You Lost Money on Gym Apparel Sales Until You Listened to This

You Lost Money on Gym Apparel Sales Until You Listened to This

Mike Warkentin: (00:01)
Confession, gym owners. I lost money on apparel for 13 years. That’s like the entire time that I’ve run a fitness business. The only year I turned a profit, seven bucks. That’s it. That was the year that I broke even, right? But really, I actually just broke even because I gave up on apparel sales. I just stopped doing it because I was bleeding money every single time. Does that sound familiar? If so, we’re gonna solve your apparel problems today on this show so that you can generate a profit. I have an expert on hand to help. Had I spoken to this expert 13 years ago, I would be tens of thousands of dollars ahead. So listen, and you are going to earn more money at your fitness business. Now, I’m Mike Warkentin, and this is Run a Profitable Gym. Please subscribe wherever you’re watching or listening.

Mike Warkentin: (00:44)
What I’m wearing right now, this literally comes from my pile of unsold apparel, and we’re gonna tell you in just a few minutes what to do with unsold apparel, because I’ve got probably thousand dollars worth of stuff sitting downstairs in my office. I pulled this out today. Doesn’t fit, not cool, not current, but I’m gonna wear it here in shame because I couldn’t sell it. Now, I’m not embarrassed by my retail failures because I know they’re not uncommon, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed either. Many gym owners struggle with retail and sales. It’s just tough for some people. But I recently asked a group of gym owners for some of their numbers and they gave me some incredible stats. Now I’m going to give ’em to you. One gym owner reported that retail provided 6.09% of gross annual revenue. That’s a big deal right there. That’s gross revenue.

Mike Warkentin: (01:26)
Another generates $1200 to $2,000 in gross apparel sales every three to four months. Okay? Profit margin there, he quoted me 30%. If you use an average of 1600 bucks per campaign, assume four campaigns, that’s $2,000 in profit in your bank account. Okay? Another, he said retail contributes 1.4% to total profit. So that’s actual profit. 1.4% is profit in your bank account. Now, this is the coolest one of all. This is a gym owner. He is not located in Las Vegas or Hawaii. He’s in a place that you would not necessarily travel to as a destination. He makes $34,000 in retail sales a year. 9% of his gross revenue. Again, not a destination. He’s not in Las Vegas, he’s not in Hawaii. He actually works with my guest. My guest today is Matt Albrizio. He’s here. He runs Forever Fierce, and he recently posted some amazing tips on Facebook to help you. We’re gonna dig in here and solve your apparel problems. Matt, thank you so much for being here today.

Matt Albrizio: (02:24)
Hey Mike, thanks so much for having us back here. I’m really excited to be back again here.

Mike Warkentin: (02:28)
I wish it was 2010 and I was talking to you right now, and this would not be on me. They’d be out the door sold and I’d be wearing cooler stuff and I wouldn’t have any inventory. But we’re gonna solve problems for gym owners today. So let’s get right into it. I wanna know, first of all, apparel planning. How many times a year should you order stuff? And what kind of variety, because I ordered very infrequently and then when I did order, I ordered 10,000 different things and sold very few. What would you develop? 

Matt Albrizio: (02:56)
So right now I would find that the baseline for most gyms is about four to six times a year. At an absolute minimum. Most gyms should be swinging in order at least once a quarter. That’s the absolute minimum. And that’s pretty doable. I think whenever people hear about apparel or they start working with an apparel vendor who specializes in the fitness industry like us, they’re like, I just don’t wanna do something every month. I just don’t have it in me every month. And honestly, I’m the first one to tell you: don’t do stuff every month. Four to six times a year is great. And in terms of variety, one thing we see with new clients who work with us and they’re like, okay, this is someone who specializes in this. I haven’t gotten caught up on apparel, so what I’m gonna do, we’re gonna do tees, we’re gonna do tanks, we’re gonna do long sleeves, we’re gonna do hoodies, we’re gonna do crewnecks.

Matt Albrizio: (03:38)
We’re gonna do it all in this month. And it’s like, don’t do that. All those ideas are amazing over the course of the year, but spread it out over time. One data point I could share with you is that no matter how much stuff you offer, so even if you order offer all five or seven of those items, members will only buy 1.2 items per transaction. Really? Yeah. So it doesn’t matter how much stuff you offer. People think, if I offer more, people will buy more. That 1.2, well, who’s the 0.2? The 0.2 is your family, your real diehard coaches, your diehard members, so they might buy multiple things, but the average member’s just gonna buy one thing, no matter how much stuff you offer. And again, it’s easier to plan this stuff out and say, you have members asking for crop tops in December, hoodies in July.

Mike Warkentin: (04:30)
Muscle tees in January, I got some at a discount.

