Stuff Siegel Sold: Gym Owner on Closing Deals During COVID Lockdown

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Mike (00:02):

Gym owners are adapting fast to the COVID crisis and some are having success online. This week we talked to Eric Siegel, a gym owner who’s making sales even though his facility in Massachusetts is locked down. Eric is here to tell his story right after this. Two-Brain Business has put together a page of essential COVID-19 resources for gym owners. On it, you’ll find the free gym-saving guide “How to Add Online Training in 24 Hours” as well as links to government loans and other critical info you need to navigate this crisis. Head to twobrainbusiness.com and click COVID 19 in the top menu. The page is updated regularly, so bookmark it and check back often. All right, welcome Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin here with Eric Siegel of CrossFit 781, that’s in Weymouth, Massachusetts, just southeast of Boston. The fitness industry is in chaos right now, but Eric made a quick move online and it’s paying off. He’ll talk all about that and give you a few ideas of what you can expect if you move to online training. Eric, welcome. How are you today?

Eric (00:56):

Hey, doing well. How are you Mike?

Mike (00:57):

I’m good. I’m good. I’m going to ask you, I got a bunch of background stuff I want to ask you, but I can’t wait to know the answer, so I’m just going to get right to the big one that everyone wants to know. Have you sold new online services here in this new era of fitness and what numbers can you share with us?

Eric (01:12):

We transitioned pretty quickly, pretty much immediately, to go online when we knew we were going to be switching from in-person training to basically being a virtual gym. We switched or transitioned 31 of our monthly class-based members to custom at-home programming that’s out of 50 class-based memberships. Forty-two total are still paying. There’s 11 that haven’t taken the programming, but they also haven’t, you know, canceled. They’ve gone on hold. Couple more bought in that were, you know, per session type people. And then we started running the 21 day challenge, as recommended in the online coaching course, Two-Brain online coaching course. We added four folks into that challenge from Facebook marketing. And we did two via affinity marketing. One was a relative of a current member. The other was a former member who just the easiest way for them to work out is at home. And so we started online PT. So the quick transition really worked well and we were able to add some new folks in the mix too.

Mike (02:22):

Oh, very cool. So you are one of the gym owners who has sold new stuff already, which is great to hear. And you’ve retained current clients through the transition.

Eric (02:29):

Correct. Feel very fortunate.

Mike (02:29):

Oh, that’s fantastic. Yeah. I’m going to get into the details of that. I have some questions I want to ask you more about details. But first of all, just hit a little bit of background here because I want people to understand what happened to you and where you’re at. Do you remember the date when you were officially closed?

Eric (02:45):

Yeah. Well, regular classes stopped on St. Patrick’s day. So, the 16th, we were doing our thing, we had classes, they were kind of, they were small. I think people may have been a little bit nervous or you know, they were getting ready for whatever was coming down the pipe with their own jobs, families. And then the announcement was made to have 10 people or less. And I was like, OK, this is, we’re switching. Some gyms in our area kind of stayed open and ran classes. But on the 16th, I announced, we switched to at that point personal training only in the facility. And online, you know, online custom programming for individuals at home. We had some folks that had already, at that point they were maybe at risk or they had a family member at risk. So I had already started providing them some of that. But yeah, that was on the 17th is when we were done with classes.

Mike (03:40):

That’s a dark St. Patrick’s day in Boston. That’s a tough one. You know, I didn’t even remember until I got, cause we had the same situation. We closed at almost exactly the same time. And I got to the end. I’m like, I think that was St. Patrick’s day that just went by.

Eric (03:53):

Well we just had Patriots day yesterday, Patriots day with no marathon and no baseball.

Mike (03:59):

Oh, it’s tough. It’s tough. And I understand I’m recording this episode here on April 21st. I understand that Massachusetts in Boston particular is a bit of a crisis region right now. Is that right?

