Mateo: 00:02 – Hey it’s Mateo of Two-Brain Marketing. On this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking with Natalie Marcom from Nakoma CrossFit in Arizona. You’ll learn about her experience and what it’s like to run a gym in 118-degree weather. You’ll also learn about her advertising system and how she spent $260 on ads and generated $4,400 in front-end sales. So you don’t want to miss this. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio for more marketing tips and secrets each week.
Greg: 00:31 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.
Greg: 00:48 – We would like to thank another one of our amazing sponsors, UpLaunch. Over the amount of time that you’ve had your business, how many people have come through your doors and never signed up for a membership? When I first opened, I remember getting everybody’s name and emails because that’s what I was told was the best way to start the conversation with potential new members. The big problem was I never knew what to say. Over many years, I spent countless hours developing plenty of emails to send to these new members or people that are thinking about signing up for a membership. This took a lot of time, probably way too long, and could have been spent on more productive things. If you’re in the same situation I was, don’t waste any more time and book a free session with UpLaunch. UpLaunch has over a hundred prebuilt emails to convert new leads into members. And when your members decide to take a break, they have a whole campaign to get them back through the doors. You have the ability to text message members from the app, and with integrations like Google calendar, Facebook and over a hundred more via Zapier, UpLaunch has you covered. UpLaunch was created by gym owners for gym owners. Head over to www.uplaunch.com today to get the conversation started with your future and past clients.
Mateo: 01:58 – Hello and welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Mateo Lopez, and today I am with Natalie Marcom. She just told me before the started like mark ’em up, mark up the board. I guess maybe if you’re writing down a WOD, who knows, mark’em up from Nakoma CrossFit, and we’re going to learn a little bit more about her and her business and some of the cool stuff she’s got going on with the marketing side of things. So, Natalie, how are you?
Natalie: 02:25 – I’m doing great. How are you?
Mateo: 02:27 – I am great. Thanks for joining me today. So for those who are listening and don’t maybe know who you are, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, and a little bit about your business.
Natalie: 02:44 – Who I am, that’s like a loaded question, isn’t it?
Mateo: 02:46 – Yeah, it is. It could just be like , you know, how’d you get into fitness? How’d you get into CrossFit and why you like doing it? And then that should be enough, right?
Natalie: 02:58 – It should be plenty. I started CrossFit about eight or nine years ago. I kind of felt like I missed the boat because I actually jumped into a CrossFit gym cause I thought it was a Christian gym. I thought, well how cute. I want to try that. And I walked in, I was like, there’s no cross on the wall. What is this?
Mateo: 03:22 – Faith-based fitness? That’s what you thought?
Natalie: 03:25 – I really did. I really did. It was kind of shocking. And then, I was morbidly obese actually at the time, and this guy was looking at me and he was a nice guy. He just wasn’t the best communicator. And I was like, this is not for me. And I walked out and then I started really my weight-loss journey and ended up being like, oh no, I missed it. That was going to be really cool. And so when we moved to now where I am, Havasu, I found out this guy who had a garage or had a gym in his garage, and I was like, I have to do that. So that’s how I started CrossFit, and then ended up opening my own gym here two and a half years ago in Lake Havasu City and at the urging actually of some clients that were like, you should open up your own gym. After I had left the gym for a time after my mom passed, not because that gym owner was really doing anything wrong, and I just decided I wasn’t going to go back. And I was even coaching and everything, I just was a little burnt out and so decided, well people really think I should do this and try this. Then I guess I’ll give it a shot.
Mateo: 04:42 – So you were burnt out and decided, oh I know what will make that better. I should open a gym. That will be—
Natalie: 04:53 – And there’s way more backstory to it than that.
Mateo: 04:56 – That makes sense. All right, cool.
Natalie: 04:59 – In Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Mateo: 05:02 – Arizona. Got you.
Natalie: 05:04 – So like halfway between Phoenix and Vegas.
Mateo: 05:06 – Got it. And Nakoma CrossFit. So is that cause like you might be in a coma after you go take the CrossFit class?
Natalie: 05:14 – Yes, no, we have native American culture all around us. And when I created my name, I wanted a name that meant “strong,” and Nakoma, in Native American language, means “strong warrior.”
Mateo: 05:29 – That’s awesome. Way cooler than the off-color joke I just made. That’s amazing. Great. Okay. So been open for about two and a half years, you said. What was it like taking those first steps, you know, from being, I guess sounds like you were coaching a little bit and being on the athlete side to then, you know, trying to try and open and run your own gym. What was it like in those early days?
