Chris Cooper: How to Lead in a Crisis

Chris Cooper-BLOG



Andrew (00:02):

It’s Two-Brain Radio with Chris Cooper. On Sunday, April 12th, Chris hosted a live Facebook session on leadership during a crisis. Business owners are asked to make a lot of changes, but one thing stayed the same. You’re still being asked to lead their communities. What follows is the audio from that live broadcast. Over the next 40 minutes, Chris will talk to you about the CALM model of leadership, how you can be a lighthouse for people who need guidance in the current storm. Two-Brain’s, COVID-19 pages updated regularly with the central resources gym owners need right now. Visit and click COVID-19 at the top. And now here’s Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:36):

Hey everybody. Good morning, happy Sunday. I just want to start off by saying how incredibly proud I am of this community. In the last two weeks, you guys have taken an unforeseen event and actually pivoted it with incredible success. It hasn’t been easy. Nobody has really chosen this route. But the fact that most of you have kept 90% of your members, some of you are actually growing and some of you are actually making more money now than before the crisis started, that’s a testament. You know, maybe I’d love to take credit and say that, Oh, this was the plan. But it’s really a testament to your care and your systems and your excellence. The reason that people are sticking with you are not because they’re enamored with the internet. This isn’t really new to most people; it’s not just the novelty of watching you on screen or feeling like they’re on television.

Chris (01:30):

What’s working is that these people know you, like you and care about you. They trust you. They know that you’re going to take care of them. And so kudos to you for leading this audience through the desert, through the hard journey to get to the other side. Also for getting over the big first hurdle, which was running your invoicing on April 1st. I know a lot of people run their revenues every single day, but for most people, April 1st was kind of that turning point. That’s when clients started re-evaluating, you know, what am I doing here? Am I going to get my benefit from this? You know, will my coach lead me to the success that I want? OK. And you guys did it, you know, April 1st the rubber met the road and everybody just kept on rolling, and a lot of you are picking up speed now, so congratulations.

Chris (02:24):

I want to start with that. The second thing before we start getting into leadership during a crisis is I really want to share something with you guys. A few different events that we’re doing this week. The first Monday, Veronica Cram my CFO, the CFO of Two-Brain is going to be here at, I think it’s 12 o’clock Eastern. I’ll post the schedule later. She’s going to answer two questions. You know, which SBA loans should I apply for? And then she’s going to go through each one step-by-step and answer questions. This is a private event. We’re not streaming this to the public because Veronica’s time is really hard to get right now. It’s expensive. And so I want to make sure that you guys get your questions answered. Then on Wednesday, Mike Watson, who has been the lead coach at Catalyst since like 2005 when we opened and who I’ve been coaching with since 2002, he’s going to come on and talk about helping your coaches pivot to this new online coaching model.

Chris (03:22):

Mike pivoted in a heartbeat, like within 15 minutes he had it and he was doing it and he’s retaining all of his clients through online coaching right now. He gets it. He can really help and a lot of people have actually asked him for private help offline. Mike is also lucky enough to be married to Eden Watson who a lot of you have met before. So you know what kind of like amazing dude he’s got to be, right. Also on Wednesday, Jeff Burlingame is going to come on and talk more in this group about how to sell during a crisis. We all need refs. We’re playing a brand new sport here and while we’re all fit for duty, there’s new rules and we need to learn from those. We’ll also have Dave Overstreet live in our private online coaching course sometime next week to actually role play sales online.

Chris (04:11):

And I think that’s going to be amazing. We’ve had over 40 people volunteer to role play with them, so we’ll pick a handful of those and just kind of go live and have a lot of fun with it. And then we’ve got a couple of other things too. We added a John Maxwell five-week program for people who are in the tinker phase because leadership is changing. We’re going to talk about a simple model of leadership that you can follow today. John Maxwell is going to go more in depth in very small groups with the tinker program. We’re also moving Mike Michalowicz, it’s into June so he can talk about what to work on now. He’s got a brand new book on that and he’s going to talk about leadership strategies through a crisis, how to pivot and how to capitalize on this brand new blue ocean of opportunity that we’re all facing.

