The Gym Owners Blog/Podcast/How To Identify YOUR People

How To Identify YOUR People

Saturday, March 02, 2024



gym, people, clients, spot, money, talk, john, business, expensive, product, coach, type, members, call, problem, hour, person


  • Identifying and managing problem clients in a gym setting. (0:01)
  • Pricing and business model for a CrossFit gym. (4:02)
  • Gym safety and pricing. (8:19)
  • Pricing and client management in a fitness business. (12:36)
  • Dealing with problematic gym members. (18:13)
  • Managing difficult clients in the fitness industry. (22:11)
  • Fitness coaching and nutrition planning. (26:01)
  • Fitness coaching and client motivation. (30:29)
  • Dealing with clients who are consistently late or unresponsive. (34:46)
  • Fitness industry problems and marketing strategies. (39:09)
  • Gym business model and marketing strategy. (44:24)
  • Pricing and quality in the fitness industry. (49:30)
  • Business growth and sustainability for gym owners. (56:31)


Tyler 00:01

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this week's episode of the gym owners podcast. This week we're going to talk about, find out who your people are, more importantly, who isn't and what to do with problem clients. Maybe to make sure you don't run into problematic clients from the very beginning. So we're going to cover quite a bit of ground here today. Before we get started, make sure you follow the show at the gym owners podcasts on Instagram and make sure you follow me at Tyler effing stone on Instagram, John over there, how can they find you,

John Fairbanks 00:27

you can follow me on Instagram at Jay banks f L. Before we get

Tyler 00:31

started, make sure you get into the gym owners revolution Facebook Group link is going to be in the show notes. Also go to gym owners If you're looking to work with us directly, alright, let's get to it. gym owners, your biggest headache is usually your people, frankly, your members, your clients, whatever that is, that's the human side of this business. And hopefully, they're not going anywhere. So you're gonna have to get used to this, we're going to share a few stories, a few anecdotes and strategies that we've kind of developed over the years in my gym and working with 5060 different locations, as well as the people that we're currently working with. So these are some issues that we've run into a lot. First step John, in establishing who your people are, who your people are, who are not. Yeah. And I think so many people when we get started, we want to be for everybody. Right? And I think I think that's a mistake, I think that people make it like, fitness is for everybody. Your gym can be for anybody, but it's not going to be for everybody very likely. It's just not going to be.

John Fairbanks 01:36

But let's talk real talk. Like when you first open, are you all of a sudden being like, I only want this type of like, you're not gonna be you know, I mean, when you're first open, what's the goal? I need as many people as humanly possible to sign up, because I need to be able to fill my gym because I gotta go pay the rent for realsies. Because now it's like Big time, big boy business time. Yeah.

Tyler 02:00

And you do need I think at that point you need lots of different people to give your business a chance. Right? The reality is, I do think that that's, that's just the way that it is. But as it goes on, you're gonna find out that there are people even that have given your business a chance and may even like your business that you don't want in there. And this gets even crazier when we get into you know, there's big differences when we're talking about a coach product, like where you're running group classes. Same thing with personal training, as well as just a 24 hour access or just to access only gym. I think there's a lot of crossover, right? Like, I think one of the biggest things you want to do is watch out for it. First off, it's creeps. Like I had, I had a client come in and our gym was significantly more expensive than anywhere else in town. And so I have a lot of clients that have a lot of money, you know, and this is a smallish town for sure. A small town. But I get this fucking weird dude comes in. And it's first it's all these complaints. How can I split the money? And can I do all this? And can I do all that? It's always a red flag, right? Oh, no. And it's not because you're poor. Right? It's because you're really acting like the bad kind of poor. I don't know what to say. You know what I mean? And so he comes in, he's like, Well, I don't have those complaints about the money and then wanting to start but not and I was like, no, no, when you pay we can start but I'm not fucking around here. Yeah. And then we finally come in and pay one month. Fuckin comes in and goes wants to get started. The first thing is, well, where do I have tons of cubby holes where people have shoes and wallets? And so the first thing asked is, well, can I put my wallet? stuff back here? Do you have someplace I can lock it up so it doesn't get stolen? It's like, my doctors, lawyers, finance guys fucking like business owners. None of them asked this question. Why? Because they're in a room full of people they trust you walk into a room like this. And your first thought is one of these people is going to Nick my wallet. Wow. Now I've got a bit of a fucking I have to keep my eyes on you.

