How to Keep Clients for Years Instead of Months

Nick Seabock

Mike (00:02):

Here’s what we know. If you don’t keep clients for at least 14 months, you’re going to spend all your time marketing to replace the departed. What if you kept the average client for almost four years? Answer, you’d be in a very good spot. Today on Two-Brain Radio, I talked to a retention leader who’s going to tell you how he does it.

Chris (00:18):

Chris Cooper here to talk about Beyond the Whiteboard, the world’s premier workout tracking platform. Beyond the Whiteboard empowers gym owners with tools designed to retain and motivate members. We all know clients need to accomplish their goals if they’re going to stick around long term, and Beyond the Whiteboard will help your members chart their progress. They can earn badges view, leaderboards, track their macros, assess their fitness levels, and a lot more. Your job is to get great results for your members. Beyond the Whiteboard’s job is to make sure your members see those results and celebrate them. For a free 30-day trial, visit today.

Mike (00:55):

This is Two-Brain Radio and I’m Mike Warkentin. wherever you’re watching or listening, don’t forget to subscribe, ring the notifications bell and hammer a like on this. We really appreciate it. Now. Length of engagement. It’s a key stat. Not churn length of engagement or LEG for short. Basic churn rate calculations assume all clients are equally likely to leave at any time in fitness. That is absolutely not the case. Length of engagement calculations show clients are more likely to leave at very specific times. The gyms that know when these periods occur can take the steps they need to improve their retention. For example, in 2020, we discovered if you can get a client past the eight-month mark, you’ll probably keep them for 14 months. That’s a huge amount of revenue. If you can keep them past that 14-month mark, you can probably keep them for 24 months. Again, that is huge. Nick Seabock of CrossFit Off the Grid keeps clients even longer than that. 41 months. He was one of Two-Brain’s length of engagement leaders for September. And he’s here to tell you how he does it. Nick, welcome. How are you doing today?

Nick (01:51):

Wonderful. Thanks for having me.

Mike (01:53):

I am pumped. Sales are sexy. Retention is more important. It’s one of those things where, right. Everybody wants to sell stuff and market, but retention is way more important because it costs less to retain a client than it does to acquire one. So we’re going to pump you for information today and hopefully you can help some gym owners keep clients longer. So here’s the deal. I want to ask you about your history first, because you have a really interesting twist in your story. You’re actually the third owner of the business, but you still have retention from the garage days. So I need to understand before we get into everything, give me the short history of Off the Grid. So we have the background.

Nick (02:24):

Yeah, absolutely. So really Off the Grid is a really unique place. It started in, I want to say 2007, with Mark Saber and, very early days, started in the garage. Probably did Fran one too many times, really, you know, just kind of seeing what stuck, but there was something to it. He opened a building, and that’s the building I’m in today. I first walked in there in 2015. So Mark started Off the Grid. My mentor and coach Kenny. He also worked out in the garage. He didn’t coach there, but that’s where he did a lot of a lot of his fitnessing. I found my CrossFit journey started in Kenny’s garage. Kenny Barber. He was the second owner after Mark. I started working out in Kenny’s garage.

Nick (03:23):

He opened his own gym. Didn’t work out, ended up moving to Off the Grid in 2015, he was the head coach and manager there. And I was kind of in a transition getting out of a career, I was a chef before all this. And, it wasn’t very healthy or conducive to my lifestyle, or what I saw for myself. So I kind of put it out there. Kenny brought me on board in 2015 to start coaching. That was also my first experience at Off the Grid. There’s a memory I have of standing there and watching people work out and it was just, there was something to it and it stuck with me and I said, I want to be here. And, quickly started with open gym on Sundays and then started picking up more classes, fast forward to 2018.

Nick (04:12):

They called me and offered to sell the gym. They said, Hey, either we’re going to close or you’re taking it over. And I said, well, this is my home. So let’s do it. Worked hard to, you know, get to that point and set up for taking ownership in 2019. Kenny was still coaching. He was helping with programming, Mark, he’s the magical unicorn every once in a while. He’ll pop up out of nowhere and work out and disappear and we won’t see him for a year, but he’s still got it. So it’s still, you know, it’s still pretty tight knit group, even after all these years.