Natalie: 05:54 – It was scary because I bought out another gym, but all I took was their equipment. I got no people, no nothing. And so literally from scratch, have built this thing and it’s been really—many times I feel like I’m white-knuckling it. And at times I feel like I’m working myself to death. But then there’s, you know, as a business owner there’s some really great highs to it, too. And so that’s kind of what fuels me and keeps me going.
Mateo: 06:28 – Awesome. And so where along in the process did you think about maybe I should pursue some mentorship or find some help and some guidance? And how did you stumble onto Two-Brain?
Natalie: 06:41 – Well, people are not my problem, connecting with people. Coaching people are not my problem. How to run a business? I have never done that before. So this is first-time entrepreneurship and really recognizing like, I don’t know what I’m doing. And so searching the internet, being part of owner groups on Facebook and hearing people say, well, there’s this mentorship program, there’s this business program, there’s that and the other. And really looking into them, subscribing to emails and newsletters and searching people out. And as you know, Chris Cooper is very persistent in his emails and just always getting these little nuggets of information. I’m always like, well, I want to know more about that and I want to know more. And so, two years of that, and he had a summit, the second summit that came across my inbox and I finally was like, well, I’ll try that and see, you know what, I think of that and went, and it literally took probably 12 people talking to me at the summit before I was like, okay, I think I’ll sign up for some mentorship. I mean it’s been really great. The thing is like even at the summit you’re left, like, you get all these little nuggets of information and you still are like, but I want to know more. And then once you jump into the Incubator, then you’re like, oh, okay this, these are the answers and this is the prioritization that I was really looking for and seeking. This is like the nuts and bolts, very direct step one, step two, step three, how to, and that’s really what I’ve needed.
Mateo: 08:28 – Yeah. The, the summit can be overwhelming just cause like there’s so many things you want to take action on at once cause you’re learning all these things you never thought of before and that’s where mentorship comes in. It provides that direction, that framework,I think. So this was—was this last year’s summit? I’m assuming. So 2018 okay. I was there. I was around for that. Yeah, I was there. There are a lot. Well, awesome. Okay, cool. So you’ve been, you’ve been operating for, you know, two years. It sounds like you were looking for some help. You got on a bunch of newsletter lists. Something stood out about what Chris was saying, went to the summit and then pulled the trigger. That’s awesome. So what was the first thing that you saw, or I guess before I ask that one, what was the thing you felt you really needed help with? I know you said the business side, but what was really eating away at you? Was it a time thing or was it just, you know, what was it?
Natalie: 09:32 – I was getting to the point where I was like, I tell people like I needed to grow up in business and I needed to figure out how do I make my business more legitimate. I had a couple of coaches, how do I add more coaches, which Two-Brain actually came after I had a bunch of coaches, but then how do I make us more of a team? Really the driving force for me though was how do I pay myself, and I mean I’m 43 years old and so I’m looking at you know, retirement in the not-too-distant future and how do I start paying myself and be able to save for my own future. I was paying myself for my coaching hours. How do I make it, like I said, a legitimate business where you turn a profit that means something.
Mateo: 10:20 – And so when you started working mentorship, what was the first thing you started to see a change in, in the business? What was the first thing you were able to take action on and say, oh wow, like this is now moving in the right direction?
Natalie: 10:31 – That’s a funny question because it’s like a fire hose, the things that changed. What the first thing I’m not even sure, but I actually made a list of things that have changed since. Probably the first time that I was like, you know, you asked what’s your first Bright Spot? Like the first one that I was like, oh my gosh, this is really working, was I hit record attendance in the gym in July when my numbers would normally be down. So you have to know that in Havasu, we hit temperatures of like 118 degrees in the summer, and we are a swamp-cooled facility. And so when you walk in, we feel good when the air is circulating and it’s still a hundred degrees in the gym. And so you can imagine that people are like, it’s a little too hot to be working out today.
Natalie: 11:34 – So to hit record numbers of attendance in July when people are like, oh, hell no, I’m not going to the gym. I was like, oh, this is really working. But I mean, along with that, I finished—I had been working on standard operating procedures and I knew I needed to make an operations manual but I finished that, we did coaching evaluations and seeing not only the reactions from my coaches but also seeing the reactions from clients that were here. Like, oh, you really care if you evaluate your coaches. Those were some of the like intangible things. But my fixed costs are down 10%. I increased revenue $2,000. Again, I told you about the record number of attendance, the interest in my gym, just in people coming in, if I had to try to put a number on it, it would be something like 200%. It is unbelievable, some of the changes that have happened in just a really short three months of being with Two-Brain.
Mateo: 12:37 – Wow. That’s incredible. And that’s great. So let’s talk about that awareness then and talk a little bit about what was it like for you once you started doing the paid advertising stuff with, with Khaleda, what did you see, what was that experience like? And what kind of results of your first campaign and how did you manage?
Chris: 12:57 – Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.
