How to Earn More: Secrets of Value for Gym Owners

How to earn more

Chris Cooper (00:04):
You deserve to be paid more than you’re worth, but that’s not happening, is it? So how do you earn more by increasing the value of the service you provide? Bob Burg, the author of “The Go Giver,” says that money is an echo of value. That’s a great quote, but today I’m gonna tell you exactly how to translate value into money for you. My name’s Chris Cooper. I’m the founder of Two-Brain Business, and if you wanna chat with me about this episode, go to—all one word. That’ll redirect you to our free public Facebook group just for gym owners. We’ve filtered out the people who weren’t a great fit. So there’s 6,000 caring, knowledgeable, experienced and empathetic gym owners in there that you can chat with about this episode or anything related to the gym business.

Chris Cooper (00:51):
Today though, I’m gonna tell you how to increase the value of your service and make more money. I’ve been studying with Bob, the author of “The Go-Giver” series for over a year now, and his books have been life changing for me. He’s affirmed that you can succeed at business while being a good, caring person. We’re going to license some of his best material for Two-Brain clients in our Tinker program, but I’m gonna share some of his lessons with you right now because they’re so valuable. If you wanna charge what you’re worth, you first have to make sure that you’re really providing value to your clients. Simply being open, running classes, providing coaching is not enough. Value has five parts. I’m gonna go through all five parts with you. The first two are excellence and consistency, and these are a yin-yang relationship, so I’m gonna talk about them together.

Chris Cooper (01:45):
Excellence: your service must get people results. Yes, your gym should be clean. Yes, your coaches should be experts with certifications. Yes, you should understand the method that you’re teaching very well, but if you’re a Level 7 black belt boot-camp instructor and your clients aren’t getting the results they’re paying to get, then you don’t have an excellent service. This was a really hard pill for me to swallow years ago. I wanted to be, and maybe I was, regarded as the local expert who knew the most about fitness. I wrote posts about linear periodization. I drew graphs about energy metabolism on the floor of my gym with chalk. Like I would get down on the floor and actually scribble this stuff out. I gave lectures on nutrition at workplaces and for sports teams. I had a bachelor’s degree, and I had five certifications on my business card—literally five—but my clients weren’t getting results, so they quit. And they were right to quit.

Chris Cooper (02:45):
Most of them found trainers who knew far less than I did but actually helped them get better results. My education and knowledge made me feel awesome, but it didn’t help my clients at all. You will be rewarded for the value that you create in the lives of your clients. You will be rewarded for getting them the results that they care about—and that is excellence. Now, if you wanna deliver a high-value service, you have to deliver excellence consistently. That means that your excellence has to extend to every part of your business, not just your primary service. It also means that your primary service must be delivered to the same level by everyone on your team. You can’t be the only thing that makes your business special, and that was also a very, very hard lesson for me to learn. My ego loved it when clients said, “Chris, it’s not the same when you’re not here” or “I don’t wanna work with another trainer. I only wanna work with you.”

Chris Cooper (03:45):
I was flattered, right? I felt important: “Nobody can train these people as well as I can.” Of course, I also felt overworked and exhausted and underpaid. So finally I realized that if I was irreplaceable in the business, I would always be overworked and underpaid. So my first step to improving the value to my clients was actually making myself replaceable by making excellence scale to everyone on my staff. I started it by hiring this fresh, energetic college student to take my 6-a.m. class. She didn’t know what I knew about fitness, but she was bright and happy at 6 a.m., and my clients loved her. They wanted her to be the first person they met every day. So they started to show up more often, and they started getting better results because of it. Money is a reflection of value. Value is determined by your clients, not by your certifications or your knowledge.

Chris Cooper (04:43):
Excellence means getting results for your clients. Consistency means doing things the same way with excellence every time for every person. And these are some of the goals of our RampUp program in mentorship. The third and fourth elements of value are empathy and attention. So I just gave you a great quote from Bob Burg, but he’s got another one here, and he says that “money is the thunder to value’s lightning.” I don’t even wanna talk about this anymore, but you all remember COVID, right? It was a massive test of value in the gym business. Gym owners and trainers who provided real value to their clients did pretty well through the COVID lockdowns. Gyms that didn’t actually provide value—like the big, 24/7, all-access gyms—they suffered. Most of them went bankrupt, and, sadly, some owners of coaching businesses learned the hard way that their clients didn’t value their services as much as they thought.

Chris Cooper (05:42):
Now, I’m lucky. I learned this lesson the hard way years ago. So when COVID hit, I was ready to move online quickly. The third and fourth elements of value are empathy and attention. I’ll start with empathy because you probably already have this one dialed. This is the easy one for most gym owners. Empathy means that you can understand the client’s perspective. You can put yourself in the client’s shoes. Empathy creates value because you can share their experience. You’ve been where they are, and you know what it’s like. Empathy is the reason why a coach who lost 50 pounds is often more valuable than a coach who competed at that CrossFit competition. Remember, excellence means getting clients to the goals that they want, not the goals that you want for them. If a coach has achieved the same thing that the client wants, then that coach can empathize.

