Systems Before Sales

Last night, my son’s hockey team finally won a game.
One of my service goals is to introduce kids to fitness and sport in our community. So Robin and I sponsor teams, manage teams, and coach teams. I’m not much of a hockey coach, but I do know this: offense wins games, defense wins championships.
We won because we scored the most goals. But we scored the most goals because our defense created a lot of chances.
When the defensemen keep the puck in the other team’s zone, the forwards get more chances to score. And their team really can’t score when the puck’s in their end of the ice. So a few of our kids scored–including mine–but the win can be credited to the defense. All of our offense is built on their foundation.
When I sought out a mentor in 2008, I was looking for sales. I needed money badly. I didn’t even have the money in my account to pay him. So when he started teaching me business systems, I panicked.
“Who cares how often I sweep the floors? I need more clients!” that was the thought I shared with my wife. But I did the work, built the foundation, and started selling.
Many of the clients who were around in 2008 are still around NOW. Most of the same coaches, too. We can sell more memberships and keep people for a very long time because we built the foundations first.
It’s very tempting to chase marketing plans before solidifying your operations. The story usually goes like this:

  1. Gym owner runs a short-term challenge for a bunch of people
  2. Gym owner sees some positive revenue for the first time in awhile
  3. Gym owner becomes a huge fan of the marketing “system”, and repeats it
  4. A year later, the “new” clients are gone, and have taken the old clients with them
  5. The owner still doesn’t feel safe in their business
  6. Sometimes the owner is still working a day job, but doing more work than ever
  7. Coaches are burned out
  8. Ad costs are going up
  9. Lead quality is going down

…and the owner stares into The Abyss, seeing his life spiraling downward. He hates his business, hates his job, hates some of his clients, hates his lack of control over his life. This is NOT what he signed up for!
In our Incubator program, we fix operations and build systems first. That means a career roadmap for coaches; a meaningful long-term relationship for clients; and a few days off for the owners.
We have the best sales and marketing mentorship program in the industry. But we start with systems first, because defense wins championships. When you can keep the puck in the offensive zone, you spend less time fighting fires and more time taking shots on net.

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