Mike (04:49):

  1. So it’s interesting. I’ve been around long enough. I’ve talked to a lot of old school gym owners, people who sold their businesses. And, you know, I think of several in particular told me that they sold these labors of love to someone and then they bled clients and they actually had to watch their gyms just bleed out under new ownership. So how concerned were you about that when you bought the gym, like, were you worried in that transition that your clients or existing clients were going to be like, no more Nick?

Nick (05:16):

I would be, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have that thought. I think that’s something, if I’m being honest, a lot of us struggle with daily of that fear of everybody could just walk out the door tomorrow, then what? Right. I think that’s something intrinsically we all deal with. Sometimes we don’t want to admit it, but it’s there. We gotta be honest. It happens. Unfortunately that did happen in 2017. There was a divide. We lost probably upwards of 40 to 50 members. A new gym opened up down a mile down the street. That’s a long story for another day.

Nick (05:53):

Yes, so it did happen. And, it wasn’t under my watch, but I was there. I was, you know, coaching every day and I was still very, very much a part of the community and trying to keep Off the Grid alive. I knew in my gut that was a special place. It gave me, it helped me on my journey and I know it did a lot of good for me. And I wanted to see that for a lot of people and do my best to keep that afloat. So when I took over in 2019, my commitment was not only to not have that happen again, but to lead and be a leader and communicate and not leave, you know, no questions, no guessing, no, you know, people over here doing whatever programming and this happening in that it’s one cohesive unit. So that in my brain, that was OK. That’s step one. As long as I’m clear and open and honest and communicating, I think we’ll be good.

Mike (06:53):

  1. So now here’s the big question. So you went through that experience where you saw 40 to 50 people bleed off in a, you know, the gym wars as we call them. But so what did you do to ensure a smooth transition to prevent that kind of thing from happening as you came in? Like, what was your plan and did it work? Obviously it did, you’ve got 41 month length of engagement, but tell me the details of this thing.

Nick (07:13):

So transitioning from the management and head coach role into now, a owner, it took time, it took work. It took relearning who I was and my relationship now to not only the gym, but the members and my family and, what, you know, taking off the hats. And I was very much the person that was doing it all, cleaning, you know, I like things a certain way. I’m slightly OCD, members make fun of me cause I walk in and they turn the dumbbells.

Mike (07:47):

I hear you, dude, I’m the exact same way.

Nick (07:50):

I couldn’t if I wanted to survive mentally, but also from a business side, I knew deep down, I couldn’t do that, and continue to do so. But step one was sending out the letter to the members and saying, Hey, you know, nothing’s really changing, but I plan on doing X, Y, and Z. And that first piece was just communicating and saying, Hey, I’m transparent. I’m going to keep you guys up to date on everything and where we’re going, where we’re headed and lay out plans and all that. At the time, I didn’t know exactly how to do so. I kind of had ideas just based on what was working before. but I also made the commitment to, Hey, I want to do this right. And that’s where I started looking around for different, you know, mentorship really?

Mike (08:41):

Yeah. And people knew you, I guess, like you’d been there for a while. So it wasn’t like you were a brand new person just getting bombed in from the outside. You were a part of the community. Right. But when you started to take over, were there any, like obviously you were there and it wasn’t going to be sharp changes direction, but were there some turns that you were going to make that maybe you thought, oh, people are going to say, I’m not sure how this is going to go over.

Nick (09:00):

Yes. And that was the start of the hard conversations. And it’s funny because a lot of these little things I did based off of my personal journey of Nick and the growth I went through, you know, through my mid twenties, into my thirties and transitioning from, you know, married, divorced now, married, kids and that whole growth and everything kind of mirrored each other, my growth in the gym from open gym to management to now owner was also reflected back from me as a human. So I knew in my gut, OK, there’s some things I don’t like. There’s some hard conversations gonna have to have, just like those dumbbells, I want this gym to look and feel a certain way. in 2019, the second piece, the first piece was being in 2015, experiencing Off the Grid and saying, Hey, this is it.

