The Gym Owners Blog/Podcast/3 Steps to a More Profitable Gym WITHOUT Selling Your Soul...

3 Steps to a More Profitable Gym WITHOUT Selling Your Soul...

Thursday, January 19, 2023

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gym, people, work, owner, coaches, members, important, paying, piece, talked, offer, framework, buy, clients, money, realize, oftentimes, buying habits, sell, business


  • ​The problem with shiny object syndrome - 0:00
  • ​How do you look at your team? - 7:16
  • ​What to look for in a new gym owner? - 13:19
  • ​How much time should you spend on your marketing? - 17:00
  • ​The problem with not knowing what your clients want - 23:00
  • ​Investing in yourself and your health - 27:10
  • ​How to provide more value first - 31:30
  • ​Thorough and welcoming doesn't happen by accident - 36:12
  • ​How much money do you take home every month? - 39:40
  • ​Establishing expectations of your tribe - 44:36
  • ​Identify the problem and implement a plan - 50:23
  • ​How to get in touch with us - 56:35


Tyler 00:00

Indeed, greetings. Let's get right into it.

John Fairbanks 00:03

So shiny object syndrome has been a thing that every single person that we've ever worked with ever suffers from. And I think it's probably because we all just suffer from it generally as human beings. Is that like hard work is hard? And sexy work is always sexy.

Tyler 00:23

Plus doing the stuff that you see everybody else doing, who you have, like in your mind on a pedestal is like, Oh, they seem to be successful is like, well, they're doing this I might as well just imitate until I become and it just doesn't quite work out that way. Well ends up being these colossal distractions that never get you any progress whatsoever.

John Fairbanks 00:41

Well, because right, it's because no one is like, Man, I just crushed this Excel spreadsheet, everybody. Yeah, like, the formulas. The formulas on this spreadsheet are so badass. And it's like pr pr the Excel spreadsheet, I got six sheets on this thing and be like, the fuck is this guy talking about? So nobody is actually posting or sharing? Like the hard work? So everybody posts the sexy stuff. And it's like, oh, man, look at those new bars. Or they're putting a sauna in their gym. How come we don't have this

Tyler 01:17

awesome. It's all about equipment than facade, renovations, and maybe maybe a new photographer. Like, yes, all those things go. All those things are consistent like, represents what it's like a full overhaul of a CrossFit gym somehow seems to be and it's none of it is any real action very often. Yeah, I think it's important to mention, when we talk about stuff like that, that doesn't mean we have to get good at spreadsheet stuff. It's not that you, as a gym owner, have to become a wizard. So when we get into this framework stuff, I think it's important for people to know that like, oh, no, this is just that your business needs to be capable of these things, not you.

John Fairbanks 01:56

Yeah, but now, I think that there is a fine line of that too. So you don't get hosed. Because you're gonna get taken advantage, like you're, if you aren't careful, you're gonna get taken advantage of 150% of the time, like it's, if we say human nature is we want to all get what like, we want to start designing the next really sweet t shirt for the gym, we all want to make sure like you will get hosed and taken advantage of if you don't have some failsafes in front of you, as you're starting to do some stuff in your gym. And so I know that one of the biggest things that we did, and I've talked about with our folks that we've worked with, and really was solid advice that I heard over the years as well, which is learn how to do the thing. Enough to a point where you realize you shouldn't be the one doing it anymore. Yeah.

Tyler 02:48

And that might only take once for some things. Oh, yeah. But it's like you got to know you got to know at least some idea of how this thing and the situation exists in context. Because like we talked before you can get, we can really get taken by paying for to cover for complex things that we don't understand. And then you can overpay for that for the entire duration of your business. And just be getting taken because you're confused by complexity.

John Fairbanks 03:13

But I also think it helps ground you but also like what's reality? It's because if here's the reality, you shouldn't if you're a gym owner, you probably shouldn't be designing your shirts. Do you know why? Because your taste sucks. Yeah. Unless, unless you were a graphic designer in a previous life. Like unless that was something that you did, because the problem is, if I'm going to design shirts, do you know what All my stuff's going to look like? Tyler?

Tyler 03:40

black with white ink and skulls on it.

John Fairbanks 03:44

Exactly, somewhat. Because I have a skull ring. I have my skull Cup, which is one of many, like there's some consistency here. Yeah, that's probably that probably at some point kind of sucks. Like, at some point, you need to have somebody else that's looking at things, but I really liked doing it. And so here's the reality, too, is that once I can figure out, okay, I need to hand this off. I also know how long it takes me to do it, because I've tried it a couple of times. So if I know I want something to look really good, and somebody comes to me and says, Yeah, I can take care of this for you. It's gonna be $500 or it's gonna be $250 or it's gonna be $1,000 I don't immediately say, Well, fuck that guy. Or fuck that person. They're just trying to act like they're trying to screw me. It's like, no, no, no. There's a reason why I like outsourcing like video editing, and outsourcing certain pieces of our business because it's like, no, no, I've done that. I know how hard that is. And it's way worth it to me to have somebody pay him 50 bucks, 100 bucks, whatever, so that I don't have to do that thing. But if I don't have any experience with that, you just think everybody's trying to screw you. Because I've we you and I have dealt with a number of individuals that just don't quite make the connection of the value or the cost of what they're asking. It's like, oh, no, it's simple. It's whatever. It's a thing. And it's like, Dude, you don't have a goddamn clue what you're asking me to do right now?

Tyler 05:17

Yeah, I get asked a lot of five and $10,000 things that people want sorted out in the conversation very, very often. Okay. All right. Yeah, I guess. And then I'll just do it for you, too. It's very interesting. But now this framework, John, as we go forward, like, we touched a little bit on delegation. And I think that's extremely important. But the first step of this framework really is about taking a look at your team.