John Fairbanks 04:01

Can we talk about that though? Like right out the gate of how you like your strategy. Your strategy when you first open your spot was whether you knew you were doing it. Like if you knew at the time you were doing this on purpose then like that's awesome, right to have that much foresight. But the idea where it's like there's never a prize for being the second most expensive place in town. That was deliberate Yeah, it was very like so you deliberately make yourself like the premier like the most expensive spot in town. And then by so that's why you don't need to get lockers like that's why you don't have to have locks. That's why you don't like it. It's like this string of problems that will arise which is like No, dude, that's why this place is more expensive. You can go to the cheaper spot, but then you do need to be worried about your ticket being stolen. Yeah, like it's kind of like it all started with just the price that you set made you already established like who's Listen, you're not what like, there's a reason why there's doctors and lawyers and shit that are coming here. Compared to now I gotta worry about people stealing shit, what all started based off that just your price point alone,

Tyler 05:10

I think price point and your business type are probably the two main thing like what is your you know, if I'm running a functional fitness spot or if I'm running a, you're gonna meet someone who wants to come in and just squat and do some body building my gym that will that's a very easy line for them to draw. They're not interested in a CrossFit gym or a place that only runs classes and PT, right. So But aside from the type of business that you're running, which I think is an automatic filter, I don't think guys are entertaining joining a CrossFit gym, I don't think there's a lot of there are some there's a good pathway for people that are in CrossFit gyms that will say, I'm tired of all the coaching, I kind of want to do my thing. And I want to go to maybe a Globo gym type place that shows me that I want to do more different exercises, I want to flex with some machines, I want to train on my own schedule, you know that that makes sense. But I don't see that all that often where people like already have their type of fitness and are just going to jump completely over into this very new, very, very different model. So that already kind of filters out by people based on the type of training they want to do. You know what I mean? Not a lot of people that we're going to go to, you know, mass economics are interested in the YMCAs, cardio, cardio Tibo class, you know what I'm saying? It's just, it's just not really going to be that competitive, you don't really have to worry, someone came in to join my CrossFit gym and thought well, you know, I was really hoping that I could just powerlifting here by myself, well, that's not what we fucking do. That's a very easy filter, but the price, that's how you decide who you want to do business with, even within a niche price and your services? Yes, yes, absolutely. And I always tell people, like I said, if I had to open a gym, in town here, that was a, I had to do it, it really kind of anywhere, my ideal business model would be I'd want access only as well, I'd want an access only membership that's available, where people have access and come and use the equipment, I would also want there to be functional fitness classes, you would just need the space to do both, right. And then I would also obviously, personal training, private training and semi private training. Now. In that business model, still, though, I would want to make sure that I maybe there's some tears, but even that base membership for just access only should be frankly, would be more expensive than anything in town here by more than double. For sure. And now if you're gonna do that your facility needs to hold up, right you can't just have a turd and, and then just be twice as expensive if you're the only foot you're putting forward is the facility. Right? You cannot just charge your way through it. It does have to kind of align or else you're going to alienate those people, but your price will absolutely dictate who you're gonna work with. I never had the types of headaches from clients in my place than we do out of sometimes the place that I work out of that with people like showing adults cups on the floor. Yeah, putting shit in. Inside. Yeah, people like leaving the sauna door open because they think that's what you're supposed to do when you leave it. You know, just that type of shit. And the regular like creeper stuff to when he replaces 50 bucks a month, like what the fuck, like kind of anybody can afford that kind of? There's

John Fairbanks 08:18

There are so many gyms. Right? So the idea is that within what we do for the marketing side of things, just from Instagram alone, just to keep eyeballs on different types of gyms, we follow tons of different spots. And there's a gym that we follow that has been on like this major campaign of firing their own clients that don't open the door for people. Oh, yeah. So that's yeah, because they're a 24 hour access spot. Right? And for them, it's like, Yo, when it is not an open gym, or like bringing friends and it's like members only hours and obviously right, it's probably like this is clearly solely a safety issue. Yeah, because we've all seen that video, that young lady lifting by herself at a 24 hour access spot, and it's whatever 2am And she's by herself. And some dude gets into the gym. And he gets into the gym, and she has to like fucking fight him off. And so but they're like, hitting this hard of like, you cannot open the door you cannot do these things and have strangers come in or people Oh, I forgot my key or whatever. But the reason I have this problem is because it is too affordable. You know what I mean? Your business with the wrong people.

