’t bodybuilding and these totally amazingly fit people doing the thing. And they just walk over and he was like, what are you doing? Hey, it’s called CrossFit. And all of a sudden that movement spread around the world to the tune of like 14, 15,000 gyms or whatever it is. So you’re marketing right now for someone whether you know it or not, if you’re outside.

Jeff (21:49):

Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Mike (21:50):

Or maybe you’re just powerlifting. I don’t know what you’re doing.

Jeff (21:59):

Like if you’re using any weight implements or whatever. Like I built my wife a pull-up rig for mother’s day. And it’s battle tested. You can do muscle-ups on it and stuff. It’s pretty gnarly. It took me a long, long time and I worked really hard on it. But she loves it. And so I’m doing that like in our driveway, we’re doing pull-ups, muscle-ups, we got barbells which we somehow got from Rogue. I mean, good luck to you guys if you’re trying to buy equipment right now, we’ve been just fighting for it. It’s crazy. It’s like a, you know, a rare product release at this point. When you get it, you’re like, yes! We just got some plates and stuff too. So we’re doing that crazy stuff in the driveway and that’s part of why they’re stopping. But it’s on people’s mind right now is my point.

Mike (22:41):

So, so that’s the thing. That’s what’s working is using your warm traffic and the people that are closest to you, your current members who know, like, and trust you, you’re using them to get to their friends. So that’s working and it’s working a heck of a lot better than trying to deal with cold leads. You can still do that of course, but your success rates are going to be lower and you’re not going to sell as much stuff to people who do book appointments. Is there anything that’s just like tire fire, ground zero, apocalypse now kind of stuff that we just want to avoid that is like, we guarantee this will not work. Have you had anything like that?

Jeff (23:15):

Tire fire. I wouldn’t say there’s anything that’ well, all right. Yes, I would. OK. So yeah, if you want to avoid the death of a business right now, do not, do not, absolutely, you need to resist the urge to do a fire sale. Like do not sell all your stuff. Do not sell all your equipment unless you intend to go completely out of business. Cause you can’t buy anything right now. So the moment you get the ability to reopen, you will have zero equipment. So people will go from doing push-ups and squats and lunges in their living room to doing it in your warehouse. And that’s not very valuable. And don’t fire sale your service either. So don’t resist the urge to sell a one year, two year, three year special deal just so you can like pay some bills. I get it. If you’re struggling to get your PPP loan for our US guys and the EIDL or was it the CEBA in Canada?

Mike (24:09):

Oh man, I think that’s it, we’ve applied for all of them. So there’s a payroll, there’s a version of the payroll protection program. There’s a emergency response benefit. I think there is the CEBA one that you talked about. So it’s all you apply for all the acronyms that you qualify for.

Jeff (24:21):

I totally get hustling to get the cash. I understand there are better business moves that you need to make, and and selling all your stuff and all your services for super cheap is not a good business move. You will go out of business. You might survive, you might limp along after this thing for maybe six to 12 months. But it’s just all around not a good idea. And if you’re not sure what move to make, I mean there’s more than a thousand things we should probably talk about on this podcast that we don’t have time for, so you should probably just talk to a business mentor and figure out what that next right move is. But yeah, if there’s anything I’d say do avoid, it’s that don’t fire sale it; you will struggle if not immediately after that.

Mike (25:02):

Have you seen that or talked to anyone out of it?

Jeff (25:03):

Oh yeah.

Mike (25:04):

So that’s on people’s minds right now is just desperate measures and desperate times.

Jeff (25:09):

Yeah, a hundred percent because it seems like the go-to move, it’s, oh, I’ll just say, Hey members, you can pay me monthly or you can pay up front for three years and I’ll give you this mad discount and it’s going to give us cashflow and it’s going to be great. But you know, without the monthly cashflow, once you come out of this, you’re still going to struggle. Like that’s a temporary fix. I mean, yeah, just avoid it.

Mike (25:31):

I’ve seen a few things similar where, I mean it wasn’t the same thing, but I’ve seen like a couple of places where within, you know, it seems like days or weeks of closing, there were like T-shirt campaigns and Gofundme campaigns and things like that and that kind of made me nervous because that was right away. Like at least they’re selling something. But man, like if you lean on your community for a Gofundme campaign in the first two weeks, what happens when it gets worse? You know, like that was my real concern because I don’t want to see a single gym go under. So you know, selling gear, man that’s like giving away your tools if you’re a mechanic, you know, you kind of lose the ability to do some of your service at that point. Just like you said.

