Creating Sticky Stories That Sell Gym Memberships: Chris Cooper

Picture of Chris Cooper with title text reading" Creating Sticky Stories That Sell Gym Memberships: Chris Cooper."

Chris (00:02):

Strip searches were new for me.

Andrew (00:03):

It’s Two-Brain Radio with Chris Cooper. I’m not going to get in the way of this story. Here’s Chris with a tale you need to hear.

Chris (00:09):

Strip searches were new for me. Standing in the waiting area of a maximum security prison was, too. I was there for my first powerlifting meet skinny white kid, hoping to weigh over 198 pounds at weigh in so that I could compete with the same group as my 270 pound friends. I was scared to be separated from them in here. Scared to get locked in here forever. Scared to just embarrass myself with my lifting. Crossing an international border to reach the prison was the first barrier we saw that morning. Two huge friends were in the front seat of this truck. I was in the back seat. The border guard says, where you guys going in this early in the morning? The driver, my buddy says Kinross prison.

Chris (00:52):

We’re doing a powerlifting meet with the inmates. The guard looks at the driver. You can see his brain just kind of like ticking these boxes. He looks at the driver and he says, OK, powerlifter, tick. He looks at the passenger. Yeah, powerlifter tick. He looks at me. And then he looks again and he turns back to the driver and he says, where’s he going? The driver, my buddy Mike, says, he’s the bait. The guard laughs. The border guards used to laugh a lot in those days. He raised up the barrier we drove through, and I was almost disappointed that we weren’t turned back. But on we went to the prison. More on that topic in just a second. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by AGuard, providing elite insurance for fitness and sport. AGuard offers coverage for functional fitness facilities, mixed martial arts gyms and even events and competitions.

Chris (01:43):

You can also get access to healthcare insurance, discounted AEDs and discounted background checks. AGuard’s coverage options are designed to keep you safe. To find out more, visit affiliat We cleared the security at the prison after the strip search. We pass through locked doors and the guards were giving us these warnings. Don’t sweat that stamp off your hand and don’t get separated from the group or there’s no way for you to get out again. They walked us across the frozen prison yard and locked us in the gym with 50 lifetime inmates. And then the guards left. We looked around, there were three barbells on which 50 men were supposed to warm up in 10 minutes. The terror of the prison, the terror of my first powerlifting meet, the terror of failure. All of that came to one sharp point when I stepped onto the platform, finally. I felt the sharp knurling of the bar cut into my back as I took it out of the racks. My last fear before the judge told me to start my squat was this: Is this bar going to get bloody? And I started to sink with it. I was wound up to my tightest point and had a poor warm-up. But more than that, it was just mental. And I started to squat and then I sprung up from the bottom of the squat so fast that my feet left the ground. I jumped with the weight and I came back down to earth with a thud.

Chris (03:09):

And I got three red lights. That meant I’d failed my first lift because I hadn’t gone deep enough. But the hardest part of the day was over. I relaxed a little bit. I laughed along with everyone else in the room. My next squat was good. My final deadlift was an amazing PR for me. Inmates came up to me and shared their workouts with me. When they got called to their cells for a headcount before lunch, we got left alone in the gym and I actually fell asleep on the reverse hyper. Then we began the slow process of leaving the prison after it was all over and all the jokes, hey, winner gets to go home today. They were funny now,

Chris (03:48):

I’m Chris Cooper. The promise of the digital age was that we could reach more people and capture attention for close to free. And for a while we bought into the hype, we bought ads, but then our world became noisier and we found ourselves having to shout even louder or just pay to be heard. We learned over time that you can buy ads, attention and awareness, but you can’t buy trust, and trust, not attention, is what makes ideas resonate and matter. The path to success is littered with great ideas that failed because they were poorly marketed. Too often, our ideas fail because we haven’t told the right story in the right way. Your idea, your business deserves better. You don’t have to get caught up in the war for attention, but here’s the thing. You can’t change minds without winning hearts. You can learn to tell better true stories, the kind that change how people feel and in turn what they do. In this episode, I’m going to tell you how to tell better stories. I have a workbook for you to download here in the show notes and you can follow along there. And of course, Two-Brain clients get all of these step by step instructions with templates and even white labeled blog posts to copy and use on the Growth ToolKit. In case you haven’t heard my story, here it is. Part one.