Eric (04:10):

Well they literally, a few minutes ago the governor announced no school for the rest of the year. So, you know, we have, we have two small children. One of them is in first grade and so, we haven’t actually told them yet. They’ll be bummed out. But honestly, from what I’m hearing, I’m really proud of our state. It seems like we’re handling pretty well. We have a lot of athletes at our gym that are on the front lines and super grateful for all the hard work they’re doing. My wife’s been making face masks and headbands, old face masks. Awesome. But I mean, it seems to be the contact tracing thing. The tracing is gonna start off and I’m super proud of just our state and the way they’re rising to the occasion. I don’t get the sense that we’re in like a major crisis area, but, you know, I think everybody’s done a really good job and has to keep doing a good job staying home until it’s time to get back to it.

Mike (05:04):

Yeah. And so when you, after you shut down on the 17th, how soon were you able to get online? And was that like an immediate thing, you probably had some plans there right away?

Eric (05:16):

Yeah, it was pretty immediate. It’s interesting. I don’t—so for me, I saw people starting to pop up with like online class. I was like, I don’t know if that’s the way to do it. I really like the custom at-home programming. I’ve done like currently I wasn’t doing a bunch of programming for individual athletes, but I’ve done it in the past, and I know it can be effective. So I felt like that was the way to go. And then with kind of the guidance, picking it up from Two-Brain along the way, emphasizing the communication, the accountability, leadership and kind of explaining the why for each individual workout, really making it custom. I was actually able to take that and then help my coaches through that and then I’ll kind of start to hand off some of the clients.

Eric (06:04):

So, I mean, it’s been amazing to get that guidance, then to be able to pass it along so that my coaches can still work. They can also get a get a paycheck, you know, some of them were a little hesitant at first, but they’ve all picked up some athletes to an extent. And it’s been great. I mean, I don’t know. I feel like the background in writing programming for so many years for gyms and for individuals, I was kind of prepared to do it. The way our coaches stepped up has been amazing. They’ve really taken to it and run with it.

Mike (06:37):

Yeah. And then for those who are listing, Two-Brain has advised that you go with personalized customization of your group programming. So building and continuing that relationship that you have with clients, giving them personalized stuff based on what equipment equipment that they have, their goals, their desires, their mental state, everything like that. Not necessarily down on Zoom classes, but the data that we had coming out of Asia and Australia, some of the places that got shut down early was that Zoom classes did not have a great retention curve. It was looking like they were a good thing to start and kind of novel and then it petered out. So there are gyms that are adding those classes and using those classes. But the thing that we want people to do, which you did right off the bat, is continue that relationship you have with your clients. Take it outside the gym, take it online and just personalize it just like you would do in class.

Eric (07:22):

Yep. The workouts we did actually for the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, all the way through that Saturday were just what I had programmed for the gym that week. We just programmed home versions for people, and we started renting equipment as well, which was great to get the support. Everybody, we actually don’t have any dumbbells left at my gym. I couldn’t do—we’d gone in and done some renovations. I couldn’t even grab a pair of dumbbells to do the support your local box workouts. I did the first one with a gallon of windshield washer fluid. I just didn’t like, we didn’t have anything left. Which has been great. It’s great that people are getting their fitness on and then, yeah, from there we’ve done, I’ve just provided templates. Here’s the general theme for the workout for the day, and then let the coaches plug in based on equipment and goals because we have some folks that have a full, they got a barbell, they got bumpers, they have the full set-up, and then other people like I have two mismatched dumbbells and a band. Like tell me what to do.

Mike (08:14):

Yeah, we’ve got the same thing. We’ve got an a 65-year-old former nurse who’s like deadlifting four jugs of water and she’s just like, I call it double fisting. Right? She’s got it all, everything. And then we’ve got some guys who have like home gyms that are probably sweeter than my gym,

Eric (08:29):

Get after it. That’s awesome.

Mike (08:30):

Yeah. Well let’s get into some of the details of this. I want to hear a little bit about, and that’s the background, I want to hear about your development of the online product. So were you doing any online training? Like do you have any online clients before this?

Eric (08:43):

Nobody strictly online.

