Two-Brain Marketing Episode 15: Dr. Ashley Mak

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Mateo: 00:03 – Hey it’s Mateo from Two-Brain Marketing. On this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking to Doctor Ashley Mak from Hudson River Fitness. It is a very special episode because Ashley and I are actually business partners. We own the gym together, so you’ll hear about the ads that I personally run for the gym and you’ll learn how last year we spent around $17,000 on ads and generated close to $90,000 in front-end revenue. So you don’t want to miss this. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio for more marketing tips and secrets each week.

Greg: 00:33 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics, interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Chris: 00:56 – This episode is brought to you by Incite Tax. Incite Tax is founded by John Briggs, a CrossFitter, a great big tall guy with a fantastic sense of humor and John is like a coach for your books. These guys are not just pencil-pushing number crunchers. These guys will actually help you get towards your Perfect Day. If you’re a member of our Growth stage part of the mentoring program, you’re familiar with John’s videos on 1099 versus W2 contractors. See John used to work for the IRS. He’s seen the other side of labor law and he knows exactly where the line is drawn. Don’t believe everything you read, but on the tax side, John can actually help you plan to take home more money every year and save more money on taxes because John is a certified Profit-First accountant. If you’ve listened to this podcast before, you know that I’m a big fan of Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First system and John at Incite tax and his staff can help you plan backward from profit to get to where you need to go. He’s helped members of the Two-Brain family buy houses in the first year that they’ve implemented Profit First. It’s helped people save more money, take home more money and make the business do what it’s supposed to do, which is pay you.

Mateo: 02:05 – Hello, welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Mateo Lopez. I’m one of the digital marketing mentors at Two-Brain Business. Thank you for joining us. This is your weekly dose of digital marketing magic. And in today’s episode we have a very special guest, Ashley Mak from Hudson River Fitness. You’re going to learn about his experience and how over the last six months he has spent consistently every month $1,300 on ads and generated $7,500 in front-end sales so that every month he’s spending 1300 bucks and he’s generated 7,500 in front-end sales. So we’re going to learn about that. And this is going to be a very special episode. I said it already. I’m gonna say it again because Ashley and I are business partners. So not only is he the owner of Hudson Fitness, I’m also a part owner of Hudson River Fitness. So it’s gonna be really fun I think because you’re going to learn, I run the ads so you can hear it from me. And Ashley is the Master Operator and gym owner and he’s going to be able to walk you through how he takes those leads that I generate for him and turns them into amazing clients. So, welcome. Ashley. How are you?

Ashley: 03:18 – Thank you for having me, Mateo, it’s so good to chat with you.

Mateo: 03:21 – So Ashley and I obviously have known each other for a minute. When did we meet? Tell me about that.

Ashley: 03:31 – Oh, man. It was actually funny because I was talking with my wife about it and we’re like, man, we’ve known Mateo for a while. I think that we first met in 2014 and this is amazing because Mateo actually interviewed at Hudson River CrossFit in 2014. Right when he graduated school, actually in the process of graduating. And I remember—

Mateo: 03:53 – Yeah, it was that month I was going to graduate.

Ashley: 03:58 – Yeah. And I remember we made an immediate connection. I was like, oh, he actually looks like my brother. But then also on the other hand, what really got me to the next level of friendship with Mateo was that he invited me to his graduation, his commencement, and I was so honored. I really wanted to go, but I had to coach that morning.

Mateo: 04:24 – Well that wasn’t the whole story. So I came in—well, first of all, I was checking out the gym and I was like, wow, this team seems to have it going on. It was the first time I’d ever seen a CrossFit—when I go to the About page and see the staff, first time I’d seen, you know, having a PT on staff. So for those of you who don’t know, Ashley is actually Dr. Ashley Mak, DPP, TTT, TTT. What’s the actual title?

Ashley: 04:58 – Dr. Ashley Mak, PT, DPT, CSCS.

Mateo: 05:04 – Oh, don’t forget about that CSCS. And I remember seeing that and just being like, man, these people are doing something, you know, they’re on the cutting edge, they’re adding PTs to their staff. It’s like, I want to be a part of this team. So I went over and I was supposed to coach a class and you know, basically get evaluated, see if I was going to be added to the roster. It was my dream job when I saw the application, and I remember Ashley walking me around, he was just like, yeah, man, isn’t this awesome? Like I just get to come in here and work out every day and I just coach for a few hours and man, this is just like so great. And I remember looking at him being like, yeah, it is great. I would like to have that. But, yeah, I’m not on the team yet, but thanks for gloating I guess. But it was great and it was actually between me—I didn’t find this out till later. You can print this. It was between me and I think Khan Porter, is that right?