Chris (05:08):

The park bench on which I sat had no shade. It was hot outside. The grass was kind of burned under my feet and I burned too, but I didn’t care. I had reached financial rock bottom. We were broke. My business couldn’t pay the rent next month. My wife had decided not to return to work after her maternity leave. We were fighting over the grocery bill. Why’d you buy the expensive cheese? I’d been leaving the house at 4:00 AM and staying at the gym until after seven or 8:00 PM. Every single week day, I was working Saturdays until two or three in the afternoon. And then I was coming home to collapse on the couch. I was skipping meals. I was driving to and from work in this state of deep depression, always in the dark. I had just fired my only Sunday staff person. So I was going to start filling in that shift too.

Chris (05:55):

And I couldn’t see any way out. I could have quit, shut down the gym and got a job maybe, but I had these loans and I didn’t have any skill set outside of fitness. Anyway, the gym was all I knew and it was all I had. And I had resolved to stay in that business until it killed me. But now sweating in that park, I realized it was pretty close. I was working my hardest, but our debt was growing. My wife’s patience was almost gone. Our home, our mortgage was on thin ice. I tried everything. I thought I wasn’t gonna outwork my mistakes. I wasn’t going to out-think my mistakes. I left the park because I had a client booked for a workout. Not because I had any answers that afternoon. A friend sent me an email that changed my life. Now the goal is to get your message believed, not just noticed.

Chris (06:46):

And that means you have to tell the truth. When I started publishing stories on don’, it was because I was trying to help myself remember the lessons that my first mentor was telling me. I know that pretending to teach something to myself or to an imaginary audience helps me retain knowledge. And so that’s the trick that I was following, but because I was writing to myself, I was telling myself the truth. I can’t hide anything from myself. And so I was honest on those blog posts. And what began to happen is that people started to read them and they started to read not just about this guaranteed way to get 20 new clients in 10 days, but about mistakes and things that screwed up and things that I was trying and didn’t work and how I overcame the huge obstacles, you know, caused by the mistakes that I had made, really.

Chris (07:34):

And people began to email and say, I made that exact same mistake. I’m overpaying this staff person, or I’m giving away too much for free, or I’m giving all these discounts and it’s killing my business. And I was glad to see how you overcame it and how hard it was. I started to reach other gym owners. But I’ve been creating content and telling stories since the dawn of time. Early in my career, probably around 1998, I realized that publishing content online was what helped elevate local personal trainers into national acclaim. Guys like Dave Tate, they were publishing stuff on back then, and people were finding them, you know, they were kind of becoming famous within the strength-and-conditioning world. And I thought that meant that they were making more money. So I started writing the kind of stuff that they were writing, informational articles.

Chris (08:24):

I started trying to find a local platform so that I could reach local clients. And I found local news sites. And I started writing informational articles for them. One of the first things that I ever had published was linear periodization in sport. Now probably nobody in Sault Ste. Marie ever read that, but I kept publishing anyway. And I started to actually get clients because I started telling better stories. And in 2006, I found Seth Godin right before I found CrossFit. And when I found CrossFit, I had read enough Seth to know that there was nothing novel in the training method, what was different about CrossFit was that it was telling a compelling story. It was a very sticky story, full of heroes and clocks and sport and competition and self-improvement, and the messages felt logical to me. But more than that, I wanted to be part of this story as it unfolded. Stories tie your intelligence together.

Chris (09:27):

The people you’re trying to reach and resonate with are not persuaded by facts. They don’t just want to know about what you do or serve or sell; they want to know why. They want to know your story. The goal is to get your message believed, not just noticed. Every successful individual in our organization has figured out how to influence and inspire people and create the change they seek to make by telling better stories. So now I’d like you to open up that storytelling workshop worksheet and turn to page one. And I’d like you to think about these questions. Now because we’re on audio and I don’t want you driving down the road to dead silence or trying to stay motivated on a run to dead air, I’m going to move quickly through these questions, but when you’re working through the sheet, take your time and really think about them.