Tyler 09:48

Yeah, that's unfortunate. And by the way, obviously any random stranger could be one in there and a decent person could lead in a psycho thinking it'd be nice but Right. Frankly, I think that it's really important to let your Niceness draw the line for you. I've always said this with the 24 hour gyms that I work with this year, they're not expensive enough to not have these types of headaches, right? That's the biggest issue. It's like you're not charging enough money. So that any, and I've always said charge twice as much money if half your clients fucking leave you when? Correct, you really do. Now, that's business sense. Obviously, one of the things that we kind of hang our hat on around here is we want to have an impact in our community. And we want to make sure that fitness is for everybody that we're spreading health, fitness and wellness in your local area. So you want to make sure it's accessible to the people you want to do business with. But if you're getting a bunch of other motherfuckers, Jesus Christ that are coming in, being disrespectful, damaging equipment, leave and shit all over the place, being muddy, being creepy, like just not good people in your business, you need to charge more fucking money. I've very rarely seen a gym that's charging too much.

John Fairbanks 10:58

No doubt that the nicest gym that I've ever been to was in Missoura of all places. Right? I was out there on business. And what are the High Roller dudes? Like one of the high roller dudes that was there for the business is like, hey, come lift. He's like, Come lift with us before we go out to like, today's fucking thing. And so he takes me to this gym. That's like, looks like it's a strip mall. Yeah, the entire gym is a strip mall. Like, it's massive. And it's really quite like all this ornate shit on the outside like rock and all this whatever their day passes for you to come and just use the gym as you're walking in, or whatever you're dropping, right? It's $50, like 50 bucks. And as soon as I learned that, I'm like, Alright, like, it wasn't one of the things where it's like, Dude, this is fucking outrageous. Like, $50. Like, we have folks that we're trying to get that we're talking to Tyler being like, you shouldn't have a $15 or a $10. Drop over

Tyler 12:01

10 Yeah, even worse, yeah, five or $10 drop. So you're just open to weirdos who have $5. Like, that's crazy. Some of

John Fairbanks 12:11

the ones that stay warm, right? For five bucks. Right? And so, but as soon as I knew that I was gonna pay 50 bucks. I'm like, All right. And sure shit. When I walked in, I'm like, Oh, my God, like, this is a playground here. Like I could be here all day. And so it was the nicest fucking spot. So I think that that's it is that element where it's, you really can control. Right? The quality people that walk in, as long as it's not a cash grab?

Tyler 12:35

Yeah, yeah. And I still think you're better off always being too expensive is one of the market research things that we did with some other businesses that we've worked with. As we went through and had a lot of our people who we've done business with on the service side of this business got called back, everyone's done business for years. All got called back in the survey, just ask a few questions. The data came back, essentially, that was like 90% of people or 95% of our clients thought that we were, quote, expensive, right? Except 90% of them would still do business with us again. And they would call us, you know, they had a problem. And based on just kind of that alone, they were like, you could probably nearly double your prices again, ideally, because you want about everyone already says you're expensive, they're still going so go further so that you make more money, and then hopefully some more of these drop off because those are going to be your least desirable clients. And we didn't end up doing it because there's a line somewhere, right, we're already the most expensive place in town, there's no way I was going to simply double the prices arbitrarily. But that is kind of the way this market research looks. Now in your market. Specifically. Your niche is market based. First off. And a little example here is like how the same mass genomics gym is operating here out of this place. I wouldn't call it a for profit share, necessarily, because I don't think anybody's really eaten off of it. Botana has been able to constantly reinvest in new equipment. Now, if that was your only job to take revenue out of that business, that's a long road because I think there were eight of us. Right? Or there might have been 15 at the end of the first year or two. You know what I'm saying? So

John Fairbanks 14:18

Are you saying it's 15 members? Yeah, yeah. So they're saying like fine cannot go

Tyler 14:23

on an extreme powerlifting tough guy dungeon gym, right off the bat. And assume unless you're in a market that has such a wide amount of people, that there are enough people that want to train that way. We're not in one year. Where I'm at isn't one where I'm at, I could not open a gym that was that intense and assumed to like, build that into a 3456 700 person, place sound how that works. There's just no way that's going to be my business model here because that type of training is not sought after. So your market does need to kind of dictate what type of biz Since you're doing and what your price is a little bit, sure, well, what can your market support? You know, that's one of the questions that can you just fire a bunch of people who are whatever can you kind of have a really high barrier to entry? Well, if I'm at a 24 hour gym, maybe, maybe there isn't a premium 24 hour spot around here. If I if I had a 24 hour spot around here, what I absolutely would do is be a very expensive one, just update equipment, update the overall facilities and make it expensive $100