Chris (04:54):

So there’s a lot of stuff coming for you this week. We’re doing our best to get answers where we don’t have them. We’re doing our best to compile data so that we can actually prove what works with evidence and experience. And we’re delivering that to you guys as quickly as we possibly can. But today I don’t want to belabor the point here. I want to talk about leadership. Up until now, we’ve all been kind of playing defense. We’ve all been, you know, looking at the situation and saying, how can I keep as much of what I have as I possibly can? And through that crisis, we’ve had to put a couple of things on hold. We’ve had to ask our team to kind of bear with us while we work through this new model and be patient while we made mistakes and our clients too.

Chris (05:37):

And we’ve had to be patient with them in return. There’s been a lot of forgiveness practice over the last two weeks with our clients and our staff and our families. And now it’s time to take control again and actually lead. And when I was talking with my mentor, Todd Herman, on Wednesday, he said, Hey, you’re doing a great job of following the CALM model through leadership. And I said, Oh, thanks a lot Todd. What the hell is the CALM model? And what he laid out for me was so simple, that it was brilliant and it’s brilliant. Its genius was inherent in its simplicity. It’s one of those things where you’re like, Oh, that’s so obvious. Just like CrossFit seemed obvious. It. And like any genius idea that you’ve ever heard seems obvious in hindsight, but this is a way that you guys can put together communication with your clients, with your staff that will actually help guide you through this crisis.

Chris (06:32):

So what I’m going to do is walk through the model and then I’m going to share something with you, from, you know, one of my favorite leaders. And then I’m going to take questions at the end to kind of help you with the specifics of it. So I’m not going to belabor, you know, the seminar here. We’re not going to turn this into a monologue. I will be here as long as you need me, but I also appreciate that you need some rest in this time and it’s Sunday morning and the sun is shining. So when my friend Ray Gallet started doing MMA fights, he had a background in wrestling. He had a background in dirt bike racing. He had already turned pro in one of those sports and he’d got into the ring for his first fight and you know, I went to watch him and we cheer loud and stuff and the day after I called him and said, Ray, what did that feel like?

Chris (07:21):

You said, Chris, you take every emotion you have, you turn them all on at once and you crank them up to 10, that’s how it feels as you’re stepping into that ring. And I didn’t really get that. That was five years ago until now. Now I get it because the pressure is on. All of us as gym owners right now are under fire. Our entire business has changed. It’s exciting sometimes, but it’s scary most of the time, you know, we’re going back and forth between highs and lows. Sometimes in the same day, sometimes in the same hour. Sometimes you’re happy and relieved and you’re getting these messages from your clients and like you know, you’re happy. Emotions and gratefulness are at a level 10, and in other times your landlord says no and your stress piles up to 10 and then you’re angry that this has been thrust upon you and you’re sad and you, you know, you feel like the victim and you feel like the victor, like here’s all this opportunity.

Chris (08:15):

You take all these emotions and you crank them up to 10 all at the same time. Two weeks ago, none of us would have predicted that we would be in this position right now. Mike Tyson, another grade fighter, said “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” A month ago we thought that the future was predictable, that we had it all planned out. Today we know it’s not. Now you’re a Two-Brain gym and you pivoted early. You probably hold a 90% revenue retention rate. That’s amazing. But of course we’re still all facing an unknown future and so our clients and our families and our staff, the worst part in a crisis about being a leader is that everyone is watching you. Your clients are watching you. You staff is watching you, your family is watching you, even other gym owners are watching you and you know you probably shouldn’t care about them, but of course you do.

Chris (09:09):

Right? Being a foot soldier in a conflict is tough enough. Being a leader is a hundred times harder. So like you guys, I’ve been leaning on my mentors more than ever before. So when Todd said you’re doing a great job with this CALM model, I said, what the hell are you talking about? So what he told me next was one of those little pieces that makes you think like, Oh, this is obvious, right? And even as you’re writing this down and taking notes or understanding the acronym and remembering it, you’re going to say, Oh yeah, OK, I get it. But that’s the best part of a mentorship is it strips away all the noise, all the bullshit. And it’s a filter to help you get down to the simple models or principles that you need to move forward. And that’s what CALM is.