Nick (09:51):

The second piece was the Open, the transition from 2018 to 2019. A lot of people talk about it, but there was something different. And I remember standing on the floor for the first workout and it just wasn’t the same. Open. wasn’t the same. I remember standing there and just not wanting to feel that and I said, Hey, Nick, what do you need to do to recapture the magic of the Open? And that’s where I found Two- Brain. That’s where I found the intramural guide. What sent me along the path of Two-Brain. And here I am today, which is crazy to me.

Mike (10:26):

Yeah. And listeners, if you are looking for a way to re-energize your Open, or generate some revenue, you know, and/or generate revenue, I encourage you to get that guide, the intramural open guide, Two-Brain puts that out, and it is fantastic. It will recharge your entire community and you’ll make some money off of it while everyone has a good time. So Nick, I’m glad you found that one as a way into Two-Brain.

Nick (10:47):

I can’t speak highly enough of that. That’s what hooked me in. That’s what drew me in. And that’s what started the process and answering all the questions. So back to the original question I had, you know, those conversations I had to have, there were some members, you know, there were still some weed clients, and they didn’t really fit what I was looking to do as far as the cohesiveness. Right. I knew I wanted people to be committed and I had to lead from the top and be upfront, be transparent. So I sat down and I said, Hey, this is my expectations. Some of them wanted to be coaches. I met, you know, right when I took over, Hey guys, even if they’d been coaching her for five, 10 years, I gave everybody a contract.

Nick (11:32):

I gave everybody expectations. And 99% of them met that with no problem. And then there’s the 1%. And that’s where I started. That’s where things started telling them, just being honest, Hey, it’s nothing personal, but I’m not Nick the coach anymore. Or the manager, I’m the owner. And this is my, this is me. This is my life. And I don’t know if you’re a good fit for where we’re going. Nothing personal and, you know, let them work through it and go through the emotions and all the things. But those are the hard things to do. And that’s my advice is you gotta, you gotta do it. You gotta do it.

Mike (12:10):

What I’m getting from right off the top here is first, you know, you came in, you communicated, which is so important and you communicated internally, and, you know, obviously with your staff, I mean, sorry to your members and your staff, but then the second thing I’m getting from you is commitment, right? And you had a commitment to a vision and to like following through on that vision and doing the hard stuff that comes with it, because those conversations with the 1% are never fun. Right? You gotta have some, you know, you’re going to have some tears, some anger, it’s not fun. but you did it. So you’ve got those two things related to that commitment is like, you decided to find a mentor to help you through it. And that’s something that, you know, in the early days I didn’t do that.

Mike (12:43):

I just banged my head against a wall. I’m like, I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure it out. I made endless mistakes, you know? And then finally, you know, I ended up working with Chris and Two-Brain and things started quickly turned around and I didn’t have to make all the mistakes the same way. Let’s move into from the history. Now let’s move into like, what are the key elements of your current retention plan? So what we’ve got is we’ve got some of the background of what you’d laid the groundwork to set the basis for like retention of almost four years at 41 months. Tell me about the stuff that’s keeping that going. What are you doing right now? Day-to-day?

Nick (13:13):

So I think the easiest is social media. That is, it’s free. You might need to pay for some software to keep you organized. And up-to-date X, Y, and Z, but it’s a free marketing platform that anybody can use. Within that. There’s still a purpose. So for us, our social media, our goal, our mission is just to tell our members’ story day to day, celebrate bright spots, put them on a podium. All the things Two-Brain talks about. As humans, it’s basic human wants, needs and desires. We want to be loved. We want to be seen, we want to be heard. That’s easy. And that gives you, just take a picture of somebody and put it on your it’s. They love it. But, and it’s not from a marketing standpoint per se of like, look at us how cool we are. It’s this person went from maybe not ever being able to do a pull-up. And now they’re doing five to 10 kipping pull-ups or they got their first rope climb. Any number of things, easy to do, put it on a little whiteboard, take a picture in front of your logo, put it out there, tell their story.

Mike (14:23):

How long does it take to do that?