Matt Albrizio: (04:33)
. You can tell people, look, we got that stuff coming, but right now we’re focused on our winter package. Right now we’re focused on our summer package. So I find that four to six times a year spreading things out. That’s really the method for success right now.

Mike Warkentin: (04:45)
From where I’m at, at ground level. That makes absolute perfect sense. And what I found as well was when I tried to order a bunch of stuff, I got into all this chaos of sizing and returns and errors, and we’re gonna talk a little bit about that later on. But I found that it was just so much to manage. I’m not a good retailer to start. So rather than trying to sell 10 things, including hats and beanies and all sorts of other stuff, a t-shirt with my logo might have been a better idea and people would’ve bought that. And then if I had said hoodies in fall, maybe beanies in winter or whatever, one item all the way through, I think I probably could have carried that. And once I built the system, which we’ll talk about, I think things would’ve worked better. So your advice: four to six times a year and limit it to one item. Max two or just one?

Matt Albrizio: (05:26)
Yeah, so things in the same family. Make sense? Mm-hmm. . So tees, tank tops, crop tops, that makes sense. Long sleeves, baseball tees. That makes sense. Pull over, zip ups, crewneck. That makes sense. It’s just when you start mixing price points too, you don’t wanna mix the price points. So like if you have a a 50, $60 hoodie and then position that with a t-shirt for 25 to 30 bucks, most people are gonna default to the cheaper option. Whereas if we just sort of steer them into the higher ticket options and do it strategically around the times of the year where people spend more money on that stuff, you’re going to see more success with it.

Mike Warkentin: (05:57)
Okay, so gym owners, if you’re taking notes, pull out your post-it note. First thing, do your apparel sales regularly. Do them four to six times a year. Sell small amounts of items, like a small selection. Keep it very tight and focused. Now next, how much should you order? So the first time I ordered, I ordered 50 T-shirts. And of course we blew those out really fast. Oddly enough, that was my first order. I still lost money ’cause I priced them badly. But later on I ordered a bunch of stuff and I ordered way too much, and some of which I’m wearing because I could not sell it. So tell me about how much should gym owners order, and then how essential is a pre-order system?

Matt Albrizio: (06:35)
Right. So I would always recommend all gyms, there’s very few outliers. So if you’re asking yourself, am I the outlier, the answer to that question is probably not.

Mike Warkentin: (06:44)
I’m the snowflake. Yeah.

Matt Albrizio: (06:45)
I would, again, if you’re in a high drop-in area, you do get a lot of visitors. You might not need to pre-order stuff, but for 99% of gym owners, run a pre-order for the week. And basically you’re collecting sizes ahead of time because this is gonna cut down on those sizes. Where when I jump on a call with a new client, the number one thing they say is, I have some inventory right now, but it’s in weird sizes that I don’t need. Extra small, 2XL, a women’s medium. What we wanna do is we wanna order as close as possible to what we need. So what the pre-order, let’s say you had 30 pre-orders, okay, we see that the most popular sizes are large, medium, and XL. I’m only gonna order extras in that. I’m not gonna add five to each size for obscure sizes.

Matt Albrizio: (07:27)
So run the pre-order for a week, see how many you get, and then just intelligently add extras. When I tell people to add extras or, is this the part where you tell me to order like 50 extra? And it’s like, no, six to 12 extra is all you need to cover. The days of ordering 20, 30, 50 extra, those days are gone. Six to 12 extra is enough and it’s gonna prevent and cover a few extra things. It’s gonna cover those stragglers. Like there’s just some people in the gym and we all love them, but it doesn’t matter how many times you tell ’em there’s a pre-order, please order ahead of time. They’re gonna be like what email?

Mike Warkentin: (08:03)
That’s true. That literally happens all the time.

Matt Albrizio: (08:04)
Yep. And it’s usually the person you love the most in the gym too. It’s the person who is your number one fan or your number one client, but they just don’t participate in the pre-order and they want something so you have a little extra for them. And then in the nature of screen printing right now there is a spoilage rate. So there’s natural stuff that goes sideways during the production process. And I’m always upfront with people about that. There’s a hole in a shirt, something’s printed a little crooked, something’s missing from the box. That type of stuff happens. It happens with us 1% of the time. But it’s good to account for that in case, again, you are printing exact numbers, you do need a couple extras to cover that stuff. It doesn’t hurt to order six to 12 extras. That’s not gonna break the bank and that’s not gonna bankrupt you.

