By the Numbers: Show Rate and Close Rate

Show rate and close rate - by the numbers: a couple having coffee on a first date

The secret to “selling more” is just caring enough.

You have to care enough to tell people what they need without letting fear hold you back.

You have to care enough to get over your own bullshit—the biases you have about the price, the fear of rejection, the unconscious terror that maybe your program won’t work.

You have to care enough to ask.

Think about your intro appointment as a first date. You want to convert them to a second date. Not marriage—too soon—but the next step.

To prepare for that first date, what do you do?

  • You set a time and place.
  • You call a few times beforehand to break the ice in advance and show your interest.
  • Maybe you send some flowers.
  • You let the person know you’re eager to spend time with them.
  • Then you put your best foot forward: You comb your hair, take a shower. You plan in advance: You visit the bank machine and the flower shop. Maybe the drugstore—just in case.

On that date, what do you say?

  • You listen more than you talk.
  • You ask questions about family and life.
  • You highlight your best qualities instead of giving your life story.
  • You smile a lot. You look for excuses to touch hands. You give your full attention. You ignore your phone. You pick up the check.

You create the ideal situation for the person to say “yes.” Right?

“Bad First Dates” in the Gym World

Now, let’s think about how many gym owners approach a new lead:

They pick the newcomer out of a crowded group and say, “Wanna date me?”

(That’s the “free trial” in action.)

They send robo-texts that are obviously written by someone else.

(“Come on, my buddy got the exact same text from you last week after you met him.”)

They don’t dress up for their first date.

(There’s no private place to sit in the gym or the office is messy and smells bad.)

They show up straight from their workout.

(No explanation needed.)

They don’t really seem to have a plan for the second date—it’s just off to the chapel!

(“You wanna sign up for three times a week or unlimited?”)

Show Rates: Top Tactics

Our monthly leaderboards identify the five gym owners with the best show and close rates. Here’s how the top gyms in the world sweep their new leads off their feet and get them to show up for first dates (i.e., increase their “show rate” after appointments are booked):

1. All five continued to “nurture” the lead after the appointment was set. This was done mostly through video text or regular text. There was always a personal touch to these texts, and they were sent, on average, every two days between when the lead set the appointment and the appointment date.

2. One owner spends two hours per day on sales and lead nurture (great job—that’s her role).

3. Three out of five said they regularly publish content. This builds trust in your audience before its members meet you, and it has a strong correlation to show rate and close rate. Content was evenly split between podcasts, videos and blog posts.

I’ve had some really bad first dates with clients. I remember bringing clients in for a “free trial,” demolishing them in a tough workout and then expecting them to sign up.

I remember running my “on-ramp” program over two days, having newbies perform 300 squats and letting them stagger to the car, never to return.

But the worst of all: I let word get around my city that CrossFit was hardcore, dirty and probably dangerous. I was trying to attract princes and queens but showed up for that first date unprepared—and sometimes unwashed. (Try to sign up a high-value client right after you finish a hard workout. Don’t bother to shower. Let me know how that goes.)

Close Rates: Top Tactics

Now let’s talk about where the rubber meets the road: close rate. These are the people who actually pay you to get started.

1. First, four out of the top five gyms in the world for close rate specifically said they use Motivational Interviewing. One even said, “I don’t talk about exercise at all.”

2. Four out of five also said they use a “Sweat Intro” as part of their process. It’s important to note that the workout was always used after the motivational interview, not as a “free trial,” and it was always done 1:1. Two-Brain clients: You can get the full No Sweat Intro and Sweat Intro options on the Growth ToolKit: Sales Process, Milestone 1.

3. All five of the top closers said they have a bright, clean place to do consultations.

4. Four out of five said they do the No Sweat Intro themselves—their staff members don’t have equal or better close rates.

5. All five said they listen more than they talk during a consultation.

6. And all five practice sales regularly. Reps!

A final note: The sales process doesn’t end when a client signs up. You have to “sell” yourself every single day and demonstrate your value.

If you want to romance royalty, you have to act like a king or queen. That starts by giving everyone the royal treatment instead of the back-alley hustle.

Other Media in This Series

“By the numbers: Leading Them to Health”
“By the Numbers: Leads and Set Rate”
“How to Fix the Weak Links in Your Marketing Chain”


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.