Mike (08:44):

Yeah. So how did you develop a product that you could actually sell to someone when this whole thing came down?

Eric (08:51):

So I just saw the Two-Brain recommendations. I knew how I had written programming for individuals in the past and I mean I was lucky, some people, they asked to continue their membership but they wouldn’t be able to come into the gym. They were at risk or they had family members that were at risk so they didn’t want to increase their exposure. So got a little bit of practice there. But it was, I mean it was just as easy as scaling. Like I’m just going to scale these workouts. At that point I had no idea if it was going to be OK, we’re going to close down for like, is this going to be real? Are we going to actually close down or is it going to be OK, some high risk folks are going to need to say out of the way or what’s going to happen.

Eric (09:34):

And then it was just like, OK, this is what we do. This is how you craft the email. Say, Hey so-and-so, how’s it going today? Like check in, here’s your workout for tomorrow. This is why I gave you that workout. Keep me updated on your results. Post some pics on social media, put it up on SugarWOD, you know, put your results out there and then we’ll check in again tomorrow and see how we’re going to move forward. And I got a couple of practice reps and then I was able to just kind of communicate this is the process to follow. You know, communication and accountability are key to our team at CrossFit 781. And as the coaches were ready with like their own responsibilities, all of our coaches actually have full-time jobs. Another thing we’re lucky about, that they have full-time jobs and they coach as well.

Eric (10:18):

So as they’re kind of managing that, some of them are in school. It’s like as they had the bandwidth to pick up clients, they were like, cool, take them, run with them. And I was able to kind of pass along this is the model, this is how we’re going to set it up. And they just, they crushed it. They knocked it out of the park, they stepped up and just were able to take them on and roll with it. But yeah, it was easy as kind of phrasing it as like you’re going to scale this, think of their goals, think of their equipment and make it happen.

Mike (10:43):

Yeah. So you’re just altering the delivery method essentially. Right. You’re instead of doing it at the gym, you’re doing it online and you can’t necessarily sit right next to the guy and tap him on the back and tell him to arch, but you can still, you know, talk to them about their goals and Hey, I know you have a tendency to maybe miss your depth and squat in round three, maybe just make sure you bury that.

Eric (11:01):

Exactly. And so I try to match coaches with athletes they have in their classes regularly. So they kind of know them well. Did the best I could there. And then, yeah, provide video demos, get that feedback. Communication is important. And if anybody was struggling with communication, most people have just been like, yeah, email is great. Send me a couple of emails a day. But, we’ve experimented with texts. I’ll regularly send texts to large groups of our members, you know, just checking in or I’ll give them a phone call. Just whatever’s going to work best for them. It’s a daily phone call, if it’s a Zoom conference. If it’s text message, email, we just want to make sure that the communication is there, it’s easily accessible, so they’re gonna be able to keep going, both for their physical and mental health.

Mike (11:45):

Yeah, the mental health is a big one right now for sure. So that kind of covers your retention. So in terms of setting up product now to sell to outside people, how did you figure that one out?

Eric (11:54):

So I went to my Two-Brain mentor, shout out Brian Zimmerman, and I was like, Hey, we seem to be doing a pretty good job retaining. I want to grow. Like we need to add growth here. We can’t just, you’re going one way or the other either, you’re either growing or you’re dying. So we need to have some growth even in this tough time, what can I do? And he recommended, you know, checking out the online coaching module that came up for Two-Brain and sending some emails to past members primarily and be like, Hey, we have this offering. We’ve tested it out. You want to check it out, do you want to try it out? And then also while I went through that the Facebook marketing of like a 21 day at home challenge, the affinity marketing, we’ve gotten a couple of new athletes that are now training from home with that. And it was great cause we had the reps in from the custom at home workouts already. So I was able to kind of get them into the 21 day challenge. I offered some of them a regular membership. Like, Hey, you can get the same deal everybody else has when you start your membership. And they’re like, no, I want to get kickstarted. Like, let’s do this 21 day challenge. They did that.

Mike (13:08):

They wanted that more than the existing stuff.

