He sold service packages to 75% of the people who met with him in September, and he’ll tell you how he did it right after this.
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This is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin and we’re talking about marketing chains. The short version? A business gets leads. Some of them set appointments to talk with fitness pros. Some of those people show up to appointments and some of those who show buy. These are your leads and set, show close rates. In September, Matt Andrus spent $693 on ads and got 73 leads, 37 people booked appointments, 24 showed and he closed 18 of them. That’s a close rate of 75% and it generated $7,100 in revenue. Matt’s lead stats and close rates were the top five of all Two-Brain gyms worldwide. Matt, are you ready to share your secrets?
Some of them. Of course. I have an abundance mindset. I want to tell everybody everything that I could possibly share. Maybe someone can benefit from my either wisdom or good fortune.
I think it’s wisdom and we’ll take whatever we can get here. I’m really excited to talk to you about this. So first off, just tell me about your tracking system. A lot of people, this is like weird science to them. How are you tracking all of this and how are you getting accurate data? And how long have you been tracking all this stuff?
Well, I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I’ve been with Two-Brain for a little over a year. And before that I was with another company that did some marketing, I hired a company similar to Two-Brain but I really didn’t like their approach. But what I did like were the systems that they provided me. And so I’ve got a pretty integrated system, relying heavily on integrations. It’s a great piece of software. When you can find the affordable level of payment for how many integrations you’re going to use. But basically from the time someone clicks through the ad on Facebook into our click funnels page, I’m starting to get alerts right away. I’m getting text messages that they had booked, I’m getting updated Google sheets that says what time they actually clicked on the ad, what time they entered their information and I can take different actions based on what they’ve done and what they haven’t done. A lot of it is automated so that we can get as good of a show rate, as good of a set rate. And then ultimately all of that flows into a good close rate, making sure that people feel like we’re really paying close attention to them from start to finish.
Yeah. And it’s interesting that you mentioned that because a lot of gym owners, like I said, really don’t have a good handle on these numbers. They don’t know how many leads they got. They just know that there was a number and that doesn’t allow them to track their marketing spends. They don’t know how many people, you know, what percent have showed up and what percentage set appointments and all that. And that really doesn’t allow them to analyze things and then make corrections. So I wanted to ask just how you do it so that people can get a sense of, there are various ways to do it, but no matter what you do, you need to track these numbers. So your numbers for September were fantastic. Tell me how do they compare to other months? Was this something that was out of the ordinary or is this fairly consistent for you?
Well, certain aspects of my September numbers were different. But then others were pretty consistent and flat. We did get a good spike in our leads for that month. We typically are getting more in the range of 40 leads, 40 to 50 leads on a good month. And we got 70 plus in September and, you know, we tried to figure out what’s going on. And, you know, everybody is in a different space in every market, with COVID closures and reopening. And we really had to attribute it quite a lot to that. We had been closed down for a couple of months because we, every gym was shut down, starting in mid March, we’re in Oakland, California. And so March 17th everybody had to shelter in place. And so gyms couldn’t open in any capacity. And then the restrictions started becoming lifted.
As you know, the area got a handle on their COVID cases. We actually also moved locations. So we reopened in June and then started our ads back up again. We actually did run ads slowly during our closure just to keep fresh in people’s minds. We were offering remote training packages. We’ve had a couple of offers again, using the Two-Brain playbook to keep ourselves alive. But once we could reopen in our new location, we turned everything back on in August, but then September things really spiked. And what we really happened there was that a lot of the area gyms couldn’t adapt as quickly as we could. There were several gyms that around that time decided to close their businesses, which was a shame. We really want to see more people, more gyms, even competitor gyms being successful because we do this because we believe in the efficacy of fitness, not because we’re trying to become billionaires.
I mean, that would be nice too, but yeah, but you know, we really saw that surge beginning in August, but really peaked in September for those leads. But, you know, we track, again, we track everything really carefully. Our set show and close rates were flat from August through to today. So we’re still closing a lot. We just got a lot more leads that one month. And interestingly, we got relatively low value. Our set rate and dropped in September and our close of percent of leads drop as a result. So I think what we got were a lot of looky-loos.
That’s really, really interesting. And I’m going to point resource out to our listeners. You mentioned the surge and Chris Cooper’s written about this. He had a whole series called the surge series talking about how a lot of gyms that in the terrain family are reopening after COVID related shutdowns are seeing a surge of new clients. And Chris has some tips in there to help people trigger that surge and things that you can do to prepare for it and make it even bigger as you come out of restrictions. That’s even more important right now as a lot of places are looking at a second round of closures. So that’s really interesting that you saw this in September.
Yes, absolutely. And we are still surfing that wave. September we definitely did our best, but we are closing way more new members than we were last year. Last year we would have average 10 to 11 new members a month. And now we are 14, 15, 16, even more per month, since we’ve reopened, people are hungry for fitness. They are more aware of their lack of fitness because they’ve been sitting on their butts for a few months involuntarily, eating, you know, like it’s the apocalypse and now they realize it’s not the apocalypse and they actually want a six pack. And that’s where we come in.