Natalie: 14:38 – Thank you. Yeah. How did I manage? That’s the better question. I white-knuckled it. So, the thing I really have appreciated, Mateo, especially about you is how simple you have made the breakdown of how to create an ad. Khaleda and I would joke, I said, you know, you create these little one-and-a-half-minute videos, then they only take you 30 minutes to get through. You know, you listen and you pause and then you go do this and then you listen and you pause and then you go do that. I have learned stuff in creating an ad that I had no clue. I am not a very technical person and I was like, I just created a movie. Really learned it doesn’t have to be like the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen in your life. It gets the point across.
Natalie: 15:32 – White-knuckling, I joke about that because once we turned the ads on, my calendar filled up and I was like Khaleda what do I do? I mean I was having four and five appointments on my schedule a day in addition to coaching and trying to do administrative work. And so how did I manage? I turned my ads down from $15 a day to $5 a day. And that helped. But I still was really overwhelmed and emailed her again, Khaleda, what do I do? Like I’m still really overwhelmed with all these people coming in the door. And she was traveling and so it took her 24 hours to get back to me. But I was so panicked in that 24 hours that I just shut them off and I was like, well I could have done a dollar a day, but yeah, managed, I just worked my ass off literally 12-hour days and did the very best I could.
Mateo: 16:34 – Yeah, I mean, and obviously it paid off. You mentioned before we hopped on, you spent close to $260 on your ads in total and generated close to $4,400 in front-end sales, which is awesome. So what was that experience? Well, I guess before we dive into the details there, in your words, cause I know you said you made like a movie basically, you know, a video describing what you offer and you know, your programs at your gym. In your words, what is it that you sell and how do you sell it?
Natalie: 17:07 – I sell service, I sell help to people. Kind of confused by the question what do I sell? I mean, like we sell things, we sell CrossFit classes. We sell nutrition, we sell personal training, we sell movement assessments. We sell products, FitAids and Perfect Bars. We sell things, but I sell help to people. And really what I feel that—I mean in my own professional opinion of what people need, I sell a service. How do I sell it? I sell it by connecting to people and asking them questions in a way that I can say, “OK, here’s your need and here’s what I offer,” and try to pair those two.
Mateo: 17:55 – I don’t think you’re confused by the question, you answered to perfectly. That was it, there you go. So, all right, so then you had these leads coming in, had appointments being booked up. Walk me through your process, what happened when they were they were booked and then they kind of walk into the door? What happens?
Natalie: 18:13 – Well, this is kind of where having a mentor gave me something I never thought about. Part of the booking process I stole from my mentor, his questionnaire that he has on Acuity. So when people go on Acuity and they book the appointment, I already have an idea of how they heard about me, what they’re looking for, what their goals might be in a very general, broad sense. I mean they can just answer—some people answer in a few sentences, some people answer in one-word things, but at least I have an idea before they walk in. So, when they book an appointment, I am calling them. If I don’t hear from them—I’m trying to get a response from them. And so when I don’t hear from them, in saying, hey, are you, you know, I’m just reminding you about your appointment. Are you going to be there? Then I will off of your suggestion for their appointment to try to make sure they’re coming in the door, I send them a video text message and I’m like, hey, this is me. Like you get to meet with me. Lucky.
Mateo: 19:18 – Don’t stand me up, please.
Natalie: 19:20 – Yeah, exactly. Because that just really makes me mad. And so I’m trying to get a response from them. If I don’t hear from them from video and there’s all kinds of reasons that maybe you don’t get video text messages or whatever. Then I will email them just a few hours or text them a few hours before and be like, Hey, just wanted to remind you. Most of the time with those two bumps, I will hear from somebody, and then if I haven’t heard from them, then it’s a 50/50. They may or may not show up. When they come in, then before they come in, I’m looking at that questionnaire that they filled out on Acuity and I’m asking them questions but also like I have that awareness of who they are and what’s bringing them in. And then I pull out my questionnaire of things to ask them like, well, what brings you in?
Natalie: 20:14 – I already know the general answer, but sometimes when you just ask them what brings you in and what are you hoping I can do for you, it just opens a floodgate. And I listen, that’s the biggest thing, is just listen and then trying to, like I said, pair how they’re answering these questions, not only what are you looking for, but what are your goals and why is that important to you? And by the time that they get done saying all of this, and then I tell them, well, you need this, this is what I offer and this is where you’ve been lacking and this is how we, you know, accomplish that or help that problem and accomplished that goal, they have kind of sold themselves. They already understand, I don’t have to push. And most of the time it comes down to can they afford it or can they not?