Eric (13:08):

Yeah. Basically, well they wanted the jumpstart, right? Cause they were interested in some nutrition coaching and stuff like that too. So there’s the 21 day challenge in that online coaching module. Ran the Facebook ads, these were my first ever Facebook ads that I’ve set up myself and collected the leads and done the full deal with. And we brought ’em in, I used the 21 day challenge, I’m currently using the 21 day challenge. Again, with the workout programs, it’s as easy as scaling. It’s like it’s already written to be very friendly for at-home users. But then it’s like, OK, what do you have for equipment? Like do you have a—it’s funny, I have somebody that doesn’t have any dumbbells, they just have a barbell and I’m just like, OK, so we’re modifying like this kind of backwards. But what do you have?

Eric (13:51):

What do we work with? Send them videos. And then again, same thing, check-ins, accountability. Get the nutrition program running and have them work their way through that. The nutrition thing is actually we started our first nutrition challenge that I’m running on April 6th. So we started right in the midst of this whole thing, like we have folks starting that. We’d done them before, but this is the first one that I’m really running. And so we got that going and then we have the 21 day challenge people and it’s like, it’s great to have all this material to work from because it’s a lot. And it’s like I can, again, I can scale it, I can work through it, I can understand it, I can explain it to people. It’s really communicating, leading and holding them accountable. When I think programming like, Oh my gosh, just so in depth, there’s so many things that go into writing a program and considering.

Eric (14:40):

And then like same thing with nutrition. Oh my gosh. But it’s like you have to remember you’re not writing for necessarily—not writing for me, and for like, our goals are different. My goals are, you know, I want to try to push myself as hard as I can and compete at X level. You know, regardless through injury, whatever it may be, it’s like nuts. Whereas somebody else, they’re looking to, they want to lose some weight, they want to be able to have extra energy. They want to get a mental break from all this craziness.

Eric (15:14):

All that stuff going on. Their goals are super important too. They’re just, it’s like different and it doesn’t need necessarily the level of granularity. So it’s having these materials at hand where I can be like, OK, cool, these are workouts that are gonna make sense. Cause otherwise I look at it and it’s like all this nutrition and exercise information, so where to start, it can be overwhelming. But having the simple package there, being able to put it together and modify it. And I’m super grateful to have access to that it’s been helpful through this whole situation.

Mike (15:43):

So that’s cool. So you got two people just by contacting e-members.

Eric (15:48):

Yep. Well one was an ex-member, one is a family member of a current member.

Mike (15:51):

Yeah. So when you refer to affinity marketing for those who haven’t heard that term, that’s you’re dealing with people who already know, like, and trust you to some degree. They might’ve heard of you or they might be friends and family and obviously the people closest to your current clients are going to be most likely to know, like, and trust you. But then you’ve also got ex clients, you’ve got colleagues and coworkers who know that that fit guy over there does CrossFit, you got all these different things. So that’s the affinity marketing path. And we always advise people to do that first because there’s not a real cost to it. It’s just the cost of your time. Like you just send out emails to these people. Correct?

Eric (16:19):

Yup.

Mike (16:19):

Yeah. So there’s a huge return on investment there because it’s just your time, which probably took five minutes to say, I’ve got this new thing.

Eric (16:25):

Basically. Yeah.

Mike (16:28):

Yeah. After that, you hit some advertising and you got four through that, correct?

Eric (16:32):

So far, yeah. Might be five.

Mike (16:37):

Check your phone.

Eric (16:39):

Yeah, exactly.

Mike (16:41):

Sometimes I talk to people on the show here and they’re like, I gotta take this call and they’re like selling stuff as we’re talking here, which is great.

Eric (16:46):

My phone’s in the other room, so won’t get the pop-up to call somebody immediately.

Mike (16:46):

Check it later. Did you have any issue, cause I know some people like they’re dyed in the wool where like they’re coaches and they want to teach people, they want to put the hand on the spine and push and arch and the whole thing. And they love their facilities and they’re proud of their facilities with good reason. Did you have any issue mentally making a switch to selling an online product? That some people, when they look at it, they’re like, it has no gym, it has no coaching, but in reality it kind of does have a lot of coaching. So did you have that mental block there?

