Guest Post by Steven Hadley
I took my Fit Body Boot Camp location to multiple six figures in less than two years… Now, before I can tell you how to take your fitness business to multiple six figures, I should first tell you how I got here.
I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth.
In fact, I grew up in a lower to middle class family with two older brothers (all three of us adopted) and never knew what it was like to have more than what we really needed. In fact, my dad once told me that his best earning year at the paper mill where he worked was $48,000.
I got started in the fitness industry by getting my degree at the University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE!) in Exercise Physiology. After that, I moved back to my hometown of Daphne, AL and opened up my own fitness boot camp sub leasing from a local all-star cheerleading facility. Because this was part-time (I was planning on attending grad school) the business didn’t grow much. At the end of the year I only had about 25 clients. However, towards the end of that year I started getting emails from a guy named Bedros.
After reading his email and being frustrated with the grad school process, I decided to take the plunge, get on board with FBBC, and start a full time career as a fitness entrepreneur. From there, I was able to grow my business with the help of Bedros and Fit Body Boot Camp from 25 clients to 178 who have either paid in full, or are on 12 or 18 month commitments with me.
So, how can you do the same?
Follow these 5 tips and you will be well on your way!
1. Get out of your comfort zone to get things started.
In order to get started or revive a stagnant business, you need to get out in your community and build a name for yourself. Here a couple different methods I’ve used to help me build my reputation and get more clients.
– Build relationships with local businesses so they will refer their clients and customers. However, this isn’t just going to happen by just going in and asking them. You need to go with a giving hand. Go in, introduce yourself, and let them know you serve the same clientele. Then, ask them how you can send more customers to their business and if you can put any information in your facility for your members to pick up. Go in a second and third time (a few weeks apart) and ask if you can get more materials to hand out for them and if there is anything else you can do to help them.
– On your fourth visit a few weeks later, go in and ask them if you can put a lead box or something similar in their place to generate leads. Let them know if they do you will purchase a $25 gift card to their business for each person that joins your program as a result. Also, offer to train them and their staff at a discount. Just be sure to go in and GIVE first, and then be open to receiving.
– Do “Lunch and Learns” at local events and businesses. Offer to bring in lunch and give a 30-minute presentation about fat loss (basic fitness and nutrition information). Make it informative and engaging. At the end, pass around and clipboard and let everyone know you are going to send them a free e-book on fat loss or recipe book (something of high value) in exchange for their contact info. This will allow you to get them into your funnel so you can start marketing to them. After sending them the report, follow up with a low barrier offer like the 21 Day Rapid Fat Loss or 14 Day Fat Furnace to say thanks for attending.
– Hold charity events in your city where you offer free workouts and invite the community to participate by bringing in a cash donation, canned goods, or whatever you are supporting. Just be sure to get emails and contact info from everyone so you can also send them a low barrier offer for attending. This is also a good time to send out a press release about the event and possibly get some free press in the news or newspaper.
2. Learn to Sell!
You’ve heard Bedros say this many times, but nothing happens until the sale is made. It’s great having people from daily deals and other promotions in your business, but it means nothing if they don’t sign up for an ongoing program. Pick up a program like Close Clients so you can understand what selling is all about and how to do it correctly. Once you do that, here are some things that can help you close more deals and make your selling experience better for you and your clients.
– Offer a 30-day money back guarantee and a discount off their first month so they can try out the first month with no risk. When you take away risk, WAY more people would be willing to sign on if you are guaranteeing them that your program will work or else you’ll refund their money. This allows you to overcome nearly every objection like needing to talk to their spouse, needing to think about it and so on (they can think about it or talk to their spouse during the 30 day “trial” period). This also increases urgency because you are only giving them this discount for getting on board now. This one tip has increased my closing percentage from the low 80’s to over 95%!
– Ask questions to help your prospects figure out the real reason why they want to get fit and then show them how you and your program can help them. Questions like “What are your specific goals? What have you been doing to help you reach these goals? How is it working for you? What made you decide to try us out now instead of six months ago? What is your PRIMARY reason for wanting to make a change? On a scale of 1 to 10 how committed are you to reach your goals?”
– Don’t just show people prices after they try your program then ask them if they would like to sign up. You need to sit down with them, build rapport, show the value of your program, and then ASK for the sale in such a way that they have a choice of one or two programs, not a yes or no. For example, “Mrs. Jones, based on the information I got here today during our meeting discussing your goals, I think the ____ program or the ____ would be best for you. Which one of these two programs can we get you started on today?”