John Fairbanks 05:42

Yeah, and I guess let's even zoom out one step further, before we go is that this is this is the framework that we used, that I realized I was doing over and over. And then I brought you in, and then we were doing it over and over again, with folks where it was like, as we sat down to start working with someone, we couldn't just immediately jump into the shiny ship. Now, they first started talking to us, because they wanted to update their website, or they wanted to get a course built. And it's all that shiny stuff we were talking about before. And what we realized, and we've touched on this in, in previous episodes, and in previous conversations, but it's like, we at first were like, Yeah, let's jump in, let's start working on that thing. And then we realized that that was a problem, right? The order was wrong. We realized, whoa, like when someone comes and let's say they want to build a course. It's like, that's great. That sounds awesome. We need to first look at what you have. And so that's where we started to put it. So this is what I call a kind of T three framework, because there's three T's to follow. And that's where you're starting us off on. So the idea of taking a look at your teams, like what is the team that is around you. And that's the first tee, and that T three framework. And definitely this is where delegation is going to come in. And so if we're talking about within this team, kind of we'll break it out, right T AMS, but the first tee in teams, and this is definitely in your wheelhouse is the idea of technology work, like who's doing the stuff in your gym? That's technologically related?

Tyler 07:16

Yeah, well, and it's tough in the gym space, because everybody often gets into the space via coaching, right? Or they just want to be in the gym more, even if it's not coaching, they just kind of want to be in and around the gym more. And that doesn't often lend itself to being a very specialized, highly qualified, high paid person in that field. Right? The most qualified graphic designers are not going to be all that interested in just doing it a little bit for free for the gym that they go to very often. So you need to just look and assess First off, who do you have? Right? Who do you have doing things for you? And this is you see this in every business but like an actual like a simple organizational chart where like, who does what here? If an email comes in, who answers it? That's pretty if the phone rings who answers it, if we get a voicemail who calls them back? If something breaks in the gym, what happens from there, like there's a whole lot of things that like, I think a lot of gyms still exist far south of that point, where it's just everything that just kind of happens. And it becomes this constant blob of coping with situations as they go through. And there is no process to be assigned, like, Oh, good. I know so and so's got this, and I know so and so's got this, but oftentimes, because they don't have the help to begin with, how many drugs operate with an owner, maybe a full time coach and two to six part time coaches and not a single other employee.

John Fairbanks 08:43

And what you're saying there, like two to six part time coaches, that those are the folks that are like, advanced, like they really are moving forward, I learned a lot of conversations that I've had, where it's like, it's the owner is the head coach, and also does everything or they may be they have somebody else as the co owner or the coach that's there to help them. But it's so limited. And you have mentioned this specifically, but it's the idea of we're like the owners, you we find like we find that the gym owners are oftentimes the bottleneck. Yeah, in almost every situation. They are kind of getting things dying, either in their inbox or on their desk. And speaking of the technology work, I know for sure we've talked to gym owners, where it's like, well, I'm not on Facebook. Yes, I do. That's not what I asked you. Like, I don't care if you personally aren't on Facebook, like that's a personal decision. And I get it like, fight the good fight, but it's your business, your business needs to exist and for better or for worse right now. Right? You need your business to exist on Facebook and on Google, like those are the two places. So if that ain't you, then who's on your team that's going to help you do that.

Tyler 09:59

Well And I think as, as we talked about moving forward, here's from the Who's on your team thing. When we talk about chasing shiny objects, right, chasing the next thing or chasing the thing, the piece that you think you need this directly going to have a response or a, what's the word and effect on your bottom line, when we get to chase in those pieces, like you have to know that you've got this team piece in order, or else none of it works. Meaning if you're still you're still in that paradigm that we've talked about is broken is a broken philosophy, which is I need more members. If you're still living in that capacity, you are doing everything, you can't just do more, how many gym owners out there with your staff? Could you just do 50% More work, everybody handle 50% More Clients handle 50%. I just don't think that the average person that's in that situation is capable of handling more members. They're just not it's and it's not a hill, you need to just bury yourself under and then Cloud have to be successful. I think you need to prepare to have 50% more members, you need to build these systems right now. Don't lose your ass while you're doing this. And that's important to say too, that this doesn't mean that you sit on your heels and like to hire a bunch of people that aren't going to directly have a direct effect like this. That's not what we're saying. And I think that's maybe important to clarify that this doesn't mean take 10 steps backwards to take 12 steps forward. This just means don't run into the goddamn fire right? Now start running towards the thing when you don't know what that is.

John Fairbanks 11:30

And it's important, this particular framework that we're going to talk about and kind of hit all these different elements. This is supposed to be like, these are stats, these are statistics. They're not good. They're not bad. They just want to get a lay of the land, you want to get a lay of the land. What does your situation look like? Specifically? The reason why that's so vital. Is that like, we could get hung up, okay, well, I need to now hire like you said, I need to hire somebody. It's like, even though it's in this framework, we'll talk about it just because we say it does not mean every one of these points are created equal. Because you and I have done work with folks before that hire, hire all this staff, and start just dumping money into things and it's like, whoa, why are you why are you doing this? Like, why are you spending all of this money right now? Because in no way would that have been our advice. And it's a very confusing thing where it's like, you need to look at the whole picture. And right now, like, you're super zoomed in on this one thing and you think this is your answer. Meanwhile, like the gyms on god damn fire, like the gym is underwater. It's on fire, like us, whatever. But it's like, oh, no, what we can do is we can frame this up, and we can get this looking really sharp. And it's like, dude, like it is literally life right now. Like you need to put the fire out. And then we can worry about these next things. And in fact, again, always back to that order thing. If you do it in the proper order, it makes it so much easier to do the other things that you need to do. But if you do it out of order, you are almost like, I'm gonna climb Everest, but without my feet. It's like whoa, okay, well, I guess it's possible but I don't know if I would advise that.

