The Gym Owners Blog/Podcast/More than just Money: Quality Control

More than just Money: Quality Control

Thursday, January 19, 2023

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coaches, people, intangible, gym, money, discounting, business, talking, quickly, owners, piece, clients, tangible results, tangible goals, lose, meaningful conversations, fitness, career, services, align


  • ​The thing that gets really slippery - 0:00
  • ​The fitness industry has an influencer problem - 1:39
  • ​The importance of creating long-term careers for your coaches - 3:26
  • ​Quality over quantity - 5:48
  • ​How to quickly lose your soul - 7:52
  • ​Maintaining your voice - 9:36
  • ​The importance of paying your coaches - 11:00
  • ​Tangible goals and intangible goals - 13:06
  • ​Why do people stay for the intangible? - 15:24
  • ​Turning the intangibles into action - 17:17


John Fairbanks 00:00

So to kick us off, I think I want to be able to, to the thing that gets really slippery, when you are talking about advice, or kind of the advice game where we can start talking about a lot of different topics, all kind of surrounding, say, the fitness area where where we're kind of talking about, we're speaking to gym owners, I think that something that gets slippery, really fast, and we all have experienced this, at least I've experienced it in a lot of different sectors or sections of my life, as I've kind of been an adult and been in like education, or in sales, or in all these different areas, is that people that know what they're talking about, they're really successful, or they do things really well. The ones that do it poorly, all of a sudden think because they may have figured it out in like one particular sector means they're immediately a genius in all sectors. An example to illustrate what I'm talking about is like you would never call your accountant and ask him how you repair the leak that's under your sink for your faucet. But yet, I think in the fitness space, there's a lot of coaches, gym owners, people that all of a sudden is like, well, somebody says lots of things that sound fancy, that's kind of fitness related, that it quickly, everything kind of starts to melt together. And we lose a distinction to where it's like, it's so much more dangerous, because all of a sudden, you start following these people. It's like, wait a second, I don't think they actually have any idea what they're talking about.

Tyler 01:39

Well, and I think the fitness industry itself has a call it like an influencer problem. It makes it very possible for you to chase things on behalf of people that don't have any respect for what you do as a business, what you want to be, what your long term vision is like, you end up just doing somebody else's thing. Yeah,

John Fairbanks 02:00

The thing you brought up that I think really hits home for me is the idea that you just ended up kind of like either doing their thing or selling their thing or being involved, like they're selling you their things specifically. And what really hits home for me on that is that it's one of those dangers that we hear oftentimes of the idea of, like, You got to be careful what your goals are. And if you're not grounded, right, if your goal is to make more money, which we all want to make more money. But if you don't have some pretty key things that have been like established as like what grounds you as a human, the goal to make money can quickly you can go down some really squirrely weird paths, and kind of not realized where you've landed pretty fast of like, it's like, well, no, like, the goal is to make more money, right. So it's, we got to pay your coaches less. And I think we've touched on this before, like the idea of like, all your female coaches have to get only fans. And, and what we want to do is we need to make sure like, it's it's this and this and this. And I think very quickly, you can look around and be like, I think I sold my soul back there. And I don't like that I don't know what to do next.

Tyler 03:19

What does that look like for somebody when they're trying to set these kinds of things? These boundaries? specifically say the coaches pay? That's a good one, right? Yeah, a lot of business consultants come in, and there's plenty of ways to go about it. But some of them, let's just say are less, less interested in actually creating long term careers and long term opportunities for your coaches, right. It's like, I not only do I want my coaches to have a good career, I, for me, I almost would require it, you know, because I don't want me personally, I don't want partially engaged people in my business, I don't want you know, some people coming by that aren't all in that aren't really invested in learning and improving and all this stuff. So for me personally, with my business that was going to be an absolute requirement, my coaches were going to have to make a real career. So for me, it's less about making more money per hour off my coaches. And the long term. You know, the legacy piece that we talked about here is can I hire them and keep them for a long time? And can I develop them over the course of a long period of time? And can I make them really like a pillar in our community, not just the gym, but in the whole area for the members. And I like like, that's what you need is you need these people to be career people, they need to be respected, and they need to be respected as professionals and not just the guy with ABS who tells you to do more, you know, and so for me, that was a piece that I really, really wanted, because I had seen in other lines of work where that was a priority. And that's what always attracted me.

