Most gym clients fall into four personality buckets. If you know what they are, you’ll close more sales, improve client results, and retain members longer. Today on “Run a Profitable Gym,” Chris Cooper and Brian Bott describe the four personality types and tell you how to serve them. Hit subscribe right now and enjoy the show. Here are Chris and Brian.
Chris Cooper (00:19):
OK, so I was just talking to Brian Bott, and we were talking about four different personality types and how he approaches each one differently in his business. And we’re gonna start off by pointing out what these four different types are. And then we’re gonna say, “how does this relate to your sales process, to your programming, to your coaching, but then also how does it relate to your staff?” So, Brian, do you wanna start us off with what these four personality types are?
Brian Bott (00:41):
Sure. So you can picture a square. So the four quadrants. On one side, you’ll have the characteristic of whether someone is fact based or emotional based or relationship based. I’ll use those terms kind of interchangeably. And then whether they’re introverted or extroverted. So that basically creates four categories. You’ll have fact-based introverts, fact-based extroverts, relationship-based introverts, and relationship-based extroverts. That’s a mouthful when you say ’em all in a row. But in general, each one of these types of people are gonna have some fears, some tendencies, some behavioral things that can kind of give you a better idea of how to steer them in a sales conversation or, to your point, how we look at training them. And then also how to manage different staff members if you have an idea of who these people are. It’s not like you’re locked into one of these boxes. It’s like anything else. You’re gonna have ranges and scales, but you can generally envision some people in certain areas. And it can make the sales process, the training process or the management process a little bit easier if you can kind of get an idea of that stuff.
Chris Cooper (01:55):
So I wanna start off just by painting a really clear picture of who each of these four different personality types are. Maybe with an example. And then we can get into what you can do to help them buy your products, to program for them, et cetera. Let’s start with that fact-based extrovert.
Brian Bott (02:06):
So these are the people that have super-strong personalities. I think we talked earlier about those sales situations where someone just kind of comes in and points right to the thing before you even had a chance to explain anything. They’re in control. They’re the boss. They are probably, maybe not all the time, but they may be a manager themselves. They manage a lot of projects, they’re in charge, and they enjoy feeling that way. From a sales standpoint, almost the most damage you would do would probably be convincing them not to buy something by trying to overexplain something that they probably don’t care about. They wanna get right down to business. “How much does your membership cost? How many times can I come a week? Who’s my coach? And let’s go.” So if you start getting into “like, well, I just wanna break down like the why we eat this much protein” and the science, they’re gonna be like, “All right, forget it. Like, I’ve got something to do.” They’re very good at taking control and getting things done. But they might come across as arrogant or a little pushy when really they may not be. But if you can understand that that’s just one kind of subgroup of people, then it makes it a little bit easier.
Chris Cooper (03:23):
So that’s the fact-based extrovert. OK. So now fact-based introvert.
Brian Bott (03:31):
Yep. So your fact-based introvert is gonna be another term. Sometimes they group these as your analytical types. They are gonna have done all the research. They want to know numbers, data, exact specifics of what they’re gonna do. So their negatives would be sometimes they come across being negative, right? There’s one person on the team that every time a group project comes up or someone has a great idea, they’re like, “Yeah, that won’t work.” And it’s not necessarily that they’re trying to be negative, but the way that they think is always in lists of pros and cons. Sometimes it helps to give like TV examples. Like Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” would be that person. He’s gonna have a list, you know, nine miles long on each side, about the pros and cons. Some of their negatives or things that they struggle with would be sometimes it’s hard for them to make a decision. It’s very, very hard for them to kind of try to comprehend you know, which one might be better. But you can help yourself by laying out the data, right? If someone like that is coming in and looking for fat loss, then you would want to explain to them why strength training and protein consumption and things like that are gonna—based on the research—lead to this result. That will convince them more than saying they’re gonna feel their muscles burn or they’re gonna have a certain energy in class. They don’t tend to really be concerned with that stuff. They’re just gonna be analytical. So the more you can get down to that, that will help them as well.
Chris Cooper (04:57):
You, you also described this person as like a perfectionist.
Brian Bott (05:00):
Yes. When we look at how we coach those clients: “Chris deadly form. Perfect. Looks great. Like 100 percent.” You can’t just tell them “great job.” Like it has to be “hey, great job getting your hips back on that deadlift and keeping your back flat. That’s 100 percent what we wanna see.” So you’re giving ’em that feedback.
Chris Cooper (05:27):
Awesome. OK. Onto the next one. So now we have the relationship-based extroverts. Who’s this person?
Brian Bott (05:35):
So these are your loud people—probably most likely would be a large-group participant person. They like the energy of class. They are there with their friends. They tend to be the people that are usually late to class, ‘cause they have a hundred different things going on. “I dropped my kids off at soccer and then I had go here. And then I saw Susie at the coffee place and I started talking to her. I’m so sorry.” And that’s just how they are. Sometimes if you take things personal, you could think like, “This person doesn’t care. Like they’re always late.” And it could be true, but it could just be that they’re a people pleaser. They’re not gonna tell the person at the coffee shop, “I gotta go—Chris is waiting for me.” They’re just gonna be like, “Ah, I didn’t wanna be rude to that person.” And so their flaw, and you can look at this from a client standpoint or maybe a team-management thing, is that they’re gonna overcommit themselves, right? Seven o’clock they have a Zoom call with somebody and then they book their training appointment for 8 o’clock, but it’s a 15-minute drive to the gym. They know that. It’s just that they’re not gonna say no to someone. Or they take on a bunch of projects: “I got it. No problem. Let’s do it.” And then maybe you do a review and it’s like, “Hey, you did a great job with this, but we didn’t get these other things done.” And it was like, “Oh, I know. I’m sorry. I told, you know, so-and-so that I did that.” So it’s that type of person. They are the life of the party. It’s more important to them that your music was rocking and that the workout felt a certain way. You’re like, “Chris, we’re gonna do 10 reps. Everybody in class, 10 reps. It’s 10 reps today. I said, ‘10 reps.’ Go!” “How many?” ‘Cause they were listening to the music or they were having a conversation. It’s like they, if you take it personal, it can get really tough really quick. But if you can realize like, “Hey, they’re just one of these people. They’re just here to be in the vibe of this place, which is awesome. We want those people, too.” They’re gonna forget how many reps. They’re not really paying attention at that. So in a sales presentation, it’s more of like, they don’t wanna be left out. “Hey, so you’re gonna do exactly what Chris did, right? He signed up for three times a week.” “OK. Gotcha. Like, cool.” They don’t wanna be left out. They don’t wanna feel like they’re not part of what everybody else is doing. So that’s how you can usually spot that person. They have high energy and they’re always go, go, go.