Tyler 13:19

So when a person goes through and just makes note of what they have for teams technology,

John Fairbanks 13:23

yeah, so you need to look at you got to have somebody that's taking care of who's taking care of your technology work, who's doing what I call it like the enterprise work so who's taking helping you with sales or selling or closing membership or talking to interested people again, it's how you talk to folks that are new that are walking through the door maybe they were referral maybe they're a longtime member, but their membership is is going to expire? Maybe you gave away God forbid like a free week or whatever like Do you have someone that's inside just tracking what are those dates what when do you need to be following those someone

Tyler 14:02

who knows everybody's birthday everybody's renewal day it's everybody's contract with it is and isn't and you know what, everybody has assessment packages rolling up or when somebody's already expressed an interest in a new program, like who's queued up to be reminded when these things come out and there's all your all your contacts sorted out into like respectable marketable email lists, like, do all those things organized in a way to where just turning up the volume on leads is going to actually help you and not break you?

John Fairbanks 14:34

Right? Because all of a sudden you have 100 members who will use it to make it easy, and they're like all leads need to be the answer. Well, if you have 100 people that are in complete and total disarray, 60 of which haven't actually been at your gym for the last two months. Like it's you don't even like and five of them moved away last week like it's an end and 2020

Tyler 14:54

They will be reminded to cancel their membership if you finally reach out and contact me. I'll never hear from you at all, they don't even know they're paying at this point. And there is a lot of that, like communications, just complete disarray, right, and we see with these gyms, and that's where we talked about before, people don't even people's members don't even know what they have to offer, they don't even know what they can buy in this gym, or what services a gym offers short of whatever they're currently into. And there is no path to communicating that.

John Fairbanks 15:26

Right. And so again, so you have that and then and then you have to have, you have to have the basic administrative work as well. So for going through, right, the idea of technology and enterprise administration is the A administrative work is going to be, okay, who's paying the bills? Like who's doing who is making sure right, gym owners have so many services and software's and you know, who is answering those calls, paying those bills, making sure that stuff's getting squared away, like get a lot of administrative stuff that you can't, oftentimes, that's the stuff that has to be done, either by the gym owner, or by someone very close, right. And so you have to get past that, that has to be covered. And then the last two are simple enough, but it's the idea of the AEM. Right in teams is what we just called for better for worse, but it's Mom duty. Like, just like you said before, it's like, you know, you open your new like that toilet breaks, you're gonna need to know how to probably fix it like it's it until you get

Tyler 16:28

an extra couple $100 If you don't, you have to start getting resourceful. Like right now those are, those are decisions that come in there. Those are situations that come out right away the mom duty stuff you have. I mean, and this goes even as far as you can have relationship troubles. You somebody can, your coach can piss somebody off, a client can pisciculture if you got to show up and become therapists for that day, and you got to be everybody's good guy, and blah, blah. But you know, there's, there's a lot of that type of shit, not just what's the word facing in house, but facing out of house as well. Like, there's, you guys kind of have to be the person to do that. And so you can find somebody to not be, but it is you should note, people should note how much time actually they spend on that. And very often people might realize that that is the bulk of what they're doing. Yeah, it's just chasing running around putting out fires and trying to get things rolling. And, and that's not progress. That's, that's maintenance. Yeah,

John Fairbanks 17:22

definitely. That's Tashi, who's your gym? Mom, who's who's doing those things, quote, unquote. And again, if you could find that, you realize that if you're the one splitting this, if you're a solopreneur, you only have so many people on your team, you got to realize, okay, how, what is the percentage of my day that's going to these things, because this is the last the last piece of the teams is the ass, and this is gonna be like the session work, like who's running your sessions? So do you have coaches full time part time? Do you have virtual coaches? Who do you have? Because most of the time, if you're only the person there, that means you're running all the classes. That means all those other things we just talked about? That's not what is being squeezed into the other 20% of your day?

Tyler 18:10

Well, which is it's important to know, too, that then, by the way, if that's the case, boy, you're you're, you're on the floor product might just be great, because it's you, right? You know what I mean? It might be the most fully aligned to your coaching philosophy as anything can be. But you can't do that forever. And you can't do that with twice as many people. And so what are you going to do right now? How do you get out of that without selling or you have a bunch of coaches that you put into your place to cover those things, and they aren't well aligned with your philosophy, that's going to cause huge problems, because now your fulfillment sucks, right? The product you're putting out there is not going to be very good. So it's important to assess where that is. It's all you so great. That is all perfectly aligned with you as a coach. And if you have a bunch of people where maybe half of Omar is 80% of the way to you, the other half are very resistant to being very far away. That's Pete , another piece you have to start working on, right. If half your coaches just aren't quite up to snuff, which by the way, that's not your fault, either. Nor is it theirs. This is depending on where you're at, and where you're getting people like everybody as a coach, this is a journey, you cannot just you're not just going to get aces after aces after Aces here. So it is important though, that you're constantly assessing this and working on this so that when you are getting more members, that you're not having more members who are getting disappointed by poor coaching or coaching that doesn't quite represent you or what you want your business to be. So this is why we can't just skip over these steps and start turning up the volume on members because you'll have more members an unhappy ones or a very, very birth out you

John Fairbanks 19:44

at 100%. And it also is taking a look at if you want to grow and you think that adding more members is the best way to grow based off of all the marketing that you're going to see. You are the reason why everything just kicks total ass and it rocks and your gym is awesome. And the tribe is awesome. And everything's awesome that you have. If you add more people, do you just like what you've talked about? Do you have the time to double to triple your personal workload, as the owner, that also is doing all the awesome things. Because there's so many things that you can do in your gym, that allows you to maximize what you're doing, and really not increase, like, you don't have to increase members, and it still can get better. And so if you still are the if you're the man, right, if you're the only thing quote unquote, or your whatever, you're the only person that's there continuing to make it awesome, then, you know, you don't want 50 more members, because now all of a sudden, you have another problem, like you can work on a lot of other stuff to solve. But boy, you, you take away your options, if you start being like, yeah, 50 more people or 10 More people or 12 more people, whatever it is, now you've tied your hands behind your back. And now all of a sudden, you have these folks that aren't ready that aren't in a place that now you have to rely on.