Jeff (26:09):

Yeah, a hundred percent and maybe some of them intend to upgrade the gear, but again, you’re not going to be able to buy a lot of this stuff for quite a while. The market is dry. Manufacturing is way down if not off at most organizations. I think, you know Rogue fitness is running a bare-bones skeleton crew right now and every day we, like my wife and I are trying to build our home gym right now, but we’re just checking at like 9:30 AM like what popped up and we’re just struggling to get stuff. So best of luck to you if that’s your plan, it’s going to be real hard. But the Gofundme is good point, man. Like do the affinity marketing. The affinity marketing at the very least it’s helping impact others’ health and wellness. That has a much broader, that’s a much broader stroke to take on and I believe it’s going to look a lot better for your organization, your brand as well than hey guys, we’re struggling. Can you give me money? Like everybody’s struggling right now. Yeah, exactly. GoFundme is, man, it’s tough. It’s tough. There’s better ways to make money and raise money for sure.

Mike (27:12):

And we heard the Les Mills chain in New Zealand essentially, you know, they didn’t do a Gofundme but they essentially just appealed to the members to like pay us anyway, you know, and they weren’t, they weren’t offering, they were still offering like free online stuff. They weren’t offering anything special for their members. So it’s like you and I could go do one of these classes and we’re not a member, we’re not paying. Whereas their members get the same free classes and then they were asking them to pay and I get it. Like you know, these are desperate times, you take those measures. But man that sounded like a bit of a tough one for me where if I was a member I’m like I don’t know, and I’m not sure if I want to do that. And that’s why the, you know, the Two-Brain principle has always been to pivot.

Mike (27:47):

Offer a super valuable, high touch, customized service right off the bat, get online and do that as opposed to running free classes or even paid classes. It’s that high touch coaching that we’re selling. And guys, if you’re listening and you are struggling and you want to talk to a mentor, we have that service available and you can book a call, a free call with one of our experts If you click on that page, you will find that link and you can come talk to one of us and see if mentorship is right for you because we do have a plan to get out of this thing. We’re rolling all that stuff also in Gym Owners United. So if you are not looking to book a call just yet, get in that Facebook group and you will see tons and tons of info from guys like Jeff and of course Chris Cooper, who’s got all the data in the world to share with you. Speaking of data, you talked a little bit about some of these, you know, close rates and conversion rates. Is there any other data that we have that we want to talk about or did we cover it in the first part?

Jeff (28:39):

Yeah, I mean probably, I don’t have the full data on this, but we’re seeing with a lot of gyms like cancellations and holds versus added members. So being that we’re talking about sales today, I’ll just focus on the sales aspect of this. Brand new added members on average right now, it’s pretty low, which makes sense based on what we’re talking about and that, you know, if they’re not practicing affinity marketing, some of the, you know, focusing on the warmer leads then the only way they’re going to add new people is through lead traffic via the ads. And again, conversion is extremely low. So I’m seeing numbers more along the lines of like three to eight, depending on the size of the facility and how hard they’re working on it. But running through our list, it’s like lots of zeros, lots of zeros. So yeah. Again, I would just say focus on the warmer traffic. We already did one easy play with that. There’s actually another really good one that I want you guys to try because it’s just going to take you like three minutes to do right now. If you’re listening to this, just keep listening, but do this while you’re listening. Go to your own Facebook page and on that page I want you to type a very simple post and maybe throw like a funny GIF on their. GIF? JIF?

Mike (29:55):

Well I’m told the debate rages but I’m told it’s GIF. But we may get attached for that.

Jeff (30:01):

I’ve just put myself on one side of this.

Mike (30:03):

We’re both there now.

Jeff (30:03):

GIF, man. So you post a funny GIF or an image or just do like the standard Facebook status background thing, right? Whatever you want to do to make this thing pop, make it pop. And I just want you guys to say, and this is again on your own personal profile, Hey, I just opened up three spots for personal training. If you guys are interested, message me. That’s not even two minutes. That’s 47 seconds that’s going to take you right there. So in 47 seconds, I have seen gym owners make thousands of dollars doing that.

Mike (30:35):

No hyperbole, thousands of dollars.

Jeff (30:38):

Exactly. Like if you’ve filled all three of those slots with a personal training client valued somewhere around like 300 plus dollars U.S., you know, that’s going to put you around that thousand dollar mark.

Mike (30:52):

And it’s working?