Eric (17:21):

No, none whatsoever. Cause I know—I follow essentially most of my coaching. Like I have coaches. Coaching is valuable. I have coaches for my business now. I have coaches for my workouts. There’s such a value in it. I see the value and I do most of my work on my own. And I send videos or I’ll ask a question. I see the value there. 100%. I said, I miss my facility, I miss coaching in person. I miss seeing all my people because I know at this point I’m still probably more effective explaining something face to face and being able to demonstrate it and cue it. And it’s going to be that like instant thing rather than an email exchange. Check this video out. Here’s what I want you to do. A little bit different than this video or the same as the video really focus on this. It’s a little more immediate, which I like, but value-wise, and I explain that to people like this is, you know, again Two-Brain emphasized it, which was great. This is probably a higher value product and the fact that we’ve been doing it in the past, that individual programming delivery, I understand the time it takes and how valuable it is.

Mike (18:34):

Yeah. When someone explains what a good online coaching program is and what it entails, you almost can’t help but think that it sounds almost more valuable than some of the group stuff that you’re doing. And Chris has said for a long time, group classes are your discount option essentially because if someone wants exactly personalized tailored programming to their space and goals and wants the accountability and contact and even nutrition and all the other stuff and even mindfulness and wellness stuff that a lot of people need right now, that sounds like more than a whiteboard talk and some cues during a workout, right? Like, and that’s not to devalue the group stuff, but it’s equally valuable if not more valuable and more time consuming.

Eric (19:11):

Yeah. Yeah, I’d say it’s more time consuming. So still going through the—certainly going through the Facebook marketing incubator right now, still working on that piece with Two-Brain, Facebook marketing mentor Colm, it’s like you are probably working twice as many hours right now, like working 14 hours a day right now instead of seven. And it’s like, but that’s what we gotta do. And it’s crazy. It’s more intensive, but also, it’s different. But it’s equally valuable or more valuable. And it really, it depends on just like in a group class, what somebody’s going to get out of it, the effort they’re going to put forward, the questions they’re gonna ask. If somebody’s going to ask those questions and demand that, which I love. I love it when athletes are demanding of their coach and they’re pushing them, pushing them to push them. Like that’s great. But no issue whatsoever transitioning there cause the value is there. It’s just a different delivery.

Mike (20:11):

Oh, that’s interesting. So now tell me when you sold this stuff, this is through the ads, did you do that through like a no sweat intro process or how do people contact you to get the product?

Eric (20:23):

Yeah. So this was my first time with click funnels, we did the whole thing. Enter your info, go to a landing page. Not a lot of people were doing the no sweat intros. So I ended up just calling them within a couple minutes of them getting in there and we just did a no sweat intro on the fly. At first I was using my normal no sweat intro script, which I closed somebody that way. It was pretty effective. But then I was, you know, I was still going through all the modules, all the materials from Two-Brain, all the online marketing stuff. And I saw the sales script and I’m like, all right, I’ll give this a try. It’s definitely more intensive. And I would be overwhelmed to try that face to face because it would feel like there’d be so many like points and cues that I might forget and I’d probably overwhelm myself trying to memorize it.

Eric (21:10):

But on the phone it’s super comfortable. It’s like you can have it in front of you and you can kind of be reading it and double back and taking notes and everything else. It’s much more laid back. I mean it is basically, it’s just like a no sweat intro, just like a little more layered in that sales script. I’ve found it very valuable. I thought it was going to be awkward on the phone, but it’s not, and people seem to be, you know, again, we all kinda want some contact. We want to talk to somebody right now. So they’re pretty cool with that.

Mike (21:38):

Mateo Lopez is our marketing expert and he’s probably out there smiling and listening to this right now. Cause you’re calling people back within two minutes of them a lead hitting your phone.