Tyler 21:10

Yeah, yeah. And there's, by the way, there's always some component in that I wish I can say people, you just marched forward into battle with just a, you know, a platoon full of fucking total killers. But that's just not the way this always works, either. So you're always going to exist somewhere along that spectrum. But failing to address it is usually the reason coaches used to do everything themselves or their gym products chose to get away from them. So to support this gotta stay. As there's a reason these things are in the first step.

John Fairbanks 21:37

Yeah. So that is the first step right is doing the assessment of alright, what does your team look like? We go through all those pieces. The next piece that we take folks through is then taking a look at what does your tribe look like? So if we're talking about right teams with our first tee, the next T is tribe. So what does your actual tribe look like? And so this is your gym community. And so there's a bunch of different aspects that we kind of break down. So within that word, tribe, so the first thing is, what is your total service that you provide? So what are the services for new members? For current members? What are all the options that are available? And this is always the biggest one, right? When we're working with someone, we ask this question. And then they write it all down. And I like, I think it's 100% of the time they go, man, we do a lot of stuff here. Like I don't think I've ever seen it all, written out like this before. And it's like, and this is the problem, like one of the big, big problems is that you have so many things that are happening. They're scattered everywhere. And if you don't realize that you do all these things, what are the odds that like the folks that go to your gym, realize you do all these things

Tyler 22:56

and, and that is, this is just about consistently informative. You know, first off, it doesn't exist in any one place. And that matters, obviously, also means your clients are not being told this. They're I mean, they're not being told, if you don't know if it never lives in one place as an owner, most likely your coaches are hardly aware. And at the very least, if everybody's barely aware, if they got to go through this whole thought exercise with a pen and paper to write down the things that a client could do with your business, if they walked in the door, there's a very good chance and that that's not being coached and trained and built in or is turned into a process to where everybody knows, because everyone on your staff should kinda know right should be able to answer a question if somebody asked her to force something over to sales but everybody should know what the things that you do are and it was even worse is if the coach has a hard time digging it out or the owner has a hard time making that list. Your clients have no idea and nobody's interested in buying a thing that they don't have a clue that they can buy from you

John Fairbanks 23:57

imagine if you're going to buy a car oh so so what options you guys have I don't I don't know actually just kind of it's a round just look around who's got cars you

Tyler 24:08

maybe there's some that aren't here but there but we still have them so just look and then maybe if you did start to combine one of those two this makes sense right? Maybe that's a weird way to do business. This is a this is so a lot of people's gyms run like a garage sale with no prices on the thing you're just like I just I don't know how this is supposed to go you know and buy but that's also a matter of simply you that's that really carries over from organizing some of the tough on the stuff on the team side to is you get that stuff organized you get it in orders they know what to what what we offer specifically they're trained on it they're built for it and then that starts to trickle into the to the to the tribe because at some point then the people within your Jim wall start to know these guys do do a lot here. And it's not like these few people that are only paying for one thing think that you only do that one thing, you know, and then they're less inclined to buy more often or to turn to you for more products or, or if they're interested in buying. So just something else in the fitness space that they're not going to you first with it for advice or referrals or something,

John Fairbanks 25:16

the most deadly thing. And we've touched on this before and talked about it. And you and I've talked about it a couple times just offline, but it's the idea that people will find what they're looking for and they'll find what they want. And the thing that would be so deadly for a gym owner is to realize, I, I had a servant like, somebody left, why did you leave? Well, I really wanted to be able to have I wanted to spend more money, I wanted better I wanted, I wanted personal training, or I wanted this or I wanted that and be like, we have that, like we offer that. And it's like what it's like, well, I didn't know that. And by the time that conversation happens, you're two months too late. Like it's you're so far behind the eight ball. And you were again, you were just having a conversation with somebody the other day where it's like, it's man, I just want more, I want to do more, I want to double down.

Tyler 26:15

Yeah, this was a friend who I knew was just struggling kind of in the last like, maybe a year of their fitness. And it's just like, Man, I don't know what the deal is, if maybe he wants something different or different program or thinks he wants to leave his gym or something. It's like, wish you know, it is good to have your tribe built to the point where people like to think good and hard before they leave your job. That's the thing that these group fitness places do very well. They think good and hard about it because like shit, there are such consequences, but they're leaving a community . There is more to it than just up and leaving. But he starts going down this road. And all really is because essentially, he never got the opportunity to reinvest in himself, right to boil the whole conversation down is, if there's nothing else he can spend money on there that is going to help him and he's just kind of bored. And he knows he probably should work harder. But some people connect to that in different ways. Some people do it by just by themselves a new pair of shoes once every two months, every three months. And all of a sudden that's like enough to light a fire in their fitness. You know what I'm saying? This shit works, spend some money on supplements, whether they're right or wrong or bad or whatever, spend some money on supplements that aren't like a big scam. And people get realigned because they're really investing in themselves or investing back into their fitness. And whether that means coming through and doing maybe an assessment and full body analytics and some movement stuff and like a goal setting meeting with your coach and then getting directed into maybe doing some one on ones once a week. And then transitioning to small group focus and, or putting together you in a group of homies from the gym, who want to do something very specific and just upgrading to a semi private thing for two months out of some assessments, like those are all things where the gym owner, not only is this gym owner, probably gonna lose his client, most likely, but they could have made so much more money and kept him and kept him happy. Like literally, you don't have to lose money to keep this guy. You don't have to lose anything to keep these people. And this is a very common thing with the lifecycle of group fitness gyms. You know what I mean? Is the group fitness thing we realized, well, wait, this can't be the only thing. This just can't be this, you know. And once people get stuck in that paradigm, people end up exactly where this guy was just like this? Is this all I can do? You know?