Jeff (30:52):

And it’s working. It’s the same as affinity. It’s hit and miss on the first try. You’re going to have to do it more than once. Every time you do it, try to thank those that have participated prior or in this case we use scarcity tactics. So we might say, Oh down to two spots left, thanks to so and so for joining us. Or whatever. Tag them if they’re comfortable and they give you the OK. Or just say two spots left, right. And just slowly dwindle those spots down and then maybe a week later you do it again. But it’s just another easy tactic to say like, I’ve got space. We are operating now. I’m offering one-on-one PT. People don’t know things unless you tell them. They don’t know what they don’t know. So this is just literally taking what you’re doing anyways and just shouting it through a megaphone on top of a mountain.

Jeff (31:42):

Like, Hey, we’re offering this thing, if you want it, come join us. Right. And you never know what frame of mind somebody is in at the time. But if they stumble across your posts because everybody’s on Facebook three X the amount of hours that they were prior to quarantine, they’re probably scrolling through. They run across your post. And if they’re in a mindset of I need to make a change, you know, as they polish off their fist fifth glass of wine or whatever and they choke down some chocolates and they’re like let’s do this thing, they might be now more serious. Right.

Mike (32:14):

And this is lukewarm traffic for lack of a better term. Right. Cause it’s like your Facebook, your members and your people right close to you are very warm. Obviously. Your Facebook group, depending how many friends you have or how, you how interactive, it might include a lot of, you know, like your grade six teacher might be in there. I don’t know, like it depends. There are varying degrees of warmth in your Facebook group, but you never know. These are people at least know who you are and if they’re seeing your posts, cause I don’t know how the algorithm exactly serves things, but if they’re seeing it, they have some connection to you and they may well be interested in a service that they probably didn’t know you offered unless you’re constantly talking about it, which some of us do and some of us don’t. So this is definitely warmer traffic than the random person who just sees your ad pop up in the newsfeed.

Jeff (32:57):

Yeah, a hundred percent. So I mean there are people that know you now. All of this is kind of like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? So we’re just looking at these degrees of separation. It’s either through your member to a person in their social circles or in this case we’re talking your direct social circles, people that you care enough about. It doesn’t mean a lot, but enough about to be friends with on a social media platform. But yeah, I post that there. I’d post it on your Instagram, same exact thing and I would again have a cadence with this, talk about it more than once a month or once ever. It’s gonna have to be like once a week, maybe more frequent than that. You know, and that kind of leads me into really the last, if I could give you guys like three things that are working really good right now,

Mike (33:45):

I’m gonna cut you off and I’m going to get you hold on that, I’m going to tack one thing on to that. The final thing that you guys can probably do in that chain is you can post this stuff on your website and you can post this stuff on your Facebook page organically. Now, that again, no guarantee that your audience is going to see it, but there are people that are stalking you right now that are checking out your services, kind of creeping in the background. And maybe this is the time that they see the one thing that kicks them over the edge. So again, posting on your Facebook page, Facebook prioritizes paid advertising, things like that. But some people may be checking on your page and checking your website. Maybe they’re creeping on your daily workouts. There are people that are kind of circling around, put it there, too. And again, if it’s only going to take 30 seconds, why not do it? All right Jeff, sorry to cut you off. Hit the next thing.

Jeff (34:28):

So yeah, I mean that leads really well right into the next thing, which is lead with value. So right at the beginning of this, we talked about there being low consumer trust right now. And that’s just the state of things. That’s just the environment that we’re in at this moment. But in order to inherently increase your value and the trust that people have with you, the best thing you can do is lead with value. So what we’re talking about there is like for example, at Two-Brain. If you’re a gym owner right now and you’ve joined Gym Owners United, our Facebook group, that’s free. You don’t have to, you know, be a part of our mentorship program for example. You’re getting a lot of our great stuff, a lot of PDFs that are built for you, a lot of advice. You’re getting tons of values from this podcast with Mike.

Jeff (35:14):

You know, there’s a ton of different things that you can get right now for free because we like to lead with value. We like to help first. Coop wrote a freaking book about it. So you know, it’s kind of a thing that we do and you can do the exact same thing and turn around and do that for consumers. So in this case, we’re talking about leading with the value of health and wellness. So you can lead by providing them with workouts to do, reasonable workouts that can be done at home with no equipment in their living room. You know, the safety of their own home, right? You can provide them with nutritional guidance, ways to protect themselves as far as their immune system goes. And to prevent the quarantine 19, the dreaded 19 pounds that they’re probably going to put on during quarantine if they don’t do anything else.