Chris Cooper (07:51):
The social butterfly. OK. Now we have the fourth quadrant, the relationship introvert. So who’s this person?
Brian Bott (08:00):
So that’s the person who’s gonna be very quiet, laid back, very hard to get them excited about anything. The flip side would be to think that they don’t care because they’re not showing energy. Like, “Chris, we’ve got ball slams and box jumps and deadlifts. It’s gonna be great. Right?” And they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah.” And they’re more concerned about like—they’re like the caretaker of the group. “Oh, I didn’t wanna use the bench. Chris looked like he was using it. I didn’t wanna get in the way.” Like, they wanna make sure everybody’s taken care of, everything’s in the right place. “I don’t wanna cause a disturbance.” These are the people that, the language that we would use in a sales conversation would be more like, “Hey, you’re gonna be just like all the rest of our members here. Like, you’re gonna fit right in. This is where most of our members started when they came in. So I think that’s gonna be the best bet for you.” And my tone would reflect that as well. I’m not gonna be like, “We’re gonna get you signed up and you’re gonna get shirts and hats.” Like, they’d be the person—would you ever see those cartoons where the kid leaves DisneyWorld and they got all this stuff and they’re like not happy still. Like, they just have the shirt, the candy and they’re like, “OK.” They’re just not very excitable. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care. It’s just like that’s their personality. They don’t like independent activities. This is not the person that if they’re in a group class, that you’re gonna say, “Oh, Chris, all right, you’re leading the warmup today.” They probably don’t wanna do some sort of special workout in front of the rest of the room on their birthday. They’re like, “No, please don’t make me do that. Oh my God.” They just probably wouldn’t even come to the gym that day. Like, “I know that they do birthday burpees. So I’ll see you on Thursday. Like, I’m not coming.” They obviously enjoy your service. All these people come for the same reason. They’re looking for some sort of result. But they’re the type of people, even from an exercise standpoint—like the cueing for a ball slam is not gonna be like, “I want you to make as much noise with this thing as possible.” It’s gonna be like, “Hey, we’re gonna go over here and I just want, you know, 10 good throws into the floor.” As opposed to the extrovert version of this would be like, “Chris, I want you to throw that through the floor, and I want everybody to know that you’re doing it.” So it’s like I’m coaching the same exercise; I’m just giving different cues and different tone and feedback based on who the person is.
Chris Cooper (10:25):
Oh man. OK. So what I’m gonna quiz you on here is how do you approach sales differently for each one? We’ll start with that and then we’ll talk programming. So you’re sitting in front of a fact-based extrovert and you’re doing your sales meeting. How do you know that they’re the fact-based extrovert?
Brian Bott (10:45):
So some clues: These are the people that were insistent probably about not going through your process when they come through. “Why do I have to do the intro? I’ve done CrossFit or I’ve done whatever for how many years. I shouldn’t have to.” They’re the boss, right? So those are the type of things that you can kind of expect. They get right down to—you’re trying to ask them about their goals, and they would much rather be in control of the conversation and ask you questions and get you going and tell you what they wanna do. So it’s not always easy to identify exactly who these people are. But they’re gonna be very direct, very to the point.
Chris Cooper (11:28):
And so how do you handle them in a sales conversation?
Brian Bott (11:30):
I try to get out of their way. They know exactly what they want. Phrases like “you know what works best for you”—that’s a good one to use with people that you feel might be in that group. Because again, they’re the boss. “Hey, you wanna do privates? Perfect. You know what works best.” Even if you think eventually down the road there might be better options for them. We haven’t earned that trust with this person yet to try to challenge that. So sometimes it’s just like, even though most of my summit talk was about semi-private training, if someone walked in and said, “I know what I want. I work best one on one with a coach, and I would like to do that three times a week,” like, “Cool—here’s the price for three times a week private.” I’ll get to goals and all that stuff afterwards. I’m gonna let him feel like he came in and got what he wanted because “I’m the boss.” All the other stuff is still important. But I’m not gonna not let them sign up because they didn’t do something else before it or discuss semi-private or talk about “maybe nutrition’s best.” It’s like he said this is what he wanted. That’s what we signed up for. As we develop that relationship, I can start to say like, “Hey, Chris. What do you think about this? Like, what if we went and started to do some nutrition?” “Nah, I don’t need any of that.” “Alright, cool. We’ll keep doing it.” And then other people are like, “Yeah, yeah, I was thinking of that. I was just about to ask you about nutrition.” And you’re like, “Ah, I knew it.” That’s how you start to role-play with those people. It’s like just being a good coach, right? It’s your responsibility to get these people to do the best, but if you don’t have those skills, sometimes you can convince this person out of something because you’re not letting them just choose what they want in the beginning.
Chris Cooper (13:09):
And that’s how I think I screwed this up. I dunno if I thought that I was winning by like proving that I was smarter than them or something. But I would argue with them. They’re coming in, they’re tapping their credit card while they listen to my sales pitch, and then they buy the thing that they want anyway. Or they just leave.
Brian Bott (13:25):
Absolutely. That’s 100 percent this person. And I’ve done it before, too. If you’re an analytical person, you get labeled sometimes as being very wordy. And it’s not that they like to talk. It’s more that like they wanna make sure you understand.
