Knowing Your Clients' "Why"

We all love seeing a new face walk into our business. We’ll find the first opportunity to go over and say hi, and probably ask, “how can I help?”
Often, the new face will answer that they’re looking to learn about CrossFit. We happily tell them all about how fantastic CF is. Then we introduce them to their new community, and point them toward a lifelong path of optimal health.
That new face might be interested. They might even come back and sign up for an introductory class. They could stay for six months. Then they leave.
When this happens, we wonder what we did wrong. The problem is that we were so focused on the “what” of CF, we forgot to ask the new face the single most important question:
I’m always seeking out my clients’ “why”. Why did they start at my gym? Why do they stay? Why do they work so hard? Why do they come at the same time, five days a week? And if we haven’t done our job right, why did they leave?
If I can answer these kinds of questions, I can not only put my clients on a path to achieving their goals, but I can keep them engaged in my business for years rather than months. Knowing my clients’ real motivations allows me to develop new services and opportunities to meet their needs.
Here’s an example. I have a client, let’s call her “Jean,” who has a history of knee osteoarthritis. In the past, she competed in collegiate-level sports. In the three years she’s been at the gym, I’ve learned that Jean’s “why” is all about functionality. She’s committed to regaining mobility and movement so she can continue to play sports recreationally and perform ordinary activities like running up and down stairs, and sitting and standing comfortably.
I initially had Jean on a modified individual program that addressed her mobility issues. After several months I videoed her accomplishing her first squat to parallel depth in years, reinforcing her achievement at meeting her goal. Jean’s doing regular programming now, and my coaches do a great job paying attention to her challenges. They support her in working towards her next goal of a 20″ box jump, something she says she couldn’t have imagined trying before finding my gym.
From a business perspective, I realised I can provide services for Jean and many other clients like her who are getting older and dealing with bodies that need rebuilding after years of poor functioning. Modalities such as naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and massage therapy are all potentially valuable treatments that can improve an athlete’s performance and overall health. By sub-leasing space at my gym to health service providers, I present clients like Jean another tool to address her “why”, and further strengthen her relationship with my gym.
Asking “Why?” is as important on Day 365  as it is on Day 1. Members can lose sight of their goals over time and only continue attending “because of the community.” It’s our job to help them remember why they started, and continually assist them by setting and achieving new goals. Pursuing and realising their targets will keep your clients engaged with you and your staff, cause them to identify their success with you, and  be less likely to leave.
I have members that have been with me since I opened the gym 15 years ago. I learned their “why” and continue to ask them for a new “why” to refresh their engagement. The lifetime value of these clients is over $40,000 each. What is the value of “why” at your gym?

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.