John Fairbanks 04:46

And I think it's like those things have to get established, like first so your question earlier was like, well, then how do you do this? This is the work that we would recommend anyone to do? Because it's not like this isn't niche specific. It's not just lip service, because I think there's a lot of people that you and I have joked about this in the past of like, consultant being a four letter word

Tyler 05:11

about me and John, it's not about us coming in and just telling you like, Oh, here's our rules. It's like, no, no, we need to help you align with your process and your things and your people. What are the ways that people can lose their soul? In going through some of this stuff without being rooted and anchored properly? We've already talked about how you can kind of scorch out your coaches, right, you can burn your coaches, you can essentially keep money on behalf instead of giving it to your coaches. That's what this is, right? That's what that philosophy is, that's what I'm firmly against. Another one I'm firmly against just fundamentally is, like hyper discounting your prices. That's for me, just as a business as a tradesman, as a craftsman. I don't believe in that at all. You know, I think concrete clients coming in wanting to get these crazy discount stuff, if you start to go with the Groupons, or the cheap, cheap, get parties on the door stuff. I think, for me as a coach, that's a slippery slope as a gym owner, because then all of a sudden, I have tons of bodies who don't care who is looking, it's just, it's bad, it was always bad for my product. So for me, that was the thing that I wasn't going to go quantity over quality when it comes to leads at all. Well, that definitely was not going to discount my services at all.

John Fairbanks 06:22

No, that piece has never made sense to me. I mean, if you think about it logically, quickly, it's like, if you just got somebody in at half price, or free for the love of God, they come in for free, and they experience the service. How are you going to ask for $200 or $150 among like, it's the way it is and it's when someone walks through your door. It's literally when their pain, or whatever's motivating them, right pain, quote, unquote, is the greatest that it will ever be ever in the history of their relationship with you. And so the reality is they walked through the door, they are looking for a solution and your answers like, Yeah, let's do a whole bunch of work for free for you. Let's, let's have you get a quick win and experience how great everything is that we do. And then it's like the epitome of the bait and switch that just became standard. Everyone's like, oh, yeah, no, it's free. And just kidding. It's $200 at the end of the 30 days, and everyone's gonna be like, ah, yeah, no, thanks. It's like, no, but like, they'll fall so in love with everything that you've done for them, that they'll just want to give you money.

Tyler 07:35

And can they fall in love when you're stretched so thin by that? So that's a tough conversation for another time. But I know for sure that's, that's a big one that I noticed as well for me coming from my gym was I didn't want to diminish the property or the value of the services that are offered. That was. So you said kind of a primary thing.

John Fairbanks 07:54

You said in coaches careers. You said, discounting your services. I think the idea also on the flip side is that another way to quickly lose your soul is the idea of removing, literally removing all humanity in the process. And I think the idea here is that you can quickly get people to be like, Oh, well, like I have there's, there's AI for this, or there's an auto responder for this. Or there's this or like it's you can have a face, you know, auto responder on Facebook messages. Or you can have, you know, you can have a sequence where like auto emails or all these things like I'm a big fan of automation. Yeah, like, it's definitely one of the skills that I've built over the years working with you, working with a strong fit or like helping automate some of those processes, because for sure, you don't want human capital and everything. But man, if you don't have it, if you're not firmly set in your humanity, and how important that human touch and human interaction is with your people, you're quickly just going because it's all the marketing advice. I mean, holy shit, there's a reason why people dislike the salesman type thing and sales advice. A couple of that language that you and I have seen over the years, it's hilariously bad. And soulless. So I think you can quickly lose your soul if you step too far out. And you haven't decided like this