Chris Cooper (13:41):
Because I know how important this is. So I’m gonna repeat it 17 times to make sure that you get this. Because it’s important to me to know that you know how important it’s. OK. Beautiful. I can literally picture two clients in my head that I’ve blown this one on.
Brian Bott (13:56):
Yeah, it happens.
Chris Cooper (13:57):
OK. So we’re gonna talk about the sales process now for the next quadrant. OK. So this person is a fact-based introvert. They’re sitting down with you to do an NSI. They’ve done their research. They probably know more about your product than you do. I’ve had this. People come in and they’re like, “Well, you said on Oct. 30, 1997, that your rate was this.” Like what?
Brian Bott (14:18):
So these are very analytical types, and each one of these kind of comes with a fear. And theirs is more about being taken advantage of. This is the person that, when you told them, depending on what your policies are, like that you could cancel within the first 30 days, and they’re like, “Well, can you make the sure that’s in writing?” And you’re like, “Yeah, sure. No problem.” “’Cause I want it in writing.” I’m like, “I said yes.” And they’re like, “But you’re sure that I can do it?” And like they ask 17 times and I’m like, “Oh, I told you that. It says it right there.” And it’s like, “Yep. Can you just initial that?” And I’m like, “Well, yeah, sure. OK, no problem.” So how do we identify who this person is? Maybe the way that they came across us when we ask, “Hey, how did you hear about us?” It’s like, “Oh, I’ve actually read 17 of your blogs before. I tried to buy that heart-rate monitor thing that you talked about. Couldn’t really figure it out.” So they’re gonna have all that. They’re gonna know what the gym down the street charges, and they’re gonna know all these different things. “Oh, well, so-and-so down the street charges this.” So that type of person, the more information that you can—it’s kind of a Catch-22 with these people. They love information, but sometimes their biggest stumbling block is they have a hard time making decisions. So these are the people that you can kind of self-guide, but you don’t wanna overwhelm them. If you can narrow it down to like “based on the research, here’s what my recommendation is.” Because they’re the type of people that you can go back with and say, “Hey, you know, so I’m sure you already know.” Like, those are things that you can lead with because they’ve probably done some research. They’re looking to see “does this place confirm what I’ve researched?” If this person has done the research on the benefits of progressive resistance training and you’re trying to sell them yoga, it’s gonna be a hard sell. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with yoga. It could be great. But for what their problem is, they’ve done this research, and they’ve found out that “I know that progressive resistance training works. Doesn’t mean I know how to do it.” So if I repeat back to them that “I’m sure you already know we need to do some progressive overload,” they’ll be like, “OK. This guy does know what he’s talking about.” It’s almost like a test for you at that point. And they just don’t wanna be taken advantage of. So it’s, “You know, whatever works best for you.”
Chris Cooper (16:38):
So over lunch, you said something like, these are the people who when they say, “OK, I just wanna think about it,” they actually do wanna go think about it, right? But how do you overcome that and keep them from just sitting in their paralysis?
Brian Bott (16:52):
I just respond, “OK. Which piece specifically do you need more information on?” Because there are some people that use that as like “let me just get the heck outta here” tactic. But if it’s truly one of these people, they’ll say something very specific. And then the good thing is that you can either respond right away or, let’s be honest, we don’t close 100 percent of the people that come and sit in front of us, but with this person, if they talked about their back pain in your NSI, then I would send them an article or two on low-back pain and why we do these exercises. “Hey, I know you’re a little bit unsure, but in the meantime, here’s an article or two that I think might help.” And then you just leave it. And I’m not gonna continue to try and hard-sell them at that point ‘cause, again, they don’t wanna feel taken advantage of. So I don’t wanna press them. I’m just gonna kind of try to give them more information to the specific thing that they were asking about and then go from there.
OK. The relationship extrovert, the party animal. How do you sell them? So start with how do we identify them?
These are the people who are like, “What do you mean we’re not working out today? We’re working out today. Oh we’re working out.” They’re antsy. They’re ready to go. They don’t want anything to do with the process, but in a happy way, not because they wanna be in control. It’s like, “John’s out there right now. Come on, let’s go. Can I just go work out with my friend?” So those are the people, from a sales perspective, they don’t wanna be left out. They are, “If Chris got reservations at the new restaurant down the street, why don’t I have reservations at the new restaurant down the street. They don’t even know what the food is. Like it could be terrible, but if that’s the new place, like they want to be there. So that’s the language that we use in sales. They’re usually referred to us from another member. “Hey, Chris told me this place is awesome. He loves the classes.” “Cool, so Chris does three times a week semi-private with classes. Would you wanna get started with that?” And it can be that easy. They have the same tendency with this person to convince them out of it by accident. If all their friends are doing X even though Y might be a better option for them, it’s probably not the best idea to push them to that. Because now it’s like, “Well, I’m not with my friends anymore. Like, I’m here, but why can’t I be with them?” So there’s a process and there’s a system that has to be followed, but then there’s these gray areas where you’re like, “Hey, let’s get them in with their friend. Like, that’s where they’re gonna be most comfortable. If they’re where they’re most comfortable, that’s when I can kind of make the biggest change or impact.” So from a sales perspective, that’s kind of “you just wanna do what your friend did, right?” Whoever that friend is. Sometimes that’s the easiest thing. “Greg told me to come here, so I wanna do exactly what he’s done.”
Chris Cooper (19:41):
Do you find a lot of these people are early adopters with a service, too? Like, I can remember, when we opened up a CrossFit gym, the first couple of months were just people like this that you’re describing. They walked in and they’re like, “I just want to try it. Let me try CrossFit.” And in 2010, you know, those were most of the people we met, but you know, we burned through those really quick.
Brian Bott (20:05):
Sure. Yeah. And I would say I never thought of it that way, but that was an interesting point. Now I kind of wanna break out our renewals and percentages by this and see. Because I would guess that these would be probably the category of people that would have the highest churn. Because if something down the street opens with rainbows, they would wanna try it. Not because they even think it’s better. It’s just because it’s the new thing. “I wanna be part of it. My friends are there.” So you know, from a sales perspective, that’s where we just say, “Hey, listen: This is what your friends are doing. Let’s get you signed up for that and then go from there.”