And one of the things I don’t want to jump ahead in my questions here, but we are going to circle back to this, was the idea that you said you thought you had a lot of people that were just looking because you got a ton of leads, but you still managed to close 75% of them, which I think is such a fascinating thing. So we’re going to circle back on closing, but first I want to ask you, you talked a little bit about the surge and what you think was what generated those 73 leads in September. Is there anything else that you might’ve done that might’ve caused that? Did you change any ads? Did you change any images or landing pages or any of that stuff? And do you think you can keep generating that many going forward?
Interestingly, we run all of the stock Two-Brain ads. We have been running. Yeah. We’re running it right out of the swipe file. It’s on my extended to do list, to personalize and customize and get.,I have a photographer friend and do a whole new photo shoot of our own athletes and all that good stuff. Honestly, we haven’t found the need to spend that time and money on it at the moment because those ads are still performing beautifully. We have abs girl looking down, we’ve got three arms girl. We got like the whole thing. So I highly encourage anyone listening to this, go to that and use that stuff. We, of course, as, you know, make everything personalized. So nothing super smart out of the ads. The landing page that we use is our standard and we customize it for our colors, but we didn’t reinvent the wheel on any of that.
One thing that I know that is affecting our business positively from our old location, like I said, we did move during closure. We had a pretty toxic environment and toxic landlord at our old location. And we actually ended up finding a smaller, more affordable location, but it had much, much better foot traffic. So we’re on the corner of a very busy intersection. There are up to five streets that in a very odd way, intersect, they just re landscaped the city of Oakland, just relandscaped the whole area. Redid the concrete right front before we were even there. And so we got a ton of people walking by cycling by and driving by. So we have a big sign up front. We have two sandwich boards with our logo and a funny little slogan on the chalkboard. And we have our workout area is right there in front of our business because we have to do outdoor fitness for the most part. So people see us constantly, people get stopped at the stop light, literally put their car in park, get out and grab a flyer and then get back to the car. So we’re getting a ton of drive by walk by leads just by sheer nature of our space. That could account for a little bit more uptick in things. But I think that’s just our new normal, quite frankly, we’re going to just get a lot of new eyeballs.
Yeah. So one of the things that I’ll point out there is what you’ve done in terms of your advertising is you’re basically using highly tested ads. And when you’re talking about the swipe files, Two-Brain Marketing tests everything, and they’ll put together these ads and it’s pictures that we know convert. And then it’s copy that we know will work and attract people and gym owners who are in the Two-Brain family can use this stuff. And we know that this stuff is going to work. And of course we’re always upgrading and testing things and changing things, but that stuff in that file has been tested. And it’s great because I’ve created some ads for Two-Brain Business itself. And I talked to our head of marketing and I said, well, what do you want? And he said, well, I have some ideas, but I don’t know what’s actually gonna work until we test it.
So what he does is we get a whole bunch of different stuff. We put the ads up, then we track the numbers, just like you’re saying, Matt. And then we know what works and we run with that. And so this stuff has already been pre-tested and we know it works. We know fitness people will click on it. So it kind of gives you that head start. If you don’t have access to that stuff. And you’re out there by yourself, put your ads out and then monitor them so that you know, what’s working and what’s not, if people aren’t clicking, you got to make some changes there. And we have tons of shows in our archives here with Mateo Lopez, telling people how to do that. The second thing Matt, that you brought up is really cool. Chris Cooper is actually writing about this on the blog is location and how to, you know, talked a lot about when you’re setting up, if there’s new gym owners out there, how to set up your location, where you should set up. So it’s fascinating that you’ve changed locations and you’re in a much more visible spot. And that’s interesting because back in the day, all CrossFit gyms kind of went out in the weird, you know, industrial areas where there’s some shady people on the corner over there, and there’s a chop shop over there. You’re now in a much more high traffic location and you get to test and see if that’s going to bring you more leads just from being a presence in the neighborhood.
Absolutely. And we were, we’ve only been in business for three, a little bit over three years. But we were that old school CrossFit gym. We were CrossFit before, we did deaffiliate in the spring. But we were in a big warehouse that was in a shady part of town. And the reason we actually left I’ll give you the very short version is that our next door neighbor was an illegal marijuana farm that wired their lights around the meter and destroyed the transformer. And the electric company wouldn’t fix it. The landlord brought things to code and she refused to because slumlord and she didn’t want to do that. We were definitely the gritty, hidden gym. We didn’t even have a sign because we were so tucked away. We never spent the money on a sign. We just told people where we were and they came in and it was shocking that we survived for three years there. Now, I don’t know what the hell I was thinknig. It’s just so easy. We’ve got this great location. Yes, it’s smaller, but it’s perfect for us. And like they say, location, location, location, our business has never been healthier.
Did I hear that you actually didn’t have power for like a bunch of months?