Eric (21:49):

Yeah, the lead nurture stuff is, I mean, cause like I said, I’ve done some Facebook marketing stuff before, work with other companies that have set up the ads or done whatever for us. And I just hadn’t gotten great results in the past. And it kinda soured me a little bit on social media marketing or Facebook marketing. But this time, like knowing how to do a lead nurture and I’d been given some advice as far as like, Oh yeah, call them back, like wait this long and then call them back or do this. But I’m like, OK, no, two minutes done. Let’s do it. Like do the double calls. You got it. Like, just tell me, point me in a direction and I’ll just go do it.

Mike (22:27):

The more I hear from gym owners, the more I’m certain that that’s the way to do it because it sounds like everyone who does the calls and everyone who contacts sooner does better. Everyone who doesn’t, struggles more. Right. And it’s just like, it’s becoming clearer and clearer. And Mateo has just said this for forever, that that’s what you need to do. And it’s, you know, every time I hear it, it’s worth repeating that. Contact your leads as fast as possible within the minute if you can. Tell me about when these people, you got them on a call, how did they respond to the idea of an online coach? Like what was the market like? Meaning like did people, some people would not bat an eye at an online coach. Other people will be like, OK, so I’m not going to be in a gym? Like how did they respond to the whole thing?

Eric (23:09):

Well, I think they knew what they were getting into, cause we called it like a 21 day at-home transformation challenge. They knew they were going to be at home. Nobody who I spoke with, nobody batted an eye during the sales process. There were people who unfortunately they were, you know, they’ve lost their job, they’re unemployed. They couldn’t afford it. They weren’t sure of what it was going to cost. And they were just like, you know what, this isn’t for me right now. We had somebody who started up and then they, I guess they hadn’t worked out in years. And they started up and they’re like, Oh, well you’re sending me videos to instruct me. I could do this on my own. I’m like, you sure can. They were at our lowest tier, but they’re like, I want to come into the gym when you’re back to in person training.

Eric (23:57):

I was like, you got it. We can absolutely do that. I was like, I’m glad you’re moving around. I’m glad that this process got you started. Got them going down that road. But everybody I’ve spoken with, I think they’ve known what they’re getting into and they’re like, I’m stuck at home right now and I want to move around. Like now is the time people are starting to recognize this is a perfect opportunity to establish a great routine for yourself, a great fitness routine, the emphasis on health and wellbeing because the more at risk population right now is less healthy. So taking your fitness, your nutrition, and then with that, the mindset piece like you mentioned is huge. Taking all that to kind of another level right now I think is a really, really great idea.

Eric (24:42):

Now’s a great time to—most people, most of us have the time to do a little extra work for ourselves in a day. And so people recognize that. Yeah, I mean basically everybody who I got, almost everybody I got on the phone was like, yeah, I’m in. And some of them were like, so will I be able to go to in person training when I’m done with this? I’m like, absolutely. And others were like, are you going to keep doing online coaching when you’re back to in person training? I was like, yes, of course. If that’s what you want. Of course. Yeah, we’ll keep it rolling.

Mike (25:11):

So you’ve got a revenue stream developing here, which is great. And you mentioned a bunch of them, but I just want to go over them. What pain points are people selling quote unquote pain points? You said that people are finding they’re having time and they want to get healthy. Is there anything else that like the people that you’re speaking to, what are they really looking to accomplish or what problem are you solving for them? Is it just general fitness or what?

Eric (25:34):

Mainly weight loss. A lot of folks, it’s like, yeah, I’ve let myself go for too long. I think it’s kind of a wake up call. This whole situation I think is a wake up call for some people. Or just new moms, and they’re like, OK, now’s the time. Like I’m going to make some time. I’ve got some help at home maybe now. I’m going to carve out time for myself. It’s really, they have the time now they’ve got a weight loss goal. They’re gonna tackle it. That’s been the main, that’s the main goal. As we find, you know, in the gym, it’s body composition. Most people aren’t coming into the gym and being like, I want to go to the CrossFit Games. They’re like, what are the CrossFit Games?