Tyler 09:23

is right, the bots takeover. Yeah, man. If you let everything from the automated emails, the automated messenger stuff, you all have the text generators and copy generators, they all have value. But you can't just let it completely run amok because then it definitely is something that is not yours for sure. That was a big one for me, too is for me, I kind of determined when I kind of went through that process was I was about keeping our voice that was kind of the Yeah, but with that, so I just want to maintain our voice. And we did that quite a bit with a strong fit as well. So we needed to make sure that that voice was the voice of the people that were speaking and not just slowly converted into Unlike bought, because our highest value asset was, you know, human beings with that business as it should be with yours. Yeah, yeah, that's not a big one for me, it was keeping my voice that was like, for my business, I really, really wanted to do that. And then on the other side of the, of the pricing and discounting thing, what went on on the floor on the coaching floor had to be good, meaning like me, my coaches, we still had to learn, we still had to be quality coaches, there had to be good programming, there had to be, we had to get clients results, we couldn't let people be getting hurt, we had to still be the best It was around this area. That was that was something I was not willing to compromise, which means we then were spending money traveling for spending money on seminars we're covering for each other while we go to A to B for this and that and it becomes a long, a long, long journey, trying to get a bunch of coaches sharp and keep them continuing to learning that's a, that's a lifetime journey that, by the way, goes hand in hand with paying your coaches. Yeah. Because if you're not willing to pay your coach as well, Are you really willing to develop a coach and if you're not willing to pay them or their shit, you certainly probably aren't going to do a very good job developing developing them over 10 years, or at least then all the money that you're going to spend over the next 234 or five years before they get hip and bail is going to be bad money, because they're gonna take all that training and they're gonna leave. So

John Fairbanks 11:22

and let us be clear, like it's Can you churn and burn, and only have starting coaches that are going to be that are really just babysitters? Like, we all know what it looks like a couple of the folks, you could totally do that. Like we know, we see folks that are like, oh, man, you know, this was the experience, somebody walked into a gym, they were a drop in, the coach sat in a lawn chair the whole time, made the rounds, sat back down, right. So those things, that's the experience, if that's you, if that's your gym, that's awesome. It just means you ain't hanging with us. Yeah, yeah. Like, it's, it's, you're not our people. And this is where we started the conversation, which is like, you know, what do we do, then what do you do? What are the guiding principles that you have? What are the things that make you who you are, this is the work that we've done on our end, that's why we want to make it very clear, the purpose of this is, if what we're saying is who we think are the people we want to interact with, and what we're kind of drawing our line in the sand, which is, if you're a piece of shit that just wants to make money, get the fuck out. There's, we have no interest in interacting with you, because you're good. You literally can join, you can do whatever you want to do or

Tyler 12:35

need me to help you align with your values. You don't have it.

John Fairbanks 12:39

That's it. Exactly. And I think that that's where it is. So what do you do? What's the work that you do? And so this is where I started talking about a few minutes ago, the idea of like, the intangible, so the concept of having like these intangible goals that are kind of in your life or have you established, what are the things that you want to be able to achieve? That's not money related. So like a tangible piece of something, right? You can hold. So it's like, I want $100,000 in the bank, or I want to make six figures, I want to make seven figures, whatever it is, those who attend, I want 100. Members, I want you to remember right, those are those tangible goals that we talked about. And you have to have those, but they have to be built on a foundation, in my opinion, of what the intangible, the non measurable part, which is like the keeping your soul part and what another phrase that I use is like, it's your vision. It's like the big vision of like, what gets you up in the morning? And so it's like, what are those things that are your passion projects that aren't like, I would really like to have a new shed at the house. Right? Again, that's it quickly, guns, like my dream of what I want, can quickly get, like, get past the stuff, the physical stuff that's going to be like, it's, I want to make my community better. I want to be able to write. I want to be able to help kids in the area that don't read well, like whatever the things are, that are really strong philanthropic, save the world. You're a superhero kind of thing, like what would you do if money was no object? How would you help your people? That is the stuff that you need to sit down and spend some uncomfortable personal time with yourself? And a keyboard or a pen and paper and be like, what are the things that matter to me?

Tyler 14:41

So what does this process look like for them is this You think simply just sit down, write down all the things you want your business to be all the things you want to make sure it doesn't maybe make note of things that you see other businesses out there not just gyms but like, things you want to avoid becoming? And then also like John said, keep it rooted in the things that you for sure want to be

