Why You Aren’t Getting Paid What You’re Worth (and How to Fix It)

Chris Cooper

Andrew (00:02):

Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. Your coaching service is incredibly valuable, but you might not be getting paid what you’re worth. Today, Chris Cooper will help you solve that problem and make more money.

Chris (00:14):

Chris Cooper here with a word about Arbox. This business management platform is designed to take you from a fitness expert to a successful gym owner. Arbox offers a full suite of tools, including a dashboard and report with the top metrics that we prioritize at Two-Brain Business. With a glance, you can see length of engagement, average monthly revenue, new versus lost members and more. Arbox will also help you drive engagement with a members app that allows clients to interact with their friends. So here’s the special deal for Two-Brain Radio listeners. Save up to 50% for the first year using Arbox. Visit to register to a free 10 day trial and schedule a demo with one of Arbox’s experts.

Chris (01:06):

Since I’ve been working one-on-one with gym owners, and our team has been working one-on-one with thousands of gym owners around the world now, there’s always been this constant conversation about why can’t I charge more and why don’t I get paid what I’m worth? And how come I can’t charge what F45 or Orangetheory or whoever else is charging and how are some people charging now like $2,500 for this high-ticket transformation when I’m only charging a 10th of that? And I’m just as good a coach as they are. Well, the reason is value. And today we’re going to talk about the misperceptions about value that are actually holding you back. I’m working a lot with Bob Burg, and Bob is the author of “The Go-Giver.” One of my favorite books of all time. And it’s a real delight for me to spend this one-on-one time with him and work together and learn more deeply about the Go-Giver value system.

Chris (01:59):

And one of the things that Bob says is that when you sell on price, you’re a commodity. When you sell on value, you’re a resource. The first thing that you have to understand, the lens that you have to see this through is that you do not determine your value, your clients determine your value. They will pay based on the value that you provide to them. Now, Bob has five laws of value, and I’m going to get into that in a moment, but it’s really important to understand that your client determines your value. That means that your value is not determined by what you know, but by how much you can serve them or how much you can help them. And it’s not determined by the volume of that service as it is the quality of that service. So it’s not so much important that you see them six days a week, and that they pay to see you every single hour, as you’re getting them the result that they want.

Chris (02:53):

You’re delivering them a happier life. You’re getting them results that they didn’t even anticipate and might not have even known they wanted when they started. And that’s how they determine value. Now, that seems kind of, you know, pie in the sky hokey stuff. It’s really hard to get a tangible grasp on that. So I’m going to give you Bob’s five laws of value to help you establish a higher value for your service. And by the way, I have nothing against these high-ticket transformations. While I’m still not convinced that it’s something that you can sell forever, and that it’s going to have a good retention rate forever with the same people. And eventually you’re going to run out of audience. Those are the cons maybe, but the pros are that they prove you should be charging more for your service, that the clients value your service and will reward you more for your service

Chris (03:44):

than you probably believe. So the five laws of value, according to Bob Burg, author of “The Go-Giver,” are excellence, consistency, attention, empathy, and appreciation. What establishes value in the mind of the client are these five things. I’ll say them again, excellence, consistency, attention, empathy, and appreciation. Now let’s talk tactics. I really, I love ideas. I love reading books, but it really comes down to like, what do I do? So let’s start with excellence. Excellence means knowing your craft and knowing what actually makes a difference to people. So for example, I became a really early CrossFit follower because I had been deep into the science of training for well over a decade before I found Greg Glassman around 2007. And you know, we were talking in these academic circles and debating about ATP and CP and like how you should be training people for different things.

Chris (04:49):

But Greg was like, forget all that. Here’s what works. Air squats. Here’s what works. Intensity. Here’s what works. Big compound movements. Here’s what works, doing hard stuff, you know, for a short interval or period. And he said like, here’s the results that I’m getting and he stripped away all that extraneous stuff. And that was such an important lesson because in business and in training, we find ourselves doing all the things, right, doing all the right things, completing all the checklists, but rarely asking ourselves, how is this getting me closer to my goal? Now, the interesting thing is that your clients are probably asking themselves that all the time. And so if you’ve got somebody in your gym and you’re like, OK, yeah, you’re not very good at pull-ups. So we’re going to start with this, you know, variation where you just lay on your back and you bend your knees, and you’re going to pull yourself up to these rings.

Chris (05:44):

And don’t worry if your bum doesn’t even leave the floor. You are working to get them closer to pull-ups. But the client is saying, pull-ups aren’t my goal. I need to lose weight. How is this thing getting me closer to my goal? I look ridiculous, I can’t get my assoff the floor. And there’s people over there flying around doing these pull-ups. I’m embarrassed. I’m not sure that I’m achieving my goals. Like is this pain that I actually need to go through? I’m going to go try that weight-loss shake instead. We’re going to get back to that in a moment. But the thing about excellence is it’s twofold. Number one, you have to be able to get people results. And number two, you have to communicate how your service is helping them while they’re along the journey. Think of your client as being in this like dark tunnel.