Yeah. For a year we did not have, we did not have electricity for a year. Right when the power outage, the pot farm blew out the lights, we rolled up the doors and I pulled my pickup truck inside, use the headlights for lighting and the stereo for music until we figured out a generator, we wired the generator up. And then we had construction lights throughout the building. It was absolutely insane and my clients did not leave me. They thought it was ridiculous. They thought it was absurd, but they said, yeah, it’s not your fault. And you’re making this work. And we were able to reframe it in a positive way and actually benefited from it. And now we don’t have to deal with that stress, which is a very, very good thing,
Not to get off topic. But did you ever think about wiring your rowers to some sort of battery system and saving those watts?
We tried to, there wasn’t a way to do it. We actually had some old assault bikes, and we’re like, we could disassemble this and make something happen. How bright can you make the lights during class and like make it a competition.
I’ve thought about that so many times when I had got my power bill, I’m like, I’ve wasted thousands of watts on every rowing workout, but
Somewhere there is a gym that does that.
Going back to this, I want to ask another question related to your location. Tell me a little bit about said people jump out and grab pamphlets and you’ve got this sandwich board with a sign. Tell me a little bit, or with a slogan. Tell me a little bit about those two things.
So we had created a simple little two-sided card printed on cardstock. So it looks professional. It’s got a photo of one of our athletes with her before or after photos. And it just has basic information, website, schedule, things like that. Telephone number, no pricing, no nothing. Just sort of the same kind of thing you would see on the front page of our website and, you know, book a no sweat intro here, that kind of thing. So something that someone can walk away with just so they know how to follow up with us. Our sandwich board is if you look on our Instagram, we try to feature that. And it’s just a simple. I think I got it on Amazon, but it looks branded to us. It looks nice and it has our logo. And then we have, right now we have a silly slogan that one of our members drew, she’s a bit of an artist and it says education is important.
Biceps are importanter. And it’s just something that gets people’s attention. And then it has our Instagram tag on there. We find a lot of people find us through Instagram and we have a little linktree on there, but yeah, it’s just something. And we have two of them, one on either corner so that the car stopped at the light. They can see easily who we are. Obviously our coaches are always wearing branded apparel so that everybody sees what our logo is. We’re trying to really push who we are, who we are, who we are so that everybody just driving by knows, Oh yeah, there’s a gym there. We painted our building this big, cool dark black color and green trim so that it looks attractive. It looks distinct. And we get a lot of people that literally hop out of the car. I always tell people if somebody honks at the light, because the person in front of them is too busy watching class, then everybody gets a free t-shirt.
- So that’s fascinating because again, when we opened our gym, I think it was 2011. We had our physical location and we were in a, you know, sort of industrial part of town. And I was adamant that like, we didn’t need a sign. We didn’t need any of the outside branding. We just do our thing, be great coaches and people show up. And honestly like that did work for a little while, but then it stopped working and that’s kind of where we needed to find Two-Brain Business, to get some help. It’s really neat to see the evolution of sort of the CrossFit and the micro gym movement where now we’re still great coaches. Like that’s still helping our clients get results is still the basis of what we do. But then we’re all figuring out these extra things. And it’s just these simple things like sandwich boards, consistent branding, coaches in t-shirts painting your building and just trying to do all these things that other industries have traditionally done with great success, but in the fitness industry, it just wasn’t a thing for a while. Like, do you remember like when, instead of your fun sandwich board slogan, you might’ve put up something like our fun isn’t fun.
Yeah. There used to be, I started doing CrossFit in about 2012 and that was the era when it was we’re tougher than you. That was the general message. And if you want to be tough too come on in, but if you don’t want to be tough, then get out. And I never was drawn to that personally. I never thought that that was a good message. I always realized that, you know, the Navy SEALs have already started doing this. They already know, and there’s not that many of them, and that the real business, the real money to be made here. And the most good that you can do, the most help that you can do, is the quote unquote soccer moms, is not the fire-breathing badasses, but turning normal people into their own version of a fire-breathing bad-ass and your messaging needs to be good for them.
And so I always was focused on making sure that that’s what it was that we wanted. We always wanted things to be rustic yet sophisticated. That’s sort of our tagline. Yes. We’re in a warehouse. Yes. You’re going to climb a rope and yes, you’re going to get a blister on your hand and build some calluses and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be sophisticated. That doesn’t mean that our training methodology isn’t well thought out and scientifically proven, you know, we are bold and smart and polished. So it’s been an interesting evolution. I agree that now that’s what people are really figuring out. There’s a lot of people giving good free advice, Two-Brain among them, but there’s such good advice to really give that polished look that is on brand. I’m very brand conscious.
The more gym owners I talk to about marketing, the more I hear that consistency throughout the branding is very important. And that goes from your ads, your landing pages, your physical appearnace, all the other stuff. We’re gonna talk about what happens when people actually show up to your gym right after this.