Chris Cooper (20:50):
Everything that Donna does, these people are gonna go try that, too. OK. We’re selling to the relationship introvert. How do we identify them first?
Brian Bott (21:05):
So they’re gonna be the type of person that—sometimes they don’t make great eye contact. They’re kind of like very nervous or anxious. Like they come in, they just have their arms crossed, their hands are in their pockets and you’re like, “Hey, how you doing?” And they’re like, “Good.” And they want to see “what’s going on over there?” They wanna make sure “will I feel comfortable here? Or am I safe? You know, I don’t wanna be in the way.” Those type of things are kind of good cues, but in terms of selling to them, it’s trying to make them feel that they’re gonna be right at home. They’re gonna be taken care of. “You’re gonna be just like everybody else.” So their biggest fear would be like, “Oh my God. I’m in class and everybody can do X and I can’t.” So these should be the easiest people to kind of funnel into some sort of private or more structured semi-private training. Because you can say like, “Hey, all of our members got started here and got a little extra help in the beginning. You’re gonna meet people. You’re gonna fit right in. This is where most of our members start. And then we can kind of decide in that 30-, 60-, 90-day window if we change over to something else from there.” So from a sales point of view, we focus on how they’re gonna fit in, how they’re gonna be just like everything else, how they’re gonna be taken care of. ‘Cause that’s their biggest driver.
Chris Cooper (22:30):
“We won’t look stupid in front of other people.”
Brian Bott (22:34):
Yeah. Yeah. So that’s a much better way of putting it. “I don’t wanna look stupid. Don’t make me try something for the first time in front of everybody.” When we get into the probing aspects, there’s things that go into that as well. But from a sales point of view, maybe not the best person to do a full functional movement screen with if you can tell maybe they’ve never worked out before. Because if I’m coming to the gym, I’m already intimidated. I’m already a little bit nervous, and now I’m gonna stand you on this board and put your hands behind your back and make you do something that you’re not gonna be able to do very well. Now I’ve confirmed it. “See, I shouldn’t be here.” It’d be better to get them some small wins in their NSI than anything else. You don’t wanna point out for that person all the things that are wrong with them. You wanna be like, “See, you can squat. You just hang onto the TRX. Oh, see, you can do a push-up—but we just set it up on the bar. You see you can do it.” The “see? You can do it” is something that would work well with them. They have to leave feeling like, “Oh, I can do this. I’m not an outsider.”
Chris Cooper (23:44):
We’ve blown that, too, man. When we did free trials, this type of person would come in and they would get crushed. Their enthusiasm would be completely gone. They’d be like, “Well, I can’t do CrossFit.”
Brian Bott (23:55):
Regardless of whether it was CrossFit or any other type of training, it’s our tendency to wanna try to “let me show this person how much I know.” And they don’t care. They’re like, “Yep, but that hurt. Maybe not that severe, but wow, that was really uncomfortable.” They don’t wanna be like, “Oh yeah, we gotta get this push-up much better.” So it’s more about trying to raise them up a little bit and show them “see, you can do it.”
Chris Cooper (24:34):
So now we’ve got them in the door. We’re gonna talk about each of the four personality types with regard to programming and coaching. Let’s start again with the fact-based extrovert, that loud, strong personality. Brian, how do you coach this person?
Brian Bott (24:49):
So remember they’re gonna be the ones that wanna be in control. They want to be the boss. So when we’re coaching them, that’s the type of person where whether that person does a barbell bench press, a dumbbell bench press, safety issues aside, it doesn’t really matter. As long as they’re doing a horizontal push, we’re gonna be good. You might even use the word boss. “Hey, we have two options today. You wanna dumbbell bench or you wanna do barbell?” “Barbell.” “All right, cool. Let’s do that.” Now they’re taking control of part of the programming. If I had a bilateral hip movement and a horizontal push program for that day and they chose that, then that’s fine. Now that’s a little bit more work. Obviously it’s not easier than just saying, “Hey, buddy, you gotta do what’s on the sheet.” But it doesn’t even have to be from a day-to-day standpoint. It’s more like long term. When you do that first goal review: “All right, Chris. Absolutely crushed that one. Hey, where are we going next?” It’s not me telling them “hey, your chin-ups aren’t that great. We should do that.” I wanna know what they wanna work on. And for the guys, it’s gonna be like, “I feel like I gotta do more arms.” And it’s like we know that if you can do 15 weighted chin-ups, your arms will probably look just fine. But it can’t hurt to make them feel like “I had some input on my training program here.” So they have chin-ups and at the end they do 3 sets of 15 barbell curls. Like that’s fine. So they were heard. We put that in there, and we kind of move forward using the language of “Hey, you know what you’re doing,” like they’re in control. The more that you can do that with the coaching, the better. But the good thing is that since they’re in control, they’re the people that are gonna come in, grab their sheet, start going. The hardest part you’ll have is intervening when they unfortunately don’t know what they’re doing. It’s like they’re doing the exercise wrong or “this is how I always did it.” And it’s like, “All right, cool.” So you know, trying to show them that like, “Hey, if we tweak it a little bit, imagine how much better it could be.” And then you kind of move it along from there. To your point about the sales stuff, if you get argumentative, you’re gonna lose it. You need ways to give them that buy-in.
Chris Cooper (27:17):
Yeah. That’s really profound. OK. So let’s move on to coaching the fact-based introvert. All right.
Brian Bott (27:23):
So just as a quick refresh, these are the analytical type. They’re gonna wanna do their InBody, go over their monthly Whoop data. Yeah. Any of the wearables, data tracking, stuff like that, that you can give, the better. So in their coaching when you’re coaching them through their actual workouts, it’s gonna be, “Hey, for our lower-body ones, we’re gonna look at moving it up like 5 percent.” Use specific numbers. They like in their programming getting down into the details of tempo. They wanna know.