John Fairbanks 15:28

In the online game, and down

Tyler 15:30

the the price of a CrossFit gym, and you have some high end amenities, and then you're fine, and you have a lot less fucking headaches and a lot less dirtbags coming and going into your gym. So, but when it comes to this market, one of the things that I've seen is when these other businesses are getting put up, right away in other industries in your town, in your city, there's market research that's getting done before someone decides to invest. Here, there's a new building going up, it's probably two, two and a half million dollars, by the time you're looking at buying the property, building the building, getting everything up and running for a fucking new tire store. Now, this is a small town. Everybody's tires, so everyone's got tires, everybody buys tires at places. So it's very interesting to see though that a known fixed type of market is right in that type of business, all of the new businesses that get built are a type of business where everybody's already got a cover, they're just fighting over a new type of market share, right? Sure. Or they're scrambling over HR in an existing market, right, to try to get a piece of a pie that's already out there. What happens is we get new coffee shops, the pop up, tire store, and car washes. And car washes just seem to make a lot of money, even though everybody's cars get washed. So they just own a house. But in your gym, you need to kind of understand that. What can your market support and people want to worry about, I personally would want to fill a spot that doesn't already exist. Sometimes you can do the same thing that somebody else is already doing. And just do it better or differently, or whatever, or just simply just be new. But to get back to the bad people who your people are, when you have bad clients, you have problematic clients. Cutting them loose very often is as good for them as it is for you. Right? Sure, short of somebody who's like, truly, like toxic and awful and like that you'd kick them out of a restaurant, if you worked at a restaurant, right? There's some people that just don't work for your culture, they don't work for your people, and you start getting just complaints and problems with gym stuff. What I found is that by the time someone's complaining directly to me about another person, it's been going on for a long time, like they've hated being around that person or they've had problems with this person for a really long time. And usually it's someone brave enough or familiar enough with me to come up to me and say, Hey, I got a problem with that. It's a hard conversation to have with you . You're, you suppress that usually a lot before you go talk to somebody about some other customer. Sounds like it's a workplace where we all work together. This is a customer coming to me saying this other customer fucking sucks, dude. And I

John Fairbanks 18:13

i think it's important too, is it that's, that's consistent across the board. So by the time I hear a complaint for me, like you had in the past life, right, I was an administrator in schools, by the time it depended on the person. But by the time I have a parent, or some of that came, I was complaining about a teacher. How long have they been dealing with that? How long did it take for this person that I trust that they're not a fucking lawn mower, awful, Kunti parent that can exist out there. But like, as someone that's solid, they come to me. It's not one of those things where I sit back, and I couldn't afford just to watch it. I couldn't afford to be like, Oh, I don't know, I don't know if this person is good or not. And I have to see it. For myself. It was kind of one of the things where I had to act quickly. Because just like you said, it has been a problem for so long, that it's finally bubbled up to the top and it's finally gotten to you or someone has had the stones to come and say, Hey, yo, this dude's a problem. And I don't want to cause problems, but like, This is bad. And I think it's because we all know there's so many examples of waiting too long to get rid of or cut someone loose.

Tyler 19:21

So some of these examples here that we're gonna we're gonna run into too is dependent on your business, right? So in a 24 hour model, especially if you're a very affordable one if you have a client who is giving other clients trouble, right a member who's just like other people don't like or they're weird or they're they're they're damaging equipment all the other things we listed here understand that unless they're spending money for higher levels of service, you know that they're not worth fuck all to you financially right? It's one member, so just know that that one problem member Jesus, what are we talking 5060 7080 bucks a month for some of these gyms like yeah, cut them out. Absolutely. Like in my opinion. it'd be, it wouldn't be one and done but there's going to be one conversation and then if it's not fixed after that they're just gone. I don't for $50 a month. I don't think nobody gets it. You don't get to frustrate me for $50 a month, fuck off. Absolutely not, you know, there's no way. So you need to understand that while there are people and they have reputations and family and they can go out and talk in their inner circle and if they suck and you're justified Get the fuck out and do it immediately. Like having a conversation, give them a chance to correct it if it's not corrected. Go. Those conversations need to be had early, assertively and calmly. Okay, that's my hard thing with those things is I would get mad. Sure. So I'd be like, by time I'm ready. I was like, Fuck you, dude. No, we're done. Like I did everything I could but fuck off. And the people that do this the best are the ones that stay calm. I think they manage this stuff a little bit better. Now. If you're in a coached product, these problems are probably not always so egregious now. That's where the dilemma starts to come in. Right? 24 hour gym, you people smashing equipment or being awful or slamming bars or intimidating other people. Anytime you're intimidating or turning off other members, that's a big Get the fuck out. Type five for me now, in a coach product, whether it's group classes, semi private personal training, or one on one personal training, it gets a little bit trickier there. Right? I've had clients that I nearly wanted to get rid of out of my group classes because they would not listen to me about the weights I would tell them to use. Specifically like I need you to take less down he just slows down we need to work on technique and they just grip it and rip it because CrossFit 321 Go Yes. Like I'm the one with the fucking cut, like, what are we talking about here. So you get people ripping shit and getting hurt. And then they're getting hurt in your facility. And then they're fucking blame what your programming or your system or they're just mad. And then you see them with fucks up their life for a month, they come back and they do the same shit again. At that point, I go, I'm in the business of helping people not fucking letting you come in to hurt yourself. And you don't get to do that for 150 bucks a month in my spot either. So Right? It's just not worth it for my rep. I'd rather have you be mad and gone and go get hurt somewhere else.