Hi, this is Chris Cooper, and I founded Two-Brain Business to make gyms profitable. Over the last years, as we’ve compiled more and more data, more and more tools, gotten better and better at mentorship, we’ve really made a lot of gyms, hundreds around the world, thousands over the years, profitable, doing better. What hasn’t kept pace is the quality of coaching in a lot of gyms worldwide. There are great programs out there that will introduce you to a method like bootcamp, kettlebells, Olympic lifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, running, whatever that is. And so we can make coaches who know the subject matter, but that doesn’t make them a great coach. To be a great coach, you have to be able to change somebody’s habits. You have to be able to change their behavior and to do that requires deep understanding of their motivations to do that means amazing adherence by the client. And it means amazing retention because as gym owners, we know it’s harder and harder and more expensive than ever to get a new client. Retention is more important than ever. Referrals are more important than ever. Peer to peer marketing, word of mouth is more important than it’s ever been. How do you get those things? Through client results. So I founded Two-Brain Coaching with Josh Martin to get coaches the skills they actually need to make a career in fitness instead of just familiarity with a methodology. Twobraincoaching.com has courses to help you start a career with personal training, to scale up with group training, both in person and online, and to diversify with nutrition, coaching, and mindset coaching. We have the best programs in the industry that will prepare you and your coaches to deliver any method that you love now or you might love 10 years from now. Twobraincoaching is really a project of love for me. And if you visit twobraincoaching.com, you’ll get a ton of free resources, just like we produce every day on twobrainbusiness.com.
All right, we are back with Matt Andrus. We’re going to talk about closing. So you had amazing close rates. Tell me what your sales process looks like. Meetings, interviews, binders, like how does this thing go? When someone shows up to talk to you about CrossFit and your gym?
Well, you know, to tell you a little bit about my background initially. I was not a fitness professional for very long. I was in luxury hotels for over a decade. I fell into the industry sort of by accident. After college, I wanted to play a little bit and I found myself playing and traveling and living in Aspen, Colorado. And I realized being a ski instructor kind of sucks, but being in that ski town is pretty great. So I ended up working at the nicest place I could, which was a five star five diamond hotel. And I started answering the phones, realize that I had a knack for it, and for talking to people and talking to guests and providing them luxury service. And so I ended up being a manager and made that my career for, like I said, over 10 years.
So my approach to sales in general is always bears that in mind, from the moment people walk in to the moment, you know, they’re, you’re peeling them back off before their hardest workout in their lives is that you want, people want to be made to feel special. People like to hear their name, people like eye contact. There’s a lot of soft skills involved, but all those soft skills are only as good as the systems and process that you have. So you do need a sales process. You need to know what you’re doing, what you’re going to say, and you need to practice it and you need to feel comfortable with it. But we also have to make sure that connecting with people one-on-one, you can’t do—you can get away with having weak processes and get lucky if you’re still charming and you’re able talk to people.
But if you can’t talk to people, you’re gonna have a real hard time with sales, but for us, we do make sure that everybody comes in for a no sweat intro. We do publish our monthly rates online, but we don’t publish our startup package rates online. We want to make sure that we’re finding the right fit for people. And so we do get pushback on that from people from inquiries. We say, look, we’re going to talk. We’re going to find the right option for you to meet your budget, to meet your schedule, to meet your needs. And we’re going to give you a prescription for what we think you need. And we’re professionals. So you’re going to love our prescription. We’re going to find what’s right for you. But the conversation’s gotta be casual and it’s gotta be exactly that.
Not a sales consult. It’s a conversation. I want to get to know the person. I want to get to know what their history is in fitness and athletics. What they’ve done in the past, maybe how they’ve been successful before, how they’ve been unsuccessful. Injuries that they’ve had and how we can help them work around those injuries, work through them and make them better. Overall, the message I’m trying to get through to everyone is that we’re not just Gold’s gym or Equinox or 24 hour fitness. We’re not a place where you go to work out. We’re a coaching business. We are going to provide structure and accountability so that they can improve their fitness, improve their nutrition and overall improve their lives. And in that, I play a very open hand with everybody. I say, look, this is what I’m doing to you.
I am trying to get you to like me, because if you like me and you like our coaches and you like our gym and you like our gym dogs. And you like seeing that I bring my kids here and you’re in a comfortable chair sitting in a gym and it’s unintimidating and you feel safe and comfortable, then you’re going to keep showing up. And if you keep showing up and keep doing the workouts, then you’re going to see results. And if you keep showing up and doing the workouts and seeing results, you’re going to keep paying for your membership. So you’re going to benefit and I’m going to benefit. And it’s good for everybody, so let’s do this all together. And people like that honesty. I do close with a laminated price sheet so that they can see the tiers of the different options. We provide three different tiers of how people can start up as well as our nutrition packages so that they can really see something visual. But for the most part, we’re just talking for half an hour and getting to know each other and it works really, really nicely. OK.
