What Top Gym Owners Say in Tricky Situations

A gym owner has a tough conversation with a client who looks tense and unhappy.

Ever wished you could ask an experienced gym owner exactly what to say when you have to fire a staff member?

Or when a client smells bad?

Or when you want to get two PT clients to train together to increase your hourly rate?

You aren’t alone. We regularly see entrepreneurs asking for advice like this in our private group for Two-Brain clients.

This is a very high-value group where top gym owners and expert mentors solve a ton of problems fast. I regularly go in there and see amazing solutions to very tough problems, and I often think “I wish I had seen that a decade ago.”

I want to help you get out of some tough spots fast, so I’ve mined our group for great answers to very common questions.


Questions and Great Answers

Question: “I try to deal with objections during consultations, but sometimes a lead leaves and says, ‘I will get back to you later.’ What should I say as they leave or immediately afterward?”

Answer: “When this happens I usually send them a text within a few hours just to thank them for considering our gym, and I say we hope to see them back in there soon. Then we put them into our automated lead-nurture sequence from the Two-Brain Toolkit.”

Answer: “I’ve been honest about what happens to most people if they leave without making a decision; i.e., they don’t come back before trying other things that don’t work, wasting more time, money and energy.”

Question: “An enthusiastic lead said she was very committed to taking action, said our on-ramp price was ‘not bad at all’ and signed up and paid by credit card. We did an InBody scan, then booked all her sessions and 90-day goal review. She then messaged later in the day to cancel after talking to her husband about finances. How do I respond?”

Answer: “You mentioned this being a money issue. Is this more you don’t have the money in the bank at all or are you worried that you’ll part with this money and not reach your intended result because you’ve failed in the past on cheaper products?”

Answer: “Sorry to hear about this. When would be a good time today or tomorrow to hop on a call and discuss some other options for how we can help you?” Then, go back over why she told you she’s ready to start and ask what’s changed.

Question: “How do I fire a staff member?”

Answer: “[NAME], I’ve made the decision to end your employment effective [DATE]. This decision is not for cause [OR INSERT REASON HERE], and I’ve prepared a letter for you in this envelope with all the details you need. Your last day will be [DATE OR TODAY]. Take the letter with you, review it and reach out to me directly if you have questions. [NAME], I want to thank you for your contributions in the time you have worked with us and wish you the best of luck. [STAFF NAME] is going to go with you to help collect your things.”

Question: “How do I fire a client?”

Answer: “Hey [NAME], can I bounce something off you real quick? You don’t seem comfortable here lately. You don’t seem to be in a great mood. What are your thoughts on the gym lately? Are we doing something wrong?”

This allows the client to present an answer without taking the blame. Let them speak, then let more air out of the “anger balloon” by repeating something they said as a question.

“So you’re saying you don’t like the programming anymore?”

Do this at least three times to let them get it all out. In some cases, this process will prompt a client to “fire themselves.” If not, say this:

“We’re not the right fit for you anymore, and I think you’ll be happier somewhere else. I’ll refund the remaining time on your membership today.”

Answer: “Dear [CLIENT]. Please accept this email as a formal cancelation of your membership. Due to recent circumstances, we will be waiving your cancelation fee and the remaining payments of your contract, parting company immediately. The remainder of the current month’s membership fee is being returned to you, and your account will be deactivated. Regards, [OWNER].”

Question: “What do I say if another member asks about a client I fired?”

Answer: “[NAME] has moved on; we definitely wish them the best.” If the person keeps digging: “We don’t make a habit of discussing details, but if you have something you’d like to share or discuss, I’d be happy to address your concerns.”

Question: “I have a coach who constantly tells me he need to make more money and work more, but when I offer stuff, he seems reluctant and can never fit it into his schedule. What do I say?”

Answer: “I’ve noticed that you say you want extra money. It seems to me that when I offer something, you’re too busy. Can you help me understand what would work for you?”

Question: “What do I say to a client who smells bad?”

Answer: “Hey [CLIENT]. I noticed you’re working up a smell when you’re getting after it. I’ve had the same problem at times. You might try replacing some of your older workout clothes, and you can definitely use the gym shower before class if you’ve had a long workday. I’ve got body wash in there, as well as spray deodorant you can use before and after working out.”

Answer, as a pre-emptive strike in a message to all clients: “We’re heading into the deep heat, and summer smells can get funky. Take a moment to wash those knee sleeves and wrist wraps. While you’re at it, spray some odor killer on your gym shoes and in your gym bag. Swing by the front desk this weekend and grab a FREE on-the-go deodorant spray to keep handy. Lastly, double-check your workout gear to see if passes the ‘sniff test.’ Those wicking shirts and performance fabrics can pick up smells over time, so please replace anything past its prime.”

Question: “What do you say to a client who wants to hold a membership for summer?”

Answer: “Hey [NAME], we understand that summer is a busy time of year. However, you have made so much progress on [INSERT SPECIFIC GOAL FROM GOAL REVIEW SESSION], and I would hate to see you lose that over summer. Let’s get a goal review set up so we can figure out a plan that allows you to continue making progress and accommodate your busy schedule.” (The gym owner who said exactly this has prevented five clients from going on hold so far.)

Question: “How do I launch a semi-private program with current PT clients? I would like to have groups of three that I can continue to hold and fill out as needed.”

Answer: “Hey [NAME], you’re doing great. You’ve improved [THING 1] and [THING 2] so fast in our time together. I think the only way to really drive you further is to get you a training partner. You’ll push each other to the next level. I have a perfect candidate—similar background and very similar goals. Want to try a session with them? If you hate it, we’ll go back to 1:1 until I find you a better match.”

Peers Helping Peers

These are just a few selections from our private groups for Two-Brain clients. These high-value groups are packed with questions and answers as gym owners present problems and receive great solutions from helpful, experienced peers who have navigated similar waters.

The interactions help the gym owners who are asking the questions, but a host of others usually post something like this below a great response: “Wow—this is great. I’m dealing with the same issue, and this advice is so helpful!”

Or I see this: “Wow! I’m literally writing this down so I have it handy when I deal with this situation.”

That’s problem solving at scale, and I love to watch it happen.

I hope this selection helps you solve problems at your gym. And if you want access to our private groups and all the tactics and resources in our toolkit, click here to talk about mentorship.


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.