John Fairbanks 22:11

And here's the truth too, because we've I've you and I've dealt with this in other industries, where somebody is so worried about a bad review. Yeah, or they're so worried that all this person knows this person. And then there's bullying like it's like, but just understand, right? The same reason why it's hard to market your gym, the same reason why it's hard to like, get new people that are your people and all that is because of the amount of noise that is out there that is existing. So if you are 99% of the time or 100% of the time are just fucking awesome and genuine a do all the right things and that is your reputation. You want 100% Can weather some douchebag trying to scold drag you on Google, like on your Google reviews, like you can stomach it, and they're stupid, fucking friends that then dogpile on and it's really shitty, and you're gonna feel bad, and you're gonna want to go to war with them, like online or argue with them or whatever it's like, just fucking leave it alone. It will go like in one single new cycle, which is 12 fucking hours. It won't exist. They're pissing into the wind of their own echo chamber. And anybody that's anybody, I can't tell you how many times when we go in, and we were like trying to find a spot or do something with a company or or business. And we see their reviews, and they have stellar, stellar reviews. I love going into the one star reviews, because I get to be able to see like how petty this fucking person is of like, who what were they complaining about, like step back and look at what their complaint was. And it just invalidates them as soon as they hit send on it, that it's just not worth your time or energy when you're away from the business.