John Fairbanks 28:45

Yeah. And it is a thing that fights what we believe to be common sense, which is the idea of like, well, they're already they're already paying X to fill in the blank. I don't want to ask them to pay more money. And it's just we you got to realize that folks that pay more pay more attention. They just are going to think about right now in the back of your mind. Any customer, any client that you've ever had, though, those that were your higher paying customers, just they did better, they listened, they showed up like there are so many examples.

Tyler 29:24

The investment is in wanting to be happy once you give people a choice. I think it's important to make this differentiation, John is when we make people a choice not about just charging more. It's about giving them a choice to choose more, we build more value into these offers, right? And so and it's important when I talked to a former business partner the other day, we said it was important to note we're going through some of these things that that your bottom product doesn't just become your bottom price offering on your tier offering your base offering cannot still probably be 10 times as much as everybody else's base offering. Right but you'd have more options and what their buying patterns are falling. Because when people choose if someone can choose to get through this interaction, this purchase this transaction, if someone can get through that for $200, and they choose to get through it for 200, versus choosing to spend 1000, to get through it, the person who chooses to spend 1000 on, say, getting their tires replaced and getting the brakes gone through, or whatever the fuck that I know nothing about cars, right. But if you go and you got a squeak in your car, guys, like listen for 200 bucks would get the car on the road again, I'll probably be alright, you know, to the minimum, or 4000, you can get all new wheels, tires, we're gonna go through the brakes and do these things. The first choice to spend 1000, like is choosing to be happier with that interaction, by choosing to go for it because I chose the greater value, which meant when I am walking into this situation, as soon as I'm ready to make that choice, I am choosing that this is going to be good. There's going to be what I want it to be: those people don't spend 1000, and then just bitch, no amount of people, you spend it a little by the minimum minimum option and then complain about the value given there's, that happens a lot. And this is why you don't just do a set price, a set race to the bottom type situation. Never ever try to be the cheapest or the second or the third or the fourth or the fifth cheapest, it's not worth your time. Yeah. But you can't arbitrarily just be the most expensive, you really have to offer more. And that's why having the team behind you really being able to build these offerings, knowing where you stand before you simply raise prices, because that's a huge mistake is just raising prices. Because you can't get away for more, if you can't do

John Fairbanks 31:30

more. Exactly, right. And people do get wise to that you have to provide more value first. And then you can justify the price increase. Because that game of just making things more expensive. That's a short, that's a short lived game, it'll work for a little bit, but the wheels do come off. And so this immediately will keep going. And so we were looking at our tribe and so the next thing is TR so our so like, what's the rumor? What's your gym known for? So if ours and rumor, right? What is? What are you known for in your community? Well, how are you perceived locally? Like what is it when someone thinks about the gym? Fill in the blank? What's the first thing that they say? I think it's important for you to make sure that you're assessing that and writing it writing that down or realizing more important what

Tyler 32:21

is that? What is true, what is that you want to amplify, whatever that is, is true, and you need to work on. By the way, there's some of those things that are not going to be good your public perception, some things like shit, we, you know, we got to work on this and we got to actually work on this, we cannot just say we offer more value and say we charge more money and then not address these issues, you really do need to, I think really, really assess what people think of your gym. And then how we move forward from there really depends on that image, because that really sets a lot of expectations. If your gym is at this moment known for being the $29 a month fitness place, well, we need to do things differently. You know, and that takes that's going to be a bit of a longer path. But yeah, I think, but I think that's important to take an honest look at what your gym is, and how it fits in with everything else and what the public opinion is on it.

John Fairbanks 33:15

Yeah, and the rumor of it leads right into TR and then I which is identity, which is okay, what do you like? What is the identity of the members that you have? What's the identity of the gym? Because one thing we found too, talking to some gym owners is that sometimes, right? It's gonna be there. It's like they recreated it. But they started brand new, right? They started a gym brand new, or they inherited a gym. But the same mental exercise has to happen, which is if you inherited a gym, it's what was the identity of your gym at the moment when you are in the gym? And you're looking around? Or what was the identity of the gym that you left? And now you're an owner of a new gym? Do you want people to be like that? What do you want your people to look like? Because I think a lot of times things will just look at you if you don't do it purposefully, the identity of a gym can start to take on a life of its own. And the sooner and later you start looking around being like I hate every fucking person in here. Yeah, and I know we've seen massive contrast of like, it's for folks that we've now been around long enough for now. You know, Gears we've been around, and we've seen what their gym looked like right when they became an owner. And then we see what their gym has looked like, you know, four or five years later. And you know, my wife is a good litmus test for some of these things of like kind of sniffing out bullshit and kind of calm things as it is because there's a lot of things for those of us that are really like close to the trees of the forest, kind of a thing that we're in we're the frog and boy Dealing water when it comes to being around gyms where there's stuff where it's like, it's no, it's totally normal for no one to have clothes on. And for everyone to look a certain way, right? Yeah. When my wife walks into a gym, she has like, she has no expectations, because it isn't her life where she is. And so when she walks in, she's like, What the fuck is going on here? Like, why? Why does everyone look exactly the same? Why do none of the women have clothes on? And why do they all want me to respect them? Like, I'm super confused by all of these things?

Tyler 35:36

Why have they all agreed on the same pair of shoes? So strange?

John Fairbanks 35:40

Right? And, and so it was awesome, because she actually had been with us, where we had walked into a gym, you know, four years ago. And she's just like, this is a very unwelcoming place, it was the vibe that she got the feeling that she got, and she walked into the same gym, you know, four years later, and tons of things had changed. The owner now had four years under their belt, where they were brand new at the time. And she's like, this is a completely different gym. Now. That doesn't happen by accident.