Ashley: 06:18 – Yeah. Yeah, I think so.

Mateo: 06:20 – It was us two. I didn’t know that until after the fact. And for some reason, for some odd reason I ended up getting picked. But then Ashley and I, you know, we spent many lunches together sharing rotisserie chickens from across the street from A & P. Right?

Ashley: 06:41 – It was our first Paleo challenge. It was like the first time I had ever done Paleo and we lived across the street from an A & P and we were like, let’s just share this chicken like the beasts we are.

Mateo: 06:56 – So yes, 2014 is when we first met. Ashley for those of—well I guess people already know, you were on the podcast pretty recently, talking with Greg, right? You guys were talking about buying out partners. So maybe those listening are familiar, but for those who didn’t catch that episode, who are you, where you’re from and what’s your business? What’s our business I guess?

Ashley: 07:23 Yeah. – So I’ve been a physical therapist since 2012. Got Involved with actually coaching CrossFit in 2013. That’s actually where I got an opportunity to start working for John Franklin at Hudson River CrossFit. And from 2013 to 2016 pretty much knew the ins and outs when it came to sales, operations, retention. And then at the end of 2016 John and I and Mateo, we were in talks about opening up another place together. In essence, looking for that next step, that leveling up to becoming an actual gym owner. And then we actually, interestingly enough, we signed the lease on the space December 1st, 2016, opened up the doors January 1st, 2017, so turnaround time was pretty quick.

Mateo: 08:09 – Yeah, we did that very quickly. What was the turnaround time there, like two months, three months?

Ashley: 08:15 – It wasn’t even, like we signed that we signed the lease on December, like we got the keys in December, had everything shipped. Now, granted that December was also like a big holiday month as well. So that was really interesting. And I remember us even before we opened up our doors, running some ads and really just focusing on like the pre-sale and the founders stuff. And literally, I don’t do this anymore, but when we first opened up the gym, checking my email on Christmas Day, just hoping that someone would sign up and with the amazing ads that Mateo has created and the way that we were able to really build out a funnel, we were actually able to have a pretty robust opening. But I believe it was like when we first opened our doors, we had 50 members already just from the get-go.

Mateo: 08:58 – Oh really? I thought it was 30. It was more than 30?

Ashley: 09:03 – I think it was more than 30.

Mateo: 09:04 – I think you’re right, actually.

Ashley: 09:04 – We had pretty full classes.

Mateo: 09:09 – We’re going to talk about the founders sequence in the beginning there in a second here. But yeah, tell ’em a little bit about life prior to opening that gym. We were using a mentoring service, not really a mentoring service. It was before Two-Brain. So we were following another methodology of running a gym. And how many hours of personal training were you doing?

Ashley: 09:40 – Oh, I was crushing at least 25 hours a week of personal training on top of the 20 hours of group class that I was coaching as well. And the physical therapy that I was doing, so I was like running 65, 70 -our work weeks and I was getting into a very, very dark place.

Mateo: 09:59 – But you were selling all those, right?

Ashley: 10:01 – I was; and so our process was, we didn’t offer free trials. People would come in and they would sit down and we’d do like a little bit of a fitness evaluation. And then from there we go through, these are the features of our program. Boom, hit them with the sale of, start off with private training. And do you want to know how many private-training sessions everyone started off with as like their onboarding?

Mateo: 10:28 – Well, I know the answer, but you can tell people.

Ashley: 10:31 – Oh yeah, Mateo knows the answer, I guess this is to you, audience. Well anyway, I’m going to tell you, we actually started off with 12 one-on-one sessions for private training

Mateo: 10:42 – Hour-long too, right?

Ashley: 10:43 – 12 one-hour long private training. I think back at the time we’re looking at, I think it was like 90 bucks a session. People signed—originally it was like you come in and then—so not only did they have to put up what 90 times 12 is 1080, right? Yeah. 1080 they put 1080 down, but then they had to commit to a year contract.

Mateo: 11:12 – They committed to one of the contracts that we had. And I was selling all those at the other, at Bowery CrossFit, which was the other gym that John, who was our partner in this, that was his second gym. So, and I think this was John’s idea, right? He basically figured, wow, Ashley, you’re selling so many personal-training clients and you’re coaching so many hours, might as well start your own gym, right? I’m pretty sure that was the proposal.