Tyler 24:02

So that's not the sexiest coffee I've ever had. When it comes to some of these problem clients now we're getting into less egregious territory now, but this is still about them not being met, somebody's got to fire somebody over but are they really your type of person? Are they really the type of client you want to work with? And my criteria has always been kind of this tiered level first off, because trouble for other clients. You're out. That's pretty easy, right? I don't care if you're out. Second, it causes trouble for me. I don't like you. You are disrespectful. Whatever that is. You're out because it's me. Fuck off. I don't spend time around people I don't particularly like if I don't like you. You're absolutely not going to be on my spot. If you give me headaches. If you just give me problems frequently as a guarantee Wait for me to be like, no, no, no, no, no. The third one is a little bit different. It's a little bit different. And this is about we talk about keeping your business tuned up for clients success, and are they creating problems for themselves? And that goes from adherence to effort to coach ability are they self sabotaging do they have ego in the gym is there a lot of stuff, primarily for Coach products now mentioning this as well, this is not someone comes in your global gym, and they spend 60 bucks a month, and then they eat like shit and get fat while they exercise your place. You can't, you're not, they don't pay you enough to care, frankly, so. But if I have clients who are paying me to help them lose weight, they're paying me a lot of money. It's on the effectiveness of my business, as well as the utility of my relationship with this person, that this works. And if they're in the way of it, I'm not going to fire them for eating like shit, I'm not going to fire them if they're putting on some weight when they shouldn't be losing weight. But as I am, it's my job to correct that behavior. I have to hold you accountable. Because here's what this relationship is. If you do not want that you can go somewhere else. You've had to do this. I've had to do this a lot. Yeah, I don't know if it's a Midwest thing. Or I honestly think it's because I'm a big strong guy, that people think that they're going to come to me and I can just let them hide in their fucking failure. I just want to get like, there's a lot of this thing to have that people get into strength training. Oftentimes, it's a way to distract themselves. So they can just ignore, I can just bulk. And I'm just going to focus on my strength numbers going up, well, I get bad. And I'd say I'm not here to do that. I'm just not and frankly, there's more qualified remote strength coaching people, if you just want to get strong and compete or whatever, you don't fucking need me, I don't want to be seeing you in the gym. You're not gonna pay me three times a week to just watch you squat the same fucking product like Fuck, no, that's not worth any. That's not the that's not what I want to do. But I've had to do this, John, I've had to do this a lot when I have clients that are just not. They paid me to do a thing. And this is a thing that I do in the beginning, when I have my conversations with people that I want to know what they're doing and what they want to accomplish, not how much the membership costs. That's not what we're there to do. We're not there to show them equipment. You know what I mean? I'm just not, I'm not there to do that. But I am absolutely there. Like, what are you, what are you here for? Because you're paying me a lot of money. Okay, okay. What do you want to accomplish? Perfect. What's in the way that you want to lose weight, I have to make it very clear to them. That food is the way food is one way. And I think this is the biggest issue John, where I think coaches are not regular gyms. If you're an accessory gym, you don't have the grounds to be pushing people around like this. But if someone comes to me and is trusting me and confiding me, confiding in me in this journey that they're trying to go on, and I'm watching them fuck it up. I gotta say something, I'm the professional here. You know what I might, there's a reason plumbers or whatever are telling you not to pour grease down, your drains are not the flush wipes. Well, they're the plumber. They're the one who's supposed to know they're trying to do you a little favor here, say, Hey, this is so you don't have so that our relationship is fruitful here. I mean, you can keep going and plugging your shit up. And I'll keep coming back every fucking month. But what are we doing? And on the nutrition side of things, this is the biggest thing that I see is coaches, businesses not being centered around client results is that they just kind of neglect this. And I get it, you don't want to bring it up to people you don't want to call people out. But this is having a real human relationship if you need to be able to do that. I don't know if I talked about this on the show. But I had someone who wanted to work with me early on, like, like, or like I was just going to start working early on this year and said, Yeah, I just want to come in and get started. I said great. I said, what, here's what I charge, here's what this and that is, I said you got to have a food plan that you're gonna stick to, I don't care what that is. Okay, but you gotta have a food plan, right? Whether you I said I can sell you one or you can just tell me what you're going to try to do to eat better because this person probably has 150 pounds to lose if I'm being honest. And this person comes back at me and says, Well, I just I'm not really looking to do that. I'm not worried about weight loss. I just wanted to feel a little better. So I thought I'd get stronger and feel better as if you're 150 pounds overweight. Just gonna make you feel fucking what like you need to lose the fucking weight like I don't get you go get strong. I can teach you how to get strong. I just don't give a fuck to do that. While you gradually Chase diabetes down full speed. Absolutely not. And it's like I know you, I'm going to tell you that I will not work with you unless you're interested in losing weight. That's who my people are. And you know what the response was? Well, I don't really want to change too many things all at once. So I kind of thought if I'd start with saying, Well, here's the thing to change the weight so they don't come and work hard. Don't spend $2,000 or whatever with me or three grand to work with me directly on this issue. I don't care. I'm gonna sell you a nutrition plan for 300 bucks. It'll just start eating better. Now I know this too. Whole thing too, but I will not allow you to commit money into a situation with me that is destined to fail, because I know what will happen. And that person who works hard in the gym doesn't burn as many calories as you think. And so I start with that conversation almost all the time, and it has very little to do with me wanting to make extra money selling nutrition coaching. It's like an extra few 100 bucks, like it's not a big deal. And I don't care if they have another plan, I just need to know that they're working on it. So then when it's not working, we have something to adjust, not throwing it all to the wind and just showing up and thinking you're gonna fucking Goggins it three days a week in the gym. It's not what I'm here to do?

John Fairbanks 30:39

Well, and because you've drawn that line, right? Because I know you have an example of another client, who you did it ended up coming through a different direction. Who did come on, and 90% of your interaction with this person? is calling them out on their bullshit. Yep. And so it's like, it's Dude, this is why this is what when you're talking to the other guy and the other spot, it's no, we have to address this one thing, because then it allows me to be able to do the things that I want to do. And I don't want to be your goddamn mom or your therapist calling you out on hiding in plain sight. And you literally are living it right with another client that came in from another direction that you didn't have the opportunity to kind of put this this other