Tyler 36:16

No, you're never gonna be what's the word I'm looking for, you're never gonna be like thorough and welcoming on accident. That's the thing I'll never do. Right? Now you can be good at accidents, though, you can be a really good coach. But like that next level connection. And that next level, like really being mindful of what this is like, to a person coming off the street. That takes that to be done intentionally. Yeah, there is no avoiding it. Because if you let the psychological forces from within the gym, whether its clients and coaches in the class, rotation, and ego, and fun, and all those fun things, all those things just left to run, only serve the people within the gym, and then the outside prescription gets to be kind of jacked up. So it's very important to keep an eye on that stuff and keep it under balance. Because, again, like we talked about in the end, you still eventually want to be able to turn on the faucet for more members. Eventually, we want to be able to get all your affairs in order so that you can do that. And this is one of those kinds of introductory steps, which is like dude, what's the vibe, like in this place? You know, like, we're like, really? What is this like? And how attractive or you know, how much of a deterrent is that?

John Fairbanks 37:27

Right? And I will say it's, don't make a mistake about it just because we don't lead with members. Right? We don't lead with oh, you need more members. And we don't lead with How many members do you have? Right? That's how successful you are. We don't lead with those things. But it doesn't mean that that data is irrelevant. Right? In fact, it still is very important. That actually takes us to the next point, which is the B which is like, Alright, what's the base? What's the foundation of your gym at the moment? Like, How many members do you have? How many folks are paying monthly? How are you collecting payments? Like what does your payment schedule look like? cancellations attrition. Now, like we're talking like hardcore stats, we got to know that you have to know that you are a gym owner. If you are not keeping track of those statistics, then who is like who should be responsible for that? Those are things where it's like, that is the lifeline. Those are certain stats that are not just fluff bullshit statistics. You have to know. Okay, how many new members did we get this month? How many do we lose? On average? Like if you don't know those things? And it's kind of like, yeah, like, I think we got like, 200 members, it's like, dia kinda got like, 200 members, or do you have 125 And I'll give you

Tyler 38:49

exactly how many months your last 200 cancellations have attended before, you know, I mean, have been members before they canceled. And you gotta go way, way, way, way, way back to really get all those numbers because a lot of times people just sit with me, I have X amounts of numbers now. And these people that have been in the building are here on average for X amount. I was like, Okay, but what if you've had 300 People come and go within two weeks? You know what I'm saying? All of a sudden, your current numbers are not that good if I'm just doing it based upon the amount of bodies at your headcount at the moment. So there is there is all these there's a lot more complexity to these numbers than I think people's do every gym, you've been to the some of the seminars, we go to every seminar you go to when we're talking with the gym owner, that members number comes up like I mean, it's it's within its within five minutes. It's got to be, which is nice to me.

John Fairbanks 39:43

And here's also what's an interesting thing, which is

Tyler 39:46

How much money do you take home every month, dude, right? Like we were a little too early to ask that question. Yeah, that's but that's really the only question that these guys that we're trying to get to as a gym owner, like how much money do you make because I've got 240 Members, I'm fucking starving. Am I doing something wrong? Because that's what that means. Right? And it is, your 140 in mind might not mean the same thing. That's what I want to know.

John Fairbanks 40:11

Know Exactly. And that's what it's an interesting thing is like, oftentimes in our past life, it's where we were we chose to go for a seminar. How many? How many members? Do they have any? Like, what does the pool look like in that area, like, what's the size of the gym? What's the likelihood that they can be successful? And it's like, it's, well, there's a really important factor there, which is, and you and I have talked about it, where it's, if your bottom tier will make it super simple if like, if you have a tear available for members to spend $1 a month, and then your the next year is $5 a month, you're really going to wish that you instead had a tear that was just $5 a month, and then $10 a month for the two options, because you'll make five times as much. And the one thing that we find is like a lot of folks are like, Well, I have I have 100 members, and they all pay not enough money. And it's like, oh, because that's a big difference between I have 100 members a month, but they spend $1,000 A month it's like, What the fuck did you say out loud? Like,

Tyler 41:16

with and with the base of that, like you talk about this, you know, establishing the base of your tribe, you know, what does that basis, what is this base of income look like to you now. So now you have this base, here's what we know, they're expecting this level of service that we get at this extremely low price that is making me so little money, I can't delegate and then I can stretch so thin that I can't possibly imagine growing this number to an amount that will help and now I am stuck. It says like this is like the end of the game, you get to a point like I can't go backwards, I can't quite do it here. And that piece exactly like you said is you can't have your base offering be too low at some point that does need to come into into discussion, it should be market competitive. But you definitely will default to their buying habits. And that's the thing that I think everybody needs to understand is that when you start to stack some of these offers, some people are premium top notch Cadillac Escalade buyers, right. And some people will buy no matter how much money they have, by the way, we'll buy a rusted out shitbox that might get them through the year if they're lucky, because that's just the way that they are. And most will fit in the middle, most maybe nudge their way up on the right deal and nudge their way down on another. But the fact is, if you don't offer that you're going to continue selling your $1 memberships. Because you're cheap, people will always be cheap, and you didn't even give your non cheap people an opportunity to not be cheap. Because now you're not even giving them what they want. I mean, they really want this. Let me give you a quick example on this adding things to this right is I kind of joined a kickboxing MMA gym here. And he's a good guy. And he started up brand new, of course, it's just him, he's still working a full time job. And he's running classes in the evenings. This thing is, as by the seat of your pants is as the start of any of these projects go and I really respect this part of the process. So I kind of just sit with them and talk with them a little bit on some of the things but what I've done since I started there was bought my first month's membership, bought a pair of gloves for me and then kind of wanted a different pair so I ordered a really expensive pair on the internet. And then he found another pair that was a little bigger and I ordered a pair of gloves from there and I ordered some extra kicking shin guards for my wife and kid in case we ever want to spy and then I bought an extra spare myself online to now then after my first month and buying all these things, most of them not with this business, I then double down on the six month membership because it saves me money. Now theoretically in my first five or six weeks in this place I have spent I mean fucking probably like $1,300 but only five was that this was through this gym. Now granted, not all of these are services they could sell me but if you're getting into a thing, understand that that was all about my buying habits and my new hobby, more than it was about anything else. And so you want to make sure like don't just be the guy that offers me a $30 a month thing. Why don't we do it I'm trying to go five grand deep into this thing I'm trying to get good at this let's go and if you can't offer it someone else is going to just reap the benefits of my buying habits and you don't want to do that because I'm like I like you I'm already here and then you're building so that's what we want to do is cover cover all of our bases when it comes