Ashley: 11:37 – Yeah. That was the proposal. I was getting pretty fried and I was trying to figure out like what’s going to happen. The thing is like my personality, like I am down to grind, I’m down to really put in the hard work. I’m down to just put the blinders on and just keep pushing, pushing, pushing, and yeah, would have to say that if it wasn’t to the point where I was like, “Hey Ashley, like you’re actually pretty decent at this. How about we open up a gym?” I probably would still be doing it until I die.

Mateo: 12:07 – Right? Yeah. And then John made the offer to me as well and we all kind of went in together for this particular gym. And I think what was exciting was, yeah, let’s talk about that. You brought up the founders club sequence, so it was a quick turnaround. Right? We basically signed the lease. We basically opened that gym in like two months. I mean, we started building out the sequence and working on the operating agreement probably in October of that year, and then we were open in January. So yeah, literally like maybe a little over two months. And what was great about that was we all pooled our kind of start-up capital together and we put a lot of that money into the marketing and paid advertising to get a good base of clients before doors opened. And I remember, basically the way it works was we created ads. We said, hey, we’ve got this exciting facility opening up. We have a great deal for people who, you know, sign up before the doors open, stay tuned on the email list to learn more. And that’s how we basically collected a lot of people on the newsletter. And I don’t remember, were you also doing some intros for people, or we didn’t really have time for that?

Ashley: 13:26 – We didn’t have time for that. I would say that I was taking a little bit of a break from that consultative sales aspect just because, because it was just me. Mateo and John, they were really doing most of the marketing, so when it came to the intake, I just personally wasn’t able to handle that consultative process. And that type of volume. Now granted, like let’s premise with the fact that in Hoboken, New Jersey, we’re in a super saturated gym area. There’s literally a yoga studio and a spin studio across the street from us. And then three blocks away there’s a CrossFit affiliate. And then on that same block there’s a small group and personal-training facility. So in our town there’s a ton of options. There’s so many options. And so in essence, we had to find a way to just get in front of these people that the gyms in our area haven’t done already.

Ashley: 14:24 – And so that’s why we put a lot of the start-up capital towards those ads, to get the word out. And I think what helped was one, Ashley kind of already had a little bit of authority built up in the community, right? It is a smaller town when you compare it to like New York, which is across the river and Ashley is a doctor. And so we were able to kind of leverage those two things and say, hey, we’re going to provide a different training experience, right? The programming is made by a doctor and you will not die or get broken and the classes are going to be in a smaller, more intimate setting, right? We capped classes at eight and so that was a big differentiating factor for us and we made sure that we educated those people who opted in on the newsletter list about that. So I can kind of walk you through this. For those listening, that first email is basically hyping up the offer. Hey, this gyms opening up, it’s going to be really different than what you’ve tried before. We’ve got a doctor in the house. Thanks for taking an interest. We’re going to show you how to get in on a super sweet deal if you sign up before the doors open. So stay tuned. The next email in the sequence we did, John took a lot of time to make sure we crafted out like a really cool biography and story for Ashley. Right? So that second email that went out basically talked about Ashley, his story, when he was in PT school he was studying long hours and eating, I don’t know, bad food and you know, being a swimmer from his college days, like it wasn’t normal for him, right, to be a little bit heavier and not as fit. And then, you know, how he discovered training and CrossFit and kind of turned everything around. And so we talked about that story, talked about that transformation and talked about how like that has inspired him to help and heal others. And then the next email were some case studies from his previous clients, next email, same thing. And then the next email was basically, hey, countdown to our grand opening founders deal, get ready. And then that last email was basically the offer and we opened up the window to buy for I think like 48 hours, to create that sense of urgency. And that was it. And then we basically just like put that message out there as much as we could. And we generated I guess, close to 50 sales and new members before we open the door.

Ashley: 16:51 – Yeah. And one of the most important things, especially during that sequence was it wasn’t just a one-way street when it came to communication, they would get an email and at that bottom of the email is like, “Questions? Reply to this email.” So every inquiry would actually come directly to me and I would hit them up immediately. Because at the time, the two months leading up to actually opening up the doors, I wasn’t coaching because I was all really just focusing on getting this gym ready. So 100% of my attention was on the lead-nurture aspect and getting to the point where you know, any questions at all getting them actually into the doors and saying find out when you come in or really answering any other concerns that they might have.