Chris (09:55):

The CALM model is an acronym. It stands for clarity, assurance, leadership and movement. We’re gonna walk through what each one of those things means here. So first is clarity. This is actually my favorite one. Your job in a crisis as a leader is to be the filter. Don’t just add to the noise or the chaos, the confusion. Tell people exactly what to do. So instead of saying, here are five options for online training, contact every client and say, here is your plan for the next 30 days. Instead of saying to your staff who wants to try this online training thing, say, here’s what we’re going to do. You might not, this might not be what you signed up for. You can opt out now if you want to, but if you turn up tomorrow, this is what you’ll be doing. Many new leaders, you know this included me, was they try to lead by consensus, right?

Chris (10:54):

They want to get everybody on board. They want to make it feel like a democratic process. And I’m certainly guilty of that. But in times of crisis, people look to their leader to make things black and white and they trust the person who can do that. How I’m doing it, we’re publishing only strategies that can be backed with experience and data. Like you haven’t heard me talk a lot about SBA loans yet because the process isn’t clear yet and as soon as it is, we’ll be the first to say do it exactly like this. It’s clearer it’s a John Briggs than it is to me. So he’s doing an amazing job explaining that. I’m only publishing strategies that can be backed with experience and data. I’m avoiding the temptation to share my opinion on all of this and just sticking to the facts. And as soon as we can prove that something works, we’ll say do this right now.

Chris (11:42):

That is clarity and that has always our goal. The A in the CALM model is assurance. People need to believe in you, but they’re not naive. A lot of you have heard about the Stockdale paradox, right? The idea that or that the ethos of hoping for the best, but acknowledging and preparing for the worst. If you’ve read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, you’ve heard of James Stockdale, who is a Naval officer who was a POW, I think he spent about seven years in the camps. He was tortured, he was beaten, he was starved, but he made it through. And what he said was that as a leader, you must be completely realistic about how dire your situation is, but also maintain optimism about the future. And you must, we must, as leaders, share those sentiments with our audience. Every great speech by Winston Churchill, if you listen to them, they follow the exact same template. Here’s how bad it is. Here’s why we’re optimistic and I actually want to share one of those with you right now.

Churchill recording (12:46):

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

Chris (14:16):

So for background, Britain and Churchill, they thought that their best defense against the Nazis was France, that France was going to stand up and you know, France would never cave in or they’d at least fight a long war and give England time to prepare. And so they’d sent his first expeditionary force over to France. He had about, you know, 500,000 soldiers in France at the time. And, France lost, really, really, really quickly. And, the nation was kind of panicked and they were trying to get as many British soldiers out through Dunkirk as they could, and they thought they might get 50,000 out of 500,000, the rest would just be killed or imprisoned by the Nazis. Things were pretty dark and people were panicked. There was a great chance that Hitler would take over France’s Naval fleet and that would just wipe out Britain’s Naval fleet.

Chris (15:16):

And they were getting ready for war. So Churchill had to address the nation like after hearing this, and France hadn’t officially like signed the armistice yet, but the prime minister had called Churchill and said, we’re going to surrender. So what he did was he highlighted exactly how dire the situation was. He didn’t want anybody to think that he was sugarcoating it, but then he pivoted to give them a reason for optimism. And if you listen to the rest of the speech, when he talks about is the strength of the British air force, he talks about the strength of the British Navy and he gives them reasons to be optimistic. Now you can do the same thing when you’re talking to your audience. When you’re talking to your staff, you can say, this is the greatest health crisis that our nation has ever faced. The reason that you have to be optimistic is that you’ve worked hard to build this buffer of health and fitness and immunity.

Chris (16:11):

You’re in a strong position to take care of yourself and also the people who are closest to you and we’re going to help you and here’s how we’re going to do that. That is how you handle assurance. The real key to this is talking to your audience every day. You must be real about the challenge that you collectively face, but you must always give them reason to keep their faith and you have to do that consistently. You have to be there in front of them. The L in the CALM model is leadership. In other words, follow me. In times of crisis, people follow the leader who can make things simple. Now obviously this power can be used for good or for evil. Your job as a leader is to say, just keep doing this one thing and you’ll be OK. Remove complexity, make your path easy to follow and then walk that path.

