How to Destroy Your Gym (or Save It) Through Sales in the COVID Crisis

Mike (00:02):

In most countries, the fitness industry has been online for more than a month. That means gym owners are selling new services and they can’t do it in person. Jeff Burlingame has talked to hosts of salespeople in the fitness industry and today he’ll tell you what’s working, what’s not and how you can adjust your sales process for the coming months. All that and some sales data right after this. Have you joined the Facebook group Gym Owners United yet? Why not? If you’re looking to rebuild your gym, you need to be in this group. Inside, gym owners from around the world are learning from and supporting each other. You’ll also get daily actionable advice from the one and only Chris Cooper. That group is Gym Owners United on Facebook. For access, be sure to answer all the intake questions. If you don’t, you don’t get in, and you need to be in there. This is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin here with certified Two-Brain mentor, Jeff Burlingame. Today we’re talking about how the sales process for gyms is evolving and it is evolving fast. I can tell you that right off the top. Jeff, you are in Michigan. How you doing?

Jeff (00:56):

Doing good, Mike? Doing good. How are you?

Mike (00:58):

We are doing OK up here in Winnipeg, Canada, and guys for reference, we’re recording this episode on May 7th. Situations are evolving fast, but we’ll have interesting stuff here that you guys can use because whether you’re open now, whether you are going to open, you’re going to need to adjust your sales process. So Jeff, we’ll get right into it and we’ll start talking. How many gym owners and sales people do you think you’ve talked to over the last month?

Jeff (01:23):

I’d say 40 plus, maybe, maybe 50. Not just my own people, but yeah.

Mike (01:32):

So you got a big cross section of people who are selling stuff online right now.

Jeff (01:36):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean we’ve all been forced into that situation, right? So I would consider any gym owner right now, if you’re not selling or trying to sell online, you’re missing the point. I think I’d say the vast majority of people, especially at Two-Brain aren’t doing that.

Mike (01:51):

OK, so we’re going to mine that data set. You’ve got 40 or 50 people that you’ve spoken to, and we’re going to talk to you about what you’ve heard, what we can take from that. So first question here is, you know, in the world, most gyms have been closed for a month or more. Some have reopened and a few, you know, very few never closed at all. But in most places gym owners have had to try and sell online services. And in a lot of cases, they’re doing it on the web only. So, what’s working best out there? What’s not? Like, are there any tire fires we can avoid or any sure-fire home runs, what’s going on right now?

Jeff (02:21):

Yeah, there’s definitely some things we can avoid. So, I mean, I guess, let me just start with like the general situation of here’s kind of what’s going on and hopefully this helps, you know, anybody who’s looking at their numbers going like, what the heck is going on right now? First of all, if you’re not converting a lot of leads in general into, you know, appointments or consultations or what we call it at Two-Brain, no sweat intros, that’s not surprising. And if you’re at a low percentage, maybe less than 25%, I’d actually be, if you were at 25, 20 to 25%, that would be a home run, that would actually be really, really good. So if you’re at that or above, good job, if you’re below that, don’t sweat it.

Mike (03:07):

What’s good in a normal time?

Jeff (03:09):

In a normal time, converting your leads into no sweat intros we’re looking for like 60, 70%.

Mike (03:15):

Yeah. So we’re looking at like, you know, 25, 30% drop here, something like that.

Jeff (03:19):

Oh, easily.

Mike (03:19):

And I think, I mean, I don’t know what your Facebook newsfeed looks like, but I can’t scroll more than about like three posts before I get some sort of online fitness thing. So I think there’s lot of people seeing a lot of stuff on there.

Jeff (03:30):

Yeah. So I mean, that’s just it, right? So that’s part of the problem is that you have moved into a commodity market, whether you like it or not. And a lot of, you know, especially CrossFit gyms, I owned a CrossFit gym for over five years. So I’m with this crowd. But micro gym owners, CrossFit gym owners, you know we like to tout that we are not a commodity, that we sell coaching not access. And what’s happened is our protected little market that was previously not a commodity market has now become such because all of these gyms, all of the gyms have moved online and we have too. So whether our online process is different or not is actually irrelevant in the eyes of the consumer. It looks exactly the same. So imagine if you will walking down a street with a bunch of little micro markets, little stores, you know in a small town they kind of like always look the same.

Jeff (04:24):

You have like your Ben Franklin, like your odds and ends store, you have a craft store, you have a dress store and you know, to the consumer, these are like every single town has the same stores. Well, we’re kind of falling into that situation here where all the gyms look like exactly the same. Like I saw this yesterday, you just said you scrolled through Facebook, you saw four or five ads for gyms. It’s all starting to look the same. So unfortunately we’re getting blurred in with all of these other gyms out there and some are offering valuable services and most are not. And the majority of it’s free and you’re probably offering something that you want people to pay for. So the problem we’re running into right now is we look the same. We’re in a commodity market and consumer trust, this is probably the most important thing, consumer trust is really low. So it’s not surprising when people are not willing to get on the phone with your hop on a Zoom call or pay for your services because there simply isn’t enough trust out there right now. And a lot of that is, well almost all of that is due to the situation that we find ourselves in where it’s not just, you know, the government, but it’s also like other businesses out there and there’s people capitalizing on this by five X-ing the cost of dumbbells and people are getting ripped off and the government is saying we’re going to open up next week, but now it’s two weeks and now it’s three months from now. So we just don’t know who to trust, what to trust, what to listen to, what to pay attention to. And that’s in turn impacting the trust that consumers have in businesses, for example.