Mateo: 17:34 – Yeah. Every one of those emails said—it had a question too. Like, tell me about your story. Or hey, where did you use to work out? Reply to this email. I respond to every single email. Like that was a tag line. Like everything ended with a question and saying like, I respond to every one of these, I will respond, and then Ashley did, and it really worked out. And so in doing that, we were able to basically—we were in the black pretty soon because we were able to open with, you know, 30, 40 members and yeah, we were pretty much profitable by that first quarter. Right?

Ashley: 18:18 – Yes. We were able to make some money in the black and I was able to sleep a lot better the moment we opened up our doors because I knew that we actually had people who are paying members and we were able to actually like pay our bills. Which was really, really exciting. And so that was really, really cool to see.

Mateo: 18:39 – And then we basically never turned the ads off. From that point on. We changed up the offer, we switched to a 12-week program, like a front-end offer. And then now we’re using the six week and we’ve been using that for probably the past year and a half, two years. And pretty much the ads, I go in, I’ll change them maybe once every two to three months, I’ll change up some of the imagery or the copy, I’ll try video. But really the offer has been the same. It’s a six-week transformation program. These days I don’t even drive to a landing page. We used to, but these days I don’t even drive to a landing pages, it’s all a lead ads. And then Ashley, walk us through, after the lead comes in. What happens?

Ashley: 19:27 – Yeah, so right now we use as our CRM software, ConvertKit and it’s actually synced up with our ad sequence. So the moment that actually someone clicks on our ad, whether it be learn more, or just clicked on it, we’ll actually automatically can get fed their contact info, which is going to be their name and their phone number. From there, I actually have two people who focus on specifically lead nurture and our plan is that the moment that we get the lead, one of the lead nurture salespeople will actually send them a video text, and this is Kelsey, and so Kelsey will send them a video text message saying, “Hey, this is Kelsey from Hudson River Fitness, heard that you were interested about our transformation program. We would love for you to come in and actually meet with one of our coaches for a No-Sweat Intro.” So that is their original video message.

Ashley: 20:20 – And then from there, if they don’t respond, we then also send them two other messages throughout the day. So saying, hey, this is Nelson or this is Kelsey from Hudson River Fitness, interested in our transformation program, come and book a No-Sweat Intro with us today. And what we’ll do is we’ll give them three points of contact three days in a row. So in total they’ll get nine touch points and they’ll get this information—in addition to that, they’ll also be part of the email drip campaign as well. Which really the biggest focus is driving to book in a No-Sweat with us.

Mateo: 20:52 – How did you get them trained up on this process? I know some gym owners are struggling to find that person or struggling to hand off that lead-nurture piece. It’s very important. It’s very important to have someone focusing on this and getting those nine touch points in. How did you train them up?

Ashley: 21:11 – Yeah, and I’ll tell you that originally when it came to developing the systems and processes in general, that was a weak point of mine because I, and I’ll just give you my personal experience. Like I got out of physical therapy school saying like I’m the only one person that can do this task. And so that actually like bit me in the butt for a while because I was doing it and I was like, no one can do lead nurture like I can. But then in order for me to say level up my business and level up myself as a business owner, I understood the importance of having some sort of template. And the thing is is that not everything is going to be perfect. And so to understand that and to refine the processes on an ongoing basis, that’s what really got me over the hump.

Ashley: 21:51 – What I did was really tried to outline the moment that a lead was created to the moment they walk into the door for the No-Sweat. And what I did was not only did I outline that process, but I also created a script saying, hey, this is so and so, this is what we’re doing. And then from there if prospects says this, then we respond with Y. And we ended up having just a base of a structure. And we originally started off with just text messaging. Text messaging was a lot easier because it gives people a little bit more time to think rather than having people to think on their feet, say with a phone call. But as they got more experienced, then they got more involved with providing more. So phone calls. And then whenever—I’ve also opened up the floor to them saying if you are ever presented with a question or a problem, obviously bring it up to me.

Ashley: 22:49 – And then once we figure that out, like an example, they were like, “People ask if we’re CrossFit,” and full disclosure guys, we’re not a CrossFit affiliate, but what we say is like, we were only presented with that question a few times, but I said, you know what that means that there’s probably a whole bunch of other people thinking the same thing. So I answered the question. I told Kelsey this is the answer to that response, add this to the SOP, add this to the script. So then that way whether it be Kelsey, whether it be Nelson, whether it be anyone on the lead nurture team as we grow, I can always refer back to that.

