Conversation Marketing: New Sign-Ups in 4 Simple Steps

Trust is built through conversations.

Conversations bridge the gap between advertising and sales.

You can call it “affinity building” or “lead nurture”—whatever you want. But we’re all in the relationship business, so we have to be good at this.

Step 1: Start a Conversation

To meet someone new, you must “go first.” Good entrepreneurs aren’t always great salespeople, but they’re always good at making someone feel welcome and heard.

That means sharing a personal story online or offering your hand to shake in person.

Here’s exactly how to do it:

1. In Person

My favourite new-friend “pickup line?”

“Good morning.”

This was not an easy skill for me to learn. I’ve always been shy and introverted. But wishing someone a “good morning” is risk-free. No one will say “get lost.” Offering a hand to shake is irresistible, even in the post-COVID era.

Try this: Pick up four coffees at a local drive-thru. Walk next door to the business closest to yours. Hand over the coffee and say “Good morning! I’m Chris from next door.” They’ll respond—usually with a question. Answer the question and take it from there.

2. Online

Make a “milestone” post.

Like this: “Today is my 50th consecutive day of cycling!” or “As of today, I’ve worked out at least three times a week for five years straight!”

The milestone doesn’t matter as much as the sharing. Include a number!

When people comment on your post, ask if they’ve ever tried what you’ve been doing or achieved something similar. Move to private chat when it’s warranted.

We learned this strategy from Richmond Dinh in our Tinker program. It works because “milestone posts” tell a story. The more stories you tell, the more conversations you start.

Step 2: Listen

Get them talking.

Here’s the reason we’re all scared to start a conversation with a stranger: We don’t know what to say.

The solution? Listen instead of talking about yourself!

Try these “Feel-good questions” from Bob Burg, author of “The Go-Giver”:

Bob Burg’s 10 Feel-Good Questions®

  • “How did you get your start in the widget business?”
  • “What do you enjoy most about your profession?”
  • “What separates you and your company from the competition?”
  • “What advice would you give someone just starting in the widget business?”
  • “What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?”
  • “What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?”
  • “What do you see as the coming trends in the widget business?”
  • “Can you describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business?”
  • “What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?”
  • “What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?”

Step 3: Invite

If you believe you have a great coach-client fit, tell them so and invite them to take the first step.

In person: “Those are great goals. I have an idea. Why don’t we work out together at my gym? Just you and me. How’s Thursday?”

Online: “I think I can help. I’m making my schedule up for next week, and I have an opening on Thursday at 4 p.m. Would you be open to talking about the next step?”

(We provide a full sell-by-chat template in our Growth and Tinker programs.)

Step 4: Sign Them Up

Start changing their lives!

In person (face to face or Zoom): Ask about their goal. Find out why that goal is important to them. Make a prescription to get them to their goal. Tell them the price. Receive their money and start delivering on your promises.

(We provide a full No Sweat Intro template in our RampUp and Growth programs.)

Start Talking!

To become clients, people must know you, like you and trust you. Conversations help you check each box.

Advertising might start the conversation, but advertising is a monologue. Conversations are a dialogue.

Your goals:

  • Start conversations.
  • Guide conversations.
  • Build relationships.

Every relationship you have must be fed or it will weaken. Feed relationships with conversations.

Other Media in This Series

“Conversation Marketing: Winning Hearts and Minds”
“Retention and Reacquisition: Do You Talk to Current and Former Clients?”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.