Chris Cooper (28:00):
Coaching and programming for the relationship extrovert, Brian.
Brian Bott (28:03):
Alright. So we touched on a little bit, but this group of people couldn’t care less about your program or your what, your how and why. Yeah. They just wanna know is their jam on and is the music loud? And are they feeling good? So these are the people that you can ask, “Hey, how you feeling today?” “Feeling great.” “Good. All right. We’re gonna push it.” These are the people that you might give a large range to “How many?” “Do like 15 to 20—somewhere in that range. So you feel your arms burn.” Like they’re gonna be into it that way. And they’re gonna wanna know “how many did Chris do? All right, cool. Now I’ll do 16 then.” They’re a little bit more competitive. They want to be with the group. Interestingly enough, these people will self-select your larger group instead of something individualized because that information on their sheet is not important. These are the people that you’re gonna have to do most of the documenting because if you give that chart to them, they’re gonna be like, “Cool. So what do we have today? Tell me what to do. That’s what you’re here for.” So having those things in mind and not taking them personal—“Well, this person doesn’t care about the numbers.” That doesn’t mean that they don’t care about their results, though. Like they just don’t care about the numbers. Like, you have to keep track of that. And they’re the person that you’ll have to check in on ’em every once in a while and make sure that you’re using the appropriate weights. Because if their friends using 15s but they’re capable of using 25s, they’ll grab the 15. “That’s what Chris grabbed.” Or it could go the other way. Like, they grab the 30s and it was like “I don’t think you can do one of those.” Like, “I wanna try it. Chris did it.” So those are the ones that you have to kind of guide the experience, but it’s more experience based. Like, “Was the music good? Was the coach energetic?” They’re gonna feed off of you more than themselves. So they’re the person that when you sit down with them at the end of the 30 days, they’re gonna be concerned about their body comp if that was their goal initially, but more so they’re gonna be like, “Hey, did I feel like this was like enjoyable for me to be here for every day that I was coming in?” So I think from a programming standpoint, don’t pick boring exercises. What exercises are fun? So getting this person to focus on a rear-foot-elevated split squat would probably be very, very hard to do. As opposed to letting them do like a walking lunge or something where they’re moving. Pick something that gets them moving. You might have to write more like met-con type workouts for them. “Hey, we’re gonna do as many as you can in 10 minutes, and we’re gonna go hard.” So with this person, “It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be awesome. You’re gonna try to beat your numbers or beat your friends’ numbers.” Things like that. So those are, for me anyway, personally as a coach, these are the toughest people to manage ‘cause I’m the furthest away from that. So it’s more about fueling them and making sure they enjoy the workout for the day.
Chris Cooper (30:53):
Well, it’d be tough for me to manage them, too. And some of my coaches are the same because, as you said, these are the people who are showing up five minutes late every time and saying “oh, what did you say” after you’ve just explained it. How do you manage that? Is it just knowing who they are?
Brian Bott (31:08):
It’s knowing who they are and then just trying not to—I don’t do the best job of it—but trying not to take it personal. They’re not late because they don’t feel like your warm-up’s important. They’re late because they probably didn’t wanna offend somebody else. These are people pleasers. So you can put that to work. You could say like, “All right, cool, you’re a little bit late. Get on up here, you’re gonna demo the warmup with me.” For the most part, you’re aware if you’re the person that’s always coming in late, and even though they’re energetic, they probably still feel bad about it. So getting them included in things and making them a part of it—they enjoy all that stuff. So if you can use that to your advantage, do it as long as it’s obviously not disruptive, which most people don’t wanna be. So, but having those backups of like—you can’t give this person eight different stretches to do in their warm-up and be like, “Well this is gonna increase your adductor length.” They’re gonna be like, “Yeah, I don’t get it. Let’s go. What are we doing?” More like, “Hey, I want you to do five 30-seconds-on, 30-seconds-off intervals on the bike, and then we’re gonna get rolling. And you’re gonna have to be with them every part of the way because, to them, this is their performance. They didn’t hire you for the science. They hired you for the feeling. And that’s why they would wear me out more as coach because like, “We’ve done the hip quad stretch 17 times.” They’re like, “Nope, don’t remember it.”
Chris Cooper (32:30):
Well, I think most coaches are fact-based, though. And that’s maybe why you see the memes about explaining the workout and the client asking “what is the workout” 30 seconds later. Like this does drive coaches nuts, but if you just like, I don’t wanna say ignore them, but like ignore that behavior, they can really spice up your class.
Brian Bott (32:50):
Absolutely. They all fit in somewhere. And it’s just how do you use their strengths and weaknesses to improve what you’re doing? And then go from there.
Chris Cooper (33:00):
So, Brian, the relationship introvert, how do you coach a program for them?