Mateo: 23:23 – So it’s a living document and basically it’s a decision tree. If they answer yes or no. Say this. If they ask this question, say this, and it’s just like I said, it’s a living document. So you’re just adding to it as, as things come up. And you talked about letting go of some of these tasks and realizing, hey, like, you know, going from “I’m the only one who knows how to do this” to “hey, I need to teach someone, to hand this off to someone,” on how to do this. Is that something that your mentor helped you work through in the Incubator?

Ashley: 23:54 – Yeah, my mentor helped me out with that and I think one of the big things—I work hard and I pride myself in my hard work. And I think that one of the biggest things I learned specifically in the Incubator is that working hard is good but also working hard on the right tasks and working hard on the right things and you can’t work hard specifically on those higher-level roles if those other tasks, other procedures that you’re doing taking up not just your head space but also your energy, too. And so I noticed that as I was doing—because pretty much for the first couple months, I was just really getting beaten down and I said, you know what, this is something I’m gonna have to push through.

Ashley: 24:43 – But the moment that I took a step back with the mentor, I started to notice growth way faster, and growth not just in revenue, but also the time and freedom for me to be able to address new opportunities to build revenue. And so to be able to focus on different aspects to help my staff grow because it was a multi-step approach, right? It’s like we can have the best marketing, but if you don’t have the best lead nurture, we’re not going to get people through the door. But also we don’t have a good sales process. We don’t have a good sales intro. So that was another thing that I had to focus on. I was like, no one’s going to close sales as good as I could. But then that means that I would have to be at the gym all the time to do No-Sweats to have the gym grow.

Ashley: 25:32 – And so the moment that I started training both my staff in the lead nurture I started seeing people walk through the door. But the moment that the staff were trained in No-Sweats and knew how to close higher-value clients, I started to be able to see and get notifications that the gym was growing, get email after email saying, oh, so and so signed up with the high-value package. And I didn’t know who they were, which was a really exciting point for me cause I was like, OK, here’s this system that we have in place to grow the gym and it was really, really exciting to see that.

Mateo: 26:08 – Let’s talk about that in your words, in your own words, what do you sell and how do you sell it?

Ashley: 26:15 – Yeah, so we sell a lifestyle program, which addresses both private training, nutrition coaching and group fitness to address any sort of goal that you’re looking for. And in essence— just started, I joined a networking group and we do pretty much what we call a 45-second commercial every single week.

Mateo: 26:35 – Oh, that’s awesome.

Ashley: 26:37 – I also like to tell people that we are the filter in the noisy world of health and fitness.

Mateo: 26:43 – Ooh, Ashley Mak. That might be the next ad.

Ashley: 26:44 – Yeah. It’s like we’re the filter in the noisy world of health and fitness. And so in essence, this really just gives us an opportunity to really figure out how we can really refine that message. And I was able to like truly build that message a little bit more through identifying the problems of our seed clients, the ones who are the most important to us. The ones you brought the most amount of value. The ones who bring the biggest smiles to our faces, and asking them because with seed clients and people who we want to bring in more, it’s like they don’t care about our equipment, they don’t care about what type of training methodology. In essence, they just want to make sure that we can solve their problem, right?

Ashley: 27:30 – And so a bunch of different gyms can say, oh, we’re gonna help you lose fat. So then we have to dig into a little bit deeper and figure out, well, what’s preventing these people from achieving their goal? And a lot of it is they’re scared to start a new program or they have no idea what to do. They find it so confusing. So all of a sudden we’re changing our message to the point where it’s like, OK, there’s so many choices out there, we’re the ones who are going to filter it out and figure out what’s going to be the best for you, which then leads on to the No-Sweat Intro with a prescriptive model already built into it.

Mateo: 28:05 – So you’re one of the best closers I’ve ever seen in my life. And so what advice do you have for—well, first of all, I guess I have a couple questions. One, how do you get your staff trained up? How did you get them trained up? I also know you do continuing-education sales training. So walk us through that about your staff, you know, how you got them up to speed and then what you do to maintain that high level when it comes to selling clients. And then my follow-up question is going to be basically any advice you have for someone who’s trying to get better at sales. So those are my two questions. Go.

Ashley: 28:50 – Yeah. So it’s built into three stages for this training. And so stage number one is, hey, do you want to get involved with sales? And if they say yes, I say, fantastic. Here’s this script. Let’s just read it through and we’ll actually go through each question. And so I’m going to read these questions out for you right now—AKA I’m not reading it, it’s just coming from my head because I’m very proud of my rote memorization. And so question number one is what have you heard about our program? And so in essence, what that tells us is a couple of different things. It actually tells us what avenue they’ve heard about us through, whether it be a Facebook ad or just our online presence, but then also two, and they will also tell us what their impression is about us even before they step into the gym.