Nick (14:26):

Minutes. Right after the workout. Come over here. Let me get a picture real quick, I’m gonna you up on Facebook.

Mike (14:31):

And it’s too pronged, right? Because like that is whether you like it or not. It is a marketing tool because people will see that and be like, oh, smiling, happy person who kind of looks like me does like, maybe I could be that person, but it’s even more, it’s a retention tool because everyone, like you said, everyone loves to see themselves celebrated. And if you do that and put your members on a podium as Chris Cooper has written about many times, you’re going to have increased retention. Listeners and viewers, if you have two minutes after this podcast, go out, find a member, put that member up on Facebook, Instagram, whatever, celebrate him or her, make it happen. Do that today. Keep going, Nick.

Nick (15:05):

You could build upon that. It doesn’t even have to be things that happen within the gym. It could be outside of the gym. They went and hiked five miles for the first time or those things. The gym’s a tool. What we’re really trying to do is make people harder to kill, make us last a little bit longer and do some cool stuff along the way. So if you find stuff on their Facebook, ask them, Hey, can I use that? I’m so proud of you. That’s awesome. It would be great to post about.

Mike (15:29):

You see content. They almost always say yes, and you don’t have to even take the picture.

Nick (15:33):

They publish it for you.

Mike (15:35):

And it takes like 20 seconds.

Nick (15:37):

Absolutely. Copy and paste. And then kind of, I think also too, within the community itself, if you do have an active group on Facebook per se, you know, celebrate the bright spots on Friday, I know we do it in the growth group. Do it in your private groups. People love that. Shout them out. We do it in class, but not everybody’s there in class. So if you do it on your Facebook and you know, if you do emails a lot, put it in there.

Mike (16:06):

Listers. I’m going to give you a tip on that one. You can’t just do it one time and expect it to take off. You have to do bright spots every single Friday or whatever day you choose and do it relentlessly. And you’re gonna have to lead from the front. So it’s not enough to say, Hey, post your bright spots. You need to get your coaches and you yourself need to post some bright spots. And then people will eventually start to do it. If you just make a half-ass commitment to it, you’re not going to get results and people won’t buy in and it’ll die. Do it every time, post a lot. And then like, and comment and celebrate people when they do. That’s the only way to grow that thing. All right, what else you got?

Nick (16:39):

So we do, I do a monthly recap. Just a quick, I have a Google doc. I just copy and paste each month update based off of new members, PRs. If we had a test week, keep them up to date on, we’re headed, when test week is going to be, and then also events. If we have any events coming up on the calendar, again, just like you said, it’s not just posting once and forget about it. That’s anything, anything you write, any blogs. You could wrote a blog five years ago, guess what? You probably have a hundred new people that never read it. Republish it. There’s nothing wrong with that. Constant communication. That’s key. It’s key.

Mike (17:18):

When I was running a gym and there were times when I was stressed about whatever aspects of the business, I realized that I hadn’t talked to my members in a while. That’s a huge mistake. Right? And I’ve heard it from other people, not just you, but just the idea of like, just texting members randomly, whether it’s like, Hey, I haven’t seen you or, Hey, I saw you working really hard in that workout. And I was just wanting to mention that, that communication, those touch points are so important. It goes beyond like, ah, you know, push your knees out in the squat. It’s like, Hey, I saw you. You know, I see you. And I recognize you, that interaction with members has a huge, huge effect that you can’t measure. But it’s obviously there, right? So I love your communication plan.

Chris (17:57):

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Nick (18:32):

I think that is something, that might get forgotten. For me, it’s important. You know, it’s very important for the coaches. I let them know too. Hey, it’s two touch points. Say their name a couple of times. And the touch points don’t have to be, Hey, you know, these are tempo squats so make sure X, Y, and Z. How’s your mom doing? I know your mom was in the hospital for two weeks. How she’s doing. Those things. That’s what people remember. Oh my God, how’d you remember that? We’re referring back to, I had a member who was sick. They joined was doing great. And the last workout they did ended up being when they came back a repeat. So they were out for two weeks. They came back, it was a retest and it was the same workout. When I said, Hey, last time we did X, Y, and Z.

