Slow Down the First Experience, But Not This Slow
Fitness has changed during the last several years but how we
sell it commercially hasn’t really evolved that much.
Today’s potential clients walk through the door better read
and more inspired than they have in the past. In the easy days, they arrived
seeking fitness but mostly having no idea of how to chase it, except for the
guy who still wanted to do his high school weight routine because it worked so
well for him about 20 years, and 30 pounds, ago.
Potential members today have resources past guests never had
access to when they began their fitness pursuit. Type fitness, running, kettle
bell or any other industry related term into YouTube and you will pull up
literally thousands of videos and clips.
Go online to Amazon and you can order Durkin’s bestseller,
"The Impact Body Plan,” Rachel Cosgrove’s masterpiece, "Female Body
Breakthrough” or Alwyn’s "New Rules of Lifting” series. These books are so far
superior to the old bodybuilding books we had access to in the past that it is
like comparing a 62 Volkswagen to a new Porsche. They all might be books but
what’s under the hood is mindboggling.
Not everyone coming through the door is well read and ready
to rumble of course, but even those who haven’t been doing their research know
that a couple of workouts with a bored trainer and then starting a fitness
routine based upon a 1995 circuit is both stupid and ineffective.
The current method of selling in commercial fitness is to
start with a salesperson, who often doesn’t know a lot about fitness beyond his
own workout style, who then turns the client over to a trainer, who has no
sales training, no interest in sales and who just wants to train clients, eat a
lot, train more and get a check. Trainers can’t, won’t and are by the nature of
who is attracted to the job, incapable of selling anybody anything.
The trainer takes one look at the person’s car keys, sees
Hyundai, and then loses interest because this client is obviously not a
potential one-on-one victim. He sets the person up on a circuit, sets a few
seats, counts backwards from 10 a couple of times and then hands the client a
big card with a workout on it that will fail the client in about six weeks.
The trainer then hands the client back to the salesperson,
who now has to overcome the bad job and attitude the trainer brought to the
process. This is a stupid, inefficient and a leftover legacy from the 90’s when
you could get away with this nonsense.
Non-profits are even more inefficient. Luckily, the days
where everyone just handed them money so they could waste it are gone and now
there is the start of accountability within many of the organizations. They
still, however, use the sales system based upon fear of being thought of as a
mainstream club. So instead of helping the person get some information that
might help them make a decision by using a trained sales team, the young
counter staff at most non-profits simply points toward the back and the guest
gets a self-guided tour. The fear of the "sales” word makes the Y’s and their
friends a hard place to get help and guidance because no one wants to ask the
guest to get started.
The last category is the trainer club, who wants to so
impress the guests with their knowledge that they take the person through every
test they can buy and then they spend an hour taking the person through a
complicated and overdone routine that does indeed make the potential member
come to a hard realization: that yes, I am fat, and yes, this is a crazy
bastard because if this is the first workout for a deconditioned guy I have no
chance of surviving a regular workout.
The guy is there because he is fat and can’t move well. You
do not need to pull up his shirt, pinch a huge handful of fat and call out a
number nor do you need him to step over a string with a stick on his back to
prove he has the moves of a 100-year-old meth addict. This is baseline stuff
you use once he becomes a member not something to try and impress a scared and
nervous guy who knows he sucks.
The point of all this is that we can change the initial
perception by using a different tool. Here is the overview:
· Slow down. You should spend at least an hour to
an hour and half with a person teaching him how to workout. If he doesn’t have
his workout stuff, present the club but your best chance of getting new folks
into your business is to get him working out using a positive experience. Sweat
sells and a workout with a motivating coach that is actually teaching the how
instead of just do this will increase your success
· Use two sales teams. Use a regular sales person
and also use a second person that is a trainer who is not afraid of money. The
trainer/sales person should try and upgrade the person into a training program
and should feed the other trainers, who as I mentioned earlier, are the last people
on planet Earth that should be asking for money.
· Use an anally structured assessment tool. I have
referred to this tool as an induction tool in past blogs. Induction means this
is a tool to introduce, or induct, the person into your system.
· Your goal is to demonstrate expertise,
professionalism and a caring attitude by spending an hour teaching someone to
If you have been in one of the workshops in the last year
you know that I recommend using a format that applies to almost everything we
do in the clubs these days. If you start the guest in the same format you use
elsewhere, he or she will fit in more quickly and can participate more easily
in other club offering building up their confidence even more.
The format is:
· Meet and greet for one minute. This is where all
the clients get to meet each other, shake hands and make new friends before you
· 12 minute dynamic warm up. This is classic these
days and we vary this using 7-12 for the assessment since the condition of the
· 20 minute strength
· 3-5 big finish
· The group hug at the end. This is where everyone
is thanked for being a member of the club and supporting the business.
When we do the assessment sale with a new guest, we vary
this slightly. The meet and greet is altered for 10 minutes with the goal of
determining the guest’s goal, time frame and commitment. Spend 10 minutes
finding out who the person is, what do they want from you and fitness, how many
days a week do they have to commit and any relative time frame, such as wanting
to be in a wedding or training for a 5k.
I also recommend using these exercises exactly in this order
for the strength session. By using a set format, I can use different
trainer/sales people and gauge their effectiveness since each one will be doing
exactly the same sequence.
The strength portion looks like this:
· Kettle bell swing
· Push movement overhead, even if it is a
one-pound medicine ball
· Goblet squat
· Pull movement, preferably with a kettle
· Lunge movement
· Dead lift movement
This sequence allows the trainer/sales person to demonstrate
a high level of coaching and professionalism. The swing, for example, looks so
easy but takes some time to build up through the teaching sequence. Remember
that your competitors aren’t doing this and are using some version of stupid,
so by slowing down and spending time here teaching you are changing the mindset
of the client.
The big finish might be 30 seconds for a totally
deconditioned old guy or five minutes for the young female soccer player
looking to stay in shape after her baby.
We then take the guest back to a high table, coach cardio
and then place them where they need to be in the system to reach their goals.
We coach cardio because many folks will come to the club thinking that all they
will do is walk on the tread for an hour or two a day, watch some TV and lose
weight. We take this away from them early be talking about intensity and giving
them a 20 minute HIIT program.
The final question to ask the guest is: Are you the type of
person who prefers working with a personal coach or are you the type that would
rather be part of a group and share the cost of the trainer? This question
allows the person to place himself into the type of activity he prefers but
also allows him to place himself financially without being embarrassed that he
can’t afford expensive one-on-one training.
This is probably the most important thing we teach this year
and will have the biggest impact on your business in the shortest period of
time. Simply slowing down and spending time teaching and educating instead of
merely getting the person started on a set routine will change your numbers. If
the person is truly deconditioned, you can offer what we call "Fundamentals”
4-6 times a week in groups where the person repeats the same sequence and can
learn the basic movements before moving on in the club.
Important note: We will be in Louisville this month,
Baltimore in August and off to San Francisco in September. There is also one
Perform Better Summit left this year and that is in Long Beach in August. Every
owner and manager should be there and do the workouts and sit in on the
lectures. Fitness is our product and there is no better source of new
I have also started using Facebook more often starting a
Late Night Edition as sort of a mini-blog. Take a look and let us know what you