Brian Bott (33:04):
Very, very directly and not in front of other people. So it’s semi-private training. That’s kind of what we’ve been talking about. So it’s very easy sometimes to be like, “Hey Chris, you got deadlifts, and then grab the dumbbells.” Like that person, they’d be very nervous because like to them it’s like “Brian said ‘grab this’ and if I grab the wrong thing, everybody’s gonna know it. Everyone’s gonna laugh at me. And they’re gonna be like, ‘See, Chris doesn’t belong in the gym.’” So those are the people that you might have to set up on your own. And while they’re doing their warmup, let’s say they have a kettlebell deadlift and some sort of dumbbell press, while they’re doing their warmup, you grab the kettlebell, you grab the dumbbell for the press and you go up and say, “Hey, Chris. I’ve got you set up over there. That’s the deadlift. That’s the weight that we finished with last time. And then we had the dumbbell. We had the deadlift. If you remember, that’s in between. We’re standing up, and then you’ve got that single-arm press. So we did 2 sets last time. So we’re gonna try to get 3, try to make it a little bit harder today, but see how you feel, and then we’ll go from there.” So it’s a very direct, soft tone. I’m not like pumping this person up like “oh my God, you’re gonna crush it. It’s very, very kind of direct, soft-spoken. “Here you go.” And then they kind of can do it on their own. Even though it’s relationship introvert, you might think like, “Oh, he doesn’t want to be a part of the group.” But their biggest fear would be one person staring at them and analyzing everything that they’re doing. So sometimes you’d be like, “Why did this person choose group? They need more help.” And it’s because they don’t want to be singled out. Like they don’t want to be like, “Man, Chris is gonna coach me, just me, for an hour. Yeah, that’s awesome.” They’d be like, “Oh my god. He’s gonna watch everything. What do you mean he’s gonna watch everything I do? That’s mortifying.” So they would rather take a class that is not appropriate for them, be able to hide away in the back and just be like, “Here I am. No one notice me. Please no one notice me.” And if you yell “great job, Chris, across the room,” even though that’s a great intention, they might be mortified. So it has to be coming up to them and explaining to them like, “Hey, I think you’re doing a great job.” And these are even the people that when they get recognition from other members, that makes them feel better. So if you have like these Seed Clients that are kind of like the leaders in your gym, I wouldn’t even hesitate to be like, “Hey, like can you do me favor? Just go over and let Chris know that he’s doing a good job. Like, ‘cause he just needs to be a part of this.” And like those things can kind of help a little bit more, but everything is done individually, in that setting. In terms of like programming, we wouldn’t give anything that could potentially make them look stupid. Saying like, “Hey, let’s try this box jump” even though we have the soft boxes and nothing’s gonna happen to anybody’s shin or anything like that, like, they would be mortified if they ever fell. So they’re the type of people that would just be like “no.” “Just try it!” Even if you have to start more basic than you would think, get them some wins early on. Back to that where we talked about in the sales process with them, we want to make them feel like “oh I can do this. I can do this.” They’re not gonna be in a rush. They’re never gonna be like, “Hey, when can I back squat?” They’re gonna be like, “I will do this body-weight squat until Chris tells me that it is 100 percent necessary for me to change to something else.” So those are the people that every once in a while you have to be like, “Hey, Mary, you used the 10-pound dumbbell for the last five workouts. Can we grab the 12 today?” But only one step. You know, one thing at a time. I find them easier to coach than the relationship extrovert. ‘Cause they’re all over the place. At least these people I feel like are a little bit more predictable—you can manage it a little bit better.
Chris Cooper (37:00):
I definitely scared a lot of these people off in the beginning ‘cause we used to advertise “if you throw up on your first workout, you get a free hat.”
Brian Bott (37:08):
Yeah. I dunno if these things are equally distributed throughout the population, but if they were, like 25 percent would be “no, I’m good.”
Chris Cooper (37:19):
OK. So Brian, I wanted to ask you about leading these people, managing them, guiding them as the owner of a business. And obviously these four different personality types, they work differently together, and they work differently with clients. And so maybe you can talk to us about how to work with them and how to manage them in the workplace. So maybe let’s start with the fact-based extrovert as a staff person or coach.
Brian Bott (37:44):
So as you know, quick refresher, these are the strong personality types. They wanna be in control and they want take lead. So foster that. Try to give them projects that they can take ownership of and let them kind of run with it. You know, they might be tough in meetings where they might dominate the conversation. Things like that. So those are things that you might have to have as kind of like checks. They’re very good at getting things done, though. So if you give them two tasks and say, “Hey, here’s what we need to get done,” they’ll most likely get it done. How and who they might run over or offend in the way of doing that might be something you need to help manage. But in that regard, you can kind of trust them to kind get stuff done. So they’re good people to put in charge of certain projects. In that way. What kind of feedback do these people thrive on? It depends. So separate from this, we kind of try to ask like, “Hey, do you prefer direct feedback?” We try to just ask people right away: “Hey, do you prefer very direct feedback or do you like more of like the sandwich?” And everybody’s different. So with these people, you really have to focus on what they did right because, again, to me everything is sales. If I’m still selling you on the idea that you’re doing a great job, you’re a great teammate, you’re a great supporter. So if I get argumentative right off the bat and be like “you did this wrong” right away, then it can get a little awkward. So leading with like, “Hey, you’re doing a great job with this. Awesome. Here are some things that we can kind of improve. What do you think we could do better?” Rather than “you did this wrong,” like, “Hey, here’s how this thing went. What are some ideas that you have?” Now I might have my own ideas. But I’m gonna see if I can get that from them first. “What are some ideas you have for when we do this again? Like, what, what could be better?” And then if I can identify “hey, I had these two written down, too,” well now we’re on the kind of the same path.
Chris Cooper (39:57):
Do you find these people respond best to a more active—I won’t say authoritative—but like an inspiring leader instead of somebody that’s more passive that sits back?
Brian Bott (40:07):
I dunno. That’d be a tough one for me. But yeah, I think sometimes like they’re very good with vision and ideas. They’re gonna be the ones that would be the most likely to make sure that they had the core values and mission statement 100 percent done, out there and everybody knows it. Whereas for me being more fact based, introverted, I know, I understand, and I think all those things are 100 percent important, but I would struggle doing them. Cause I’m like, “Do we really want that one on there? Oh, that word. Like, do you think … ?” Whereas they’re like, “Yeah, go.” So I think from an idea standpoint, they would definitely more be like, “Hey, I’m gonna lead the charge with vision and mission, and then the analytical type stuff. And sometimes that can get them in trouble because they start a project but might not have the actual hard skills right away to help accomplish that. So those are the kind of things that you have to kind of manage—or partner them up with someone else who can kinda be a check to them.
Chris Cooper (41:11):
I find as a fact-based introvert with at least 20 fact-based extroverts working for me that that’s what’s most important: Here’s the vision. So that’s our destination. Here’s our values. Here’s the parameters in which you can operate. And then from there, you know, just letting people go usually keeps everybody streamlined and going fast.
Brian Bott (41:33):
It makes sense. It’s like letting them use their personality as long as we’re heading in this direction. Yeah. There’s gonna be lots of different ways that we can do that based on these different, I wouldn’t really call ’em strengths and weaknesses, but different types of personalities.