Chris (17:03):

Model the behavior you want your audience to model. If you want your audience, your clients, your staff, your family to be optimistic, then be optimistic when you’re talking to them. Go on camera looking fresh and positive. If you want them to feel like victims, like this is all of their control and they should just give up, then go on camera looking tired and beaten like a victim. The best fitness instructors online look like they’ve just won the lottery. The worst fitness instructors look like they need to shave, but they don’t look that way for long because they’re quickly buried by the great ones. They’re lost. Everybody right now is looking for instructions on how to live starting from scratch. They’re looking for a model of the person that they want to be. Be that person even if you don’t feel like it.

Chris (17:52):

The M in the CALM model is movement. I was once in an audience and Colin Powell was on stage and he said, never present a problem without a solution and he went on to list the country’s biggest problems at the time and potential solutions for everyone. I became an instant fan and I actually remained a fan throughout all of the whole, you know, weapons of mass destruction fall-out stuff. But the key to his message is that during a crisis, don’t stand still. Get the answers fast. If you don’t have the answers, that’s OK. Show people that you’re working hard on the problem. Bring in other experts. You don’t have to be the source of all knowledge. Summarize other people’s knowledge so that people in your audience understand it and then update your audience as you learn. For example, tell your clients, we’re all used to human interaction.

Chris (18:43):

I want to make sure that nobody slips into a depression while we’re all isolated here. So I brought in an expert to help. On Saturday, Bonnie Skinner will be here to talk about managing isolation and creating structure in your life. And then on Sunday, local chef Steven Mills will be here to help you make five meals out of one turkey. You don’t have to be the expert, but you have to be the channel for expertise. Trust me. Sharing that authority, that trust, that expertise with other people will only build trust with the people who trust you most. You need to be the channel, you need to practice being the connector and there’s never been a better time than right now.

Chris (19:23):

So that’s the CALM model. Clarity, assurance, leadership, movement. If you use this model in all of your communication and you try to communicate with everybody every day, you’ll be safe. You don’t have to do extra stuff than this. Just stick with this and people will follow your leadership. Every year, authors sell hundreds of thousands of books on leadership. Thousands of speakers give seminars, hundreds of experts sell courses, but leadership really comes down to two words: Follow me. And the easier that you can make following you to be for your audience, the more likely they are to do it. And following the CALM method does make that easier. Let’s get to questions and I know they’re going to be some, sorry for the little lag here. 15 comments. Alright. Jonathan says, ever since this thing started the song, show me how to live has been on repeat in my head. You got it Jonathan. I totally get it right. We’re all looking for models to emulate. Jeff Duke has literally shaving right now, but he shaves four times a day. So that’s not a big win. Everybody is saying cup of coffee and morning. That is fantastic. Thank you.

Chris (20:36):

I want to make sure here guys that I can answer all of your questions. It’s unfortunately—all right. Lots of good mornings, lots of coffees. I’m so to see that. Rick, the M was movement and yeah, it’s just keeping steady, making sure that people see you moving, making progress and going somewhere, right? Nobody follows a leader that’s standing still because then we’re all just standing still. You have to show constant movement, constant progress that you’re one or two steps ahead. All right. So we’ve got a lot of good mornings, a lot of, Hey coop. Jeff Jucha is hashtagging three wheels, one frame. So after this at 10:30, some of us will be riding on Swift. You are more than welcome to come. Elspath is going to be leading that ride today. It’s an easy ride about 40 k on Zwift.

Chris (21:26):

I’d love to see you there. We can just hang out and chat and ride bikes. Everybody. Good morning. Jucha says this threat ain’t big enough for two guys wearing cargo shorts. That’s OK. Strump hasn’t worn pants in about three weeks. Nealy. Good afternoon from Israel. I hope you’re safe and well. Ty. Morning. And thank you again on behalf of everybody for the amazing leadership in coaching kids right now. It’s so awesome. OK. Mike Colette, my brother. I got my CrossFit Prototype hoodie hanging on the chair right there. Not 10 feet from me.