Jeff (35:57):

Ways to get their kids involved, ways to get their spouses involved and their significant others. You know, just all these different cool things that you guys can do. And I’ll say this is more of a, you know, like you said at the beginning, Mike, things are evolving rapidly over time. So, what we’re going to talk about here is a little more of a beta situation where it’s working if you do it well, it’s not necessarily working if you don’t. We don’t exactly have a perfect template for this. This is something that people are figuring out as we move. But what we suggest is that you actually open up your own public Facebook group that is free to access for people in your specific area. And I think this is key. You don’t want to do a worldwide Facebook group, right? You just won’t have enough control over that.

Jeff (36:41):

What we’d recommend is try to win the local market so you can create a Facebook group for your, like name of your city or county or province or whatever. Province is probably way too big. I don’t know Canadian speak. So city, there you go. So think more along the lines of the size of a city, right, would be good. So we’re looking at population densities. My city is 300,000 people, so I might even need to go down to like a smaller suburb, right? So I’m in Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, like 300,000 people. We go to a smaller area like Kentwood, which is where my ex-gym Friction CrossFit is located. We’re looking more along the lines of less than a hundred thousand people. So I might go Kentwood Public Fitness, right? Or free fitness for Kentwood residents or whatever. So something, again, this is that, that’s kind of the beta test.

Jeff (37:35):

I want you guys to try these things out. You can always change the name of a group and do different things with that. But I’m going to see what’s getting the most impact. I had a gym in New Jersey do this and within one day they had 120 people in that group that are not members. OK. I had another gym in Nevada. He is absolutely just destroying this group. I think he’s got, he’s got to have close to a thousand people, but he is signing people up left and right through this group. And then there is one in Ireland, I think he has a thousand people in that group too. So it’s like you just create the group, you’re already going to get people into it, then start pumping it with value. So what can you put into there that would help others?

Jeff (38:19):

It isn’t necessarily, you know, your full blown product, right? It’s not the gold at the top. Right. It’s really just some of your good stuff, right? Things that will help people but leave them possibly wanting for more. So for example, I’m going to go to the beginning of this whole thing. One of my favorite things was when, you know, like some of the CrossFit guys started just posting WODS. It was like, Pat Sherwood, for example, he’s like, here’s a WOD today, do this thing. And you know, he’s helping, he’s leading with value because there’s people like, what do I do? I don’t have any equipment. And all of a sudden, like all the athletes and the bigger guys within the CrossFit community are like, Oh, like you can do muscle-ups on a door. And I was like, one of my favorite, don’t do muscle-ups on a door, please. Don’t lose your fingers or break anything.

Jeff (39:10):

Or you can do pull-ups under a table or whatever. Like they started getting creative and trying to help people in that way. We’re going to do that. We’re going to, we’re going to stay safe. We’re going to not need to go that far because we’re talking to just the general public right now. People that may have never worked out before but are looking to do something. So just think about posting easy at home workouts with body weight. That’s it. You’re not doing, you know, custom warm-ups and cool downs. There’s no strength portion, there’s no gymnastics portion or any of this nonsense. Like it’s just movement. All you’re focusing on is movement and maybe throwing like a nutrition tip there once a day. Something to just get them moving, doing something different, trying to improve their health and wellness and then leaving them wanting potentially for more, like how could they get more of this?

Jeff (39:58):

How could they get some actual coaching, you know, and guidance with that on a one to one basis. You’re going to hop into that group and offer that. So we’d recommend doing something maybe along the lines of like office hours, right? So you could say maybe it’s once a week to start. Maybe it’s more than that, but a Facebook live where you hop in and you can answer their questions. And if that’s popular, do it more often, but always tell them who you are, where you work, what your business is and how they can get in touch with you. Give them a call to action. Hey, if you want more, if you want some coaching, if you want some true one-to-one guidance, book a call with me right here and leave that link to book a no sweat intro with you, a virtual one, mind you via Zoom or whatever, but a chance, an opportunity for them to talk to a coach, to figure out the situation and get through it and possibly sign up for your 21-day challenge or online coaching or something along those lines.

Mike (40:53):

I’ll give you a bit of feedback. If you guys are short on time and you’re, you know, starting and moderating a group, a Facebook group is going to be a struggle because you do sometimes have to moderate, you have to participate and if you do not have that time, there is a hack and I’m not saying that you should hijack someone else’s group, but you can participate in other groups. And again, I certainly wouldn’t like if your gym is, you know CrossFit X, I certainly wouldn’t jump at a CrossFit Y’s group of fitness and start, you know you don’t want to start a war like that. But if there are organic local groups of like you know my city, Winnipeg runners or or something like groups of people who are doing fitness type stuff and you could offer value and I wouldn’t just go in there and start carpet bombing the place with lead magnets and all this stuff that you know, kind of feels a little maybe like you’re trying to kiss someone on the first minute that you’ve met them.

Mike (41:41):

But if you want to participate actively in those groups and answer questions when someone says, man, I have this running issue and I don’t know would strength training help, and you’re like, I am a fitness expert and I will tell you exactly what you can do right here and offer some free advice. That can help a lot. You don’t have to moderate and manage that group. I would encourage you to be polite when you’re in there, but you can certainly find some little groups and Chris Cooper has talked about this. You can definitely look in these groups that exist already and try and offer some value and try and offer, you know, get your service seen. Again, I would offer exactly what you said, Jeff. I would offer that value. I wouldn’t jump in there and just pump all sorts of nonsense.

Mike (42:19):

Buy my cereal, buy my cereal. I wouldn’t do that. But you can help people. And again, that’s the help first mentality. If someone asks a question, you have the answer, it would be kind of a bad move not to answer that question. Right? So that’s your hack. If you cannot start a Facebook group, you can certainly join others and interact in them.

Jeff (42:36):

A hundred percent.

Mike (42:39):

Yeah. Very quickly as we close out here, Jeff, transitional stuff, we’re in a transition period, right? Where everything is kind of evolving, things are opening, things are closing things or you know, for some it’s business as usual, I think, in Sweden, but is there anything people can do in their sales process right now with a lot of uncertainty that that’ll help them going forward in the period where things are going to be chaotic?

Jeff (43:02):

Yeah, absolutely. So as we transition now, as you guys start to get opportunities to do no sweat intros and consults and meet-ups with new potential prospects, again, plan to change the process up a little bit where you actually kind of soften it up. And what I’m talking about here is offer a two step closing process and essentially you’re going to do the no sweat intro consult or whatever you were doing before. But at the end when you go to close it, if you’re trying to handle the objections and they’re just not ready to sign up right now, that’s OK. We’re not going to end the sales process there. We’re going to add a step two. So you just need to prepare to be able to do this and do it well. What I recommend with step two or two-step closing process is that you have an action step for them to fulfill post-call and within 48 hours you get them back on another call and then we get them to sign up there. And if they show up to that second call, chances are very, very high that they will sign up.

Mike (44:09):

So give me an example of an action step. What is that?

Jeff (44:12):

Yeah, so what I would do is I would pre-write one day’s worth of exercise and nutrition and potentially a mindfulness implement. If you’re in the Two-Brain family and you’ve got the 21 day challenge, I would honestly just take take day one, right? And just copy paste. There you go, you’re done. If you’re not, then just make up a day that has, here’s workout for the day. Again, focus on high value. So it could be like with a warm-up, with a cool down, stretching, like the full thing, give them a full day’s worth of content essentially. So exercise component, nutrition component, mindfulness component, put that all together. So we get to the close. Mrs. Jones is not ready to sign up. We say, Hey, Mrs. Jones, I totally understand. To me it seems right now, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’re very interested in getting started with us.

Jeff (44:58):

You’re just not sure if it’s something that you can afford or commit to at this moment. Am I right? She says, yes. You say, great, I totally understand, but I am so confident in this program that you will one, love it, two, see amazing results that I am willing to give you the first day on me. So I want you to do this and then you’re going to explain the exercise component, nutrition component, mindfulness component. You say, Ms. Johnson, I’m going to email this to you right now so you have it in front of your face, but I want you to do that tomorrow. What’s a good time for you to do your workout? I usually could work out at like 11 o’clock noon, whatever. OK, great. Commit to this. Put in your calendar 11 o’clock tomorrow you’re doing the workout component. Try to follow the nutrition advice throughout the day.

Jeff (45:38):

If you’re comfortable, you can do the mindfulness stuff. If you think it’s hokey, I get it. Whatever, that’s fine. So you know, do the thing. And then here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to book a follow-up call for the very next day. What’s a good time to talk? So let’s say it’s Wednesday. Thursday, she does her workout. Friday, you know, again within 48 hours, so around the same time that we’re doing this call now or sooner, we’re doing that second call we have on that second call and it’s all gotta be positive. So we’re just going to say, Mrs. Jones, how awesome are you feeling right now? Like leading positivity. So how awesome are you feeling? How great was that workout? Can you see how approaching a program like this is going to help you get amazing results? And she’s all, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Jeff (46:22):

As long as she did it, she’s probably feeling great. She might be a little bit sore. You say, Mrs. Johnson, good thing. That’s your body changing and making good changes. This is going to be so awesome for you. I can’t wait to get started. Tell you what, why don’t we do that 21 day challenge that we were talking about? How would you like to pay for that today? And you literally, it’s a very assumptive close. We’re assuming the sale because she’s done the work. Of course she’d enjoyed it and then we’re just going to hop on this call, get her pumped up, super excited and you know, focus on the positive stuff and then we’re just going to say, Hey, Visa or MasterCard, right? And that’s all we’re looking for. Close sale.

Mike (46:57):

You’re kind of leading with value there. Again, where you’re giving away, that’s like a supermarket sample. It’s like try this wiener on a toothpick and there’s actually a whole lot more in the case behind me if you’re interested. Wouldn’t you like to barbecue these for your family at the next barbecue?

Jeff (47:13):

You want to be the cool dad, right?

Mike (47:17):

How many boxes would you like?

Jeff (47:18):

There you go. Exactly.

Mike (47:21):

But that’s it, right? You’re giving something away.

Jeff (47:23):

A hundred percent so that action step, it gets them moving and gets them doing something. What it does, more importantly than that is it keeps you at the front of their mind. Because what actually happens when a consumer leaves a sales situation is they actually forget the vast majority of the stuff that you just talked about. This is why we don’t recommend what we used to call the be back situation or what I call the be-back bus. If you let them board the be-back bus, it’s a one way ticket because when they go home, if they said, I’m going to talk to my spouse about this, yeah, they either A will forget to do that, B, get home and be too scared to confront spouse about spending that amount of money or C they go and talk to their spouse, but they forgot half the stuff so they can’t justify spending the money to the spouse.

Mike (48:09):

$700 for what?

Jeff (48:10):

Yeah, exactly. What are you getting for this? Well, there’s like workouts and sometimes they help me with nutrition. I think it will be good. No, you’re not doing that. OK, cool. So you’re going to lose no matter what. But in this scenario we say, I’m sending you the stuff, you’re going to do it tomorrow. You’re gonna feel great and they get to try it. They get to experience it and mind you, we don’t normally especially at Two-Brain like recommend a trial. This is just something I’ve done in sales experiences before that has worked really well. And especially in a situation where trust is low like it is right now, I recommend it.

Jeff (48:48):

So if you guys want to try something different, if you’re just spinning your wheels and you’re not seeing success with sales, try this. And especially because at a time like this where numbers, conversions are so low, if you get somebody in front of you, like you’ve got to do some extra work, you don’t want to give up on that person, you worked so hard to get them to book the no sweat intro. You don’t want to like get there, miss sale and be like, well see you later. Mrs. Jones is nice and never see you again. We’re going to want to push a little bit hard. Follow up is the key right now. Persistence is key. So you want to have a way that you can keep her interested and follow up and potentially get her to sign up and that’s where two step really comes in play because it at least gives them some value versus saying like, that’s OK Mrs. Jones tell you what, I’ll just call you tomorrow, same time and see if you’re interested.

Jeff (49:41):

It’s still no because you’ve provided me no more value, no reason for me to change my mind. Nothing is going to change. If anything does change, it will be for the negative and she’d be like, Oh, I thought about 10 more reasons why I shouldn’t spend this money on you so you’re not going to win with that. So try this. You guys struggling, two step close process, give them an action step to fill out the next day and then get back on the horn with them within 48 hours, has to be within 48 hours. That is a key aspect. The sooner, the better. Less than 48? Great. Do it. You don’t have to put it at two days, but you know, somewhere around there, 24 to 48 hours is great.

Mike (50:19):

So guys, there is a ton of actionable stuff in this episode. If you do nothing else, make a Facebook post right after you hit stop on this episode, go on your Facebook and post that you have a program, you’re only taking a certain number of people and it’s available and do that not once, but several times over the next two weeks or three weeks or a month, we’re playing the long game. Jeff, thank you for all that actionable stuff. That is awesome. I think some people are gonna make some sales as a result. Thank you for listening Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin. Certified mentor Jeff Burlingame just gave you a ton of stuff to do. Try some. Do it. It will make some sales for you. If you want more actionable advice based on data, check out the Gym Owners United group on Facebook. In it, you’ll find daily topics from Chris Cooper, as well as the support of a host of business owners from all over the world. That group, again, is Gym Owners United. It’s on Facebook. Join today. Thanks for tuning into Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts.


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