Chris (10:18):

What story does this tell? Forging elite fitness. Think about that. What story does this tell? Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. What about high intensity interval training? What story does that tell to you? What story would that tell to your mom? What story would that tell to a stranger? Stories paint a picture in our minds, the clearer the picture, the more we believe that it’s real. Our brains are wired to remember stories, especially the ones that we remember clearly. So back to the first one, forging elite fitness, maybe that has a very positive connotation in your mind. Maybe you tie that to a story that already exists in your brain, but if you didn’t have that story, at least you could form a clear picture of what that means. Elite fitness means ripped strong, powerful, fast. Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. That’s kind of a murkier story, isn’t it? You and I are familiar with that maybe, or if you’re listening and you’re not a CrossFit afficionado, maybe that means something completely different to you, but it’s not as clear. What about high intensity interval training to somebody who has no background in fitness? What picture does that paint in their brain?

Chris (11:40):

The bottom line is that the clearer the story, the more believable it is. That’s why it’s so important for us in the fitness industry to be telling clear and true stories. Because right now our clients are stressed, overwhelmed, and confused. This has always been a common problem in fitness, where the clearest story gets believed. And so if the next magical supplement touting 20 pound weight loss in three days is drawing your clients’ attention, it’s because they are telling a clearer story. Storytelling is a superpower that can be used for good or for evil. It’s up to us to make sure that we’re using it for the power of good. We have to tell better stories than the people out there who would do our clients a disservice. A lie can make its way around the world while the truth is getting its boots on. That’s a really famous saying from early colonial America. However, that’s only true because the truth is usually a shade of gray. Lies are always black and white. They paint a clear picture and they’re spread quickly because of it.

Chris (12:51):

You will never convince anyone to do anything. All you can do is facilitate what they already want. Now to do that, you have to tell people stories that show them how you’ll do it. One of Seth Godin’s greatest quotes is people like us do things like this. And that’s an amazing lesson that you can learn from interviewing your clients. Who are they? What do they want? Why did they come to your gym? One of the very first exercises we put anybody through at Two-Brain is Mike Michalowicz Pumpkin Plan exercise because we tend to project that our clients are just like us when really they’re not. The stories that we need to tell our clients’ stories, not our own.

Chris (13:33):

So on page two of this workbook, I said that the answer isn’t more attention. It’s more affinity. Attention isn’t going to help your idea gain more traction or your company to make more sales. You know, when I was starting in a gym, I used to get these ad salespeople come in and they try to sell me like yellow pages ads. They’d try to sell me radio spots. That was probably the most popular. They try to sell me billboards or like a little business card ad in a football program or whatever. They were saying you got to get your name out there. They were selling awareness, but awareness doesn’t really work. Stories spread, stories create awareness, but they also create affinity. People will know you like you and trust you if they’ve heard your story, not if they’ve seen your logo. So what should we be talking about?

Chris (14:22):

What stories should we be telling? We should be telling the stories of our clients. There are five parts to a good story. And I’ve tried to cover all of these parts in the two stories that I’ve shared with you already today. The first part is the context. You need to show what the person is going through. Not just tell them. So, you know, the sun was hot or I had never been through a strip search before. Then you have to tell the catalyst, what forced the change. Why now? Why did the person to lose weight? Why did they decide to do it today? And if somebody can say, I was just tired of being a 98 pound weakling. So I got myself a pair of York dumbbells and started doing bench presses on the floor of my bedroom. That’s something an audience member could relate to. What forced them to actually join the gym?