Tyler 31:24

one's blocks up. This other one you mentioned very recently, yeah, this one came in and it wanted to do the same, you needed to lose weight really just needed to lose weight. Like he had 3040 pounds to lose, and it was really bothering him. There's a whole conversation, I had to meet him for like 40 minutes. This is over a remote coaching product to fuck me, dude. They've taken an hour away from me. And I'm much I'm just trying to help kind of be a nice guy. And very frustrating amount of like, will validate your program for me as like, I don't give a fuck if you don't pay me. I'll leave right now. I've already committed more time to this than I want to, you know, committed to and I reiterate, it's the food. It's the food is the food stick to the fucking food thing. You're worried about all the wrong things. You're worried about the workouts, the workouts are hard. They're there, but they're manageable, you're fine. And all I got by the time the first week rolled around, I got I'm not feeling good. So I got to push it back two or three days. And then one day in one workout and it's I'm so sore, what can I do to help with my soreness and then it's I did a cheat meal, or a cheat day. And I said we don't do cheat days, you get one meal, however you want. But you don't turn into a cheat day. Trying to check in with workouts. I've called him out for lying at some point because I was like, how are you weighing the same? Because I've run this program for many people before, it's how you weigh the same. I don't think you're doing what I'm saying what can I eat this and this I said What's it say on the fucking program? Go through this whole process. And in the end, I call him out midway through like you're not doing it with pictures of what you're eating now. Also, I'm getting pictures of everything. Well, everything's a fuckin salad. John salad with me. And also I was like, That's my like, Are you shitting all the time. Like, I'm not going to be the coach to saying, Why are you eating a salad for fucking two meals a day, every day forever. But I feel like this is pretending fitness that you're, you're just now eating the things that you don't want to eat for sure. And you're not integrating this into your life. Go ahead and eat the salads if you like them, but I feel like this isn't the way it's gonna work forever. So can you please just see what I fucking put on the thing? It technically fits. But what are we doing? It looks awful.

John Fairbanks 33:26

But I also know you're lying. Customer talking. Yes.

Tyler 33:29

And the weights are coming down. Yeah, the 250 pound man, the weights not coming down. The same exact program for a person in the same exact condition. Just lost 28 pounds in the last five weeks. John, this guy four weeks in of a five week program and lost a pound. So say how much you're gonna say how much? How much are you drinking? Are you drinking a lot because I told you you can drink alcohol once a week? Well, I gotta quit drinking, there's all this shit. Okay, so now there's a drinking problem. So I know you're drinking a couple 1000 calories a day. So you were fucking lying this whole fucking time. Then he says he wants to start over. So this is why my first red flag was that I needed to have a fucking sadboy conversation fully for a 300 $400 product like Fuck no, absolutely not. And so this is but this is why that is the headache when somebody already has committed to fixing their nutrition, that's part of it. I made that very clear. They're still inclined to fuck it up. Because that's hard. It's not hard. It's just a complicated part of human nature to change what we eat. There's just a lot of bullshit packed into it. So if you don't address it at all your clients, we have a very low likelihood of success. Because they're deluded. They think they can come to the gym and just work it off. And that is not how it's going to work. And

John Fairbanks 34:46

the fact is that of the mat, the fact that you've talked to me about a couple of these clients so many times, you know, right, it makes you upset, right? And I think this is a good rule that it just is is if somebody is occupying your mind if you have clients, or coaches that are on your staff, because we've had to work with gym owners about fucking fire and some people, and it was like, hey, six months ago, we told you that there's some problems with this person. And now you've allowed it to limp along and they need to have been fired three months ago, and you continue to sit on it. It's if and the reason why we say it is because they kept talking to us about the staff member. Yeah. So if you have something that's occupying your mind when you when they are not paying you, when you are with your spouse, or your with the folks that are helping you run your business, or your business partner, right, they're occupying your mind more than three times outside of your time that you're working with them. They gotta fucking go. I

Tyler 35:44

even had this on collecting payments, you know, for somebody years. It's like, you know, normally I let everybody except for one person, everybody has to pay ahead. It's one person that's kind of intermittent sometimes, and I like the person. So just pay me but I'm all I'm always Hey, this is session, whatever, bring money to the gym today. I need to get paid up today. It's always Oh, yeah, I'll run another message in an hour. And John, this week was the final straw I got told ya is occurring in our room, you can just meet by the ATM or something. Okay. I mean, I did message you yesterday and tell you to bring it here today. And know today's your day off? Like what? Already that message frustrates me, right? Because even in the calendar thing that we both are on, it says this is the one it's time to pay, right? This is all part of the process. Couple hours passed, nothing. I don't care. But at some point, I'm like, Hey, I'm going to help you run some errands. Can we meet up? Oh, yep. Just leaving this place here shortly. John never messages me back ever.