Mateo: 21:07 – I think what you just said there was really important, just listening. Right? I think that’s the most important part of the sales process. And then prying, you know, saying what brings you in? You said you have an answer from your sheet but you have to keep going. Right. Get a little bit deeper. Find that why and then—
Natalie: 21:23 – The real why.
Mateo: 21:24 – Yeah, the real why. Exactly. Because only if you have that can you appropriately prescribe, you know, what the right solution is going to be for them. And that matches you and what you have to offer. That’s awesome. So now how’s it been adjusting, especially with this new cohort of people and getting your staff up to speed, you know, what was that process like and what advice you have to people who are starting to get in a whole new batch of people, who are advertising a little bit more heavily than they have in the past, and getting your staff like aligned and ready to say, hey, we got some new people coming in. We’ve been advertising pretty heavily. Like, we want to make sure the experience is consistent and they keep coming after their six or 12 weeks that they’re starting with us.
Natalie: 22:12 – We had to lay a foundation first before we ever even started the marketing. I mean like we already had our gym culture of being helpful and encouraging and friendly and warm, and laying part of that foundation was bringing more people to on to teach fundamentals is what we call our on-ramp program, and knowing those processes before you even bringing people in the door. So then when we have that part, it’s seamless, it’s just more work. I also am a stickler for not running any more, at max three people in fundamentals at one time. It’s really important for us to really connect with people and get to know them and to make them feel comfortable. And so when I say something in my ad like I’m going to take you by the hand and I’m going to lead you step by step and I’m going to make you feel comfortable in the gym, that I am holding true to that standard. So for me, no more than three, which it makes it very busy because when you get an influx of, you know, 18 people, I’m going to have to run fundamentals two times a day, three and four and five days a week. But we’ve laid that foundation and having more people to be able to spread that work amongst has been helpful. But practiced in leading people and then I’m on the opposite side of that. I mean, I teach fundamentals, too, but I’m on the other side of that and really working with the retention part of it and how are you doing? How is this going? How are you feeling? And then offering those, cause you always get this soreness, you know, and this was really hard. And then helping people, you know, this is what you do and how you do it. And so that’s how I’m working with all of the busy-ness. Does that answer the question?
Mateo: 24:16 – Yeah, and it does. And I think that’s important. Making sure you’re having that check-in point right after their first—they go through their fundamentals and then even after their first few classes and making sure everyone’s kind of aligned and checking in with these new clients and saying, Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, you’re sore. Like try X, Y, and Z. Here’s this PDF. Make sure you’re drinking water, whatever it is, to make sure that, you know, they continue to have one, that level of service and attention they were getting in their fundamentals. And then two, just to make sure that they’re happy and getting the results they want and they’re going to keep coming back. And it sounds like you’re doing a great job with that. So my last question here then for you is, it sounds like you’ve gone through a really, well, amazing journey. Your whole fitness journey sounds, you know, like it’s been a process, but it sounds like it’s been a great one. And even in the last three months you’ve seen a really dramatic change in your business, bringing in more revenue. You’re advertising in a way that you never thought was possible for someone who is not so tech-savvy. So what advice do you have for anyone who’s maybe kind of where you were after that first year and a half, two years? Running a box by themselves and are hoping to make a change.
Natalie: 25:36 – Seek out help and seek out the information that you want. Like for me, I was like, you want me to spend how much on Incubator? It is scary to jump into and to, you know, commit to spending the money. And I know that talking to other people in Two-Brain, they were like, oh, but believe me, it’s worth it. And I’m like, but you stayed on, like why? I understand it now. The thing is like, what I have learned with Two-Brain is not any information that I couldn’t get anywhere else. All of the information is out there, but there’s no possible way that I could’ve put it together in the six to eight weeks that I did it. And so the accountability and the precision with how it’s laid out and the step-by-step direction has been invaluable to me, worth every penny.
Natalie: 26:40 – And I already just in the three months have made back that money that I spent. And so my advice is to lay down your ego, let go of the fear, because fear, I think, is what stops us a lot from doing things. And just jump in and go for it. Like take the risk and do it. I have to be one of the most skeptical people, I think, and in Two-Brain they say it takes what, like nine touch points before you really know whether it’s a yes or a no. And I was like, well, for me it took 12 and that was in the middle of a summit an day after day, you know, before I signed up. So I was that skeptical. But really just take the risk.
Mateo: 27:41 – Well, thanks so much for coming on today. It’s been amazing. Had a lot of fun. For people who want to talk to you more, maybe they’re visiting Arizona or maybe they just want your advice on how to keep their gym cool in the summer, where can they find you?
Natalie: 28:01 – I’m at nakomaCrossFit.com. I am also on Facebook and Instagram.
Mateo: 28:08 – Awesome. Thanks so much, Natalie.
Natalie: 28:10 – Thank you, Mateo.
Greg: 28:12 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.