Chris (15:10):

I was tired of doing a hundred reps with my York dumbbells on the floor of my bedroom and not seeing any progress. The third step is the complication. What were the barriers? I was scared. I was terrified to join the gym. The change, what happened? Well, you know, I pulled the trigger. I booked an appointment so that I couldn’t back out and Jamie was so welcoming and he introduced me to five people while I was there. And, slowly I kind of came out of my shell and realized that nobody was here to judge me, that they were all doing the same thing themselves. And then the fifth part of the story is the consequence. What was the result? A year later, I am 32 pounds lighter. I feel amazing about myself. And I tell all my friends to join Catalyst. That is a perfect story.

Chris (15:52):

When you’re telling your clients’ stories, you want to try and get through the context, the catalyst, the complication, the change and the consequence, but you’re not going to be a master storyteller at first. So here’s what I want you to remember. First, the client is the hero of their own story. They don’t want to hear about you. They want to hear about themselves. Second, you own a media platform. You have the power to make people famous. Nowhere else in their life is somebody going to say, you are amazing. Tell me your story. And I will put it on the internet for most people. The internet is like what television used to be. You know, they get their 15 minutes of fame through the internet, but only if you give it to them, and that’s the power that you have. So I recommend that every gym interview their clients, put their story up on their website.

Chris (16:44):

And I’ve linked to that in the workbook here. None of these are going to have a perfect story arc because your clients aren’t perfect storytellers, but you can certainly grab them and ask the question. I know a lot of gym owners are shy about doing this, but frankly, it’s the greatest gift you can ever give somebody. People love to hear their own name and see their own face in print. And when you make them famous on the internet, you’re actually doing a gift that will help retain them for longer, too. Here’s part two of the Two-Brain story. Before we continue, I’d like to mention that this episode of Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Wodify. Wodify is an all in one solution for member management, appointment scheduling and tracking. Wodify’s insights tool includes the business health dashboard co-developed with Two-Brain to provide average revenue per member, length of engagement and more key metrics. Gym owners, to receive 20% off your first year of Wodify core visit

Chris (17:38):

The email was titled mentorship program. A local CEO had completed a 20 X turnaround of the city’s largest employer, a steel mill. And when this guy came to shares were trading at around 73 cents per share. Five years later, when he left, they were trading at over $50 per share. Now he was selling out and retiring, but he wanted to leave a legacy behind. I was one of those entrepreneurs. There was only one problem. I didn’t have any money. So after thinking about it for about 48 hours, I thought this is really my best chance here. So I tore a blank check out of my gym’s checkbook anyway, folded it in my pocket and I drove across town to meet with this powerful CEO. I remember it was winter and the worn out tires on my truck kept slipping on the icy roads on the way to his office.

Chris (18:30):

I told myself that I would write the check. I knew it would bounce. I knew there wasn’t money in the account, but I’d write the check. And if his advice was any good, I’d make the money back before the bank was asked to clear it. But really I was just justifying my first fraud. I was writing a check on an overdrawn account. After two hours of talking to Dennis, I was exhausted. I knew I needed a nap later, but before I left, I said, what do I owe you? He looked at the ceiling for a few minutes. I stood there sweating. He said $500. And he met my gaze. Looked me right in the eye. I said, I don’t have it. I couldn’t stop myself from telling this guy the truth. After meeting his questions with honesty and transparency for over two hours, I just didn’t have the energy left to lie.

Chris (19:21):

Dennis said, I know you don’t and that’s why I’m sure you’re going to do your homework. He chose that price, $500, knowing that if I hustled, I could just barely make it. And I did. Three days later, I called him and I said, cash the check. Let’s talk about what you should publish. Because I think by this point, everybody understands the importance of telling their own story. If you were a franchisee going through COVID, you realize how fragile it was to stick to a formulated business plan. You couldn’t pivot until the top guys at your franchise pivot. If you were a CrossFit affiliate, in the last few weeks you realized how important it is to tell your own story to your local audience, instead of relying only on the CrossFit story. That’s not flying two flags, that’s packing a parachute, and people come to you because of your local reputation.