Mike (26:23):

So that’s interesting. So the current crisis has actually somehow prompted some people to take action. Maybe people who weren’t going to or maybe, you know, like you said, they have time on their hands. They’re maybe working from home. Maybe they didn’t even know online coaching was a thing. Like I don’t even know. But it’s very interesting because every time I talk to a gym owner, they tell me that they found some people. And for whatever reason, this was the exact time that they decided that they needed to get fit.

Eric (26:47):

Absolutely. And we have current athletes that are working out more days now than—they would have a tough time getting in two to three days a week, let alone some of them even just one day, come into the gym, now it’s at home, three days, four days, five days. Like whoa. Rest is important too. Like it’s really cool. And if folks are really into it, I mean we’re not there yet. We’re starting to plan what our steps are for transitioning back to in-person training. But if they want to remain as doing that whole online training, why not? If it’s going to be the best thing for them, like heck yeah, like keep it going.

Mike (27:27):

So that’s kinda the last thing I wanted to see with with you is, I know yesterday, this is the April 20th, Georgia announced that they would be opening up gyms just at the end of the week. And I think Utah might even have a few as well. How far off do you think you guys are in Massachusetts from that?

Eric (27:43):

So I know there was the, governor Cuomo of New York mentioned the 15th for all the Northeast states, which Massachusetts is in that like little group of states here in the Northeast that I think are trying to work on a similar timeline. I’ve heard that Rhode Island has enough testing to, they could actually, they could reopen cause they have sufficient testing. And they’re just South of us for those that aren’t from new England. So right now we’re looking at May 4th cause that’s the date that originally our schools were supposed to be closed in until May 4th. Now they’re closed for the year. So we’re looking at May 4th, which is a couple of weeks away. But May 15th may be the date that kind of ends up coming to pass. I, you know, talking to some other folks in the fitness industry around here.

Eric (28:34):

it seems like May 15 is kind of a target date. But I mean we kind of closed a little bit slowly with the switch to OK, we’re only gonna do one on one coaching at first on like st Patrick’s day on the 17th. And then it was a few days later where we’re like, OK, we’re shut down completely. We have no more coaching clients coming into the gym cause we’re a nonessential business. So when, you know, it could be a slow reopening could be, we go back to personal training first. If that’s the case, then anybody who’s doing online, like, Hey, if you guys want to switch it up and get some human interaction, gets some coaching in person. Or if we have to do, you know, capped classes, we’re prepared for that.

Eric (29:18):

My wife and I were talking about we’re doing renovations at the gym. We were talking about laying down, using some of that painter’s tape and putting down six foot by six foot squares all over the gym. Just so everybody knows where they’re at. You know, kind of considering all the options. I think it’s May 4th, I think it’s a couple of weeks away is what we, I mean, that’d be great if we could have any kind of in person training going again, but realistically May 15th, but it’s all, who knows. We’ve had a few days in a row of less cases in the hospital. So I think we’re trending in the right direction, but only time will tell.

Mike (29:54):

So let’s say things, you know, do get back to some version of normal and then let’s say they go even further and get almost back to the way things were before. What aspect of your business is going to be online? What do you think, is that something you’re going to maintain or how are you going to emphasize that going forward?

Eric (30:09):

I think we’ll offer it. I have to figure out how exactly we’re going to, we have a ton of new offerings coming out of this. Like I said, we were just ramping up to really get our nutrition back going again. We’d had a coach that just didn’t have the time to continue doing the nutrition coaching and so now, so that was kind of offline for a while. So now we’re getting that going again. We’ll have this custom at home workout piece. I want to make that available to people as an option. So, you know, I have not determined yet how we’re going to offer it. Everybody who’s doing it right now, I’m going to make it available. And then from there we’ll see how it goes. And I mean, if any of my coaches are really into it as well, it could be certainly an additional revenue stream for them to pick up more online clients because again, it’s as easy as scaling. All the workouts we do in a class are essentially customized. So it’s just, OK, you’ve got the client, you’ve got the athlete’s goals, equipment, what can we give them and then just take the programming and scale it. So, you know, we’re thinking about how we’re going to implement that as well when we get rolling again. There’s so many—I like thinking about things getting started again, whether it’s normal or if it’s something different or whatever in between. It’s a fresh start in so many regards to really put things together the way—just optimize the way it’s going to work best for the business and to keep the gym going and you know, and prospering.