Mike Warkentin: (08:47)
Okay? So gym owners, run a pre-order for a week and then from there tack on some extras in the most popular sizes. Put that on your post-it note. I can tell you that I did not do that. And I can also tell you from when I worked retail way back in the day, I was at a shoe store or a sporting good store, retail orders are formulaic at the giant level. So when you’re working for a giant company, they know their size runs and so forth. You’re not gonna get an order of shoes and you’re not gonna get, like, 15 size fourteens. You’re not gonna get those. You’re gonna get a bunch of eights, nines and tens in those. They’ve done the research, they know what’s up, they know exactly what to send. But then despite that experience, when I was a gym owner, I decided, oh, I’ll order so many of these and so many of these and so many of these and I guessed. And I’m stuck with extra small muscle tees that no one will buy.

Mike Warkentin: (09:31)
So make sure you know, and ask your retailer. Like, you’re working with Forever Fierce, they’ll tell you order more of this. You know, these six extras. They’ll break it down for you. If you’re working with another person, ask them that question. If they can’t answer it, you maybe want to change vendors. Now related to that topic, the pro shop. So I’ve got behind me the fake pro shop, you’ve got it folded perfectly and all this stuff. Would you have a pro shop? Would you stock a ton of inventory? You said probably not, but what’s the value of the pro shop these days?

Matt Albrizio: (10:00)
So in terms of a pro shop, it’s one of those things where sometimes people just like to do stuff. It doesn’t need to be the biggest money generator. It just looks cool. I don’t care if it makes me money, it just looks cool. You walk in here, it looks cool, this is what I did with the space. But it’s one of those things where, just don’t pretend like you’re in a different game then. If you’re going to run a pro shop, have someone who’s dedicated to it, whether it’s you, whether it’s your spouse, whether it’s a head coach, a GM, if you’re fortunate enough to have one of those. Like, make sure they have a really good handle on that because that’s something where people are just like, they can continually add stuff on there, they’re taking multi-thousand dollars losses on this stuff a year. And it’s like, well this just looks cool, so I’m gonna keep funding this multi-thousand dollars loss.

Matt Albrizio: (10:43)
It’s like, have a good handle on that stuff. Is it really serving you? And if that space is big, if it’s 10 by 12 feet, like okay, in the spirit of Two-Brain, what can we do with a better use of this space? Can we turn into a classroom? Can we turn into a nutrition consultation center? Can I rent this space out? It’s really important to kind of ask, what’s the purpose of this? And if you’re just doing it ’cause it looks cool, that’s okay. But again at the end of the year, don’t cry if it’s a huge loss. And you’re like, well, I don’t know how this is a loss and it’s such a pain. Kind of understand if you’re in it to win it or if you’re in it for it to look cool.

Matt Albrizio: (11:20)
And if you’re in it to win it, I would say the pro shop stuff is good, but like I said, inventory does get stale with that stuff. If it just sits there over time, and I know we’re gonna get to this in a second, but what happens when this inventory just sits there? You’ve tried running discounts, it still not moving what now? So it can get to be like quicksand with that stuff. So you just gotta be careful with how big and how much stuff you do stock in these pro shops.

Mike Warkentin: (11:45)
So listeners, there is point three. Your pro shop, if you have one or if you’re considering one, check out what that square footage is gonna do for you. Could you put in a No-Sweat Intro sales office, free consultation office, nutrition consultation office? Could you make money in that space? Could you put in a personal training room? Could you put in an infrared sauna? I don’t know, you figure it out. What would make money in that space? And if it’s just stocking inventory, it looks good when you walk in. Probably not a good idea. And think about this, Matt said this. I’m gonna paraphrase him, but Matt said this. Your inventory is not a decoration, it is designed to be moved so that you get sick money from it, right? So if you’re thinking about all the stuff, example, what’s behind me, would you just put a bunch of hundred dollars bills on the wall?

Mike Warkentin: (12:28)
That’s kind of what you’re doing, right? If you’re displaying inventory, right, you’re actually just putting money on the wall because your cash flow is tied up there. So you frame your first $1 bill, put it up, that’s cool. You start framing a bunch of hundreds, you might want that money at some point. Here is the drill. If you go to your pro shop right now, I want you to pick up a product, either a t-shirt or supplement or whatever it is. I want you to blow on it. If dust comes off, you probably want to get rid of it. Okay? That’s just real world talk here. As a gym owner, I’ve done that. I’m like, whoa, how long has this been here? Oh, and it’s expired, right? And we’re talking supplements, but you get the idea. Same deal for retail.

Mike Warkentin: (13:04)
Styles do change, colors do change, blah, blah, blah. Do not sit on inventory. It is a bad plan for any retailer. Now Matt, we’re gonna get into some interesting stuff here. Pricing recommendations. I made them up, I gambled. I didn’t know, despite the fact that I’d worked in retail and knew that there are some general margin recommendations for soft goods and clothing and so forth. I just made ’em up and I lost money. A lot of times I was like, oh, you know what? This 25 bucks sounds a little bit too much for a t-shirt. I’ll just charge $25. Guess what? I lost money ’cause I had no margin. Talk to me about pricing margins, breakeven, all that stuff.