Jeff (05:59):

So it’s very hard for them to trust you enough to hop on the phone, to believe it’s real, and if they do get on the phone to commit and pay you for your services. So that’s why I say don’t be surprised if your conversions are low. It’s not necessarily your fault. It’s not that you’re doing anything really wrong or offering a low value service. Please don’t undervalue yourselves or let that hurt you because as I’ve said previously on this podcast, I believe like, being labeled as essential or not essential is hurtful to people when you’re called non-essential, I believe all of you are essential. You know, and it just may not show in this time when people aren’t willing to pay you for your services. And that hurts for sure. I get it. But try not to be offended by it.

Jeff (06:43):

Try to understand the state of the mind of the consumer right now is there’s just no trust and you are in a high trust sales industry. All services are. So, I mean, you wouldn’t hire a general contractor without talking to four or five people that that contractor had worked with before or looking up the reviews. And if the reviews were not five stars, I’m sure you wouldn’t hire a three-star contractor for a kitchen job. Like, yeah, this will go fine. Probably. Or what are those commercials that have been coming out recently where you’re like, yeah, I’m pretty good. Like the surgeon, just got my license back. How are you at surgery? Like, I’m OK. You wouldn’t hire that person. And you know that that’s part of that trust building. You know, understand right now you might have 500 5-star reviews, but the trust is just so low that it almost doesn’t matter. You know, people are just looking for that free stuff because it’s low commitment. There’s no cost, there’s no risk essentially. And they’re willing to make that jump. You’re going to have to do a lot more, a lot more than you have ever done before to get people converted.

Mike (07:52):

So 25% conversion rate to get someone to see your ad and book an appointment is pretty good.

Jeff (07:59):

That would be amazing.

Mike (08:01):

Some are much lower?

Jeff (08:03):

Much lower.

Mike (08:05):

So that’s the first thing guys, do not beat yourselves up right now. If your numbers are not what they were pre-crisis, you’re in a tough market right now. So what are some people doing that’s working and what’s not working? Where do we go with that?

Jeff (08:18):

Yeah, so basically what we’ve learned from this, and you know, I’ve spoken directly to 40 or 50 gym owners, but I’ve also pulled data from many, many more than that. We have several hundred alone that are contributing data and helping us out within the Two-Brain family. And there’s many more outside of Two-Brain as well. So I’m just being a fly on the wall, kind of reading people’s numbers essentially. So what I’ve recognized as far as like trending data is just that low conversion rate from leads, which are cold traffic. Now that doesn’t mean people aren’t selling. They’re definitely selling. Some people are selling a lot, and they’re being very successful. Even in this time. The inconsistent sales are coming from cold traffic. They consistent much higher value sales are coming from a warm traffic. So this is not something new that we’ve spoken about at Two-Brain.

Jeff (09:12):

But you really should be focusing on your warm traffic right now because it’s just gonna be a bigger bang for your buck. And I know you guys are busy out there because now you’re not just coaching classes or running a business, you’re doing all of that on, you know, online on Zoom. Now you’re creating custom programs for people one to one. You’re calling every client you have. You don’t have the time or the energy to really invest into doing a hundred no sweat intros a week to make the numbers work in your favor. And you know, if you’re converting less than 25% of your leads to doing no sweat intros, you kind of have to talk to a hundred people in order to make enough sales in a month to make it worth it. Because guess what? Closing percentages on those are even lower than normal as well.

Jeff (09:54):

Usually 25% or less. Whereas at least from the CrossFit gym or micro gym market, we expect like an 80% plus conversion for sales in the normal market situation.

Mike (10:08):

That’s the 25% of the people that are booking, only 25% of those are actually buying.

Jeff (10:13):

Take that quarter and quarter it again.

Mike (10:17):

We’re running out of stuff to chop up, here.

Jeff (10:17):

It’s rough, because again, consumer trust is low. You’re in high trust sales, so you have everything working against you right now. That’s the problem. Now, that warm traffic though, we are flipping them like crazy. These are the people that your people know, right? So we’re talking about what we call it at Two-Brain affinity marketing, and I’ll be honest, it’s one of those things that it’s hard for a lot of people to grasp. It’s harder for a lot of people to do. So it’s gonna be low energy output, but it’s going to be like high stress and anxiety for you because what it requires is you to ask for help and to ask somebody who’s already paying you to help you more.

Jeff (10:58):

So just kind of ruminate on that for a second. And I believe most of us in this fitness industry, we don’t get into this to get rich and famous and all that. We get into this because we enjoy helping others. We enjoy helping people become healthier, better versions of themselves and to succeed with their wellness. And that’s the reward that we get out of it. Not, you know, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. We get dozens of dollars and we get super psyched about it because we make people happy and healthy and they live longer, better lives. And that emotional impact is what we do this for. So that said, it’s very hard for people like that, the empathetic, awesome people that run microgym businesses to ask for help. We suck at it, myself included. We’re not great at asking for help, especially if somebody is already contributing, maybe in a monetary value like paying for a gym membership. Maybe they’re paying their membership for you through this time when they’re not even getting what they originally signed up for. And now you think I have to turn around and ask this person to bring in three people that they know to sign up and pay me more money. You’re going to feel kind of bad about that. But guys, there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, your members want to do that. Like you got to believe that they want to have a gym when this thing ends.

Mike (12:19):

Yeah, they want to help and we’ve heard. That like we were texting them daily and we’re trying to give them the best service that we possibly can. And what we’re getting back sometimes is them saying, Hey, thanks for the workout. How are you doing? And you know, that’s just like this like punch in the stomach. You’re like, Oh man, that is just such a great thing. Like thank you for your concern. And they’re asking, others are saying, how can we help you? I have an email in my inbox from a member that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. But it’s a marketing idea, and so people are thinking about this stuff and they are trying to find ways. So I can tell you from ground zero where I’m sitting as a gym owner, that is happening and members do want to help. So you are not off base on that at all.