Chris (22:05):

What would your approach be to leading a staff member who’s in a leadership position himself who isn’t adapting to the virtual model very well? Mike, I think the thing that we’re all experiencing right now is that none of us really signed up for this, right? And so as the business owner, we really don’t have a choice but to make this pivot. As coaches though, what’s happened is that they signed up to do this one thing, they’ve trained to do this one thing. They’ve been practicing doing this one thing and now you’re saying, Oh, we’re going to do this completely differently. So they’ve been thrust into this role that they didn’t want, that they haven’t trained for and that they have no reps in. OK. It’s like taking a powerlifter and saying, well, the best way to get stronger now or you know, the only way that you can keep getting stronger is to run this marathon.

Chris (22:50):

They might do it. If they trust you enough, they might do it, but they’re not going to like it and that’s going to make them not very good at it. The key here, Mike, is like you have to ask yourself, what’s going to happen to this person when the crisis is over? Do they actually fit right now or you know is, are they just taking a seat for somebody who would be good? Your primary responsibilities here again are your family, right? You and Erin, your members, then your staff, and the key is like can this coach, deliver the best possible service to your members right now in this situation so that your members can continue to pay and support your family. If they can’t, then you’re going to have to have a really hard conversation, but what you need to do is say like, will keeping this coach on negatively affect my clients.

Chris (23:43):

If there’s 15 of my clients and they’re going with this coach and they’re not getting the same level of service and care the rest of my clients are getting, then unfortunately this coach has to go. You know, an example that Todd used with me last week was if you were starting from scratch today and you knew this coach’s ability to deliver this service, would you hire them fresh today? And the answer is if you wouldn’t hire them fresh today to do this service, then you got to let them go. That means they can apply for unemployment. It means they can bow out. Maybe they can come back in two months, but the bottom line is like you can’t afford to let them figure it out at this point. You can’t afford to let them make a whole bunch of mistakes because you’re leading your audience across the desert.

Chris (24:28):

You know, one little mistake with one person is probably fatal for them. I wish there was an easy answer to this one Mike, but there’s not, nobody said being a leader was hard. This move is like unprecedented. Maybe there’ll be a role for this person later on but maybe not. What I would do to make this a black and white question is to write out your roles and tasks for this new business. So yesterday I published an article called systemize, optimize, automate. A lot of us just jumped straight to automate and what we’re finding is that like our previous systems don’t quite fit this new situation. Our previous staff don’t quite fit. What we have to do is go back to the drawing board, deliver the service ourselves for a couple of days, really understand it to the point where we could teach it to a 10-year-old and then write down those instructions.

Chris (25:18):

And then you say, where can my staff help me? What are the opportunities? And hire back the staff who can. I know that you guys don’t want to leave your staff in the lurch. I know that you don’t want to, you know, get rid of your staff because you’re going to need them again later. You need to go through this quickly. I understand that, but you need to understand the system really, really well before you entrust your clients to your staff or to a system that maybe doesn’t work. So if that means that they’re no longer a fit, sorry. The bottom line guys, and this is the hard truth here. We don’t know when we’re going to be back in a bricks and mortar gym. You know, it could be a month, it could be three months and you have to keep the 1% option open that it could be never.

Chris (26:08):

And so you have to say to this person like, you know, do you fit anymore? Are you going to be passionate about this or how can I help you move on to something else? Neely, can you give me an example for a simple offer to make someone who’s having offers with Zoom training? Yeah, nearly. I honestly, what I would do is call him if there’s technological problems, it’s not worth losing a staff or a client over tech issues. If they’re struggling for more than two minutes to figure out Zoom, pick up the phone and call them, tell them exactly what to do, have them repeat it back, make sure that they’ve got it, call them back in an hour and say, how did it go? Like we’re not tech companies, we’re coaching companies. If the technology is interfering with your ability to deliver your coaching, simply get rid of the technology.