Matt Albrizio: (13:41)
Right. So we are gonna talk numbers here. So let’s see if we can keep everyone engaged and follow along here. So for tees and tanks, I recommend that you sell this stuff right now at a minimum of $27 to $30. This is all US pricing by the way too. Yep. So a long sleeve, I recommend about 32 to 35, and then hoodies, 50 to $60 depending on the quality of the hoodie and the style. This is like Chris Cooper day one stuff, but don’t project your pricing, I don’t wanna use the word insecurities, but that’s the word I’m gonna use. Don’t project your pricing insecurities onto your clients. I think if someone’s paying 150 to 250 bucks or more on a gym membership every month, bumping your t-shirt prices by $2 is not gonna register on their radar.

Matt Albrizio: (14:27)
Where again, maybe you wouldn’t buy a t-shirt for 30 bucks at your favorite local business, but these people don’t care. The merch is part of the deal with gyms. People aren’t very price sensitive to it. And people get nervous where they’re like, oh, well if I increase the price, they’re not gonna buy. It’s cool to support local businesses. It’s not the price point. So you do have wiggle room to increase your prices. Rogue Fitness is selling really basic stuff right now for $30, really basic tees for $30, mayhem. All these people are selling stuff for 30 bucks. Don’t give yourself a discount where again, these are the people who are actually going to support you. Charge the right pricing. It’s really not that big of a jump. And again, very rarely do we ever see people push back on this stuff.

Mike Warkentin: (15:10)
So lemme ask you a specific on that. So I know there are different styles that will change the number you’re gonna give me here, but if I look at a $30 t-shirt, what kind of a margin is that just in general for a basic t-shirt?

Matt Albrizio: (15:21)
Yeah, I mean, if you work with us, I always tell people that the absolute minimum margin you’re going to hit on this stuff for US gym owners especially is, I would say that minimum 30%. I mean, in the worst case scenario, your t-shirt’s gonna cost about $18.99 per shirt. That’s with three to four ink colors, front and back printing. So again, if you’re netting about 12 bucks a shirt, that’s really good for not a ton of time invested. And again, it keeps people happy, it keeps people engaged with what they’re looking for in the gym experience these days. All the fitness brands that you look at and admire, they’re all doing these merch sales. It’s very rare you’re gonna find a gym where you’re like, oh, I really like them and they don’t have any merch. It’s part of the gig, it’s part of the game. And like I said, if you charge that a couple extra bucks per shirt, no one’s gonna say anything.

Mike Warkentin: (16:05)
And it’s kind of that add-on sale principle too, right? When you’re making a large purchase every month, like 150, 200 bucks or whatever, sometimes tacking on that extra 25 or 30 for something you really like isn’t a big deal. Like anyone who’s bought literally anything large-ticket item, Say, a car is a good example and you’re in the end, you’re just putting down like $40,000 on a car or 20 or whatever it is, and the salesperson says, do you want the heated seats for an extra 500 bucks? Like, yeah, I do. Or whatever it is. Are you throwing some floor mats or something, right? So the principle definitely works. And the thing that about margin that’s really important is, I gotta get you to tell me this, what does margin allow you to do? Meaning, you were gonna profit, but how can you screw that up badly if you don’t sell the stuff? You had an example that you put up with some actual numbers of calculating break-even and beyond. So tell me about what that margin plays out, how that plays out in real world.

Matt Albrizio: (16:55)
All right, so hopefully everyone can follow me on this. So with unsold merch, what’s your break-even if you have 40 shirts and they cost you $15.99 each, so 40 shirts price at about $16 each is gonna cost you about $630. Say you sell them for $25 each. Your break-even number is 25 shirts. So you guys sell 25 of ’em just to break even. So the profit is in those 15 leftover shirts, that 40 minus 25, you have 15 shirts left over. This is where your profit is. So if you sell all 15, you’re gonna net $375. If you only sell 10 of them though, you profit $250 and that’s gonna decrease your profit by a third. So this is why when we talk about these extras, it’s so important that you’re ordering the right amount of extras where it’s not too much.