Jeff (12:55):

Yeah, a hundred percent. I’ve heard amazing stories of members paying for 10 memberships, lottery style to just help other members that are in need during the financial crisis if they’ve been laid off or furloughed or whatever. You know, and you know, you could look at the CrossFit support your box competition they put on, they raised $2.7 million and understand none of that, right? None of that went to CrossFit. I don’t believe. I think it all went back to the boxes or like a large majority of it did. But you know, basically reinvested that into CrossFit boxes. So your members would sign up, like they would be open and then they basically just knew they were donating to the box. So if $2.7 million, like if people are willing to do that or they’re paying for other memberships, you gotta believe that they’re willing to bring their friends and family members and loved ones into your business.

Jeff (13:47):

So ultimately what I’m saying here is what is working best is when our gym owners that we’re working with are going to their members and they’re asking a favor, a very big favor, mind you, but it’s just a favor and that favor is they come to them with a very specific offer within our marketing program right now, something we talk a lot about is having an offer, like a 21 day challenge. The reason that 21 day challenge is just because it’s a shorter commitment time frame and we can offer it at a lower cost, not a discounted rate. It’s still value for the service that they’re getting, but a lower cost comparative to personal training or a group membership or something like that. And it’s something that can be done online. So we go to them with very specific offer like the 21 day challenge, and then we give them some action steps.

Jeff (14:38):

We say, Hey member, we’d really appreciate it if you would help us out in this trying time, right? We have this amazing offer. It’s our 21 day challenge and we want to extend it to people that you care and be able to help people that you know, right? So how you could help us is you could pass this along to three people you care about this week. So we have the specific offer, the action steps, and a timeline that we’ve thrown in there as well. So I might send that out on a Monday via email. And I recommend this, host a Facebook live within my private members group. I might do a video for just my members. None of this is public facing. This is going straight to my members. And in all of that, be your authentic self. Be you know, be a little vulnerable, be a little transparent, not very transparent.

Mike (15:37):

The sky is falling, we’re screwed unless you help us.

Jeff (15:37):

We’re going to close unless you share this, right. We’re not doing that. Just say, Hey, times are tough. We want this thing to open back up as much as you guys do. Here’s one way that you can help, and just be a little vulnerable, a little transparent and extend that, you know, obviously very direct, very concise. Offer an action step with a timeline on it. And we’re seeing that work now. It doesn’t always work and it definitely doesn’t always work the first try. So if you do this and you say, Hey, Jeff, nobody responded to that. All I would say to you is send it again and again and again and again and just keep sending it. Because although a lot of people are at home alone doing nothing right now or with their family doing nothing right now and just like ticking away the hours until quarantine ends, it doesn’t mean that they’re just constantly answering emails and responding to texts.

Jeff (16:29):

Oftentimes we’ll see it, ignore it, do something else, get distracted in some way or another. Attention is, you know, it’s a fleeting thing right now. So if they don’t respond, don’t take it personally, send it again and try to find what we call like a cadence here where you can send it once every five days for example, or once every single Monday in a different format. You send it via video, email, Facebook live, whatever. You know, we’re not just hammering them in the face with this, we’ll also show appreciation. So what I’d also recommend is just second, third time you do it, if a few people have sent it out, we show appreciation to them. Hey, to all you guys that have already shared this 21-day challenge with your friends and family members, you’re so awesome. We’re so appreciative of that.

Jeff (17:16):

Thank you so much. And what you’ll find is your late adopters will see that. They’ll go, Oh, people are sending this out. I guess I could do that too. And all of a sudden they start sending it out too. So we can really reach a larger audience.

Mike (17:30):

We’re not asking for them to volunteer their friends to be, you know, the targets in a crotch-kicking contest, right? Like this is not just charity.

Jeff (17:39):

Volunteer as tribute.

Mike (17:39):

You’re not asking for that. This is actually, we’re asking them to help us by doing the marketing essentially and helping and connecting us to their friends who can potentially use this service, which again, health and fitness is a really valuable thing and we can always, everyone knows someone who could use more of that. Someone who could get off the couch, lose some weight, become more active, get stronger, whatever it is. We’re not asking these people for charity, we’re asking them to just put a valuable service that we’ve created based on the current situation, put it in front of our friends and give us an endorsement and say, Hey, think about this. Right? So we’re not, it’s not going to be—it pains us as gym owners to ask, but we’re ultimately not asking for like a free hundred dollars. We’re just asking for like, could you serve this over to your friends?

Jeff (18:25):

Yeah, a hundred percent and you’ve got to keep in mind too, like your, your mission, your vision of helping others live a healthier lifestyle, this connects directly to that because there are people that do not know about you yet, that are out there, but are connected to you by a member that you already have, that’s paying you for your service and believes in what you guys are offering. And this person may be struggling right now. They’re likely struggling right now. There’s a reason that there’s a phrase going around called the quarantine 19, which is essentially putting on 19 pounds during quarantine. It’s kind of like the freshmen 15, if you will. But yeah, it’s just, you know, we’re at home, man. What else are you going to do if you don’t have fitness or a healthy mindset going on right now, you’re probably eating the ice cream, drinking the beers, doing something unhealthy because boredom is like one of the number one reasons and stress, which is very high right now, that people will overeat, over drink, things like that.

Mike (19:25):

I’m bored in the house and I’m in the house bored.

Jeff (19:25):

A song came out of this, exactly.

Mike (19:28):

It’s a movement now, dude.