Chris (06:29):

They can’t see around them. They don’t know what way to go. They’re just kind of guessing. And you need to be the bright light at the end saying, come closer, come closer, keep going, keep going straight. I know exactly where we need to go. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. There are a lot of ways to be excellent as a coach. Step one is to know your craft, right? To understand your method fully, to know CrossFit, to get certified in CrossFit, have CrossFit as your method, to know Pilates or to know yoga or to know kettlebells. If those are your methods, to know boot camp, if that’s your method, to know TaeKwonDo, if that’s your method, to know jujitsu, if that’s your method, whatever your method is, you need to be good at it. You do not need to be the best in the world and you don’t need to only be good at the method.

Chris (07:15):

You need to also be a great communicator. You need to be great at explaining to people why they’re doing the thing and why they should care to do the thing and why they should come back tomorrow to do the thing. And as a sidebar, this is where most methods actually fail. When you get a weekend certification in weightlifting, you know, anything, Krav Maga, whatever, they will teach you the method. They will not teach you how to be a good coach with that method. And that’s actually why we founded Two-Brain Coaching. So, lets you apply any method better and get your clients better results. So the first law of value is excellence. Like you have to be excellent. Keep in mind here that no one method is better than the other because its method is more philosophically true or sound scientifically. A method is better than another

Chris (08:09):

if it gets people results. Jazzercise got hundreds of thousands of people results. Jazzercise gets laughed at a lot right now. But the bottom line is that when the client determines value, it determines that Jazzercise is excellent because it got them results. All right, so excellence is in the eye of the beholder and they’re also the people who determine value.

Chris (08:30):

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Chris (09:02):

I spent the first 10 years of my career, more than that, from 1996 to 2015, really trying to become a better coach. And, so I was learning stuff. I was reading books. I bought these like out of print, Soviet-era books from Russia that had been like translated, you know, and I was reading them and I was finding like steroids cycles even. I was finding advanced training techniques. They were using EMS stimulation. I was using that on my athletes, but not all of my coaches were, and I was taking public speaking courses and I was reading stuff like ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and I was getting better at relating to my clients, but not all of my coaches were. And so what would happen, especially at first, is I would get this one-on-one client, we would form a really strong bond and I would be getting better and better at telling them why they should come back and motivating them.

Chris (09:57):

And they would just be absolutely in love with me. And I’d be keeping them for a decade. But then if I had to miss a session and say, oh yeah, you know, this person will come in and take my place. They’ll run your session. The client would cancel. Nah, if you’re not going to be here, I’m not going to be here. OK. And then, you know, we tried to scale by moving into classes, but I couldn’t cover every class in the 14-hour day that my gym was open. And so a lot of clients would say, well, when are you coaching next? When are you coming back to coach? And this is a problem that actually plagued me right up until about 2017 when I started putting more effort into training other coaches. So consistency is a big thing. And a lot of gym owners will even say this like, Hey, you know, the classes are best attended when I’m there or when Sarah is there and they’re poorly attended when James is there.

Chris (10:45):

Even when they’re run at the same time, just on different days. And for a client to see value in your service, they have to know that they’re getting consistency. They need to know that they’re going to get like a 10 out of 10 experience no matter when they show up. You cannot allow yourself to have one bad coach. OK? Even if that coach means that you can sleep in an extra hour once a week, and you really, really need that sleep, you cannot have one weak link in your chain. Your business is only as valuable as your weakest employee. So the second law value is consistency. The third law is attention. Now, when we started doing personal training, we quickly realized like there was a ceiling on how much we could earn every day. So, you know, if we worked 14 hours and we packed every single hour with clients, forget that we didn’t get enough sleep, forget that we didn’t eat properly.

Chris (11:42):

Forget that we didn’t get to train ourselves. That was just it. Right. So how do you add more clients? Well, we said, well, we’ll hire more trainers and get more clients that way. And we had amazing retention and we were like full, right. We were fairly popular. We had waiting lists because we were giving our clients attention, but we couldn’t scale anymore. We couldn’t make more money without sleeping less or like eating less or training less. And so we said, OK, let’s, let’s jump to group classes. And so we started coaching a group, but the problem was that our retention took this big nose dive. And it was because our people were not getting one-on-one attention within the group. We were coaching the group instead of coaching 12 individuals at once. What we found during COVID is that the gyms who could provide one-on-one attention to people had the best retention.