Nick (19:23):

Let’s try to do this. And they’re like, how do you remember when I did? I don’t know. Maybe I’m a little crazy, but like, so you can hear love, know and trust. You know, you have to put a little bit of effort there. If that’s not your go-to, I can’t say it enough. It’s important to meet people where they’re at. And that might not just be their PRs during the workouts. It might be what’s more important. And that could be family. That could be, you know, their pets. That could be their trips, whatever that is.

Mike (20:00):

Yeah. You need to get to know your members. And that’s one of the things that Two-Brain Coaching has talked about. It goes beyond like, you know, functional movements performed at high intensity. It goes beyond, you know, squat mechanics, tempo squats, and all this other stuff. It’s actually being a good human being and interacting on a level. And we forget about that sometimes. Cause we’re, you know, we, as coaches, we can be obsessed with rate of force and all this other stuff that nobody cares about, right. What makes us probably better coaches honestly, is being able to interact and like, you know, hang out with each other and people want to be around you. And if you have any relationship and you don’t remember like how many, how often you’re gonna forget your best friend’s like favorite music or, you know, or address or the name of his or her dog or whatever.

Mike (20:38):

It’s not going to happen. And you kind of develop that friendly relationship with your clients. If you do that, they’re going to want to stay a lot around longer because they’re not quitting a gym and they’re not walking away from a coach who’s, you know, just tells them to put your weight back on your heels. That’s quitting a relationship. That’s way harder to do. So you’re clearly doing that. You’re creating relationships with your clients and the OCD that you talked about, which I have also definitely helps with that. Cause you remember stuff. So I want to ask you this. It sounds like, cause we all agree that retention is important. We all agree the communication’s important. We all agree the relationships are important, but often we just forget because we’re busy entrepreneurs, gym owners, how do you systematize this stuff so that you like actually have, you know, OK, I need to text these members or someone needs to, or how do you get this stuff done in an operational standpoint?

Nick (21:26):

Once we laid the groundwork and started reinforcing the foundation, I worked with my mentor, Jeff Jucha, shout out to Jeff, amazing human and wonderful person. He’s amazing. We set the foundation, we built the four pillars we got through COVID. Once we got to this, you know, 2021, back in the gym in 2020, once it kind of seemed like, OK, the COVID thing, it’s not necessarily going away, but we’re almost back to normal in a way, whatever, wherever you are in the world. But for us, you know, I’m in New Jersey. So things have kind of really calmed down a bit. Once we got to that point, you know, laying the foundation, making sure my coaches were good to go, then it was those tougher tasks. Like things you don’t want to just hire somebody for just because you have a need, but finding the right fit for those things.

Nick (22:29):

And I knew within the gym, I had members that fit those roles. So, I found one of our members, Tracy, she takes care of every week. I send her just an update. We use software to, like some CSM stuff, just making sure every week. All right. So-and-so, hasn’t been in gym for one or two weeks. She’ll send them a quick text and an email, Hey, how’s everything going? Typically it’s, you know, busy at work or vacation or like little things. But we do that every week, that I think it’s important. Even if you, like I said, even if it’s nothing big, it doesn’t take that long, granted, if you have a lot of members, that’s where I think, you know, having somebody help you with that is huge because it’s easy to get caught up in all the other stuff that we’re managing. But don’t forget this, that piece. Cause it is mportant. Metrics are great, metrics are important, do your metrics, but also members check in with them. That should be a metric you guys should be thinking about all the time for sure.

Mike (23:32):

Yeah, I’ve heard this. You’re not the first person that’s told me this. John Herringer from Method Three Fitness. I interviewed him last month. He is one, he had $86,000, monthly revenue. He was one of our leaders for that. He told me that he does that. It’s labor-intensive but he has his staff. They do that. They run a report every time they find the people that are absent and they make sure, and like the guy has almost a hundred thousand dollars of revenue a month. That is one of the things that he’s prioritizing. So you’re not the first person to say it. The other thing I like about what you’re doing is that you’re not, you have this thing, you know, it’s automatic, it’s automated to a degree where it’s on a schedule. People do it. We all, you know, the machine works, but it’s not just like the random email that goes, like, it’s just triggered. It’s like, Hey, you did not come to class on insert date here. You know, it’s got that personal touch to it, which, you know, you can certainly use other systems, they’re better than nothing, but the personal touch of like, Hey, and then they interact. You’re like, oh, my dog was sic, oh, how is Fido? You know like, cause you know that like it creates these conversation opportunities. So I love the fact that you have this client success manager, the CSM who’s really invested in this process.