Mike (19:31):

And then the other thing, yeah. And the other thing is that as research and science is getting its head around the whole pandemic, there are articles and studies that are coming out that are starting to suggest that fitter people are more equipped to deal with this. And they have, you know, they avoid the daily deadly complications of COVID-19 so as people start to see that stuff, there are people that are going to be out there saying, man, I don’t want to die and I don’t want to get sick. And if I do get sick I want to come through it. And fitness might be a good way to do that. Now again in fitness, this is not the cure all for everything and it’s not going to prevent this thing. But they are suggesting that people who are fitter are probably going to have an easier time getting through this. So as that happens, maybe this is just the time for a friend, one of your clients to say to a friend, Hey are you interested this and that friend might be like, yeah dammit I am right now. Really interested cause I’m scared.

Jeff (20:21):

Yeah a hundred percent. And yeah, it’s on their minds for sure. And and like it’s funny, I’ve been doing our workouts in like our driveway, my wife and I, and people will kind of like go strolling by cause everybody’s still like out walking. I mean you gotta get out of the house, you gotta do something, weather’s getting nicer. OK cool. So they’re walking their kids, walking their dog and I can’t count like the number of times people have stopped at the end of the driveway and have either said A, you know, kind of clap real quick and say Hey, good for you guys and then keep walking by or just stop with their phone and like record what we’re doing. I’m like, yo, you can do this too man. Just go to your own driveway and do it.

Mike (21:00):

Call the guys at Friction CrossFit. It’s funny cause that’s what was happening. I remember talking to Greg Amundson, the original fire breather back in the day from Greg Glassman’s original gym. And he told me, he’s like, what we used to do is we would just go out and we would just start doing outdoor workouts with like a sign CrossFit Santa Cruz or whatever the name of the gym was at the time. And inevitably, especially at that point, cause we’re talking like this was old school, like, you know, probably ’05, ’06 kind of thing. People would see this crazy stuff going on that wasn’t bodybuilding and these totally amazingly fit people doing the thing. And they just walk over and he was like, what are you doing? Hey, it’s called CrossFit. And all of a sudden that movement spread around the world to the tune of like 14, 15,000 gyms or whatever it is. So you’re marketing right now for someone whether you know it or not, if you’re outside.

Jeff (21:49):

Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Mike (21:50):

Or maybe you’re just powerlifting. I don’t know what you’re doing.

Jeff (21:59):

Like if you’re using any weight implements or whatever. Like I built my wife a pull-up rig for mother’s day. And it’s battle tested. You can do muscle-ups on it and stuff. It’s pretty gnarly. It took me a long, long time and I worked really hard on it. But she loves it. And so I’m doing that like in our driveway, we’re doing pull-ups, muscle-ups, we got barbells which we somehow got from Rogue. I mean, good luck to you guys if you’re trying to buy equipment right now, we’ve been just fighting for it. It’s crazy. It’s like a, you know, a rare product release at this point. When you get it, you’re like, yes! We just got some plates and stuff too. So we’re doing that crazy stuff in the driveway and that’s part of why they’re stopping. But it’s on people’s mind right now is my point.

Mike (22:41):

So, so that’s the thing. That’s what’s working is using your warm traffic and the people that are closest to you, your current members who know, like, and trust you, you’re using them to get to their friends. So that’s working and it’s working a heck of a lot better than trying to deal with cold leads. You can still do that of course, but your success rates are going to be lower and you’re not going to sell as much stuff to people who do book appointments. Is there anything that’s just like tire fire, ground zero, apocalypse now kind of stuff that we just want to avoid that is like, we guarantee this will not work. Have you had anything like that?

Jeff (23:15):

Tire fire. I wouldn’t say there’s anything that’ well, all right. Yes, I would. OK. So yeah, if you want to avoid the death of a business right now, do not, do not, absolutely, you need to resist the urge to do a fire sale. Like do not sell all your stuff. Do not sell all your equipment unless you intend to go completely out of business. Cause you can’t buy anything right now. So the moment you get the ability to reopen, you will have zero equipment. So people will go from doing push-ups and squats and lunges in their living room to doing it in your warehouse. And that’s not very valuable. And don’t fire sale your service either. So don’t resist the urge to sell a one year, two year, three year special deal just so you can like pay some bills. I get it. If you’re struggling to get your PPP loan for our US guys and the EIDL or was it the CEBA in Canada?

Mike (24:09):

Oh man, I think that’s it, we’ve applied for all of them. So there’s a payroll, there’s a version of the payroll protection program. There’s a emergency response benefit. I think there is the CEBA one that you talked about. So it’s all you apply for all the acronyms that you qualify for.

Jeff (24:21):

I totally get hustling to get the cash. I understand there are better business moves that you need to make, and and selling all your stuff and all your services for super cheap is not a good business move. You will go out of business. You might survive, you might limp along after this thing for maybe six to 12 months. But it’s just all around not a good idea. And if you’re not sure what move to make, I mean there’s more than a thousand things we should probably talk about on this podcast that we don’t have time for, so you should probably just talk to a business mentor and figure out what that next right move is. But yeah, if there’s anything I’d say do avoid, it’s that don’t fire sale it; you will struggle if not immediately after that.

Mike (25:02):

Have you seen that or talked to anyone out of it?

Jeff (25:03):

Oh yeah.

Mike (25:04):

So that’s on people’s minds right now is just desperate measures and desperate times.

Jeff (25:09):

Yeah, a hundred percent because it seems like the go-to move, it’s, oh, I’ll just say, Hey members, you can pay me monthly or you can pay up front for three years and I’ll give you this mad discount and it’s going to give us cashflow and it’s going to be great. But you know, without the monthly cashflow, once you come out of this, you’re still going to struggle. Like that’s a temporary fix. I mean, yeah, just avoid it.