John Fairbanks 44:36

because you liked the guy you were gonna buy anyway like you're gonna buy and if you want to set bought stuff for my wife

Tyler 44:41

and kids don't even do it. Right. So it's like I just want to support you because it's rowdy at home.

John Fairbanks 44:48

But that's it and so you happily would have paid him the 125 extra bucks or whatever it is like it just as you would have paid him but it wasn't an option. And your people who like you, they want to support you. And oftentimes it's like, Hey, how can I support you? And it's kind of like, oh, you pay me enough? Oh, okay, well, all right, then well, then I'll go spend some money over here. And come back. I guess that's what we'll do. So

Tyler 45:14

What do we get? What do we get next? John on the framework here.

John Fairbanks 45:17

It takes us into expectations. And really what we're talking about, we're coming into now the last bit of the tribe piece, and then you're starting to notice where we really now are talking numbers and transactional work. And then it's kind of the last piece so the last piece of the tribe is, what are the expectations of your members? When it comes to? How often do they pay for services? How often are you running programs that they can buy, like having set expectations that are established, there's a way to do this badly. And there's a way to do this just really, really ingrained and natural into the gym. And, and there is an art to this, a lot of this stuff we can break down, it's kind of very, it's almost like it's gym, it's gym, math, it's scientific, you can just go from that about about $1. But there is another piece of this where it's, if you don't establish expectations and make this human, you're gonna really quickly realize, oh, well, all I have to do is keep asking people for money, and I'll keep making money like that will stop working, you can't do

Tyler 46:26

what you're talking about a fixed captive audience, which is kind of what your tribe is, give or take, call it, which will, it is a captive audience is your audience, they are your members that you have direct access to them via email in class and all those things, you can solicit them and sell them hard, and you can solicit and sell them often, and it will work until it doesn't, and then they're gonna be tired of it, they're gonna think it's too much, and then it doesn't, then the paradigm shifts from you offering value that they're choosing to get on board with. And then they're going to feel like, Oh, this guy's not offering value, he's just asking for money now, and then they start to see it, meaning, you always have to stay ahead of that. And that, by the way, expectations isn't just x, expect expectations on how often they're going to be sold, or how expensive something should be. It may also be the expectation needs to be, you know, from the beginning, from your identity as a gym, or what your the reputation that you have is is that, oh, these guys do do right, by me, this is always going to be a premium product, they're asking me for more, I am getting more like, you can't disappoint. As you start to offer more as you start to sell some of these upper tier things you gotta deliver, and you have to deliver well, which is why you can't just run ahead and fall on your face either.

John Fairbanks 47:42

Yeah, and it cannot be that you're replacing again, it goes back to how important your team is, it can't be as you start adding some of these really important pieces that maybe are more financially driven, it cannot replace the human element of your gym, like you can't stop being the gym mom, because now you need to start asking for money. Like you have to have that balance. And in fact, I don't even know it's so much. It's not a 5050 balance. You know, there's a lot of folks that feel certain ways, but it's like, I need to provide four times the value. And one time the ask like my ask better not be I better not be asking for money, or asking for a transaction more times than I am providing value to people. And that is like a literal science and math of breaking down. Like when I send an email, is it always because I'm trying to sell something? Or do I have a human component that's also involved here? Yeah. And so it immediately just takes us down to the sales conversations. We're talking transactions. And this is very simple. It is the third to the T three frames. Yeah, the third t. So the T three, we're finally there. We made it. So we get the transactions. And this is where we kind of break down. What does your sales process look like? You have to have one and you need to sit down and say, and if you don't have one that's written down, you have to think, Okay, what is happening then? Like, what does it actually look like? It's more relevant and don't lie to yourself. This is where you start to look at some of these things and be like, who will this happen to? And then this happens. And then a thank you letter gets written? Whoever writes that thank you letter to somebody like it, make sure you're being honest, because that's where you are and this is why we do this. Because once you can get everything written down. It makes it so much easier to identify, oh, shit, that's a gap. There's a gap here. And maybe this is why our attrition rate is 25%. Maybe this is why the average lifespan of somebody at our gym is only 10 weeks. Yeah. And you can identify so that it's easy. You're looking at the sales process, you're looking at how often you get a chance to sell People's that are built into the process. And this is you touched on it where it's like, do your coaches know what you offer? Because the last thing you want is a member to walk up and be like, you know, I would just love to be able to do something like this. And they're like, yeah, that'd be awesome. And it's like, oh, God, dang, like, Dude leave was there like, we have something that could have done that. So again, it's always going to tie back.

Tyler 50:23

And so and so and we're not just in, we're not just here going on. Like we're not just going on, you know, here's an assessment of how this is right. This is something where, if you realize that all of these things that your clients are only used to being sold when they walk in the door for the first time. Once you know that, once you've kind of assessed that we need to actually need to implement some sort of plan in order to start to shift that towards the way we're trying to make things become, you know, so this idea of like, oh, shit, right now, when am I selling my clients? Oh, on day one. And then never again, and maybe once a year when I do a nutrition challenge.