I have a couple of questions. I’m going to scoot back a little bit first. When you were working at a luxury hotel. So did that experience, did that make you much more comfortable presenting expensive things to people like, was that because a lot of us as gym owners, we were very nervous about saying, Oh, it’s $250 or $300. And we really put our budget on clients and we kind of subvert our own processes. Did that experience working in a hotel, selling luxury services and packages. Did that help you do the same thing at a gym in a different market?
To a certain extent I think so. I never really thought about it that way. I mean, it was almost 20 years ago that I was working in this one hotel and we didn’t have a room that was less than $2,000 a night. And so, Oh yeah. I mean, Kings and Queens, literally Kings and Queens and heads of state and celebrities, one of the finest hotels. And so yes, you do get a little bit inoculated to, you know yes, of course I can’t afford this, but you can, so cool. And again, back to what you said before is that a lot of us find ourselves in relatively low income areas because that’s where the real estate is cheapest, rent’s the cheapest. So we’re in this funny sort of, in-between where we want a discount because we see our neighbors and we say, well, we know that these neighbors can’t possibly afford $200 a month in training, but then we also do the math and we say, yeah, but that’s not only what I need for this business to survive, but that’s what I think works, I think, and I just had this conversation with my other coaches and actually some of the members who are in different industries.
So you’ve got to believe in your price points. If you don’t believe that you’re worth the time, that your rates are worth it, if it’s the right price point, then you won’t be able to sell it. You’ve got to believe in that because you kno, it’s going to work, you’ve got to have true faith and belief in what you’re offering that you can really help people. And that’s really where I come from with every single conversation is that when people come in, whether you are trying to gain weight and gain muscle, lose weight, lose body fat, increase your fitness, increase your cardiovascular capacity, go to the CrossFit Games or whatever, be a competitive Spartan runner, whatever it is. I know I can help. And I know that not only can I help, but I know that it’s going to be worth it to you to invest in this because you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is. You’ve got to actually invest. It’s like the whole drive it like you stole it thing. The reason that you drive it like you stole it is you didn’t pay for it. The one that you paid for you drive real carefully, take good care of it. So you gotta pay as a client to really get the benefit.
Chris Cooper’s written about that. And his, you know, his top tip for selling high value things is to be worth it. Right? And I’ve heard this from numerous people now that if you’re not confident in the stuff that you sell, it’s impossible to sell it. You have to believe that it’s worth it. And to believe it, you have to make sure that you know, it’s worth it. And that that’s that inner desire to wake up every day and prove to your clients that you’re doing good things. I’m going to ask you one other question and I’m not sure the answer here because in a luxury hotel where there’s $2,000 a night rooms, people probably aren’t haggling over pricing and so forth, but did you ever get any sales training at that job?
I never did actually. My job was to more in operation. And then interestingly, I did transition into sales at one point. But I was at the different sister property and it was not as nice. I did not actually believe in the product. And I was forced to sell a market that nobody else wanted to sell. I was the junior guy. So they’re like, all right, let’s see what he can do with this selling this crap. And I did not, I was not successful at it. I did not enjoy it. And I did not do well at all. And so it’s proof positive. Like you’ve got to believe in what you’ve got to be excited about it. And you know, there’s so many, if you’re not excited about what you’re selling, if you’re not excited about what you’re doing, why the hell are you doing it? You know, maybe someone else needs to be doing that on your team. Maybe someone, maybe you can hire someone who is excited about the gym and you’re not good at this stuff. Cool. You know, that that’s absolutely fine. But if you really don’t believe in this at all in what you’re doing, you gotta reconsider.
And do you do all your no sweat intros, or do you split those up with staff? Or how does that work?
I split them up with staff. Yeah. I have one other coach that does it with me, I have a very small team. We only have three coaches total. One coach is a most 90% of the time student. And so she just does some personal training and one class on Saturdays. And then my other coach who I’m actually grooming to ultimately be my general manager and take everything over for me has almost as high a sales rate or close rate as I do, obviously it’s pretty odd. Most of the time the owner is the one that’s the most invested and the best at selling, but Chris is a close second. He’s really quite good.
- So that’s yeah. And that’s incredible because that’s what we definitely see sometimes is we see gym owners who can sell or a certain person who can sell, but no one else can. And the challenge at that point is to then replace yourself so that you don’t have to do all the sales meetings. You can find someone who can add equal or beat your close rates. So your September numbers, weren’t just yours. They were your team’s, which is really, really cool. What that tells me is that you have a system and a process. You’ve got some good people, obviously, too, but you’ve got some training. I’m going to go back to your intro process. Just point out a couple of things. And then I’ve got a question for you about your process. So you said, you’ve got, it sounds like you’re having personable lengthy conversations with people. You’re acquiring as much info about them as you can. And you’re showcasing throughout your brand. You’re showing what Sequoia CrossFit is all about. We’re coaching facility, we’re friendly, we’re fun, we’re professional. We’re doing all these different things. Sure. We’re a little gritty, but we’re very professional. And everything that you’re doing is really showing off your business, but acquiring as much info from the client as you can. Is that accurate?