Mike (25:31):

I’ve seen a few things similar where, I mean it wasn’t the same thing, but I’ve seen like a couple of places where within, you know, it seems like days or weeks of closing, there were like T-shirt campaigns and Gofundme campaigns and things like that and that kind of made me nervous because that was right away. Like at least they’re selling something. But man, like if you lean on your community for a Gofundme campaign in the first two weeks, what happens when it gets worse? You know, like that was my real concern because I don’t want to see a single gym go under. So you know, selling gear, man that’s like giving away your tools if you’re a mechanic, you know, you kind of lose the ability to do some of your service at that point. Just like you said.

Jeff (26:09):

Yeah, a hundred percent and maybe some of them intend to upgrade the gear, but again, you’re not going to be able to buy a lot of this stuff for quite a while. The market is dry. Manufacturing is way down if not off at most organizations. I think, you know Rogue fitness is running a bare-bones skeleton crew right now and every day we, like my wife and I are trying to build our home gym right now, but we’re just checking at like 9:30 AM like what popped up and we’re just struggling to get stuff. So best of luck to you if that’s your plan, it’s going to be real hard. But the Gofundme is good point, man. Like do the affinity marketing. The affinity marketing at the very least it’s helping impact others’ health and wellness. That has a much broader, that’s a much broader stroke to take on and I believe it’s going to look a lot better for your organization, your brand as well than hey guys, we’re struggling. Can you give me money? Like everybody’s struggling right now. Yeah, exactly. GoFundme is, man, it’s tough. It’s tough. There’s better ways to make money and raise money for sure.

Mike (27:12):

And we heard the Les Mills chain in New Zealand essentially, you know, they didn’t do a Gofundme but they essentially just appealed to the members to like pay us anyway, you know, and they weren’t, they weren’t offering, they were still offering like free online stuff. They weren’t offering anything special for their members. So it’s like you and I could go do one of these classes and we’re not a member, we’re not paying. Whereas their members get the same free classes and then they were asking them to pay and I get it. Like you know, these are desperate times, you take those measures. But man that sounded like a bit of a tough one for me where if I was a member I’m like I don’t know, and I’m not sure if I want to do that. And that’s why the, you know, the Two-Brain principle has always been to pivot.

Mike (27:47):

Offer a super valuable, high touch, customized service right off the bat, get online and do that as opposed to running free classes or even paid classes. It’s that high touch coaching that we’re selling. And guys, if you’re listening and you are struggling and you want to talk to a mentor, we have that service available and you can book a call, a free call with one of our experts If you click on that page, you will find that link and you can come talk to one of us and see if mentorship is right for you because we do have a plan to get out of this thing. We’re rolling all that stuff also in Gym Owners United. So if you are not looking to book a call just yet, get in that Facebook group and you will see tons and tons of info from guys like Jeff and of course Chris Cooper, who’s got all the data in the world to share with you. Speaking of data, you talked a little bit about some of these, you know, close rates and conversion rates. Is there any other data that we have that we want to talk about or did we cover it in the first part?

Jeff (28:39):

Yeah, I mean probably, I don’t have the full data on this, but we’re seeing with a lot of gyms like cancellations and holds versus added members. So being that we’re talking about sales today, I’ll just focus on the sales aspect of this. Brand new added members on average right now, it’s pretty low, which makes sense based on what we’re talking about and that, you know, if they’re not practicing affinity marketing, some of the, you know, focusing on the warmer leads then the only way they’re going to add new people is through lead traffic via the ads. And again, conversion is extremely low. So I’m seeing numbers more along the lines of like three to eight, depending on the size of the facility and how hard they’re working on it. But running through our list, it’s like lots of zeros, lots of zeros. So yeah. Again, I would just say focus on the warmer traffic. We already did one easy play with that. There’s actually another really good one that I want you guys to try because it’s just going to take you like three minutes to do right now. If you’re listening to this, just keep listening, but do this while you’re listening. Go to your own Facebook page and on that page I want you to type a very simple post and maybe throw like a funny GIF on their. GIF? JIF?

Mike (29:55):

Well I’m told the debate rages but I’m told it’s GIF. But we may get attached for that.

Jeff (30:01):

I’ve just put myself on one side of this.

Mike (30:03):

We’re both there now.

Jeff (30:03):

GIF, man. So you post a funny GIF or an image or just do like the standard Facebook status background thing, right? Whatever you want to do to make this thing pop, make it pop. And I just want you guys to say, and this is again on your own personal profile, Hey, I just opened up three spots for personal training. If you guys are interested, message me. That’s not even two minutes. That’s 47 seconds that’s going to take you right there. So in 47 seconds, I have seen gym owners make thousands of dollars doing that.

Mike (30:35):

No hyperbole, thousands of dollars.

Jeff (30:38):

Exactly. Like if you’ve filled all three of those slots with a personal training client valued somewhere around like 300 plus dollars U.S., you know, that’s going to put you around that thousand dollar mark.

Mike (30:52):

And it’s working?

Jeff (30:52):

And it’s working. It’s the same as affinity. It’s hit and miss on the first try. You’re going to have to do it more than once. Every time you do it, try to thank those that have participated prior or in this case we use scarcity tactics. So we might say, Oh down to two spots left, thanks to so and so for joining us. Or whatever. Tag them if they’re comfortable and they give you the OK. Or just say two spots left, right. And just slowly dwindle those spots down and then maybe a week later you do it again. But it’s just another easy tactic to say like, I’ve got space. We are operating now. I’m offering one-on-one PT. People don’t know things unless you tell them. They don’t know what they don’t know. So this is just literally taking what you’re doing anyways and just shouting it through a megaphone on top of a mountain.

