Seeds and Weeds: Your Best Clients

A woman weeding her garden - seeds and weeds: your best clients

Who’s your best client? Here’s an easy way to figure it out:

Take out a blank sheet of paper.

Draw a vertical line down the middle.

At the top of the page, draw a smiley face on one side of the line. Draw a dollar sign on the other side.

Start with the left-brain exercise: Under the dollar sign, record the 10 clients who pay you the most money every month.

Now move to the right-brain exercise: Under the smile, record the 10 clients who make you the happiest. These are the people who light you up and give you energy, not just the 10 who are easiest to tolerate.

The names on each side of the line might be mostly different. But you should notice a few names that appear in both columns.

These are your best clients: the people who bring in the most and bring out your best.

Mike Michalowicz calls these your “Seed Clients.” As I explained in the first post in this series, these are the people you want to nurture most.

Lessons From Your Seed Clients

Now, invite each of your Seed Clients on a on-on-one coffee date.

While you’re with them, ask these three questions:

  1. What led you to my gym in the first place?
  2. What did you try in the past that you didn’t like?
  3. What’s your greatest challenge outside my gym?

The answers will tell you:

  1. What you should be saying or doing more to attract clients just like your Seed Clients. You’ll also know what you can say less (or just skip altogether).
  2. What turns potential Seed Clients away.
  3. How you can serve your Seed Clients more and create more value for them.

When I first ran this exercise at my gym, I predicted my clients would talk about CrossFit because CrossFit was my method. As I learned, though, I wasn’t really selling “CrossFit.”

I thought they’d say:

“It’s super hard but it works!”

“It feels like a sport! I love racing the other people! Our fun is not fun! Compete every day! I love the community!” (You know all the slogans.)

“My greatest challenge is talking my friends into coming to your amazing, life-changing gym!” or “I want to lower my HRV!” or even “I want to compete at Regionals someday!”

Nope. Wrong.

Instead, they said:

“This is the only place anyone says ‘good job!’ to me all day.”

“I like being coached because I can just shut my brain off for an hour.”

“I always feel better when I leave than when I got there.”

“The coach always looks happy to see me. It’s the only place in my life where that happens.”

Oh, crap. My marketing was all wrong. My retention plan was wrong. My logo was wrong. My blog posts were wrong. I was focused on the competitors in my gym—the people who caused the most problems but paid the least money. I had built my services (open gym, competition class, etc.) around them. My website was “hardcore” to attract more competitive athletes—and they were the people causing all the problems in my gym!

I’m pretty sure I literally facepalmed myself.

Now my gym is my happy place again. It pays me more, people stay longer, and I can’t remember the last time I had a “drama” problem. That stuff you read about people “cheating” on their workouts? It just doesn’t happen. People asking for discounts? I can’t remember the last time. Cliques? Never.

Nurture the Best Seeds and Pull the Weeds

The key to serving people better is to serve the best people. Your favorite clients will be different from mine, and they’ll change over time. So repeat this exercise every six months.

In the next post, I’ll tell you what to do about the Weeds, and after that, I’ll tell you how to get more Seeds in your garden.

Other Media in This Series

“Seeds and Weeds”
“How to Fire Your Worst Clients”
“Love Makes Your Garden Grow”
“The Fired Client Rebellion and the Comeback of the Year”
“How to Upgrade Your Clients”
“Video Recap: Seed Clients and Weed Clients”


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.