Nick (24:34):

People know when it’s an automated email. People know when it’s coming from you.

Mike (24:39):

Thank you, Nick, for being on Two-Brain Radio.

Nick (24:45):

You could go into your software and make those 3, 6, 12 month check-ins and as personal as you want, but people know that it’s not really coming from you. It’s a set thing. They still go out. We use those, but I have 0%. I’ll tell you the 0% of all my members, nobody responds to those. None. But when I send out my emails or text, you know, without a doubt, they get back.

Mike (25:16):

So you need the systems to like cover the, you know, cause you miss people, right? So the automations are great, but don’t miss that personal touch and it’s more powerful and like it’s worth it. It absolutely is worth it because every response you get is an opportunity to solve a problem. If someone is going to leave, or if someone’s just on vacation, it’s just, you know, hi, how’s it going? These are touch points. So what you’re creating is touch points. Even if it’s a bit of labor, totally worth it, what else you got? Cause these are great. Like, the thing that I’m looking for here is like, we’re all busy and we forget this stuff. So what else have you systematized for retention?

Nick (25:45):

When we do our open, we do our emails, our check-ins, during COVID I, there was the transition point, right? We were online a lot more. So it was, it became, how do I communicate regularly, but not in front of people. And granted, you know, we had zoom, but took advantage of YouTube a lot. So maybe if you know you and your community doesn’t have a strong Facebook group, I think YouTube would be a good resource there. Make a video. It could be once a week, right? Just explaining where you’re going that week with your programming. That’s the simplest and easiest way to put yourself out in front and communicate and say, Hey guys, this week we’re working on X, Y, and Z. Push the YouTube link in an email, weekly recap, boom, there you go. Start the communication process. It doesn’t have to be a daily text to all your members, but something like that is great. Put yourself out in front. And I think in the back of your mind, just have that feeling of never wanting them standing there questioning why are we doing this? Where are we going? What are we doing? There’s always a why give them the why every day.

Mike (26:59):

That’s so easy. Cause you know, it, you just have to throw on the camera. And I’ve talked to gym owners who really struggle with like blogging and content creation. This is like your bread and butter. Talk about why your clients are doing this workout. Why did you program this thing? Why is this thing on your whiteboard? Just throw the camera on. If you prefer, type, whatever you like, that’s easy content. I’m going to ask you this. Do you have, anything? Do you like memorialize y know, like the six month, 12 month annual, do you have any programs in place for stuff like that with members? Long-term people?

Nick (27:28):

There’s two pieces to this. We do a committed club every year. This was something we started last year. So every one, fifty, two hundred and two fifty. So within a calendar year, if you attend 150 classes, you get a shirt.

Mike (27:45):

Three times a week, average.

Nick (27:49):

200, it was same shirt, but gold. And then two 50 is this year is going to be a hoodie. Last year. It was a ncier shirt simple. Right. And if you have software that keeps track of attendance. And there’s a communication piece. We use that every couple, every quarter, I would post put a committed club update. Hey guys, we’re first quarter through the year, put your leaderboard just like Two-Brain, right? Here’s our ARM and LEG leaderboards. Right? Here’s our leaderboard. Don’t forget, you know, you still got whatever, six months to work on this and they see the shirt and they’re like, I want that shirt.

Mike (28:30):

It’s crazy with stuff like that. The earn it. You can’t buy it, stuff. That stuff, it’s crazy what people will do for that. Like have you seen some like, you know, banter and leaderboarding there trying to track down leaders like our people like signing in twice in the last day of the year. Right?