Jeff (31:42):

Like, Hey, we’re offering this thing, if you want it, come join us. Right. And you never know what frame of mind somebody is in at the time. But if they stumble across your posts because everybody’s on Facebook three X the amount of hours that they were prior to quarantine, they’re probably scrolling through. They run across your post. And if they’re in a mindset of I need to make a change, you know, as they polish off their fist fifth glass of wine or whatever and they choke down some chocolates and they’re like let’s do this thing, they might be now more serious. Right.

Mike (32:14):

And this is lukewarm traffic for lack of a better term. Right. Cause it’s like your Facebook, your members and your people right close to you are very warm. Obviously. Your Facebook group, depending how many friends you have or how, you how interactive, it might include a lot of, you know, like your grade six teacher might be in there. I don’t know, like it depends. There are varying degrees of warmth in your Facebook group, but you never know. These are people at least know who you are and if they’re seeing your posts, cause I don’t know how the algorithm exactly serves things, but if they’re seeing it, they have some connection to you and they may well be interested in a service that they probably didn’t know you offered unless you’re constantly talking about it, which some of us do and some of us don’t. So this is definitely warmer traffic than the random person who just sees your ad pop up in the newsfeed.

Jeff (32:57):

Yeah, a hundred percent. So I mean there are people that know you now. All of this is kind of like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? So we’re just looking at these degrees of separation. It’s either through your member to a person in their social circles or in this case we’re talking your direct social circles, people that you care enough about. It doesn’t mean a lot, but enough about to be friends with on a social media platform. But yeah, I post that there. I’d post it on your Instagram, same exact thing and I would again have a cadence with this, talk about it more than once a month or once ever. It’s gonna have to be like once a week, maybe more frequent than that. You know, and that kind of leads me into really the last, if I could give you guys like three things that are working really good right now,

Mike (33:45):

I’m gonna cut you off and I’m going to get you hold on that, I’m going to tack one thing on to that. The final thing that you guys can probably do in that chain is you can post this stuff on your website and you can post this stuff on your Facebook page organically. Now, that again, no guarantee that your audience is going to see it, but there are people that are stalking you right now that are checking out your services, kind of creeping in the background. And maybe this is the time that they see the one thing that kicks them over the edge. So again, posting on your Facebook page, Facebook prioritizes paid advertising, things like that. But some people may be checking on your page and checking your website. Maybe they’re creeping on your daily workouts. There are people that are kind of circling around, put it there, too. And again, if it’s only going to take 30 seconds, why not do it? All right Jeff, sorry to cut you off. Hit the next thing.

Jeff (34:28):

So yeah, I mean that leads really well right into the next thing, which is lead with value. So right at the beginning of this, we talked about there being low consumer trust right now. And that’s just the state of things. That’s just the environment that we’re in at this moment. But in order to inherently increase your value and the trust that people have with you, the best thing you can do is lead with value. So what we’re talking about there is like for example, at Two-Brain. If you’re a gym owner right now and you’ve joined Gym Owners United, our Facebook group, that’s free. You don’t have to, you know, be a part of our mentorship program for example. You’re getting a lot of our great stuff, a lot of PDFs that are built for you, a lot of advice. You’re getting tons of values from this podcast with Mike.

Jeff (35:14):

You know, there’s a ton of different things that you can get right now for free because we like to lead with value. We like to help first. Coop wrote a freaking book about it. So you know, it’s kind of a thing that we do and you can do the exact same thing and turn around and do that for consumers. So in this case, we’re talking about leading with the value of health and wellness. So you can lead by providing them with workouts to do, reasonable workouts that can be done at home with no equipment in their living room. You know, the safety of their own home, right? You can provide them with nutritional guidance, ways to protect themselves as far as their immune system goes. And to prevent the quarantine 19, the dreaded 19 pounds that they’re probably going to put on during quarantine if they don’t do anything else.

Jeff (35:57):

Ways to get their kids involved, ways to get their spouses involved and their significant others. You know, just all these different cool things that you guys can do. And I’ll say this is more of a, you know, like you said at the beginning, Mike, things are evolving rapidly over time. So, what we’re going to talk about here is a little more of a beta situation where it’s working if you do it well, it’s not necessarily working if you don’t. We don’t exactly have a perfect template for this. This is something that people are figuring out as we move. But what we suggest is that you actually open up your own public Facebook group that is free to access for people in your specific area. And I think this is key. You don’t want to do a worldwide Facebook group, right? You just won’t have enough control over that.

Jeff (36:41):

What we’d recommend is try to win the local market so you can create a Facebook group for your, like name of your city or county or province or whatever. Province is probably way too big. I don’t know Canadian speak. So city, there you go. So think more along the lines of the size of a city, right, would be good. So we’re looking at population densities. My city is 300,000 people, so I might even need to go down to like a smaller suburb, right? So I’m in Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, like 300,000 people. We go to a smaller area like Kentwood, which is where my ex-gym Friction CrossFit is located. We’re looking more along the lines of less than a hundred thousand people. So I might go Kentwood Public Fitness, right? Or free fitness for Kentwood residents or whatever. So something, again, this is that, that’s kind of the beta test.

Jeff (37:35):

I want you guys to try these things out. You can always change the name of a group and do different things with that. But I’m going to see what’s getting the most impact. I had a gym in New Jersey do this and within one day they had 120 people in that group that are not members. OK. I had another gym in Nevada. He is absolutely just destroying this group. I think he’s got, he’s got to have close to a thousand people, but he is signing people up left and right through this group. And then there is one in Ireland, I think he has a thousand people in that group too. So it’s like you just create the group, you’re already going to get people into it, then start pumping it with value. So what can you put into there that would help others?