Other good resources for selling are books like “Zero Resistance Selling” by Maxwell Maltz and “How to Master the Art of Selling” by Tom Hopkins.
At some point you will need to hire staff to help you keep growing your business. You can’t do everything nor should you. Be sure to get an assistant first so they can do the things that have to get done each day, but don’t directly move the business forward. Things like entering new clients into the system, answering customer service emails, and running errands for the business.
When things really start to pick up you’ll be ready to hire your first trainer to help you serve your clients better. These employees need to have systems to run off of so they can be self-sufficient and get their jobs done even when you’re not there. It’s also a good idea to have systems in place in case your trainer or assistant leaves unexpectedly.
Below are some tips that have worked extremely well for me and allowed me to hire three trainers and an assistant. I can leave my business for any length of time and know that the service will be the same as if I was there.
– Be slow to hire and fast to fire. DO NOT hire someone by interviewing or talking to him or her just once. Take a couple interviews to make sure this person has the same core values as you, is responsible, and has a true passion for fitness and serving others.
– Give your team checklists to use each day. Checklists ensure that everything gets done from cleaning the place up between sessions to data entry and so on.
– Create a culture and have open lines of communication with your team. This is done by having weekly meetings to discuss upcoming events, what’s working in the business, and what needs to be improved. Ask your team what they would do to improve things. They are around your clients every day so they can tell you. Just be sure to actually listen and take action on the things that they are really concerned about. You can also facilitate culture and a team atmosphere by reminding your team often of your vision for the business, socializing outside of work, and by hooking them up with little gifts every now like movie tickets and Starbucks gift cards for a job well done.
One of the best books about building culture and leading well is “Entreleadership” by Dave Ramsey.
4. Keep the clients you have and get referrals from them.
It doesn’t matter how many clients you get each month if you can’t keep them. Also, your business will only grow so much from marketing alone. At some point you need to be talked about enough to where people are willing to send their friends and family to you. However, don’t just expect them to do it on their own. Most of the time your referrals will come when you ask for them, but there are strategic ways to do this. Below are some things you can do immediately to help you keep more clients longer and get them to refer more people while they are with you.
– Send your members packages in the mail. When they get to their 6 and 12 month anniversary as well as their birthday month. Send them a gift with another little note letting them know how much you appreciate them. Things like t-shirts, cups, coffee mugs etc. Make them feel special.
– Have and assistant pull an attendance report each week and be sure to call members who haven’t been to their sessions in the last week. This means a TON to your members that you care enough to call them to check and see why they haven’t been coming in.
– Build your family culture by getting groups of clients together to do fun runs, contests, and member family days and parties throughout the year. People love to feel like a part of something so be sure to help get them together as much as you can.
– Make referrals a condition of doing business with you. Let your members know that you get most of your business from referrals, so if their friends or family come in and join a program you’ll hook them up with $50 off their next month.
– Ask for referrals, but always have a reason for why you are doing it. For example, you can run a six-week team transformation contest where teams can be formed of two members and one non-member or two non-members and one member. Send them a letter telling them you will treat them and their spouse to dinner at a nice restaurant if they refer in anyone that month in who joins the program long term. You want to use “under the radar” ways of getting referrals in your door without putting pressure on your existing clients. Make sure you have at least one referral generation strategy in place each month.
A great book and resource on getting more referrals is “Endless Referrals” by Bob Burg.
5. Get a coach or mentor.
Getting a coach or mentor buys you speed and they help you avoid the mistakes they made when they were growing their business. This is something that many learn way too late in their training careers. My advice is to get some form of coaching no later than a year into doing business. Start small by investing in info products (Bedros has some great ones like his PT Business Course) and then move on to attending events like Fitness Business Summit. Be sure when attending live events to talk to as many people as you can and ASK questions! Coaching also gives you accountability. You are going to be much more willing to take action if you know that each time you talk to your coach they ask you how your business is doing.
There you have it! Five tips that will enable you to grow to multiple six figures faster than you ever thought possible. Just be sure to TAKE ACTION on these and don’t be an information collector. That’s one of the many things I’ve learned by being a part of FBBC. If you run large group training sessions or have an interest in having done-for-you systems, sales, and marketing, as well as an amazing support system then I highly recommend looking into the Fit Body Boot Camp franchise to see if it’s right for you as well.