In that process, have you got this thing listed out so that when you give this thing to your, was a Chris that you said was your second in command? So is this thing listed where you just pass it to him and said, Hey, this is the process. Let’s practice it together. Or how did you get that person up to speed to be equal to you or close to it?
Well Chris is also a natural with a lot of this stuff. His background is not similar to mine, but he has that natural gift of gab, we’re chatty people. He was a blessing. He came out of nowhere. He showed up one day, was new to the area, heard about us and wanted to drop in and check out our rate or check out a class. And then he said, you know, I coach on the side. Can I ever coach here? You think? And so we put them through an internship process. And so he’d had a lot of time side by side seeing how I do everything. And I explained that this is, that branding is the most important thing. And again, this goes back to my luxury hotel training. That was the biggest thing that they taught us. We were, I was with that hotel while we were progressing from four star four diamond to five-star five diamond.
So for anyone who’s in the hotel industry, you will now breathe that sigh of relief, knowing that you’ve done that before it is hard, but it’s hard to go from the four to a five. And the difference is not nicer thread count sheets or, you know, crystal stemware. It’s all about the service. It’s all about the actual interactions that people have consistently. And so, and branding, branding, branding, the number one thing, every single thing speaks to your brand. So from your personal grooming to how you, how quickly do you recognize someone when they walk through the door? Our old gym was about a hundred feet long, and I told him when you, when someone walks through the door and you are coaching someone in their squat snatch at the other end of the room, you need to, your eyes need to go up. You need to acknowledge and smile with your eyes, wave and say that you see them.
And then go back to squat snatching. At every moment. And he does that beautifully. So while I didn’t have a formal sales training process with him, I did have a branding training process with him for, you know, since day one. And the sales process is simply an extension of that, that you are connecting with someone one-on-one that you see them and you hear them and you’re paying attention. You’re not trying to interrupt and say, Oh, this is how I can fix that. We’re going to listen to the whole thing. We’re going to let someone talk because people love to hear their own voice. And then at the end, when they have naturally come to a point of like, this is my story, here’s how we can help you. And here’s what it’s going to cost. And you don’t go. You’re like, no. We don’t oversell that package. You already know enough about nutrition. You’re beyond our template. That’s not going to work for you. You’re going to do this lower tier one. But what I want you to consider is doing this one-on-one personal nutrition course that we’re going to do and getting people the right prescription and being honest about it, all those kinds of things get a higher close rate and it gets people to trust you. And again, show up consistently,
I’m going to correct you on one thing, because you said it was a blessing that Chris showed up. I think you earned that by operating without lights for a year.
If there is some sort of higher power out there that there’s some sort of karmic balance of things, then I definitely have some, some credits out there. We went through a tough year. I mean, we’ve all been through a tough 2020, it’s crazy. But our 2019 was pretty rough too. And frankly, you know, right now, like I said, we’re doing better than we ever have. COVID has been devastating to our society, but it has been good for our business because we’ve been able to find a way to help people and stay alive when other businesses have not. Recently San Francisco CrossFit, one of the first CrossFit gyms in the world, closed down the right across the Bay. We know all of those people and it’s very, very sad. And so being successful right now, just staying afloat right now for anyone who’s listening, if you’re just barely alive, you’re doing better than, you know, Kelly Starrett, you know, that’s, I mean, that’s a big deal. Like just staying alive, keeping your members engaged and keeping them faithful to you right now is a big deal. And it’s not easy.
Yeah. What I heard from you there in your process is like you have a process and you have a system, but what you’re looking for there is you’ve got a person with really great soft skills. And that’s sometimes like, we’ve talked about that a little bit where, you know, hire for personality and then train them. And we’ve talked about that. Chris has talked about that a lot in coaching where you can teach someone to teach the squat, but it’s harder to teach someone to be a nice person who’s fun to be around, right? Changing your personality is difficult. So when you’re looking at sales, you probably, you know, gym owners that are out there and looking to make improvements, you’re going to need, I think, and you can tell me if I’m wrong here to find some people who have that conversation skills, listening skills, personality, and understand how to interact with people because those people can learn any sales script in any pricing binder. The reverse is not always true where you’ve got someone who’s great at following processes, but maybe isn’t that fun to talk to. Am I right?
Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And again, I feel like a broken record. Our hotel training was all about that. Hire for attitude, train for aptitude. You can teach someone to do just about anything. I can teach you how to build a widget on a construction line, on a manufacturing line, or how to check someone in a hotel or how to teach them not to do a butt wink, you know, we can do all of these things, but can you get them to actually do it? Can you get those soft skills? And the truth is some people can’t. Some people are on the cusp and there are systems like Toastmasters and other sort of get to know you games and things like that. To get people a little bit more out of their shell, a little bit more natural with that. But I have definitely encountered those people in every industry that simply cannot. And at some point someone, again, you need to evaluate, are you the person to do this? Or is there someone else on your team, or should you find someone that can do this better? And yes, it costs money to hire that person to do it for you, but maybe they can still provide some better return on investment.