Jeff (38:19):

It isn’t necessarily, you know, your full blown product, right? It’s not the gold at the top. Right. It’s really just some of your good stuff, right? Things that will help people but leave them possibly wanting for more. So for example, I’m going to go to the beginning of this whole thing. One of my favorite things was when, you know, like some of the CrossFit guys started just posting WODS. It was like, Pat Sherwood, for example, he’s like, here’s a WOD today, do this thing. And you know, he’s helping, he’s leading with value because there’s people like, what do I do? I don’t have any equipment. And all of a sudden, like all the athletes and the bigger guys within the CrossFit community are like, Oh, like you can do muscle-ups on a door. And I was like, one of my favorite, don’t do muscle-ups on a door, please. Don’t lose your fingers or break anything.

Jeff (39:10):

Or you can do pull-ups under a table or whatever. Like they started getting creative and trying to help people in that way. We’re going to do that. We’re going to, we’re going to stay safe. We’re going to not need to go that far because we’re talking to just the general public right now. People that may have never worked out before but are looking to do something. So just think about posting easy at home workouts with body weight. That’s it. You’re not doing, you know, custom warm-ups and cool downs. There’s no strength portion, there’s no gymnastics portion or any of this nonsense. Like it’s just movement. All you’re focusing on is movement and maybe throwing like a nutrition tip there once a day. Something to just get them moving, doing something different, trying to improve their health and wellness and then leaving them wanting potentially for more, like how could they get more of this?

Jeff (39:58):

How could they get some actual coaching, you know, and guidance with that on a one to one basis. You’re going to hop into that group and offer that. So we’d recommend doing something maybe along the lines of like office hours, right? So you could say maybe it’s once a week to start. Maybe it’s more than that, but a Facebook live where you hop in and you can answer their questions. And if that’s popular, do it more often, but always tell them who you are, where you work, what your business is and how they can get in touch with you. Give them a call to action. Hey, if you want more, if you want some coaching, if you want some true one-to-one guidance, book a call with me right here and leave that link to book a no sweat intro with you, a virtual one, mind you via Zoom or whatever, but a chance, an opportunity for them to talk to a coach, to figure out the situation and get through it and possibly sign up for your 21-day challenge or online coaching or something along those lines.

Mike (40:53):

I’ll give you a bit of feedback. If you guys are short on time and you’re, you know, starting and moderating a group, a Facebook group is going to be a struggle because you do sometimes have to moderate, you have to participate and if you do not have that time, there is a hack and I’m not saying that you should hijack someone else’s group, but you can participate in other groups. And again, I certainly wouldn’t like if your gym is, you know CrossFit X, I certainly wouldn’t jump at a CrossFit Y’s group of fitness and start, you know you don’t want to start a war like that. But if there are organic local groups of like you know my city, Winnipeg runners or or something like groups of people who are doing fitness type stuff and you could offer value and I wouldn’t just go in there and start carpet bombing the place with lead magnets and all this stuff that you know, kind of feels a little maybe like you’re trying to kiss someone on the first minute that you’ve met them.

Mike (41:41):

But if you want to participate actively in those groups and answer questions when someone says, man, I have this running issue and I don’t know would strength training help, and you’re like, I am a fitness expert and I will tell you exactly what you can do right here and offer some free advice. That can help a lot. You don’t have to moderate and manage that group. I would encourage you to be polite when you’re in there, but you can certainly find some little groups and Chris Cooper has talked about this. You can definitely look in these groups that exist already and try and offer some value and try and offer, you know, get your service seen. Again, I would offer exactly what you said, Jeff. I would offer that value. I wouldn’t jump in there and just pump all sorts of nonsense.

Mike (42:19):

Buy my cereal, buy my cereal. I wouldn’t do that. But you can help people. And again, that’s the help first mentality. If someone asks a question, you have the answer, it would be kind of a bad move not to answer that question. Right? So that’s your hack. If you cannot start a Facebook group, you can certainly join others and interact in them.

Jeff (42:36):

A hundred percent.

Mike (42:39):

Yeah. Very quickly as we close out here, Jeff, transitional stuff, we’re in a transition period, right? Where everything is kind of evolving, things are opening, things are closing things or you know, for some it’s business as usual, I think, in Sweden, but is there anything people can do in their sales process right now with a lot of uncertainty that that’ll help them going forward in the period where things are going to be chaotic?

Jeff (43:02):

Yeah, absolutely. So as we transition now, as you guys start to get opportunities to do no sweat intros and consults and meet-ups with new potential prospects, again, plan to change the process up a little bit where you actually kind of soften it up. And what I’m talking about here is offer a two step closing process and essentially you’re going to do the no sweat intro consult or whatever you were doing before. But at the end when you go to close it, if you’re trying to handle the objections and they’re just not ready to sign up right now, that’s OK. We’re not going to end the sales process there. We’re going to add a step two. So you just need to prepare to be able to do this and do it well. What I recommend with step two or two-step closing process is that you have an action step for them to fulfill post-call and within 48 hours you get them back on another call and then we get them to sign up there. And if they show up to that second call, chances are very, very high that they will sign up.

Mike (44:09):

So give me an example of an action step. What is that?

Jeff (44:12):

Yeah, so what I would do is I would pre-write one day’s worth of exercise and nutrition and potentially a mindfulness implement. If you’re in the Two-Brain family and you’ve got the 21 day challenge, I would honestly just take take day one, right? And just copy paste. There you go, you’re done. If you’re not, then just make up a day that has, here’s workout for the day. Again, focus on high value. So it could be like with a warm-up, with a cool down, stretching, like the full thing, give them a full day’s worth of content essentially. So exercise component, nutrition component, mindfulness component, put that all together. So we get to the close. Mrs. Jones is not ready to sign up. We say, Hey, Mrs. Jones, I totally understand. To me it seems right now, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’re very interested in getting started with us.