Chris (20:16):

If your town is like my town, there’s one degree of separation. If I don’t know you, I know some of your friend. Those people don’t know Greg Glassman, but someday they’ll know you. And it’s important to tell your own story. So how can you produce these stories? How big should they be? Where do I put them? Or do they go on Facebook. We’re going to work through that now. If you open up your workbook and you look at page three, I’ve defined the three different levels of media that people produve. A level media is huge projects like publishing a book or producing a documentary. These take years, they take thousands of dollars, maybe millions. They take a team of people and they’re not necessary for you. You don’t have to worry about those. B-level media is where you need to focus. Now, these are your primary publication platform, like a blog or your website.

Chris (21:11):

You can think of these as like a written blog post, or a YouTube or a podcast. You have to have one of these and you have to publish content consistently. Publishing consistently is so important that it’s better to publish imperfect content for years than to wait until you can make one perfect post. Go back to don’t buy, scroll back to 2009. Read the first post. They don’t even make sense. It doesn’t matter. Even my first book, I thought so many times of pulling it off the shelves, but it’s still the most popular best-selling fitness business book of all time. Even though it’s poorly written, people still get the most out of that book. Maybe out of all my books. Don’t worry about being perfect. Worry about where you’re putting your stuff. Picture your website as a boat in the ocean. And you’re out there fishing. The boat is necessary to get the fish to shore. Everything else is necessary to get the fish into the boat. You do not sell on Facebook. You do not sell on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok. All of these things are the bait. They’re the lures. They’re the nets that pull people back to your boat. If you’re creating content and it only lives on YouTube, it will die there. People will not find their way to you. You will entertain them. You might teach them, but you will never convert them into your care. Everything that you publish has to lead back to your blog. If you’re more comfortable talking, then create a YouTube channel, publish everything on video, and then link to that on your blog, like post it on your blog. Always lead the fish back to the boat. If you’re not comfortable writing or talking, a third option is a podcast, but that’s a far, far, far less powerful, medium than video or blog.

Chris (23:04):

You’re listening to a podcast now. I get it. It seems like a podcast is easy and pretty anonymous, but the bottom line is that it’s very easy to start a podcast. It’s very easy to kind of get it going and get it on the air and get excited about a podcast. It is very, very, very hard to keep a podcast going. This podcast that you’re listening to today has already been through at least four hands. My writer, then me, reading it. Then, my editor and then my producer. Then it gets uploaded onto Buzzsprout. And one of our staff writers jumps on and transcribes it. That is a ton of work. Podcasting requires more work than you think. And, you know, the best thing it can do is point to your website. So keep that in mind. B-level media is where you need to focus.

Chris (23:54):

C-level media is your amplifiers. So this is social media like Facebook, Instagram, Quora, Reddit. Consider these the lures that guide the fish into your net. Publishing on C level media is not enough to build an audience. It doesn’t matter how many likes you have, how many comments you get, how many shares you get. Those things matter to Mark Zuckerberg. They do not matter to your business. Publishing on C level media is not enough to build an audience, as you’re going to read, but publishing on C-level media is good practice for consistency while you build your B-level platform, right? So we’re starting with B-level media, put something on your blog, hit publish, then share that link on social media. What do you publish? This is the crux of the matter. Though I’ve been saying, you need to write and publish your story. You need to do it consistently.

Chris (24:43):

You need to do it every day. Since at least 2009, this is where people get hung up. What do I write about? Well, in this workbook, I’ve actually given you a 30 day challenge with a checklist. You can jump around on this checklist. You can choose topics. You can tick things off. The number one thing that I’ll say is that most of us have the technician’s curse. That means that we think that our audience has read every book that we’ve read, that they have knowledge that we have. And that’s not true. What you need to understand is that your audience has questions that to you seem really, really basic. You answered those questions for yourself 10 years ago. You know the answer and you’re surprised when they don’t too. So I want to give you some topics about fitness that you can write about, talk about, shoot yourself on video.