Chris (26:55):

  1. The technology is an add on later. So, you know, we go back to systemize, what are you doing? You’re coaching people remotely. Optimize. How do you optimize it? You touch base with every single client every single day. How do you automate? You use Zoom and you try to run classes and you fit as many in as you can or you prerecord videos. You know, there’s lots of ways to automate, but don’t skip the first two steps. OK. Go to their house and like write it on chalk on their sidewalk. A Brandy says, Chris, this applies in so many areas, not just gym life. I’m definitely using this for our physician leadership COVID team on Wednesday. Thank you, Brandy. Yeah, this didn’t come from a fitness model. But I think it really helps me be, you know, clearer and simpler when I’m messaging too. Mike. what are some other examples of people we can have on our private pages to talk to our crew?

Chris (27:49):

I heard cooks not crooks or someone to talk about isolation. Yeah, Mike. So there’s a few examples, right? I wanted to give you some examples. So in the online coaching course, we added a mindset training, a 21 day challenge. And the reason we put that in there, it was not because we want to say this is what your clients need the most right now. I just wanted to give you an example of something that your clients would find really valuable that wasn’t like thrusters and protein, right? So if you ask your clients, you call your seed clients first, what do you need the most? Right now? They’ll tell you and that’ll tell you how you can help. Now when they say, Oh my God, I’m just out of a rhythm. I’m sleeping late, I’m staying up late. My diet’s gone to shit. You know, I’m going to the carb closet way too often and taking these long naps, I just feel unmotivated.

Chris (28:38):

You might not feel like you’re qualified to help them with that, but you should ask yourself, who is? So a local psychotherapist and local social worker, you know, local cooks, local dieticians. I’ve seen people reaching out to local yoga studios and saying like, can we trade? I mean, that’s OK, but you should just like offer to pay them. You know, look within your membership first and as you’re going through member by member and checking in on them, you can be thinking in your head like, what does this person know that could help everybody else? So maybe you don’t have a psychotherapist. I’m very lucky that I have Bonnie. But maybe you’ve got somebody in your audience who’s been working from home for years. They’ve got the habits down, right? They know how to schedule their day. They know that they should wake up at the same time.

Chris (29:24):

They know that they should shower and have work hours and maybe you can bring them on to run a little seminar that will help everybody else out. OK. Maybe they’re struggling to keep their kids entertained. Like kids are going crazy without school. Let’s talk to a parent who’s, you know, helped out with that. It doesn’t have to be you. It doesn’t have to be one of the coaches at your gym. This is a great opportunity for you to bring somebody else up onto your stage because that’s just going to build more and more trust with your audience. Hopefully that helps. Is one guest a week enough? Yes. More than enough. Yeah. One guest a week is great. They’re not getting that anywhere else, Mike. Yeah, I’m sorry man, that that’s what you needed to hear. Jose Vanderpool, we’ve been pretty active in following the Two-Brain lead.

Chris (30:11):

It’s amazing how we pivoted and a lot of our members praise this, but there are days I feel a little defeated and not as energized. I don’t show it, but I feel it. I know this is a period of transition. Is this a normal feeling? What can I do on these days to shake it off? Brother, you can’t shake it off. That is normal. The only way out is through. The way that I look at it and I wish there was just a magic trick that I could give you or a secret book to read or a podcast to listen to, the way that I’ve looked at these challenges for the last 10 years is every challenge that I go through right now is just practice for a bigger challenge later. So for example, and this has really worked out in my life, you know, when I’ve had to talk to talk to a staff person about their bad behavior or you know, maybe they failed to live up to their potential.

Chris (31:01):

I hated it. You know, I like threw up the first time I ever had to do a staff evaluation because I had left it too long. But what I learned from that was like if I schedule these out in advance, then I don’t wait until I’m mad at them. I don’t feel sick when I’m like having to deliver bad news and I can get better at this. And so that actually made the staff better in the long term. I hope you never face a crisis bigger than this one, but the bottom line is like you are learning so much right now that you will take these lessons and they will make you even more successful over the next 30 years. I appreciate that. It’s hard to do that right now. Keep your head down, keep grinding. You’re back in founder phase, this is when all the Gary V advice about like grind, grind grind,

Chris (31:45):

That’s when it actually fits. You’re going to come out of this stronger. People are going to love you even more and you’re going to have a brand new skillset that is going to make you a leader in the new economy and all this blue ocean strategy. Neally, the concept does not suit them, not a tech issue. Well, so you look at like what are the other communication models that I can do, right? Do I have to call them up and talk them through it on the telephone? You know, do I have to send them a prerecorded workout that they can follow along with? Do I have to like record my voice and send them that recording. So the foundation is your relationship and then you add tech on top. You’re going to have to be innovative a little bit, but you know, if you have to pick up the old rotary telephone and do it through telephone, do that.