Jeff (44:58):

You’re just not sure if it’s something that you can afford or commit to at this moment. Am I right? She says, yes. You say, great, I totally understand, but I am so confident in this program that you will one, love it, two, see amazing results that I am willing to give you the first day on me. So I want you to do this and then you’re going to explain the exercise component, nutrition component, mindfulness component. You say, Ms. Johnson, I’m going to email this to you right now so you have it in front of your face, but I want you to do that tomorrow. What’s a good time for you to do your workout? I usually could work out at like 11 o’clock noon, whatever. OK, great. Commit to this. Put in your calendar 11 o’clock tomorrow you’re doing the workout component. Try to follow the nutrition advice throughout the day.

Jeff (45:38):

If you’re comfortable, you can do the mindfulness stuff. If you think it’s hokey, I get it. Whatever, that’s fine. So you know, do the thing. And then here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to book a follow-up call for the very next day. What’s a good time to talk? So let’s say it’s Wednesday. Thursday, she does her workout. Friday, you know, again within 48 hours, so around the same time that we’re doing this call now or sooner, we’re doing that second call we have on that second call and it’s all gotta be positive. So we’re just going to say, Mrs. Jones, how awesome are you feeling right now? Like leading positivity. So how awesome are you feeling? How great was that workout? Can you see how approaching a program like this is going to help you get amazing results? And she’s all, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Jeff (46:22):

As long as she did it, she’s probably feeling great. She might be a little bit sore. You say, Mrs. Johnson, good thing. That’s your body changing and making good changes. This is going to be so awesome for you. I can’t wait to get started. Tell you what, why don’t we do that 21 day challenge that we were talking about? How would you like to pay for that today? And you literally, it’s a very assumptive close. We’re assuming the sale because she’s done the work. Of course she’d enjoyed it and then we’re just going to hop on this call, get her pumped up, super excited and you know, focus on the positive stuff and then we’re just going to say, Hey, Visa or MasterCard, right? And that’s all we’re looking for. Close sale.

Mike (46:57):

You’re kind of leading with value there. Again, where you’re giving away, that’s like a supermarket sample. It’s like try this wiener on a toothpick and there’s actually a whole lot more in the case behind me if you’re interested. Wouldn’t you like to barbecue these for your family at the next barbecue?

Jeff (47:13):

You want to be the cool dad, right?

Mike (47:17):

How many boxes would you like?

Jeff (47:18):

There you go. Exactly.

Mike (47:21):

But that’s it, right? You’re giving something away.

Jeff (47:23):

A hundred percent so that action step, it gets them moving and gets them doing something. What it does, more importantly than that is it keeps you at the front of their mind. Because what actually happens when a consumer leaves a sales situation is they actually forget the vast majority of the stuff that you just talked about. This is why we don’t recommend what we used to call the be back situation or what I call the be-back bus. If you let them board the be-back bus, it’s a one way ticket because when they go home, if they said, I’m going to talk to my spouse about this, yeah, they either A will forget to do that, B, get home and be too scared to confront spouse about spending that amount of money or C they go and talk to their spouse, but they forgot half the stuff so they can’t justify spending the money to the spouse.

Mike (48:09):

$700 for what?

Jeff (48:10):

Yeah, exactly. What are you getting for this? Well, there’s like workouts and sometimes they help me with nutrition. I think it will be good. No, you’re not doing that. OK, cool. So you’re going to lose no matter what. But in this scenario we say, I’m sending you the stuff, you’re going to do it tomorrow. You’re gonna feel great and they get to try it. They get to experience it and mind you, we don’t normally especially at Two-Brain like recommend a trial. This is just something I’ve done in sales experiences before that has worked really well. And especially in a situation where trust is low like it is right now, I recommend it.

Jeff (48:48):

So if you guys want to try something different, if you’re just spinning your wheels and you’re not seeing success with sales, try this. And especially because at a time like this where numbers, conversions are so low, if you get somebody in front of you, like you’ve got to do some extra work, you don’t want to give up on that person, you worked so hard to get them to book the no sweat intro. You don’t want to like get there, miss sale and be like, well see you later. Mrs. Jones is nice and never see you again. We’re going to want to push a little bit hard. Follow up is the key right now. Persistence is key. So you want to have a way that you can keep her interested and follow up and potentially get her to sign up and that’s where two step really comes in play because it at least gives them some value versus saying like, that’s OK Mrs. Jones tell you what, I’ll just call you tomorrow, same time and see if you’re interested.

Jeff (49:41):

It’s still no because you’ve provided me no more value, no reason for me to change my mind. Nothing is going to change. If anything does change, it will be for the negative and she’d be like, Oh, I thought about 10 more reasons why I shouldn’t spend this money on you so you’re not going to win with that. So try this. You guys struggling, two step close process, give them an action step to fill out the next day and then get back on the horn with them within 48 hours, has to be within 48 hours. That is a key aspect. The sooner, the better. Less than 48? Great. Do it. You don’t have to put it at two days, but you know, somewhere around there, 24 to 48 hours is great.

Mike (50:19):

So guys, there is a ton of actionable stuff in this episode. If you do nothing else, make a Facebook post right after you hit stop on this episode, go on your Facebook and post that you have a program, you’re only taking a certain number of people and it’s available and do that not once, but several times over the next two weeks or three weeks or a month, we’re playing the long game. Jeff, thank you for all that actionable stuff. That is awesome. I think some people are gonna make some sales as a result. Thank you for listening Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin. Certified mentor Jeff Burlingame just gave you a ton of stuff to do. Try some. Do it. It will make some sales for you. If you want more actionable advice based on data, check out the Gym Owners United group on Facebook. In it, you’ll find daily topics from Chris Cooper, as well as the support of a host of business owners from all over the world. That group, again, is Gym Owners United. It’s on Facebook. Join today. Thanks for tuning into Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts.

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