Chris (25:36):

These are the questions that I actually pulled from Quora. These were the top 30 questions about fitness, about weight loss, about joining a gym, about CrossFit, about working out. I think they’re going to surprise you because we tend to overestimate how much our audience knows. Question number one on Quora: will lifting weight, make me bulky. So here’s how you produce this content. I want you to imagine that you’re at a summer barbecue and a friend of a friend, somebody that you like, somebody who trusts you walks up to you and says, Oh yeah, you own that gym. I got a question for you. Will lifting weights make me bulky? I want you to think about what your response to them would be. And often your first response, just off the cuff is the best. Then I want you to turn your camera on or start typing and just record your response.

Chris (26:29):

If you’re writing a blog, pretend that somebody sent you that email. And it’s somebody that you care about. Talk to the camera, type into the blog as if you were writing to a friend or your mom. That’s why I call my daily blog posts love letters. I write in the first person perspective. I don’t write the way a corporation would. I write as if I was telling my mom, here’s how you lose weight. That’s really important. Second question. Can I gain muscle mass and get shredded at the same time? When’s the last time you asked anybody that question? For me, that’s probably 1988. I answered that question back then by looking at magazines and asking experts, there was no internet to go to, but that’s the number two question that most people ask about fitness right now, online, where they’re anonymous. Here’s number three. What are some fitness and nutrition hacks to build muscle fast.

Chris (27:25):

We often forget that people want to build muscle fast. A lot of the time we think about weight loss, but that’s not what people are always looking for. Number four, how do I get six pack abs as quickly as possible? Notice that the questions that people are asking should frame the stories we want to tell. And I’m using the term frame deliberately. They are setting the frame. It’s up to you to paint the picture that fits inside the frame. So if you’re asked the question, how do I get six pack abs as quickly as possible, they’ve given you the frame. The picture that you’re going to put inside it, does it look like constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity. Does it look more like forging elite fitness? Does it look more like high intensity interval training? What story will you tell that will create a clear picture inside that frame?

Chris (28:19):

Here’s the number five top question people are asking. Does weight lifting affect your joints once you’re above 50. Now you’ll notice that you’re more than qualified to answer these questions. The reason that you haven’t answered these questions or created these content or told these stories is because you’re overthinking it. You were worried about am I really knowledgeable enough to write this article on linear periodization without one of my peers questioning me? Will other coaches laugh at me, will other gym owners attack me on Facebook for talking about these topics? But the bottom line is it doesn’t matter. None of those other people are really paying attention to you. Anyway, all that matters is serving your clients. And when you care enough to serve your clients, when you care enough to follow the mission and make a difference in your community, then you care enough to tell the truth.

Chris (29:12):

And that’s all you have to do. That’s what storytelling is really all about, is telling the truth in a way that sticks with people. I won’t use terms, cliches, like resonate because what does that really mean? Good storytelling is sticky. People remember it. I’m going to give you an example of how our brain works here, because I’m just such a nerd that I can’t not do this. When we founded Ignite a lot of our work revolved around memory. We were trying to dial in our audience before we understood that it was really kids with autism who could use fitness to help them focus. So early in the Ignite journey, we were taking any gig that we could get. And one gig that we got was working with social workers and we were asked to come in, talk to about 200 social workers about how to improve their memory.

Chris (30:01):

Now it turns out that when you’re going out through periods of extreme stress placed in situations of high duress, you lose your memory. Things start to slip on you. So we went into this workshop, they were all sitting in their seats. It was late afternoon, two o’clock, they’d just had their lunch. Everybody was feeling dozy. And so instead of giving a lecture on how your brain stores memory and synapses and stuff, we said, we’re going to tell a story. And we took everybody through this exercise called memory palaces. So we said there are five items on your shopping list. And I don’t remember what they all were, but you know, there were some socks. There was some fish, there was candles, there was wine. And so we said, imagine you’re walking through your front door and on your front doorstep, somebody has left a stinky onion. Onion was the fifth thing. See how powerful this is? 15 years later. I can remember this story.