Chris (32:34):

If you have to stand outside their house on the lawn and coach them through the window, then do that, you know, whatever it takes. And I’m totally, totally just brainstorming stuff here. All right. The other, I have had other questions too about programming. You know, what kind of programming is best for retention. And the bottom line is guys like this is not about programming at all. More than anything else, you’re going to have to rely on your skills one-on-one with your relationships. You’re going to have to rely on being a clear leader. If people are left to try and figure it out on their own or like make their own choices, then they’re going to choose something else. They’re going to choose, you know, based on the wrong metric. They don’t know what they should be buying. And so they’ll say, well, how do I choose?

Chris (33:24):

And they’ll probably choose price. If you as a coach say this is the best prescription for you right now, then that’s the prescription they’ll take. All right. Jose says, I have a member who we finally spoke to on the phone and was upset that he was charged when we announced the closure. He spent about 10 minutes talking about how upset he was. We explained the situation. We’re very empathetic to his feelings, but he got a little condescending. He wasn’t listening to the offering, basically telling us, well, I paid for the gym to do cardio. I can program for myself. I’d rather just borrow a rower or bike. He came off very rude and none of my team was feeling this. How can we effectively deal with an individual like that? There’s two things that you can do here. The first thing is forgive them.

Chris (34:07):

Everybody’s under stress. Nobody is behaving in character. The second thing that you can do if you can accommodate them is to say, here’s how we can help. And the third thing to do is just say, I understand this isn’t for you. We’ll call you next week to make sure that you’re doing OK. All you can do is demonstrate care, maintain a lifeline. But the bottom line guys is like, they didn’t sign up for this either. This might not be for them. And you have to be willing to accept that the new clients that you’re bringing in right now, this is for them. There’s a great chance that the clients that you gain for online coaching are not going to join your gym later. That’s OK. They’re after different things and luckily we can provide it to both. Maybe we can’t provide it to both right now.

Chris (34:52):

Yeah, Jose, this is the second time you almost lost the gym. Please share that experience with everybody. Everybody here can learn from it. The reality of the situation guys is that we’re probably going to be closed for 90 days. Some gyms haven’t closed yet. Like Sweden, some gyms like mine have been closed for a couple of weeks, some gyms closed, reopened and re-closed again, like in China. We don’t know what’s going to happen at this point. You have a massive opportunity. You solidified your base. You already did that in the incubator. You’ve got solid processes. You changed your offer, which is the next step. That’s fine. Everybody made that pivot. You retain members. You guys are doing amazing at this. Like, I wish you could all hear some of the horror stories that I’m hearing from franchisees and even business owners in other industries.

Chris (35:41):

Like they’re done. They’re wiped out. They’re out of business and trying to figure it out the next stage of their life. And now some of you are starting to grow again. You’re starting to acquire new clients. We have every reason to be optimistic, you guys. But we can’t lose sight of the reality that we don’t know what’s going to happen here. I think that online training is a massive opportunity. I think that the urgency of the situation is actually a blessing to make all of us add that revenue stream. It’s gonna make us less fragile business owners in the long term. We just have to get through it. And every single day that you spend delivering, refining that online service is going to make you better at it. You’ve already got a huge jump on the rest of the industry and there are 9 billion people in the world who need your service right now. 90% retention Rich, congratulations brother. You deserve that. And as I said at the start of this call, that is less a testament to the strategy and more a testament to your care, your trust, and your delivery of excellent coaching, no matter what the platform. I’m going to sign off there. I hope this helps everybody. Have a fantastic, fantastic Sunday and we’ll stay in touch.

Andrew (36:55):

This is Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts. Two-Brain Business serves a global network of gyms and is collecting the best strategies for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. To see our essential resources, visit and click COVID-19 at the top.

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Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday.

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