Mike (31:44):

So if the market wants it, you’ll offer it, essentially.

Eric (31:47):

I mean if it fits, if it fits. And I think that custom at home training fits within kind of what we do and what we do well, which is whether it’s, you know, programming group classes or personal training, custom at home program is like kind of here’s your workout at home. And then that accountability coaching piece as well. And especially, I mean, some people if they’re, you know, the phase one recommendation is minimize travel, still stay at home a fair amount of work from home for a lot of industries, if you know, people are still at home or that—but who knows if that’s a thing of the future where more companies are asking their employees to work at home because I’m sure that some companies are seeing that, Hey, we don’t have to have this big building and all this equipment and everything else. Like we can have people work from home. And if that’s an option then maybe people do pursue more virtual coaching.

Mike (32:45):

Last question I’ll ask you is, you started running Facebook ads and selling stuff in probably the worst period in the history of fitness, I’m guessing, so do you feel like when things get to be a little more normal, you might be more equipped to sell things just in a normal sense because right now you’re dealing with a brand new, terrified, odd market with, you know, declining consumer confidence. That must set you up to think that maybe we’ll crush some sales when things are normal.

Eric (33:12):

Yeah, absolutely. So I mean I saw—what’s the worst that happens, right? I was like, it’s the worst time to be advertising. Advertising is cheap. Give it a try. See what happens. For me, the worst thing I was going to get out of is learning kind of how the sausage is made. Like seeing what goes on in the back end, building the click funnels out, building all the automations out, setting that up. That’s not stuff I’m necessarily super comfortable with. But kind of getting into it and trying it, I was like, see what I can learn and now, yeah, definitely keep it going. It’s been an awesome learning experience, man. I try to try to learn from every experience. But this whole situation has been really, yeah, just a great learning opportunity. And, like I said, I’m very excited to see what happens as we transition back to in person training and you know, whatever the new normal is coming out of this.

Mike (34:05):

I appreciate that Eric and a lot of people who are listening and saying, man, I don’t understand Facebook advertising. I don’t want to set these things up. I don’t know how to do it. We can teach you how to do it. So as Eric said, he has a marketing mentor. We have Two-Brain Business certified mentors that also work in conjunction with the marketing team. We can teach you how to do this stuff. And I’ve gone through the same process as Eric and if I can figure it out, I’m sure you guys can figure it out because it wasn’t germane to me. It was not the easiest thing for me to think about on my own, but once I walked through the course, it went pretty well. Did you have the same experience here?

Eric (34:35):

Yeah, absolutely. I’m still, like, I got the crash course in the online training module, which was awesome. Still finishing up the Facebook marketing incubator, but I feel so much more comfortable with messing around in there. It’s still, you know, I still always need guidance, but getting more comfortable and comfortable enough now to kind of run ads and I guess make some decisions off of it, kind of think about things. So yeah, it’s been awesome. I’m super grateful for the support and for all of it.

Mike (35:11):

I appreciate your time, sir, and I want to let you get back to texting your clients and seeing if we’ve got a new leads on your phone. Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin with gym owner and online coach Eric Siegel. At least for now. He’ll probably be back in his business soon, I hope. Two-Brain Business is in contact with gym owners all over the world and we’re collecting data as they adapt to the COVID crisis and recover. We’re going to tell you what works and how your gym can rebuild. For our collection of essential resources, visit twobrainbusiness.com and click COVID-19 in the top. Thanks for tuning into Two-Brain Radio and please subscribe for more episodes.

 

Thanks for listening!

 

Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday. On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

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Thanks for listening!

On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories. Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday. 

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
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