Matt Albrizio: (17:45)
You know, again, I’d rather you call and say, I’m completely sold out, I need to do a reorder. Rather than next time I circle back with you, it’s, eh, I don’t need apparel right now. I got too much on my hands. I’m just trying to get rid of it. That’s the worst email to get back from people. And that’s why I always recommend go a little tighter on the inventory, sell out of stuff, maximize your profit. And this stuff builds over time. This is what people don’t get. Apparel is not a lotto ticket anymore. You can’t just offer it once and then you’re gonna get rich quick. You have to do it consistently over a period of time. And like you said, the client that we mentioned in the previous example, in the intro of the show, they’re offering stuff on very consistent intervals. This isn’t just one big bang over at the end of the year. So like I said, just be really smart about those extras that you do order.

Mike Warkentin: (18:34)
You said this, I’m gonna paraphrase it again. It was a great quote in one of your Facebook posts and it was along the lines of, it’s better to sell out than to have extra stock. And if you think about it, yeah, that’s obvious, but I didn’t realize that. I thought, I’ll just buy all these t-shirts and I’ll have the stock and I’m the cool guy with a box of t-shirts I can sell. Never worked properly. If I had sold that stuff out, I could have gone on to the next thing. And there’s also a really interesting thing with just this limited edition, one-time only, buy it before it’s gone. Cool idea, right? Limited edition, very popular kind of thing where you just get it out the door, move on to the next thing. Because styles don’t always stay. Classic is not always classic for some people.

Mike Warkentin: (19:14)
So the color that’s cool this month might not be the color that’s cool next month. Just get the stuff out the door. The way you can do that is with pre-order, small extras. So do that calculation guys. If you’re thinking about stocking inventory, do that break-even calculation and say, what do I have to sell to breakeven? And do I have a plan to sell the rest? And if you do not, don’t order more. Just do it right, pre-order and save yourself that misery. Because if you preorder, sell everything, build in a profit margin, you’ll win every time. Now this is a big one, Matt. How would I get rid of this stuff that I’m wearing? Unsold inventory. 

Matt Albrizio: (19:50)
All right. So we’re always trying to avoid this situation. Usually I’m dealing with new clients who are like, I want to get started with you, but I already have so much stuff on the shelf right now. How do I get rid of this unsold stuff? It’s just been sitting here, it’s from last Memorial Day, it’s from last summer. I just need to get rid of it. So there’s one little trick that we’ve tried, and this is gonna sound very silly, but it works at some gyms. Where, if everything is on a shelf right now, remove it from the shelves and put it in a back office. Bring it to your house, put it in your garage and hide it. And I guarantee there will probably be three to five people who go, where’d those shirts go? Once you remove ’em from the shelf. And they’re gonna say, well, I wanted one. And they just weren’t buying it because it was always available.

Matt Albrizio: (20:35)
But now that you removed it, they’re like, wait a second, who moved my cheese? Where is that? And I want one. And so then when they ask for it, you say, no problem. I’ll bring you one tomorrow. What size do you want? Now, one thing that people do though is, and I know because we go to retail stores and we shop and we go to the mall, or we go to a sporting good store and we see the rack and then the discount rack, and it’s like, all right, I’m just gonna borrow from that playbook. Fire sale, anything on this rack, it’s 30% off, but here’s the full price stuff. Basically all you’re doing is training people to wait for things to go on that rack to this rack. So don’t do the all year round discounting thing.

Matt Albrizio: (21:16)
If you want to do a discount, do special discounts during a holiday party. If you do a Memorial Day WOD, something like that, something where it’s a true community event where everyone’s coming out, everyone’s gonna be there. That’s when you can surprise people and say, Hey everyone, we’re doing a special discount on apparel. We’re doing it this weekend only. We only do this three times a year. So if you want some old styles, this is the only time you get the discount. Other than that, though, we’re not discounting stuff. I know we don’t have to lecture to people in Two-Brain about discounts and no discounts, but just don’t leave the discount stuff out 24/7, 365. Otherwise you train people to just take advantage of discounts. And there’s so many brands that have ruined their brand over this. J Crew. You could see how they’re in bankruptcy right now because they did this.

Matt Albrizio: (22:01)
They had a very premium line of products, but they just trained people. If you just waited long enough, we’re gonna send you a 30 to 40% discount, and it will ruin your brand. So don’t try and borrow those strategies from big box stores and other retailers. Just sit tight on that price point, offer the discount strategically. And again, that’s gonna be the best way to get rid of stuff. Sometimes you might just have to toss it, turn it into a wash your car rag. It happens. But that’s why I recommend ordering tighter inventory. You’re not gonna run into that problem.