Ashley: 29:36 – So it helps us figure out what our brand image is. Question number two, what can we do to help you? And so in essence, it is like a very, very open-ended question in regards to like what they’re looking for, but we haven’t asked them what their goal is just yet, we just want to be able to build a little bit of a rapport. They’ll give you a little bit of their life story, but also that question isn’t super in depth to the point where you’re spending 45 minutes to an hour just figuring out who they are as a person.

Ashley: 30:05 – The next question is what type of fitness programs have worked for you in the past and why did you stop? So in essence, it just gives us a little bit more of an idea of where they’re coming from. What I usually tell my coaches is that if they’re looking to, say, lose weight and they’re coming from a cardio background, they’re most likely going to benefit from a resistance training program. So that’s just going to be like the easiest thing to associate the pattern. The third question is, the next question is what about nutrition, have you followed a nutrition program before? Again is really just scratching the surface, getting to know a little bit more. And so all those as well. Those couple questions also help identify some Bright Spots as well. Again, Bright Spots, Lowenstein scat theory, the closer they are to their goal the more likely they’re going to be achieving it.

Ashley: 30:52 – And so this is an opportunity for us to address those Bright Spots. We then actually after that I get some information from them, we hit them with the, OK, tell us about your goals, what do you want? So we have some sort of objective measurement. That is also the time that we do take an objective measurement, which is through our InBody. So they’ll come in, we’ll ask them the question, what are your goals? And then we’ll do an InBody, and then from that InBody, we’ll say, OK, this is the explanation of where you’re at and this is where you’re going to want to be. And then from there, cause the thing is we want to be able to tap into the emotional aspect of things. And so what we’ll ask them is, well, why are these goals so important for you? And interestingly enough, a lot of people aren’t prepared to answer that.

Ashley: 31:36 – So I always like to ask that question and just stare at them until they say something. And then if they give me some sort of a response that is not good enough for me and not good enough for us to have some sort of an emotional tie, we’re just going to ask that why question again. We’ll just rephrase it. So it’s like I want to lose 10 pounds. It’s like, why do you want to lose 10 pounds? It’s like, because I want that number to look better on the scale. Well why does that number look better on the scale? Because I want to fit into this dress. Why do you want to fit into this dress? Because I want to feel good in my skin. Boom. We get that intangible qualitative, emotional-type drive and that’s something that we’re going to put into our back pocket.

Ashley: 32:20 – And then from there we also move on to the next question saying fast forward three months, we’re making progress towards your goal. What does that feel like to you? So we want to tie that emotion and success through some sort of feelings. So people will be like, I have more energy, my clothes will fit better. Anything that’s going to have something that we’re not going to be able to truly measure but something that they’re able to feel. Again, we’re going to be able to keep that in to our back pocket. Then the second to last question that we find to be really helpful—the next question is motivational level. A scale of zero to 10. 10 being like, let’s get started today. Zero being like, I’m not ready. And I would tell them, if you’re not ready, you shouldn’t be here. And so already we’re identifying the objective.

Ashley: 33:01 – Actually I learned this from Sherman, the sales guru. He’s like, identify the objections before they bring up the objections. And so I really took that to heart. And so once we had—so we have question, the goal is to make up the difference to a 10. So if they’re like, I’m a seven out of 10, you’re like, why are you a seven out of 10? They’re like, I’m concerned with schedule. That’s when we’re saying, if we created something flexible to your schedule, is this something that you would be interested in? Yes. Boom, 10 out of 10. Awesome. And then I also like to get them prepared. Really another way to identify objections, I say fast forward three months from now, we make zero progress towards your goal. What do you think is the key that’s the case? What do you think is holding you back?

Mateo: 33:49 – I’ve never heard that one. I’ve never heard that one. That’s good. So let’s say we make zero progress, what do you think’s going to be the thing holding you back? Is that the question?