Chris (31:02):

You’re walking through your front doorstep and somebody has left a stinky onion on your doorstep, you look down at the onion. What do you think? Why the heck is this onion on my doorstep? Oh, it smells. No wonder I’m tearing up. How do I get rid of this thing without getting the onion smell on my hands and my clothes. You open up the door, decide to set your things down. And you walk into the front room where somebody has draped a pair of red, knitted socks over the lampshade. You’re wondering why the colors of the room are all red. And then you notice like, Oh, the light is shining through the socks. And the socks are a little bit wet. So you can see them kind of drying out and steam is coming off them a little bit. Then you go into the next room and you notice that on your floor, somebody has spilled some wine.

Chris (31:52):

So you’re going to have to clean this up. What should you use? And you realize that the socks were used to mop up some of the wine in the first place. And that’s why they’re drying out on the lamp right now. You shake your head. You’re frustrated like, ah, idiot. I’m going to have to clean this up now. So you look at your floor and you say, what is it going to take to get this wine out of my floor? And you spray it down. You go in the next room to change before you have to solve all these problems of the onion, the socks and wine and laying in the middle of your bed is one big, blue, stinky fish. You don’t want to touch it. It’s slimy. It stinks. Having its eyes open kind of bugs you out. Like it’s looking at you while you’re getting changed. Now, you know, you’re going to have to get rid of this fish. And then finally, you know, as you’re thinking like this is kind of disgusting. I’m going to have to clean up all these things. You walk into your bathroom to wash your hands and your face and just kind of settle yourself. And they’re in the bathtub is your spouse taking a bath in a tub full of yogurt.

Chris (33:03):

Now you’ve just walked through this memory palaces example with me. These are not exactly the items that we told people to remember as part of this exercise. But the interesting thing was that we set ourselves a calendar reminder to check back in with these people a year later. And after a year we sent everybody who was at that seminar and email and said, what was your shopping list? And every single person got every single item right. Your brain remembers stories. Your brain can remember negative stories. The only way to get a negative story out of somebody’s brain is to tell a better story. You can’t argue a bad story out. You can only replace a negative story with a positive story. You can’t ever get that negative story out, but you can bury it in positivity. If you’re not telling stories right now, if you’re leaning on somebody else to tell a story, your audience will believe any story that they hear. Their brain will not reserve a space for you to tell a different story later. Not telling a story is telling a story. More than ever before,

Chris (34:12):

it is crazy important for you to get your story, your clients’ stories, your mission your vision. Why did you start this gym? Why did you find fitness? It’s important for you to get that story out there. It’s important for you to share knowledge. I used to tell the coaches at Catalyst that our job is to make sure that our clients know more than any other trainer in town. And then they won’t have a reason to ever go to another trainer. But more important than that, you have to tell them a story that people like us do things like this. I got that line from Seth Godin. When I realized that gym owners would struggle to recover from COVID and all the other stuff that’s going on in the fitness industry right now, I said, it’s time for us to tell a better story, who is the best in the world at this?

Chris (35:01):

This is the secret hack that I use every time I face a new challenge. Now, guys is I ask myself who is the best in the world at this and then I hire that person, and the best person in the world that telling better stories is Seth Godin. And so I went to Seth and I explained the problem. And he said, I think I can help. He gave me the price. It’s an astounding number for most people. And so I wanted to expose staff to as many gym owners as I possibly could. And so I invited Seth to the Two-Brain summit. To make this work this year, because we can’t all travel, at the Two-Brain Summit, we’re going to do it in a regional format. You can get together with other gym owners. You can meet up at one of 30 locations around the world. Seth will make a presentation. Seth will lead a Q and a session, and then you’ll turn to your neighbor and work through it with them. They will help you tell better stories. There are other guests at the summit, too. Chris Voss, Cameron Herold, Risha Grant. I’m going to be speaking. And there’s one more that we have yet to announce, but for me, the most important thing coming out of COVID that you can do is tell your own story. Tell it more, tell it better. I can’t wait to hear it. Thank you.

Andrew (36:17):

This has been another episode of Two-Brain Radio with Chris Cooper. Please subscribe for more, wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to hear more stories from Chris daily, visit TwoBrai and click blog. There you’ll find top tales from the fitness industry and actionable advice on how to grow your business. That’s


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