Mike Warkentin: (22:35)
Hey, gym owners, a couple things to unpack there, Matt hit it. If you’re offering a discount of 10, 20, 30, 40%, what does that sound like? It sounds a lot like your margin if you had one, right? So you know that you’re giving this stuff away, you’re making less money on it, if any, but it’s better to make back even something on this stuff than to throw it out and use it to clean rowers, which I do with my old t-shirts, right? Literally do that. So second thing, don’t discount your rates, your membership rates, those things are a Two-Brain principle, do not do. That is a bad deal. Retail is a completely different game, as Matt suggested, and if you are trying to recoup some losses or recoup some cash from stuff that’s sitting on a rack behind you, you can discount it. Do it in the exact way.

Mike Warkentin: (23:14)
Matt said, I will give you ground level perspective. One year, finally a light bulb went off in my head. I took all my old stuff at Christmas time and I said, here is this stuff that I have not sold as is. Sizes are weird, but if you have a relative or a friend or you or whatever, buy it at this discount. I think I charged like, even half price or something that was just designed to get something. I sold a bunch of it and that 300 bucks that I made was at that point, , it was a loss, but it was really profit because I was gonna throw that stuff out. So, oh yeah, you want five bucks? Cool, cool. I’ll tack it on your card. All right, thanks for that, Matt. I just made five bucks and I’ll send you your cut. There you go. Yeah, that worked just perfectly. Now I’ve got the cool style ready . Right? So now let’s talk about final stuff, final tips for success. You had a few other things. You had a list that was really cool. Tell me about some final tips that gym owners can use to crank up their apparel program. What are we missing here?

Matt Albrizio: (24:07)
Right. So I got about four to five different ideas that people can chew on and figure out if it’s gonna work for them. So one’s limited-edition mindset that you mentioned before. And just to summarize that quickly, every item is a limited edition opportunity to buy it. It’s not something you’re gonna continue to run. If you’re one of those gyms who continually prints your logo on a different color t-shirt or different pullover, long sleeve, different items throughout the year, that gets to the end of the road. And eventually you do need to introduce that variety and different designs and work with a vendor who’s capable of cranking out different designs on every order that works. So think of everything. Limited-edition mindset. There’s lots of premium brands that take advantage of this, and that’s one thing we can steal from people.

Matt Albrizio: (24:54)
Jordan, Nike, Supreme, all these major brands right now are doing limited edition designs and things that you’ll never see again. So it’s important to just switch it up from time to time. The other option, the other strategy I recommend is collecting money at the time of pre-order. Too many times I’ve seen gym owners get burned on this. Where you do the pre-order, someone says, yeah, put me down for a large, and then the order gets in. You say, okay, here’s your large tee. Someone says, you know what? I don’t need this anymore, here. Something came up. Can I buy it next month? Just save it, I’ll buy it. No. Collect money at the time. Pre-order, five, six years ago this was a foreign concept. People would be like, I’m not paying for this ahead of time. But now, in this new day and age, people are used to pre-ordering stuff. Collect money, and that way you’re not dipping into your good cash flow to pay for these orders. The money’s already collected. You already have the profit in your account. You don’t have to wait for anyone.

Mike Warkentin: (25:49)
Matt, I’m gonna jump in here. Real world experience gym owners. This is truth because how many times have you said someone’s like, Hey, you want a T-shirt? And you’re busy. You’re like, yeah, yeah, just take one from the pile and chuck me 20 bucks whenever. That is a write off. Know that if you ever say that, you are giving away that t-shirt because the chances of that 20 bucks showing up are maybe 20%. Or you put it in your pocket. I don’t know how many times I’ve washed $20 bills because I just, Hey, oh, cool on the way out. Cash in my pocket as I’m coaching. Throw ’em in the wash. Done. Get the money at the time of sale, whether it’s a pre-order or whether you are actually selling it physically to a person right there from inventory. Get the money at the time, hit the credit card, go.

Matt Albrizio: (26:28)
Right? I got three more quick things. So one, you’re not making enough marketing announcements. I know we think that it’s, like, I feel like I’ve said this a thousand times. You really haven’t, and we’re not cognizant of it ’cause how many businesses do we interact with who post stuff on social media or send out an email or send out a text and you’re like, I’m not paying attention to what they’re saying right now. I got my own stuff going on. Your members are no different. You have to announce this stuff before and after every class. You have to pick a communication channel, whether it’s email, text, social media, however you get in touch with people. Pick one of those each day and hammer it. You’re not announcing it enough.

Matt Albrizio: (27:05)
T-shirts are not set it and forget it. Products, you do have to remind people that it is active, there is a deadline and here’s how you can make a purchase. So again, I know you think you’re gonna be saying it too much. You’re not. You’re not being annoying enough about this. So just make sure you’re scheduling these marketing things. We do provide marketing templates too. So I think one of the big things that any business owner gets frustrated with is, I have this new thing. How do I sell it? And it’s like, well, we give you those templates to sort of help you visualize, here’s exactly what to say. Here’s how to say it, where to say it. So it helps following these templates and these plans. 