Nick (28:44):

Exactly. Get those sign-ins. So we do that every year. And that restarts with the calendar year. I also think this was an important piece and something I realized last year, we spent a lot of time nurturing and growing our new members and guiding them along the way. But as time goes on, members that have been with you for a while, sometimes not that they’re forgotten, but their PRS are way less. they, you know, they’re committed, they’re there, they’re huge pieces of the gym. And again, not that you as an owner forget about them, but they might feel as if, Hey, you know, you have all these new people that you’re talking to all the time and bright spots. What about us? So like in my situation, having members from the garage days, I was at a point of, OK, how do I celebrate them?

Nick (29:35):

Yes, we’re doing the committed club. Yes. You know, X, Y, and Z. But how do I honor the folks that have been for almost 12 to 13 years. And I will give a shout out to Tommy, over at CrossFit Hooga in Mount Laurel. He is also a Two-Brain member as well. I noticed on his Facebook, they were, they did a thousand club. So all their members that hit a thousand classes, they printed out sign and put it up in the gym. And I said, I like that. I like that a lot kind of falls in place with our committed club, but it’s also an opportunity for us to, you know, put our older members up on there. People walk in, they go what’s that mean? What does that? And oh, that’s our folks that have been, you know, have a thousand classes.

Nick (30:22):

Now the caveat to that, I only have tracking from 2015 up to this point and I had members from 2008. So some of them are at 1500, 2000, who knows. so that’ll be, my next work is OK, let’s replace some of the signs, put them with their true attendance. But that, you know, and we took pictures. We said, Hey, so-and-so has been to x thousand classes. Think about that for a second. That takes minimum five years consistently, at least. And, put it on our social media. It’s a talk point for newer people that come in and they go, what’s all that mean? These are extra committed folks, they’ve done it over a thousand classes.

Mike (31:06):

Well, there’s two things here I’m going to hit. There’s like those milestone posts, they slay on social media. People love them. Like, no matter what the milestone is, whether it’s you celebrating a client or even blowing your own horn and saying, I’ve been open for 10 years, milestone posts are a huge deal for interaction. So guys, I would encourage you to use those both as a gym owner yourself and celebrate your clients. The other thing is like, think about five years of training and a thousand classes, think about what a lifestyle change that is. First of all, you’re creating a streak. So that client doesn’t want to break that streak, obviously. Right. Go for a thousand classes you want to keep going. But also, you know, the changes that happen over a thousand classes of functional fitness is, they’re incredible.

Mike (31:49):

And you can obviously use that as a marketing point too. Like, I’m sure you’ve probably got for some of these guys, if I had a 10 year client, the transition between then and now is going to be quite extreme, probably got if you’ve taken pictures, which you should be, you’re going to have some amazing before and afters. You’re going to have some amazing stories to tell about clients who, you know, quit smoking, had three kids, kept working out like all, you know, divorce, the whole thing, everything. You can just tell these client stories and celebrate them. And I remember, you know, you make a great point with our older members, not older, but, long-term members. We sometimes think of them almost as furniture, right? It’s like, they’re, they’ve been there for so long. They’re just like the sign-in desk at the front door.

Mike (32:25):

They’re just like the pull-up rack bolted over there. and we forget sometimes, but they’re our most valuable clients. Retaining them. You know, they’d given you 10,000, $20,000. Some of them. Retaining them is the biggest, most important thing you can do. So it would be a mistake to be the bank that gives away the free toaster for everyone opens a new account. When the old school people don’t get anything. Right. So I love that. That’s a great point of celebrating your existing clients to, you know, to a huge degree. And it goes back to your point earlier of telling stories, putting them on podiums, anything else in the retention plan that we haven’t covered. These are all great things.

Nick (32:59):

Just to build upon the thousand. If you know, if you’re a newer gym and you don’t have that, you know, you could reduce that down to whatever metric you want to track. But when you get to that point to, it doesn’t have to be a sign. It could be a conversation, sit down with them, ask them. Everybody has a story, right? Ask them what brought them in, ask them, how has your life changed for the better, everybody has something to learn from somebody else. And you have members that probably reflect somebody else out there who might not know what their path is or where they’re going. And they hear something from your member, Greg, and how they went. They lost a hundred pounds and they’re doing Spartan races. And they go, that’s me. I want to do that. But what do I have to do? And then they find your gym and they come in and say, oh, I saw your post about Greg. And that really struck a chord. Like what? Tell their story, you know.