Ashley: 33:57 – Yeah. And then it’s again identifying their objection. If someone’s like, I dunno, we kind of move on, but for the most part, especially if they’re going to be investing into a program, they’re going to be like, OK, we have to get ourselves planned for failure. I mean especially if someone’s investing a lot or even just starting a new plan, anyone who works is going to have to plan for some sort of failure and so that’s going to give us even more of an idea because it also helps us identify some opportunities too. If they’re saying, oh, well, I don’t know if like, my significant other is going to be supportive of this, this is a perfect opportunity to say, totally get it. How about all three of us meet? Because the thing is is that, and I think I’ve seen this in the past with like anyone who’s on the “I’ll be back” bus, right? That’s always the really tough one, especially with spousal objection. So trying to overcome that immediately before even trying to make the sale is going to be huge. And so again, really identifying objections before they come up so you can already, address them. And then the last, most important question, and we saved the best for last, is would you prefer working with a coach on a one-on-one basis or a group basis? And that is probably the most important one when it comes to asking questions in the No-Sweat. Figuring out what they want and how they’re going to be the most successful. Because I’ll be honest, like for me, I know group training is fun, but I personally—I own a group fitness facility but I love private training personally.

Mateo: 35:39 – And we sell a lot of private training too, right?

Ashley: 35:42 – We sell a lot of private training, yeah. And so a lot of it is just asking them what they want. And interestingly enough, you’ll have some people say, I just want private training only and that’s awesome. And we just focus on the sale specifically to private training. If the person says, I don’t know, I don’t really care. Then we say let’s just focus on private training first, and if they do ask about group fitness, we then talk about group fitness. If they say, I just want group fitness, we then talk about group fitness but we already have private training already built in to the program.

Mateo: 36:15 – Right. They have to do one-on-ones before they go to the group classes anyway. I just wanted to take a moment to pause here, that’s a lot of discovery. We’re spending a lot of time in the discovery phase and I think that that is so—I think I’ve said on here before that’s so crucial to having success in sales, I think, is just spending that time to ask these questions, to get to know them, to build the rapport and you’re putting ammo away like you said in your back pocket, because we’re handling objections early and we’re getting that emotional tie so that we can say, hey, like you said, you really wanted to see this change because of X, Y and Z. Like this is going to be the way to get there. And I think if people are struggling with sales, time out and see how long you’re spending in the discovery phase and asking those questions and see if it’s taking up most of the time, less time, chances are you’re not spending enough time on that section. That’s just my 2 cents.

Ashley: 37:21 – Yeah. And if you notice like when you’re—so like that’s obviously the process, right? But like one thing when it comes to training is the aspect of role play. Now in some cases like your partner has to be a good person at role playing. I remember role playing with John. And I was like, this is the hardest thing ever. But because it was so hard it got me into the salesperson I am. It turned me into the salesperson I am today. But like one of the biggest things, it’s like, obviously role playing is crucial, but like, especially during these No-Sweats, like what we’ve been focusing on is trying to talk no more than 90 seconds apiece on our end. If we’re talking more than 90 seconds, they’re lost, right? And so we’re getting a lot of information from them and to be able to put them into the driver’s seat.

Ashley: 38:10 – I’m sorry for interrupting you, Mateo. And another thing that I found to be really, really helpful in the sales process is, and I got this from the book “Never Split the Difference” when it comes to negotiations. And I thought it was really, really powerful. But the thing is is that you can have someone say yes and that’s great. But another really powerful acknowledgement of the connection that you’re having with a prospect is when they say no. And I’m going to dig like real quick. Someone’s like, I want to lose 15 pounds. And it’s like, why? Because I want to feel comfortable in my skin. OK. And then what I’ll usually say is do you feel comfortable in your skin right now? And they’re going to say, no, I don’t. All of a sudden they’re back into the conversation even more because,

Mateo: 39:04 – They’re realizing that oh wow, I’m really not happy or whatever.

Ashley: 39:10 – Exactly. So hitting it—so going back with a no-type of answer gives you an opportunity to then, it breaks the monotony of people saying yes to everything.

Mateo: 39:22 – That’s interesting because often you’ll hear the salespeople, you want to get yeses out of them. So by the time you say like, are you ready to sign up? They’re just used to saying yes. But I like how that no, though, put in the right place, gets them to say, oh wow. Like yeah I am not satisfied with where I’m at. I need to do something to change. So I think that’s really, that’s really good. All right. So yeah, we’re talking about training the staff now. Like, cause that’s a lot, right, to get them to understand. That’s a lot of questions. It’s a lot. So I guess what you’re saying is one critical piece is role playing. And I think the other thing that you said that I think is crucial is like you got to have a partner who’s going to be tough on you.