Mike Warkentin: (27:45)
I’m gonna jump in there, Matt. One more thing guys. Sales, there is an actual plan for selling stuff. Whether it’s gym, memberships, retail items, just follow a plan. You don’t have to be a great salesperson. You can learn how to do it. Your apparel company can provide you, if they’re a good company, with sales assets telling you how to move the stuff that you have, right? Do some sales and marketing. And I’ll tell you this final thing. Two-Brain puts out a ton of content. The only person who sees all of it is me and Chris Cooper. That’s it. Everyone else sees a small percentage of it because of the algorithms and where their attention’s focused and so forth, the relentless drumbeat of things will only be apparent to you. It’s not apparent to your people. Say stuff regularly to sell it. All right, next point, Matt.

Matt Albrizio: (28:30)
All right, the second to last suggestion, I recommend everyone right now, and this is something I’ve been tinkering with over the past year, but it’s social proof. The reason why web stores don’t work as well as in-person stores, in-person pre-orders, is because of social proof. If you have a list at the gym, if you can put something on the whiteboard, if you can make an announcement, like for example, thank you to everyone who has ordered this far, Mike W, Matt A, Chris C. This goes a long way for people to take that social cue where it’s like, I should be buying this. I should be taking part in this. I don’t wanna be left out. Again, it’s gonna be up to you, if you’re comfortable doing that. But I find that just a quick sample. Hey, thank you to the 12 people who put in their pre-order yesterday. Just a reminder, the pre-order’s still open till Friday. Social proof really does work, but you have to use it and you have to try it. So I would say if you feel like you’re stuck on the pre-order and you feel like people are hesitant to put in a pre-order, just use some social proof, put out a little thank you note. Here’s the people who ordered and see how it goes.

Mike Warkentin: (29:35)
And you can even make it subtle if you feel uncomfortable. You can even make it subtle, like putting in your email thanks to everyone who’s already ordered, right? That’s it. All that says to someone who’s reading is, other people have ordered this product, and it’s not a pushy sales thing, it’s a thank you. But it does help people take that herd mentality. It triggers it. The other thing is urgency. Urgency makes people move. So if you say pre-order for one week only, and then you put out an announcement: three days left, two days left, this is your last chance. People will act on that. We literally see it happening. If you do a call to action, you track your metrics on platforms, you will literally see urgency calls to action will generate results because people act late. Everyone leaves it until the last minute. Push them a little bit. All right, hit the last one.

Matt Albrizio: (30:20)
All right. And the last one is just building a culture of apparel. So a culture of apparel means that you wear your apparel, your coaches wear the apparel. Members know that, hey, there’s other people in the gym wearing apparel. Now people wonder, well, how did Mayhem do this? How did they build out this amazing merch line that people wanna buy from their gym and all around the country? It wasn’t by accident. If you look at Rich, he’s wearing this stuff constantly. He’s not a phony with it. So I think it’s important that people realize this and just be honest with it. Are you actually wearing your apparel? Be conscious of it. And again, if you’re one of those people who’s like, I only wear Lululemon stuff, or I only wear Nike stuff. You have to get over that if you wanna really sell apparel. It’s not a coincidence that the gyms that sell the most apparel, the owners are constantly wearing it.

Matt Albrizio: (31:10)
And it’s not like I check this stuff, but if you see them on social media, they’re hanging out with their kids, they’re wearing their merch. It’s not a fake thing. So just be careful about what message you’re sending to people subconsciously. Are you wearing your apparel? Do your coaches wear the apparel? Make it cool, make it part of the deal. And I guarantee it will start to catch on, but it’s not gonna happen overnight. It’s gonna take a few orders for people to be like, oh, this is part of the deal. But over time, once you install that culture, people just know, merch order’s up. Okay, I’m ordering. And you’re gonna have a lot more consistency if you can establish consistency with your ordering and your behavioral patterns of wearing stuff as well.

Mike Warkentin: (31:52)
And I’ll tell you from a media perspective, guys, when people are wearing your stuff, take some pictures of them wearing it, right? Get happy, smiley people wearing your apparel, put them up everywhere. That’s great branding from just a general standpoint, but it also helps with apparel sales. You can certainly pay a little extra attention to what we’ll call your most marketable individuals. You can decide what that means to you. But if there’s someone who looks great in your apparel, take a picture, put it up. That will help you because people are still influenced by stuff like that. Take some pictures, wear the stuff. Tell people, show it off. I agree with you a hundred percent. When our coaches start wearing our stuff, people ask, how do I get that? New members are like, how do I get that? I luckily had stuff in my inventory pile I could sell them. But what I would do now is say, you know what? That’s sold out. That was limited edition. But we have a new limited edition pre-order coming on March 1st because it’s on my retail calendar. It’s gonna be amazing. I’ve got a cool design that Forever Fierce crafted for us. You’re gonna love it. Sales, right? That’s the way it goes. Matt, how can people work with you?