Mike (33:59):

I love it. I love it. Let’s let’s close by this. So you’re one of our leaders. There are people out there. First of all, I’m going to give you the first thing you gotta do. If you do not know your length of engagement, you need to track it. One problem. A lot of gym software doesn’t do a good job of this. It’s worth your time to create any system, even a DIY spreadsheet to make this happen and find out how long people are staying. OK? So like, if you do this, you will find out there are some like, why is everyone leaving at six months? Why is everyone leaving after three months? You know, talk to your people who’ve been here forever, but start tracking length of engagement. Now, Nick, you are the expert on this. So you’ve got a gym owner out there who finds out they’re, you know, they’re losing clients quickly, or they just want to improve this number. The owner doesn’t have a clue. What’s the first step. What would you tell that owner to do today to start improving length of engagement?

Nick (34:51):

I think the first thing is to take a step back out of the whirlwind of gym ownership and the day to day mundane tasks and getting caught up with, take a step back. Be honest with yourself, ask yourself if you’re communicating. Which is probably no. And that that could be with yourself. It might sound weird, but are you talking to yourself? Sometimes I find I’m in my best state when I’m in my car, I’m having a conversation with myself. I’m in a good state. Communicate. If you’re not communicating, start and you could start by telling your story. We all got into this for a reason. If you don’t feel your story’s interesting, that doesn’t mean somebody else does, or doesn’t. Tell your story. explain who you are, what your vision, get your vision out there and get your mission out there and explain why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Nick (35:43):

If that’s established and you’re all well and good, let’s dig a little deeper. And these are things I think will strike a chord with some people. Pay attention to the things that you might be avoiding. There’s some emails, there’s some Two-Brain Radio episodes that I see it. And I go, oh, I wish I was doing that. Or, oh, I’m not doing that well enough. And you have the thought and you could easily skip over that. You could skip over Coop’s emails and I’m not going to read that one because there’s some feelings I’m feeling, or I’m not going to listen to that episode because it’s gonna, it’s gonna make me go down this rabbit hole. Pay attention, paying attention is the first step. Maybe you take action. Maybe you don’t. The best next step would be to take action. Read the email, listen to the episode without bias, take from it.

Nick (36:32):

What you can. There’s always little gems in there and that’s going to elicit, hopefully some ideas, some response, the best case scenario. You have a mentor that you can bounce those ideas off of. And they are the guiding light. And they say, you need to focus on this. Don’t worry about X, Y, and Z. Let’s avoid paralysis by analysis. It’s easy to swipe, swipe, swipe, see what everybody else is doing or compare. Don’t compare. You’re you, you’re sticking to your vision. Your mission. Think about the hard conversations that you might have to have. Take action, never stop learning, be open and honest. Communicate. Take action.

Mike (37:10):

I will tell you guys listeners take action right after the show ends. If nothing else, pick up your phone and message three members and just say, Hey, how’s it going? Or I saw you working hard, wanted, to give you a high five. Just do that. If nothing else from this show, do that, do it right now, Nick, congratulations on making the leaderboard. I can’t wait to see how far you push that number up over the next years from 41 to, you know, as high as you can get it. And I really appreciate your sharing your story. Thank you so much.

Nick (37:39):

Absolutely, thanks for having me.

Mike (37:39):

That was Nick Seabock, he was a Two-Brain length of engagement leader for July. I’m your host, Mike Warkentin. I’ve got a top gym owner on the show every month to share secrets of success. Subscribe for more episodes. And now here’s Two- Brain founder Chris Cooper with a final word.

Chris (37:57):

Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. If you aren’t in the Gym Owners United group on Facebook, this is my personal invitation to join. It’s the only public Facebook group that I participate in. And I’m there all the time with tips, tactics, and free resources. I’d love to network with you and help you grow your business. Join Gym Owners United on Facebook.


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