Chris (12:33):

Now think about what happens when you just stream your zoom class online. It is very, very, very hard to give one-on-one attention to anyone. I’m sure you tried this, right? Like how do you correct somebody’s form over zoom? You stop the workout for everybody. You press pause on your zoom feed. And you’re like, Hey James, squat lower. That’s awkward as hell. But in a class setting, that’s not as hard. Doing one-on-one on zoom is a lot easier because you can say, Hey, I need you to get a little bit lower on those squats. Right? You’ve got that camera angle. But what we found is that gyms could bridge the gap by providing context every day. So instead of just saying like, Hey, here’s the workout today. We’ll see you at 11 o’clock for our zoom call. The gyms who sent a two-minute message to each client each morning saying, here’s the workout.

Chris (13:22):

Here’s why it’s important for your specific goals. And here’s what I’d like you to do. Here’s how I’d like you to approach it. Here’s how you should feel, something like that, had way better retention. My gym was locked down for 12 months out of 14. And our retention rate was well over 70. We kept 70% of our clients engaged, paying full price or more because of this short little bit of one-on-one attention every day. So your clients determine the value of your service by the one-on-one attention that they get. And as you scale, you have to make sure that you maintain some kind of one-on-one attention. It doesn’t have to be a one-on-one session for the full hour, but you have to give them one-on-one attention every time you see them. So the three laws so far are excellence, consistency, and attention. The fourth is empathy.

Chris (14:11):

Now this isn’t sympathy. Empathy means I can relate to what you’re going through. Empathy for me means storytelling. I tell a lot of stories on this podcast and in our daily blog posts about being a gym owner because I am you, right. We’re all in this together. And the reason that I maintain a gym, I keep a gym, is number one, it’s profitable. Number two, it takes one hour a month of my time. Number three, I love it. It’s part of my impact goal, my legacy, my mission, but another reason that I keep it is because empathy, I want to be able to talk to you as an equal when we’re doing these podcasts, I want to be able to say, here’s how I handled this, or here’s what came up in my gym last month. What you have to do as a coach is maintain empathy with your clients, whether you’re a business coach or whether you’re a fitness coach, you have to be able to say, I remember when I had this problem or, wow, I’m really struggling with that too.

Chris (15:09):

Here is what I’m doing about it. If you can maintain empathy, people will assume a higher value. And that’s why people who have coaches who have lost a hundred pounds are more likely to stick with that coach than people who have a coach who’s a Games athlete, becasue the coach has empathy with their situation. Now, if I want to be a CrossFit Games athlete, or I want to go to the Olympics, then yeah, I want a coach who’s been there. But if I’m trying to lose a hundred pounds, then I want a coach who’s lost a hundred pounds because they have empathy with my situation. Now empathy does not mean I’m going to give you a 20% discount. It does not mean you can train for free. It does not mean, you know, you can’t afford it. So I’m going to drop my rates.

Chris (15:53):

Empathy means I am like you. We are like us. We are together. And people like us do things like this. The fourth law of value is appreciation. And this means feedback. It means thank you. But it also means acknowledgement of progress. So appreciation can mean, Hey, thanks for referring your friend. Here’s a $20 gift card, or here’s a meal on me at this restaurant down the street. It can mean, Hey, you’ve been to a hundred classes now, congratulations. Your name is going up on our wall. It can mean a bright spots Friday. It can mean a PR board in your gym. It can mean acknowledgement. Hey, you’ve leveled up. If you’re using the Level Method, now you’re an orange in back squat. What it really means is putting your client on a pedestal. Have you ever been thanked by somebody in front of your spouse?

Chris (16:48):

Have you ever been called out at a seminar and said, take a bow. Let’s give this person a round of applause. If you haven’t, I promise it feels incredible. You will be forever endeared to the person who is thanking you publicly. And so I love to do this. I love to put people around me on a pedestal. I love to brag people up. I love to over introduce people because it makes me feel great, but it also tightens our bond together. And when you’ve got a tight bond, people don’t argue about price, right? Your friends don’t complain about price. If they do, they’re not your friends. So the five laws of value that determine how much you can charge are filtered through the eyes of the client. The client determines what you can charge, but the five laws are excellence. You have to coach with excellence and you have to understand your method and deliver it in the best possible way to get your client, the results that they want.

Chris (17:47):

Consistency, you have to do it well every single time. You will be judged by the lowest, you know, the poorest coach, the worst day, the poorest cleanliness of your most hidden bathroom. Attention. How much one-on-one attention do people get inside or outside of class. Empathy. How well do they relate to you? Because you relate to them. And appreciation. How often are you building them up, putting them on the podium and shining a spotlight on them. When you’re doing those five things really, really well, you have tremendous value and money will follow. Value is not only measured by money, but money is a great indicator of value. The market rewards excellence. Yes. The market also rewards consistency and attention and empathy and appreciation. In sum, the market rewards value. Be more valuable.

Andrew (18:40):

That was Chris Cooper on Two-Brain Radio. Don’t forget to subscribe for more episodes.

Chris (18:47):

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 in 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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