Matt Albrizio: (32:53)
I actually have a special surprise. I didn’t tell you about this to start this off. So the first two people, if you made it this far on the podcast, first two people to email me, Matt@ForeverFierce, US clients only, you get a free coach package. You get 12 free coach shirts. So first two people to message me, you get a custom Coach package, whether you work with me right now or not, if we’ve printed your coach package or not, but we’re giving away two free coach packages. 12 coach shirts, for free. First two people to email me if you made all the way to the end of the podcast.

Mike Warkentin: (33:24)
Oh, I did not know this was coming. This is amazing.

Matt Albrizio: (33:26)
Yeah. So you can reach out to me if you do wanna learn more about what we do.

Mike Warkentin: (33:30)
I’m typing right now.

Matt Albrizio: (33:33)
Our company is Forever Fierce, You can check us out on social media as well. You could email me directly if you wanna work with me one-on-one. And my email is simply Matt, And again, we have a one-to-one sales model. So you’re gonna work with an account rep here. Someone’s gonna handle your account from start to finish. You don’t call a 1-800 number. And this is a concierge premium service that we offer people right now. And if you’re interested in, if we can help simplify something for you or plan things out, just reach out and I promise we’ll get you taken care of.

Mike Warkentin: (34:08)
I’m gonna ask you one question related to that, Matt. When people message you, can you tell them what’s cool right now? What styles are good? What graphic designs, what’s gonna move some units? Can you give them that advice? Because I don’t know anything about that.

Matt Albrizio: (34:20)
Yeah, right. So we work with all types of people, whether you are super experienced and really into apparel or if you’re just like, I know I need to do this, but I have no idea what’s cool. I have no idea what to do. Obviously I have so much data to use right now. Like, I’ve started tracking this stuff. I just watched Chris’s video on the big channel about tracking things and really making sure that you know how to respond to changes over times. And yes, we’ve evolved our garments over time. In the past, triblend racerbacks were popular. Now they’re not. Now there’s different styles that are more popular. So we’re always updating our catalogs. We’re always updating our beliefs. We’re always giving people suggestions on what is popular. You don’t have to sort through what garment options there are. I can sort of show you a lot more curated list of options. So again, whether you are super advanced and you’re like, I know exactly what I need, or if you’re just like, I have no idea where to start, we could work with everyone in between.

Mike Warkentin: (35:15)
The reason I ask Matt is, something that you mentioned and it mirrors my experience, is that everyone knows someone who prints t-shirts. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy local and shouldn’t support friends and so forth, but I have gone down that path and many times I have had orders come in super late, completely messed up, size runs, printing things all skewed. I had some really, just nasty issues. If you have someone that you work with that’s doing a great job for you and give you the right info, that’s cool. If you do not find a good, reputable, knowledgeable vendor who’s going to supply you with all the stuff, and that includes things like graphic design services, advice on sizing and styles, advice on pricing, marketing materials. If you don’t get that kind of stuff, it is available from very good vendors, one of which is Forever Fierce. So check ’em out and I hope someone emails you, Matt. I’m not gonna stand up and show you the sweatpants that I’m wearing that are a little too tight either. So we’re gonna leave that below the camera here. I wanna thank you so much for for giving us this advice because this is gonna save gym owners money. Thanks Matt.

Matt Albrizio: (36:13)
Yeah, thank you guys so much for having us back again. We’re always huge supporters of everything Two-Brain’s doing. So Two-Brain clients always do get premier service, priority over everyone else. So again, if you’re a Two-Brain client, now’s the time to get on board for 2023, get your year planned out. And like I said, we’ve been partnered with Two-Brain now since its inception, pretty much. And we will continue to do that in 2023 and beyond.

Mike Warkentin: (36:38)
Matt makes money for gym owners. Contact him. This is Run a Profitable Gym. I’m Mike Warkentin and thank you so much for listening. I would love it if you hit subscribe on the way out, wherever you’re watching and listening. It really helps us out. Now here’s Chris Cooper, the one and only with a final message.

Chris Cooper: (36:52)
Hey, it’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a quick note. We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group to help you run a profitable gym. Thousands of gym owners just like you have already joined in the group. We share sound advice about the business of fitness Every day I answer questions, I run free webinars and I give away all kinds of great resources to help you grow your gym. I’d love to have you in that group. It’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or go to to join. Do it today.

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