Let's Start at 500.

I used to keep a picture of myself over my desk. In the picture, I’m deadlifting 500lbs at the Wolverine Open, an APF meet.
After one client meeting, I took the picture down and put it in my drawer. I haven’t looked at it since. Here’s how it went:
Client: Is that YOU in that picture?
Me: Yes. Last year.
Client: How much WEIGHT is that?!?
Me: five-oh-five.
Client: Can you teach me how to deadlift five hundred pounds?
Me: Probably. What can you deadlift now?
Client: As a guess, I’d say three hundo.
(Yeah, people said “hundo” back then.)
Me: Okay, well, I think a good short-term goal is to get to 315lbs–that’s a big milestone for a lot of lifters. It’s three plates a side, and…
Client: Nah, I don’t want to lift 315. I want to lift five hundred.
Me: Well, you have to go up in small increments. It’s not really a trick you learn. You have to build up–
Client: If you can really teach 500 pounds, why can’t you just show me that?!
This is a true story, except for the deadlift part. I really did pull over 500 in several meets. But no client would ever think, “Let’s just start at 500 pounds.”
In the REAL story, a new client calls me for their free call and asks,
“Can you teach me how to reach more people with my Facebook ads?”
Me: Sure. Who are your best clients right now?
Client: Married parents who earn over $100,00 per year and don’t want to waste their time in a Globo-gym.
Me: Great. Let’s start with your email list. Let’s upload a list of all emails from people who have ever come in and not signed up, or signed up for awhile and then quit because–
Client: Nah, I don’t care about my current clients. I only want NEW clients.
Me: Well, you don’t want just anyone. You want to target people who are likely to actually want your service–
Client: If you can get me more clients, why don’t you just tell me how to do it?
The questions might even be more specific:

  • “Should I target only people within 10 miles, or within 25 miles?”
  • “What picture should I use on my ads?”
  • “What should my headline be?”
  • “What should my monthly ad spend be?”

These are all questions I get regularly. And they tell me the caller is trying to learn a 500 deadlift instead of building on their 225lb deadlift. As I wrote in “The Marketing Gap“, there are plenty of easy and free options to use before jumping to paid traffic. But they’re not an alternative to paid traffic; they’re actually stepping stones. Asking your clients to tell their story is barely an Rx weight. Asking for a referral to their spouse is a little heavier. Inviting their coworkers is still only a 5RM. Walking down the street with coffee might be a new PR for you.
But until you’re good at talking to clients in person, it makes little sense to flood your office with cold leads. Until you can confidently recommend your service to a stranger, why sit with a dozen strangers?
This is why we teach our Facebook Marketing in Growth Stage, and we want everyone to do the Incubator first.
Find your limit. Put in your reps. Build your skills.
Starting at 500 and working backward usually causes something to break.


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.