Yeah. And you know, something you mentioned about the branding where you’re yelling across the gym to someone who walks in, Hey, happy to see you. And then going back to coaching the squat brings me back to a conversation I had earlier today, when I recorded a podcast with a gentleman from the Netherlands called Pep Leppers is his name. And he told me that he has a great close rate as well. He told me that he physically waits at the door for each no would intro to arrive so that when they walk in, they don’t have to like, look for what to do, ring a bell or try and find someone. They see his smiling face as soon as they walk up. What do you think of that?
That’s fantastic. I mean, that’s absolutely fantastic. And yeah, there are just not enough hours in the day when you are running your own micro gym. It is you’re doing 17 things at once and you look around your gym, you say, well, I need to clean that, I need to oil the barbells. I need to go over there and do this. And I can’t just sit here and wait for someone to maybe no show on me. Like I don’t have the time. Yeah. But you don’t have the time not to, you know, you can’t afford to let those people slip through the cracks. And yeah, that’s, that’s a great tip. And I’m going to steal that 100%
And I’m going to ask you one other question related to conversation because I chatted with him and he uses the no sweat intro, but he also tacks on the lesser used sweat intro. So he has a conversation exactly. Like you do. And then he actually puts them through a short workout, then sits down and has the sales meeting. And I hadn’t talked to a gym owner, I know this thing exists and it’s taught in the Two-Brain curriculum, but I hadn’t spoken to someone who’s used it with so much success. Have you ever tried that or would you ever try it?
I haven’t. I like the concept and our next evolution of things, you know, I’m working on my 2021 annual plan and how I want to improve things. And I’m definitely looking at my sales process as well. One of the things that I would like to do is to incorporate something like that, where I can have a pre-screen call with every single person within the sales process. So, you know, we don’t call every single lead and I know some people do, and again, we just don’t have the bandwidth. It’s one of those things where if we go, yes, we’d like to have our custom hats done. You know, there’s a lot of other things that we can do, but I’d love to have an admin or volunteer or a coach or whoever call every set appointments and do a pre-screen and say, Hey, well, would you rather get a little workout in? Or would are you coming straight from work? And you don’t have time, you just wanna have a conversation. And then that would be a great way to incorporate either an optional sweat intro.
Yeah. So let me ask you how long are your intros on average right now?
Yeah. So that sounds about in line with this gentleman’s, what this gentleman’s doing because his are an hour, but he puts in a workout. So he kind of comes back to that. But what we’re kind of noticing here is that it seems like the longer, the more time that people spend on intros with people, it kind of seems like their close rates are higher. And I think we need to do more data tracking on that to say that with certainty. But what are your thoughts on that? Just as a gut reaction in terms of like, you know, a 30 minute to an hour, no sweat intro or introductory process, does that make you think that the close rates would be higher?
Well, I think so. I think on the other end of the spectrum. If you simply get a price inquiry, you know, you can tell someone what your rates are in about 30 seconds and then they walk right away because they go, Oh, sticker shock, or, Oh, I’ve got to go think about it. And they’re on a be-back bus. But if, instead you have a nice long conversation with them. And again, you’re building trust, you’re building rapport. You’re about to get someone to give you money, to make them sweat, have their heart rate spike, you know, feel a little bit pukey in the back of their throat. I really don’t like my clients to throw up. Not because I’m squeamish because I don’t think it’s effective training, but you know, you’re about to make them suffer. You know, deliberate discomfort is on the way.
And if they don’t trust you, then you know, it’s all over. They’re going to leave. So how long does it take for you to build trust with someone? Sometimes, you know, you click with somebody and in 15 minutes, you’re like, this is a done deal. And then at that point, you’re just having a nice conversation. You know, I enjoy, truly enjoy talking to people all day. Every day. I am a classic extrovert, borderline narcissist maybe, but you know, I want people to like me. I want to talk to everyone. I want to know your story. I want to help you with whatever I can help you with. And maybe you can help me too. But I just love spending that time and I would, 30 minutes is my minimum. I usually go over and I end up being like, OK, I guess we got to go. The hardest thing for me right now, again with COVID is that I usually close every sale once that once we get them, I’m like welcome to the family and a big hug, because you know, you’re now in, you’re one of us and it’s hard to not do that hug, but you know, elbow bumps and fist bumps are, are OK. I suppose.
Yeah, they’re an OK substitute if there’s nothing, you know, we can’t do much about the physical distancing these days. Unfortunately. As we close out here you mentioned a couple of things that you’re thinking about doing to improve what are already great close rates. Is there anything else that you’re going to test in the next little bit to see if you can drive those rates up even higher? Or is it just a question of offloading more of your time to a person who can do the same job and allow you to grow your business in other ways?