Sure. OK. All right. The fact-based introvert guys like us. How do you manage us?
Well, it spreadsheets and data. You said I would get a raise if we hit 11.7 percent growth on Tuesday, Feb. 13. It’s Tuesday, Feb. 14, and we are at 11.9. So is my raise starting tomorrow? It’s very “tell me exactly what is mission critical? What number are we trying to hit? And I will try to move that needle and that data point.” These are the people that do well with “if you have 30 clients, we need you to be doing 15 goal reviews per month.” Like, they’re very good with “tell me exactly what to do why to do it, and then I’ll make sure that that gets done.” They’re not gonna be great with sometimes making that choice on their own because they’re gonna overanalyze. It’d be hard for them to initiate the project because they’re gonna nitpick every detail. Like they would take eight months to launch something because it’s very much like, “Well, I need to make sure every detail of this is 100 percent good to go before we go with this.” An interesting side note with this is that sometimes these people might be your greatest program designers but not your greatest coaches. So maybe I’m very good at analyzing where someone. I can design them a great program. But me getting that person excited to do it might not be the best. Whereas you might have a coach who knows exercise technique, knows positions and is also the best motivator but would have no idea how to write a 16-week program to get someone from A to B. But if I was gonna have someone coach someone from A to B, I would want that person to do it. I might not want him to write the program. But I might want him in the room coaching the person. Just as the best program designer, I’m like, “Please don’t be the person that’s coaching that person. Cause they’re gonna need a lot more motivation to get through that workout than you’re gonna be able to give.” So, to your point before, how do you put people in the position where they’re still contributing to the same mission and vision but competing in a realm where they’re gonna succeed? These people? Numbers, data. “How am I doing based on what metrics, what analytics?” Since I tend to be one of these people, these are the easiest people for me to manage because it’s just easy. You could say, “Hey, did you do X? Did Y happen? Yep. Then you get Z.” You know, that kinda thing. So simple and straightforward.
Chris Cooper (44:15):
This type of person in a management role, the challenge that I’ve had with them is they’re very good at reporting problems but they’re not very good at solving the problem and telling me when it’s over. So how do you empower them to make decisions or to try new things on their own?
Brian Bott (44:35):
I think the hardest part and why they can’t is because they still nest under that perfectionist thing. And how they perform with the team—these are the other people that you’ll have to come down sometimes to ‘cause they might come to you be like, “Hey, did you see like Chris, let that guy do that lunge?” I’m like, “All right. Was it that bad? Like, was he gonna die? Like, was his cap gonna pop off and go into the parking lot? Like, was he safe?” “Yes.” “All right.” Or, “Hey, how can we give Chris feedback to let him know that we want this lunge or whatever it is, coached this way?” ‘Cause they’re gonna be like, “Well, Page 7 and Section A of the operating manual says lunge must be 90 degrees.” “Well, you’re right. You are right. But there’s difference between right and being effective.” Like, if it was just about being right, then it’d be very hard to get things done. The more you can point those things out to them, it makes it easier anyway. But this is why you wouldn’t want a room of just all of these people. Because if it was just these people, we would just sit here talking all day, and I’d have all these ideas and nothing would actually get done. Some of the other personality groups, it’d be like a bunch of random stuff and things are happening, but it’s not in any direction towards anything. So it’s kind of really figuring out how to put these people together and then move forward from there. One sign that you are this person you think, “Isn’t that just common sense? How could someone not know that?” And that’s hard. So when they’re having a conversation in a group, they can come across as “oh, that’s the guy that shoots down every idea that we have in the meeting.” Right? So like, if you’re running a meeting, you’re like, “Hey, what are some ideas that we can do for this?” And your energetic relationship extrovert is like, “We should have pizza parties.” And you’re like, “Yeah, so everybody could gain weight?” And you’re like, “All right, well, thanks, Bob.” It’s like they’re not trying to be negative. That’s how their mind works. Everything is a pro and con list. So you can use that to your advantage and then let other people vote on the list that they made. Right? “Hey, Chris, run us through the pros and cons. OK, everybody else now, with that information, what do you think we should do?” And you’re like, “Wait—what about my vote?” “No, you were the information list. That was your job.” And going through that way. And then also not being afraid to show them the metrics that move the business, right? There’s other people that are just like, they want to be concerned with their playlist that they made for the class. Was it great? Was the workout awesome? And then you’d be like, “Hey, but five people didn’t come because we put this class at this time.” This is the person that, how they contribute to the business would be like, “Hey, maybe not the P&L, but other thing that you can give them and say like, “What do you think we could improve here?” And they’ll be able to give you more from an analytical point to pitch in with that. So they’re helpful people to have around. I’m pretty biased, though.
Chris Cooper (47:41):
So I love these people. You give ’em a KPI, but then you’ll also have to give them permission to take an action, right? All right. The relationship extroverts.
Brian Bott (47:51):
All right. So these are the people that are in my opinion hardest to coach, hardest to manage, mostly because they’re in that opposite quadrant from us, right? These are the people that are so enthusiastic about every project but they’re the most likely to overextend themselves. “I can do it. Perfect. I got it.” “Hey, can you stay and take these clients at 2?” “Yeah, sure. No problem.” And then, “Hey, can I leave at 2:50?” “Why?” “I told so-and-so I had to be at … .” “And you’re like, “Well, then why did you tell me that you could … ?” “Ah, I didn’t wanna tell you no. Like, I felt really bad. And it’s like, “All right, well now you made it worse because you didn’t tell me ‘no.’” So those are the people that you have to understand that they usually come at this from a sincere place of wanting to help, but sometimes they don’t know their own limitations. Not in terms of skill se but just in terms of budgeting their time. So trying to give them really concrete boundaries in which to operate. “Hey, from 12 to 4, these are your coaching hours. You can do whatever you want. You wanna schedule four people, seven, privates, whatever. Those are your coaching hours. Your program-design hours are between 4 and 5:30. That’s when I want you in the office.” They need structure. Because without it, they’re gonna be all over the place. So from a managing point of view, that would be the toughest aspect. We kind of touched on it in the last segment: These are the people that might annoy the fact-based introverts. ‘Cause he’d be like “everybody likes Johnny. Johnny’s not even doing a good job. And it’s like, “Yeah, but Johnny’s nice to everybody and he’ll do anything for anybody.” So like for us, it’s like, “Yeah, but if they did it this way, it’d be better, and it’s like they don’t care.” So that’s kind of an interesting thing with this type of person. It’s really just making sure that you’re taking advantage of their energy and their enthusiasm and wanting to please everybody but giving them constraints.
Chris Cooper (49:50):
I’ve got a perfect example. Let’s say that I’m a relationship extrovert. You come in and our session runs five minutes long. The next person starts five minutes late, and it runs five minutes long, and then the third client is starting 10 minutes late. And I think that I’m over-delivering on value by doing this extra time when really I’m disenfranchising all these people who are waiting, and the problem keeps snowballing. It drives guys like me and you crazy when sessions don’t start on time. Right?
Brian Bott (50:20):
Yep. And I have a similar story. We had a coach who would have clients that would be out of sessions and they don’t always know because some months have certain amount of weeks or they need to make some up, and they would just ask, “Hey, John, can I come in Tuesday?” “Yeah, sure, no problem. See you Tuesday at 8.” “Yeah. All right.” “How about Thursday, too?” “Yep. I’ll see you there.” And then we would go to do payroll and we’d be like, “Hey, John, Chris doesn’t have any sessions.” And he’s like, “Ah, I know. I figured I’d just help ‘em because I didn’t wanna tell him like he was over.” And it’s like getting them comfortable at being uncomfortable is probably their biggest challenge. ‘Cause they’re like, “I didn’t wanna tell him.” I’m like, “But I can’t pay you for those sessions.” And he’s like, “I know, don’t worry about it.” Like, they don’t think that sometimes the consequences of good actions—it’s not that they don’t understand, but it’s like their fear is letting someone down. So they’re doing more. Like exactly to your point: “Ah, you can come a half hour late. No big deal. I’ll be here. But then it’s like, well then you need to stay a half hour late, but you needed to be at this other appointment somewhere else. And now you’re late there and you made your wife or your significant other mad.” So yeah. It’s giving them those barriers help.
Chris Cooper (51:50):
This was really common in CrossFit back in the day, where nobody could sell personal training because “oh, you want help with your muscle-up, Brian? Stay after class. You know, I’ll stick around as long as it takes.” That was a huge issue. OK. So that’s the relationship extrovert. Alright. The relationship introvert, very calm, laid back, not easy to excite.
Brian Bott (52:10):
So this is the person that you’re gonna make sure that you want to give both criticism and praise kind of in private. Like if I can remember—I’m not perfect—to not correct them in front of other people because, again, they wanna make sure everybody’s taken care of, that everything’s OK, and that they fit in. So you wouldn’t wanna shout at them from across the gym. Like, “Hey, Chris, make sure you put back that that bar!” As simple as that. You’re like, “Oh my god, Brian, you yelled at me.” And to me it’s like, “No, I just reminded you to put it away. I was just telling you to put the bar back. Like, it wasn’t like a personal attack.” But, you know, some people, for whatever reason take feedback differently. And I kind of left it out of the other one. But, you know, it is important to give that relationship person amazing praise in front of everybody. “Hey, I was here this morning and I saw Chris coach class. It was awesome. Music was perfect. Everybody was working hard. Technique was great. Just wanted to let Chris know he did a great job.” Even that to this person, the relationship introvert, they don’t wanna be front and center of everything. They would like, not always, but recognition in private. So this is someone you can write a letter to and say, “Hey Chris, I just wanna let you know that I see what you’re doing. I think you’re doing a great job. Here’s a whatever gift to say thank you for all the work that you’re doing.” Rather than like, “Hey, come here. We’re gonna interview on social media and tell everybody about you. So there’s different ways and to recognize this person. But that tends to be super helpful. I’ve definitely had staff in this boat, too, and they would spend three hours on the phone with Zen Planner and then like an hour crying because they just couldn’t solve the problem. It was so important to them that they solved the problem or else they thought I would be mad at them. And they tend to want to shield not necessarily their boss or their leader, whoever’s their direct report, from things when sometimes it’d be better just to let the person know. And then we can, we can fix this together. It’s more of like, to your point, “Oh, if Brian or Chris finds out about this, they’re not gonna be happy, and I don’t want that.” And then I find myself repeatedly working with these people and trying to explain to them the reason I’m upset right now is because it’s six weeks into this thing that could have been solved six weeks ago. The one thing that’s helped is using things like end-of-shift notes because then there’s maybe a degree of separation. You might not wanna come into the office and be like, “Hey, Brian, I gotta talk to you.” But from a little bit of a distance I can gather myself, write something and email what happened and get it out. Right. So I give them other ways of expressing that without having it be like “come, let’s sit down one on one and talk direct.” Giving them a little bit of a separation in that regard helps sometimes.
Chris Cooper (55:23):
Ok. Well, this is super helpful. Obviously not everybody’s the same, and not everybody fits neatly into a little bucket, either. But starting, you know, with kind of this broad perspective of how to work with different personalities to make a better workplace for everybody is helpful.
Brian Bott (55:36):
You’re just trying to acknowledge some of these tendencies in people and realize the whole reason that we’re doing this is try to get the best outta every person. It’s not to like, manipulate them or do anything. It’s like, so we’re moving in this direction. This is where this person would best be suited.
Chris Cooper (55:50):
Another amazing skill set of a leader. Thanks, Brian.
Brian Bott (55:53):
You got it.
Chris Cooper (55:53):
All right, man.
That was “Run a Profitable Gym.” Thanks for listening. For more support or to discuss this episode, head to gymownersunited.com to join a group with more than 7,000 great gym owners.