John Fairbanks 15:00

and people, people are going to come like people are going to come through your door for like, what is the rumor? What is the offer? What do they think they know about your gym, but they're so they come for those tangible results that you can get them? Yeah, so they're gonna come because it's like I want to lose some weight, I want to get stronger, I want to look better naked, I want to have more confidence, well, whatever those things are, right? It's whatever their goal is. That's why they're gonna walk through the door, and they're gonna pay you. But why do they stay? They stay for the intangible piece? What's the tribe? Like? What do people like? How do I feel when I'm there? Are these my people? Do they resonate with me on a deeper level? And the best way to see is like, what's the intangible parts of your gym? Like, how long do people stay? You realized that? So with one of our clients, we did this exercise with them. And it blew me away. When he looked at his average lifespan, the average lifespan out of the 100. And whatever, 6070 people that are in the gym, was just under two years, was the average lifespan of a member of the gym. I was like, What the fuck did you just say out loud? Are you serious? Like, do you realize what that means? But you realize how in tune, you would have to be to pay someone hundreds of dollars every month to find value. But that's insane to my personality of being like, whoa, like that if you're talking like that's two years, it really is a Tyler I've only lived in areas for three years at a time. And then I've moved like it's that and so that's where you start to kind of look at that's how stats can help. But that's where it's like, man, if that's not what you are, or that's what you want to become is where people become family and all those cheap, intangible like, it's what is intangible? Whatever the cheesiest asked bumper sticker that you can think of or you see those intangible things. We're all family, we're a tribe, we're a community, all those things that are fluffy, honestly, if you're not careful, right, this is fluffy bullshit. But it's only bullshit. If it's just talk. If it's just talk. Yeah, dude, you can still feel like you're moving north. And you're working towards one direction. That could be all your money, all your tangible goals, all your tangible results. But if you don't, every once in a while, can I take a look at okay, what's true north? Where's my magnetic north? Where are my tangible goals, my intangible goals? Are they aligning? Are they too far away? Like you only have to be a few degrees off and you're gonna get fucking lost?

Tyler 17:59

Yeah, I love your coaches having meaningful conversations with clients. Are they able to connect? Are they able to actually give a shit about them, their families, what's going on in their lives, like all of those things are things that you have to be able to deliver in order to get that two year retention number.

John Fairbanks 18:17

I touched on earlier the idea that that my goal, our goal is to model the things that we want to work with our people about we want to be involved in our community, we're going to model those pieces, we're going to take you with us every step of the way, all the things that we're doing, I want to show this is what we're doing. Because we believe you should do this. These are the things that should matter to you. It doesn't need to be exactly what we're doing. But this needs to be mental exercises or work that you're doing as well. If your coaches aren't having meaningful conversations with your members, before you climb up and camp inside their asshole, you need to go and look in the mirror and say, am I having meaningful conversations with my coaches as a gym owner? Because it's modeling the behavior that you want your people to be doing with your clients? And like it's it's one of those things where it's like, model it first

Tyler 19:13

has to be aligned from the top down. Exactly.

John Fairbanks 19:17

So if this resonates, if this is what you also feel like we're, this is something where you want to be working on and having these types of discussions. Again, it is not everything that can be done. Like there has to be a healthy dose of action and work where the tangible and intangible come together. This is exactly what we're talking about and what we're doing with the conversations that we're having inside of our Facebook group.

Tyler 19:43

Yeah, yeah. And this isn't just rah rah stuff. This intangible stuff can be a lot of rah rah, you gotta love your clients, have to be awesome, and everybody's got to have fun and careers and bah bah, bah, but that doesn't go anywhere either. So if you want to turn these intangibles into action and things that work for you, make sure you join that Facebook group Facebook group,

John Fairbanks 20:00

definitely go to hack your, you're going to find links where you can go ahead and join the Facebook group. You could also just go to any of our profile links, it's going to have our link tree, you can find the Facebook group, it's the gym owners movement, right? It's tied to this pod, the idea of the podcast, the gym owners podcast, where we're having these discussions talking about phrases like tangible results in tangible results, gym, hacking, all of these things that live inside of our world, that we just want to be able to finally allow gyms to have a spot to be able to share meaningful conversation. The only people that are in those groups are going to be gym owners, the group that's theirs, we don't want folks coming in and kind of doing some weirdness and so we kind of keep that gate closed. So you may even find a little bit of a delay and guess what the fucking patient you're not going to get in immediately. Like

Tyler 20:51

you're going to be just fine.

John Fairbanks 20:53

So you can find me if you want to follow me directly on Instagram, I'm at Jay banks f L as in Florida, and Tyler you on

Tyler 21:01

Instagram at Tyler reference soul and that's Tyler eff fi and stone.

John Fairbanks 21:07

And of course you can follow us ads for the gym owners podcast

Tyler 21:10

Gym Owners podcasts on Instagram that's got us all wrapped up for the silky sick radio voice today everybody.

John Fairbanks 21:15

See you guys

Tyler 21:18

sounds good. We'll see you guys

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