Mateo: 40:02 – And I think you—I know when I was kind of in the staff-person role, like, I would be intimidated or not want to go. Like this was always uncomfortable. Role playing was uncomfortable. I didn’t want to do it against someone who was going to like destroy me with questions. Like those don’t come up. Why are you saying those things? But really that is going to be the difference if you are struggling with sales, it’s like you gotta role play and you got to have a partner who’s going to pretend to be the most difficult person to sell. The more of those you do, and I think having those scenario cards too, I think you can find those in the Two-Brain store, is going to be really critical for getting you up to speed. And then so how often are you guys role playing?

Ashley: 40:46 – We’re role playing once a week. So we have our staff meeting on Tuesdays and what we do through our staff meeting, actually at the beginning we talk about set, show, close rate. So in essence, how many, No-Sweat—but we go by each person. So each person on sales. So it’s like how many sessions, how many sales were booked, I mean, how many No-Sweats were booked, how many actually showed up and what the close rate was. And then right after that we talk about objections, unique objections, and then we do some role playing, and the thing is, is like when it comes to sales, just like lifting, you have to get those reps in, and so whether it be someone who’s role playing or even doing it in person, that’s going to be the key. So we’ll roleplay every single week.

Ashley: 41:26 – We don’t have enough time to role play with everyone, but we’ll put someone on the spot, and say like, you know, sell me a program and walk me through it. And then, so we’ll do that. And then what we’ll also do is the way that our gym is set up is that our consultation space is also on the gym floor. We’re in a 1500-square-foot facility. So like we have this office but it’s an open-air office. So while a No-Sweat is happening, I’ll just be somewhere around the gym. Maybe I’ll be lifting, but I will be loosely listening in because it’ll be two things. It’s like one, it’s going to make the coaches doing the No-Sweat, not nervous, but then also too, the prospect doesn’t know that someone else is listening in. And that way I can give them also real-time feedback once that is over.

Mateo: 42:17 – For those of you who don’t know, we were just at the Two-Brain Summit a couple of weeks ago. And Ashley Mak, you actually won, what was it, the lifestyle award?

Ashley: 42:23 – I won the owner lifestyle award.

Mateo: 42:26 – So that basically means, from what I understand, it means that Ashley just like takes a lot of vacation. And is away from his gym a lot. You just took the “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” test. You’re now at Tinker level, I believe. You’re removed from the day-to-day operations, you’re home every day for lunch, sometimes with Katie when she’s around, and you still have time for Xbox and for going to Puerto Rico, and I think you just got accepted into mentor training, correct?

Ashley: 42:57 – I did. I did, super pumped about that.

Mateo: 42:59 – That’s amazing. So those of you listening might get to talk to Ashley in a one-on-one call really soon here. What do you think has been the key to your success so far?

Ashley: 43:13 – The biggest key is that it’s never too early to ask for help and it’s never too late to ask for help and that you can’t do this alone. That’s the biggest thing, is that if you need help, ask for it and that you’re not alone in this journey, because it gets pretty lonely when you’re a business owner in a way. It’s like pretty lonely at the top, but also you’re not alone in this. And so it’s important to be able to understand that so you can get that support because there’s so much information that is out there. Again, there’s a lot of noise and the big challenge is that because there’s so much noise, it’s hard to figure out what action steps you need to be taking because you’re looking at your business and how it runs from the inside out and you’re going to be missing some things, it happens, but when it comes to asking for help and having someone work with you, they’re able to look at it from the outside in and being able to address those things that might actually have the biggest impact on you, but you might not have necessarily noticed because you are so deep into the weeds. Very, very similar to that situation where you’re coaching the same athlete for you know, months or years and then all of a sudden you have a coach who pops in and all of a sudden this athlete gets a PR in their snatch. It’s not like you’re a bad business owner. It’s not like you’re a bad coach, but it’s really the idea of having these guys have an outside perspective and giving you something that’s going to be a little different, that’s going to be of utmost important to you.

Mateo: 44:56 – Just having that extra set of eyeballs, that different point of view, can provide that insight that you’re missing if you’re just too close.

Ashley: 45:06 – Exactly.

Mateo: 45:07 – Well thank you, Ashley, for taking the time to hop on with me. Although Ashley calls me all the time, for those of you who don’t know.

Ashley: 45:17 – All the time.

Mateo: 45:18 – When he’s driving, he’ll just say like, hey, whatcha doing. For people who want to talk to you, where can they find you?

Ashley: 45:29 – Guys out there listening, if you have any questions or concerns, you are more than welcome to email me at

Greg: 45:46 – As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do drop a like to that episode. Share with a friend, and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know. If you loved it, even better. See you guys later.

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