Well, that’s certainly a little bit of both. Our plan is, once we get a little bit more breathing room and we have a little bit more time, I do want to customize all of our content, all of our creative on our ads, so that everything, everyone gets a even better impression of who we are and what we look like. Literally what the gym looks like. Coaches look like. From the very first click to be perfectly on brand. The ads and everything that had been tested that we are using right now are not off brand, but it’s not perfect because it’s just not customized. So that’s our next big step. It’s really important from the very start that we maintain five star Google, Yelp, and Facebook ratings, so that everybody who does click on those ads then keeps getting those ads.
That definitely helps with everything. I want to improve our set rate a little bit by tweaking our landing page a bit. There’s always things that you can play with there, but I can’t think of anything offhand that needs to be improved. For our show rate. We definitely want to have those phone calls. You know, we want to have some pre-screening calls coming in. I think that’s definitely gonna help. Our close rate, frankly. We’re thrilled. I just want to make sure that we could have, again, like you said, I want to have, I want to absolutely evolve out of, I’m on that cusp between founder and farmer. I want to go from founder to all the way to tinker all the way to thief, I want to be out of the operation on a day-to-day basis so that everyone else is creating the success for themselves and for the business. And so I would like to have several Chrises so that we can all be selling constantly. But right now, frankly, I am just enjoying it. We’re having a great time and we’re selling to and meeting great new people, and our business is healthy. So it’s hard for me to be too critical and try to change everything because it’s working.
Yeah. And I’ll give you some feedback just from an, you know, a subset of one that the gentleman that I just spoke to in the Netherlands, one of the things that he pointed out as something that really helps him with his set rate, which was incredible. He had a hundred percent set rate. When he intakes a lead, he has a section where they can talk about concerns or issues or questions. And so he gets this info right away and he knows right away. If someone says, Oh, I’m worried about hurting my back or something like that. He knows he identifies certain leads and he calls them right away and addresses concerns that they’ve left for him, which I thought was fascinating. Cause often, like when I was acquiring leads, it was just name, email, phone number. He’s actually got another field that adds an opportunity to voice any concerns or things they’re worried about or anxieties and so forth. And then if they say something, he calls them and addresses that right away. And he’s convinced that that gives him an advantage, both getting people to set and show up and in closing sales eventually later on, because he can tell them like your concerns are valid, here’s how we’re going to address them. So that’s an interesting thing you might want to try just something to throw at you.
Absolutely. And the example I usually remind myself of is the dentist office. How many times does that dentist or the receptionist or whoever reach out to you to confirm and reconfirm that you actually are going to show up. They know it’s unpleasant. They know you don’t want to actually go there to get your teeth scraped, but they keep following up to make sure that you’re as happy as possible, they have cheery voice on the phone. And so that’s what this is. This is an unpleasant thing for a lot of people. We love fitness. We love, you know, burpeeing until we want to die, but people, other people don’t. And we’ve got to remember that this is going to be uncomfortable and awkward, and it’s got to feel comfortable. It’s got to feel like there’s a real person that’s not just some sales robot. And then they will show up and they will pay for your services and buy every T shirt and water bottle and protein shake and everything else that you sell. And then you can go operate your gym from a beach in Tahiti.
Yeah. There’s a lot we can learn from other industries. Fitness has a lot to learn and we’re slowly picking that up in some of us, like you are picking up faster than others. So last thing I’m going to give you step one, you need to calculate close rates before you can improve them. So gym owners out there, you have to check your numbers. You can’t skip that step, but Matt, you are the closing expert. And I want to ask you what, if someone wants to improve close rates, what is the thing that they can do today to start doing that?
I think that if you, the close rate really it’s so complex. You know, how many things flow into it. By the time you have delivered the right ads to the right person, you’ve nurtured them, they’ve shown up and they’ve shown up and you’ve had a nice conversation with them. It should be at that point, just sort of a given, but it should just be like, you’re just having a conversation with someone who’s a new old friend. But really the number one thing you gotta do is you’ve gotta listen. The less I talk in a no sweat, the better. And the more, I just say, you just nod and smile and it’s hard to smile through the mask, but people see the smile behind the eyes. And if you can just have that conversation and listen to what people want to say, then you can find a way to help them and come from that point.
I am trying to help you. And I need to know as much as possible about you. And now that I know here’s how we can do it. And it’s just this nice, gentle, these are the options. And have confidence that you are worth it. I think that the number one thing from all of my gym owner colleagues, and this is across industries, but mostly for gym owners is imposter syndrome. We think that because we love what we do and we would do it for free because we probably, at some point have trained someone for free just because we liked doing it. And that we’re not worth the money. You are worth the money. Not only does this business cost money just operate, but you have a lot of value to offer and you can literally save people’s lives. You can get people off of dialysis. We get people off of blood pressure medication all the time, every single day, you can absolutely help people. And it is absolutely worth the money. Now it and go out there and sell it.
Matt. That’s great advice. Thank you so much for sharing that and everything else with us today.
Thank you so much for having me.
That was Matt Andrus of Sequoia Fitness. And this is Two-Brain Radio. Want to improve your close rate? Out mentors can help you do that. To find out how mentors help improve your business, book a free call at twobrainbusiness.com. Thanks for listening Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes.