We publish every day.
Between blog posts, podcasts, our YouTube Channel and social media…it can get a bit overwhelming.
And oh yeah, I’ve written three books about the gym business.
In case you’re new to TwoBrain (or just trying to eat our elephant), here are the top ten blog posts we published in the last twelve months. Each has been read over 1000 times, and they all started deeper conversations.
If you want, you can jump to the head of the class and book a free call with me (Chris) to start taking action. If not, enjoy the education and inspiration for as long as you like.
1. Theseus’ Boat – Maintaining Your Culture and Replacing Yourself
2. 3 Reasons You Should Love Orange Theory (and Other HIIT Trends)
3. Killing The Canary: The Paralyzing Effect of the Vocal Minority
4. Why We’re a Mentorship Practice
5. Love + Letters – SUPER important
6. How Many “Likes” Do You Need? – an important, and very thorough, explanation on the value and purpose of Social Media
7. How To Kill Your King (The WRONG Way to Open A Gym)
8. Let’s Get Real (Or Let’s Not Play) – on the need for more data in CrossFit, and why we’re going to invest $2M to save The Movement
9. 5 Tips to Not Suck At “Sales” – actionable steps to sell more, following the “Help First” philosophy
10 . Why You’ll Never Need 300 Members – we’re coaches, not recruiters.
11. How To Say “No” To Discounts
12. Salaries Breed Laziness and Complacency–another thought-provoking piece by mentor Brian Alexander
You might love some of these (you might hate others) but the writing is always of a high quality, and each one was written to provoke deep consideration.
When you join our list, you’ll get a love letter from me almost every day. These letters are usually answers to problems I hear from other gym owners, either online or during our free consultation call. The best part is that the questions keep getting BETTER, and that means the answers keep changing. Thanks for your messages after each email, and thanks for growing with us!
In 2010, I wrote “Cowboys vs. Shepherds” on my first blog, DontBuyAds.com. It was later included in Two-Brain Business (now available on audiobook.) But new research has prompted me to revisit the issue from a different perspective.
In this post, I’ll compare the minds of the introvert, the extrovert, and the ambivert; then I’ll write about ways to optimize training for coaches and clients who fall into either category.
Want to see if you’re an introvert or extrovert? Here’s a 25-minute test from PsychologyToday, or a 4-minute test from LifeHack.
First, a comparison of introverts and extroverts as clients:
Extroverts become energized by noise and crowds. Introverts become fatigued and overwhelmed by the same.
Extroverts are likely to ask questions of the coach (often, they’ll need to be “heard” during a class, even if they already know the answer.) They’re talkative, quick to welcome new members, and excited by the prospect of coaching a group themselves. They might choose one-on-one training over groups, but will be drawn to the crowd quickly. They’re held accountable more by social risk (“everyone will know if you cheat on your diet”) than by anything else.
Introverts are more likely to think through a movement. In fact, if you see an athlete close their eyes while practicing, it’s a sure sign they’re an introvert: they’re subconsciously blocking out external distraction. They’re less likely to ask a question, but more likely to absorb what’s taught. They’re also more likely to avoid the group setting and choose one-on-one training. Introverts are best held accountable through a one-on-one relationship and might need more frequent contact by a coach (“I’ll be watching your food intake through the app.”)
Second, a comparison of introverts and extroverts as coaches:
Extroverted coaches are energized by a large group. They relax into coaching: several classes in a row won’t bother them. They’ll be more likely to engage in “sharking” and identifying movement deficiencies on the fly.
Pros: great leaders of groups. Exciting, fun and energetic. Loud.
Cons: Less likely to think through their words. Won’t want to stick to a “script.” Attracted to novelty over best practices (recency bias.)
Introverted coaches are more likely to form deep personal relationships with clients. They’ll remember every member’s dog. But they’ll also take a client’s decision to quit the gym personally, which can be exhausting. Introverted coaches are more likely to report feeling like a client’s “therapist”, because they take the time to listen to each person’s troubles.
Pros: fantastic in a one-on-one setting. Won’t forget a client’s birthday or goals. Can focus on refining tiny details instead of “gaming”.
Cons: exhausted by large, noisy groups. Can feel like they’re “herding cats” when trying to control large classes. Will feel frustrated when others don’t pay attention or show the same attention to detail.
Third, the science (you can skip this part if you like):
Chemicals: we all have chemical “reward systems” built into our brains. When we perform certain tasks, dopamine, acetylcholine, and other chemicals flood our brains and make us feel good. Dopamine makes us more talkative, more exploratory and less risk-averse. Acetylcholine makes us focus intensely inward, reflect, and think deeply.
Everyone has the same amount of both, but dopamine is the more active reward system in extroverts; acetylcholine is more active in introverts.
When their dominant reward system is engaged, either becomes happy. That’s the most important part here.
Neither extroversion or introversion is better. Both have strengths that can make them incredible coaches when put in the best spot to make them happy. And no one is completely introverted or extroverted: we each fall somewhere on the spectrum.
Fourth, my favorite: the Ambivert.
Daniel Pink (“To Sell Is Human”) writes that an ambivert falls between introversion and extroversion on the spectrum. An ambivert is usually developed, not born: introverts can learn to act extroverted, and vice versa. In fact, a natural introvert who is trained to act like an extrovert might have an advantage in client retention and sales.
You can take the Ambivert Assessment here.
In 2013, The Wharton School’s Adam M. Grant measured sales aptitudes across introverts, extroverts and ambiverts. He found that ambiverts had hourly revenues of $155, which was 24% higher than the “outgoing” extroverts. Why?
They’re flexible. An ambivert can mirror the personality of their client or their coach. Unlike magnets (which can attract or repel,) an ambivert can stick to anyone.
They can roll with the punches better. With both social support and a strong sense of self-focus, and ambivert can handle critique and correction better. They can absorb feedback but not internalize criticism.
They’re intuitive. They “get it” because they can see the other person’s perspective more easily.
Ambiverts make better clients AND better coaches. And you can control the latter.
When training coaches, it’s not enough to say, “This is how you identify a squat.” A great coach will make the client WANT to fix the squat. That was the point of “Cowboys vs. Shepherds”: to illustrate the need for both types of coaches in your gym.
Coaches who are natural “alphas” can be taught empathy. Quieter, more studious coaches can be taught to “turn it on” during class, and maintain control for the full hour. Expertise in “triaging a squat” is great…but it’s more important to keep the client coming back for decades.
To start a gym, teach movements. But to create a movement, teach leaders.
Sorry, Coach! This area is private for subscribers to our Up-Coach Program.
See the plans here: Up-Coach
If you’re selling a product, they’re the same people.
But we’re selling a service. What’s the difference?
A consumer is paying attention. They read your blog posts, download your podcast and watch your videos. They’re fans. They might even pay for your material.
A client has a two-way relationship with you.
In my practice, I’m lucky enough to have hundreds of consumers. Two-Brain Business has sold thousands of copies; Two-Brain Radio has over a thousand listeners every week; and hundreds have even consumed my advice in person through seminars and free “Help First” phone calls. Their attention drives me to get up at 4am and write; to brainstorm ideas for webinars and podcasts. They push me far.
But I have far fewer clients. These people are my focus. These are the ones I’ll respond to on Sunday morning while my kids are in the hotel pool. These are the folks who keep me up late with worry, or make me punch my fist in the air when they win. These are the friends who get my focus and the majority of my attention.
Most consumers will never become clients. That’s okay: their “thanks for all you do” messages are more than enough for me. I’m happy to produce content to help them.
But after today, only my clients will have access to this focus group.
There are more free things coming for everyone else–I promise not to run out of ideas–but it’s critical to focus my attention on the tip of the spear. Keep an eye on those who stay in the group; ask them for help; model your gym after theirs. They’ll be happy to lead. Thanks for your attention!