John Fairbanks 51:06

And maybe if they tried to leave, we need an honest assessment.

John Fairbanks 51:10

That's it. But you realize that like there is a group of people that are just going to get to this point, they're going to pat themselves on the back, because they've looked at, they've looked at their tribe, they've looked at their team, they've written this stuff down. God damn, this was a lot of work that I just did. And then they go, Well, all right, off we go. And then and then that's it. That's all you do. And you got to realize, this is just writing down and understanding all the things that you probably should have already known. Yeah, this is literally like, this is the ticket to get into the game, to now be able to start participating. Like, this is the entrance fee. This isn't even the work. Meeting, this is now what you've just done for yourself, as you have just started the foundation of your blueprint of what now needs to actually be done.

Tyler 52:03

Yeah, this is identifying all the pieces you have on the board, right now. This is alright, I got this, I got this, I got this. Now what? And now what is kind of the thing that's got to come from this now but you can't go, you cannot get to this point and go, Well, I don't want to know any more about this, this is gonna hurt my feelings. Or I don't want to pretend the hard thing is like, Oh, I don't want to pretend that maybe I'm gonna lean and lean into some of these things and move in the wrong direction for a little bit. You know, or maybe shit. Now that I know that some of this stuff and what what should be, it's a bit humbling to be like, fuck, I've been hidden backwards, or I've been standing still. And standing still is that I mean, that's the thing. And that's the thing in business. And we have clients, John who push hard, and they're good, and they're really good for it. And that the ones that do are the most ambitious, that get the most done are the ones that just refuse to stand still. So when we get into processes like this with them as they go, good, oh, this is a problem. This is a problem. This problem is good. Now we go. And, and that's the piece, if you want to be successful in this, you have to kind of adopt the mindset that these numbers are neither good nor bad. They're just a representation of something that we're trying to progress now. And so it doesn't fucking matter where they are. But we're not gonna be delusional, marching forward, ignoring where some of these things are. And that's exactly the symptom, the issue that people have when they start chasing leads and members before they have any of these other things in order.

John Fairbanks 53:29

Right. And that he is. So now the real question is, what do I do next? Right, what do I do, I got all this information, I have this data now what we do, and now we start the process where it needs to be a very methodical nature, we stay right within our frameworks. And you now start taking a look at, okay, I have the data. Now, what's the next thing we need to do? And the reality is that it's always easier to keep a member you already have. And so it needs to be that you start to build out your process and take a look at here's all my information, what do I have? And now how can I start to build and stack things in such a way that allows me to be able to provide the maximum amount of value for the people I have now. And that is really what we did and that's what we started to do is we did this for a done for you think for so long, that it just wasn't practical to keep helping folks. And this is why we have built a system that allows gym owners to now get plugged into a thing to be like I have this data now. All right, great. Follow this step, this step, this step and this step. And now the steps are going to break it down for you that you just keep everything that you already have. And now it's scattered and maybe you haven't any less scattered because now it's on a single word doc or you wrote it all on the back rolling papers like whatever your choice was, right? Whatever you decided to do to write down all this information, you now need to put it into a consumable way. And that is the piece we're going to show you if you just now have to put it in a way that can be consumed by somebody else. And now you're going to see kind of just magic happen because you're going to take the disorganized and organize it. And now you can repeat this over and over and over again. But if you just go, oh, well, I don't have a technology person, this is what I need to do. It's like, whoa, pump the brakes. Like it's, that is data to be fixed. And there's certain pieces of this thing that you just wrote out, that are things that are going to be fixed in a year from now. And things that need to be fixed next week. And that is that's where it's, it's we've already gone too long, just breaking down. This is how you go about just breaking down the data of what to do. But right most things there's low hanging fruit, there's areas where you see like this can be better. And that's oftentimes the easiest way to go after something is low hanging fruit, I can fix this, I can make this better. We're not so much interested in helping identify low hanging fruit, but we want to identify the things where it's like this can immediately start making you and your business more money that therefore allows you to provide more value and the more valuable you can make yourself then the more things you can do for your people. And it always goes back to you can now fulfill all those altruistic goals that you have don't have whatever but it's very hard to save the poor if you can't save yourself

Tyler 56:35

yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that's got us tied up here. Got us all wrapped up. That's it for the framework stuff guys. You can go to your email us first if you want to have longer phone questions my email genre you can email us at info at hacker We're gonna go visit hack your Also make sure you join the gym owners Facebook group

John Fairbanks 56:57

Yep, yeah, the gym owner's podcast is right. Build Your movement is the Facebook group. If you go to hack your it will make it easy there's a button right there you click and join because these are the conversations that are going to be having you're going to see people that either are actively going through this process thinking about this process everything that kind of is in a gym owners world this is where it's freely discussed and it is free right this is the idea where the discussion the community that's the that's the big driver behind this.

Tyler 57:26

The Facebook group is going to be like the kind of best spot for you to get more familiar with a lot of these things. So go ahead, feel free to share this podcast, these videos, these episodes with any gym owner or gym person in your life. If you got anybody a family member loved one a coach whoever who's either thinking about starting a gym has been starting to gym, or is that a gym for a while and just you know, you want to make sure that you see them be successful. If any of this stuff makes sense to you as a business mind yourself in whatever field you're in. For this your favorite gym owner. I think they'd appreciate a little bit of that and appreciate that you care about them. They give a shit about you. You follow me on Instagram at Tyler effing stone Tyler effing stone and John

John Fairbanks 58:11

is J banks fl - fl as in Florida, go Gators

Tyler 58:17

Alright, thanks a lot for listening to everybody. We'll see you next week.

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