The First 90 Days: You Sell Solutions, Not Workouts

On a blue background, icons with question marks surround a magnifying glass focused on an icon with a light bulb.

A free trial class, three membership options based on attendance and a link to scoring software?

That barely worked seven years ago, and it definitely doesn’t work today.

To succeed as a gym owner now:

  • Every new member must start the client journey with a consultation.
  • Every client must maintain a 1:1 connection to you.
  • Every client’s prescription must be updated regularly.

In Part 1, I told you how to use motivational interviewing to go deep with brand new clients and set them up for years of training with you.

Here, I’ll tell you how to design a program and deliver it with excellence.

Solving Problems Step by Step

Here’s a shift you must make as a fitness coach:

You are not just selling exercise or a certain fitness method. You’re selling coaching, expertise, accountability, motivation, solutions and goal achievement.

That perspective shift changes everything.

People just aren’t coming to you for a style of training or your equipment. They’re coming to solve a problem, and you’re the expert who can help them do it. In most cases, they don’t know exactly what they need. But they know they need guidance.

So how you do you deliver a nutrition and exercise prescription to solve a client’s problems?

As I said in Part 1, you ask questions to find Point B—where they want to be.

After using motivational interviewing to determine a client’s real “why,” you must find Point A—where they are right now. So measure what the client cares about. If they want weight loss, measure their weight. If they want fat loss, measure their fat. If they want to gain flexibility, measure their flexibility. If they want to gain strength, measure their strength.

Consider a client who wants to lose 20 lb.

Use motivational interviewing and you might find out she wants to do this to be a role model for her kids.

She cares about weight loss, so measure her current weight to find Point A.

Next, map the path backward from Point B to Point A. Like this:

After mapping the process, prescribe the fastest path to Point B. Like this:

“Well, Alice, here are the steps you’ll need to take to reach your goal of losing 20 lb. To make optimal progress, you’ll need to exercise five times per week and follow a clear nutrition plan. How does that sound?”

Now tailor service delivery to the client. Like this: “Would you prefer to do your workouts here at the gym or at home on your own—or would you prefer a combination?”

Great coaches guide their clients by presenting one option at a time instead of overwhelming them with choices.

Next: “So you prefer to train at the gym. That’s fantastic. Would you prefer to do your workouts one-on-one with me or in a small group?”

Now overcome barriers, such as price objections. Like this: “No problem, Alice! If you can’t afford to train 1:1 with me all the time, we could use semi-private training. You’ll get a personalized training plan and close supervision from me while I help three other clients in the same session.”

Or like this: “No problem! Our hybrid plan might be perfect for you. With the budget you just gave me, we can do three weekly training sessions in a group, plus two personal sessions monthly and nutrition coaching.”

Then motivate clients by reminding them of their wins and showing them their progress. Call them when they don’t show up.

Along the way, track progress and adjust the plan regularly to ensure progress is always being made. Staff members at Two-Brain gyms meet with their clients every quarter to adjust their plans.

Game Changer: The Prescriptive Model

We call this process the Prescriptive Model. You can read about it in more detail here.

This model has been proven to help clients accomplish goals. And for the business owner, it measurably improves retention and average revenue per member.

To boil it down:

  • Find out the client’s goal.
  • Show the client your plan to accomplish the goal.
  • Ask “how does this look?” and then prescribe the solution using your pricing binder.
  • Tailor the plan if needed and then start the onboarding process.
  • Make sure you book a Goal Review Session that will happen within 90 days.

A lot of people miss the last step, but it’s an essential part of a client’s first 90 days. In Part 3 of this series, I’ll tell you how to review client progress, update prescriptions and keep clients around for the long haul.

Other Media in This Series

“The First 90 Days: What If You Knew Every Client’s Why?”
“The First 90 Days: Turn Off Autopilot and Review Client Progress”


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.