Chris Cooper (06:38):
Empathy doesn’t mean sympathy. It doesn’t mean doing anything for free. It means being a valuable resource because you have the experience, not just the knowledge. Now, here’s the harder part, the fourth piece of value, and that’s attention. Even if all of your clients attend group classes, you must have a one-on-one relationship with them. That includes goal setting, progress reviews and a long-term plan. If people simply show up and sign up for group classes and then attend group classes and post their scores somewhere, you don’t have a relationship with them. You’re easily replaced by the gym down the street who’s using the same software tracking, who’s using the same method, who has the same quality of coaches, and who is charging 10 bucks a month less. Gyms that do a lot of one-on-one training, follow a prescriptive model and track their clients’ progress keep clients longer. They also have higher-value clients.

Chris Cooper (07:36):
This has proven through a data set from over 16,000 gyms. It’s not up for debate. Their average revenue per member at these gyms and length of engagement are both high, and in times of crisis, people are less likely to quit. That includes COVID, but also think about recessions. Gyms who sent each client a short text every day during COVID retained their clients up to 40% longer. And because most gyms don’t have a 40% profit margin, this was the difference between staying profitable and losing money during lockdowns. Now that—hopefully—those troubles are behind us, keeping up these strategies—the Prescriptive Model, tracking progress, goal reviews, No Sweat Intros, motivational interviewing—these are the things that make gyms successful. They’re the reasons that you see these gyms on our leaderboards that we publish every single month with retention and revenue per member and client headcount stats that just blow your mind.

Chris Cooper (08:37):
It’s because of value. Your income is based on value. If you wanna make a greater income, you must provide more value. And so far, I’ve given you four of the five elements of value. They were excellence, consistency, attention and empathy. And next I’m gonna give you the fifth element. It’s the one that most people miss, and that is appreciation. If you wanna make more income, you must provide more value. And value, again, has five components: excellence and consistency, attention and empathy; and the fifth is appreciation. Appreciation closes the loop on value. There are some really obvious ways to show your appreciation. The first is “thank you.” The second is big hugs. The third is handwritten notes. And the fourth is a quick text. You have to be consistent with these, but there are also less obvious ways to increase value through appreciation. The first is to grow your value by revealing their progress.

Chris Cooper (09:43):
Many people just don’t see the progress that they’re making. It’s true in business. It’s true in the gym. So you have to review their progress every quarter at minimum. Now, you might see their progress as a coach, right? Their progress might be obvious to you, but they live inside their body—that body that’s losing a half of a pound a week—and they don’t see these tiny, incremental changes happening. If you’re using a system like Level Method, you can track a client’s progress in a bunch of different categories, but even if you’re not, simply having a Goal Review Session every quarter creates an opportunity to say, “Look how far you’ve come.” Some coaches actually avoid this. I know I used to. They don’t want to measure a client’s body fat. They don’t wanna measure their scale weight or the other things that the clients care about because they’re worried that their program isn’t working.

Chris Cooper (10:31):
And if you’re worried that the client isn’t going to see progress, you won’t measure progress. But most coaches, luckily in this day and age, have better tools than I did back then. They can actually create meaningful progress, and so they shouldn’t forget to measure it because the client won’t understand or recognize their progress unless you point out. The second way to show appreciation is to celebrate progress. So not just show progress but celebrate it. You have to make your clients famous. That means putting them on a podium in front of the cameras and saying, “You’re amazing and everybody should know it.” Many people read that strategy and think it’s a marketing gimmick, right? It’s not. It’s a value play. It’s not just about posting Sarah’s profile on social media so that you can attract more clients. It’s posting to make Sarah feel famous because Sarah doesn’t feel famous anywhere else.

Chris Cooper (11:24):
Nobody else puts Jamal’s picture on Facebook and says “this man is awesome.” As the only person in their lives who says “you are doing great things,” you become very valuable to them. You’re probably the only person they know that has a real media platform, so why not put them on it? Shine the spotlight and say they are great. The third way to show value through appreciation is rewards. Reward the behavior that you want. So instead of offering a 20% discount for giving referrals, surprise the clients who refer their friends with a thoughtful gift. This will show that you truly appreciate their vote of confidence instead of just view their buddy as one more transaction. The best show of gratitude is an in-person, hand-clasping, full-eye-contact “thank you. I really appreciate it.” It’s not a free month. You’re valuable to your clients, and your thanks will be meaningful.

Chris Cooper (12:20):
Don’t forget to thank people. Do it one at a time, but also give them a reason to celebrate themselves because you’ll be the only one in their lives who does so. Increasing your value has five components. The first is excellence. You have to get them to the goals that they want. The second is consistency. Everybody in your business has to be oriented toward the client’s goals and everyone must work to get them there. The third is attention. Even if you’re running a group coaching business, you must give people one-on-one attention through No Sweat Intros, goal reviews and frequent in-person contact. The fourth is empathy. You have to know what they’re going through and tell stories about how you overcame it. You have to be able to see things through your client’s eyes and get them the results that they want instead of just the results that you want. And the fifth is appreciation. If this is helpful to you or you want to ask questions or talk about this more, go to These five elements of value will help you actually charge what you’re worth because you will be worth more to your clients, and that’s what counts. I hope this helps you. I’m Chris Cooper for Two Brain Business and will see you at

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One more thing!

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