John Fairbanks 36:45

I'm shocked by this news. The

Tyler 36:46

the next day I go, Hey, I'm not trying to call them out or what just happened? I'm like, I need to get squared up today before this time. Okay. I got called right before that time. Oh, can you come meet me at this spot? No, I'm at my office, you come to me. I'm not chasing what I've already done to John. This is for not enough money. I spent as much money as much time and energy. It's harder for me to do this than it is to program and coach this person, of course. And so then comes to my office. I'm in the middle of a meeting. John leaves me half the money and asks if he can get me the rest of it. So then just say original John, you just fucking can't pay you don't have the money and we can win, then I would absolutely wait at the next week is fine. Don't worry about telling me. After I get paid, I can pay. That's normal stuff. But that level of dicking around now this is the thing that we talk about here is you have to then inform them of this. Correct. This is like dealing with late people, just regular late people, people who are late if you've been around late people, John Mormons, or Polynesians while mine bless your hearts, my good friends who are my most common late people are both Mormon and Polynesians. It's a fucking crazy thing. But there's a there's an old I think Birbiglia joke where he's like, the thing that late people don't understand about us on time people is that we fucking hate them. It's not, but like someone who's habitually late, they don't understand that it is disrespectful. They're not, they don't think they're being disrespectful, right? It's just a complete misalignment in how this situation is being perceived. So you do have to say, hey, this you don't get to be fucking late. It pisses me off, I have to explain all the reasons you have said I'm sure if you don't understand that it's whatever but for the most part in all of these situations we're describing except for maybe the creeps. Something like this is that if you can calmly and assertively and usually quickly get in and form them before it gets out of hand and just inform them usually they're just uninformed. It is totally just naive. And probably like three quarters of the time, they're really apologetic about, like, I didn't know I'm sorry. Yeah, they always may, they may kick themselves, kick themselves over those situations, maybe like one out of every five times. But they don't actually realize how often it's happening. So when you point out like, oh, shit, okay. And there's a spot. spot here where there's a guy, really good, nice client here that is a member of the gym. I've done some personal training with him for like, a month or two. He just really wanted to focus on learning a few new things in regards to some strength exercises and shit. So I did a small handful of private sessions with this guy. He's the guy that trains in the gym and works hard, just like in a global gym. It's very rare to see someone who trains hard and trains, right? So you're just Yeah. And so, I just was like, I kind of respect the guy from a distance. Then he hired me. The wife was complaining a few times coming home from in the evenings like skies just drop in. barbells like way, like slamming a lot in a 24 hour spot. It's just like, it's a lot. It's not, it's not just a regular. It's like letting it go from your hand. It's no secret. I mean, dropping it from the top is very different from slamming it on the way down. Right? Great. So went on and on and on and on. And she's got group training going on. And there's old people there. And so I find I said, I said, one of her clients was gonna go talk to him after it's gonna go tell them just like Megan's like, I'll take care of it. I'll take care. So she goes and talks to the guy, and the guy is a really nice guy. And he goes, I, I'm sorry, I didn't know. I don't know, I didn't know. That's the thing I shouldn't do. I didn't think about it. We had the platform. I just didn't know. And he even said, he apologized. And he goes, that had to be really hard for you to come up here and say that, huh? Flat out. And he just said he was like, he's like, I'm really sorry that I made it that. And honestly, if that's how, you know, that person is a fucking decent human. Correct. The type of person that wants to push back against that now, you're at war, just want you to know that. Now you're at war. Now you can go, you can just leave. It's like but you know, I think that that is usually the way that it goes, you can give people the benefit of the doubt until they tell you otherwise. But you got to communicate with you and give them the benefit of the doubt. They run amok, right? They'll be a little disrespectful, they're gonna be late, they're gonna whatever these other problems that you're having are, and you're given the opportunity to be a good human. Tell them, hey, we're having trouble. And they'll probably fix it. And if they don't, now you've said your piece. And you can fucking bury them. They'll give you

John Fairbanks 41:21

your butt. Yeah, but that's so true, though. Like, it's because how many times have we talked with a gym owner that's having problems with staff, or having problems or something surely on the spot? And he's like, have you addressed it? Have you talked to anyone? Have you spoken to anyone directly about this? Or how you'd like it to be different? As like? Well, they should just know it's common sense. gym

Tyler 41:43

owners oftentimes leave they treat them like problem clients the same way they treat their lead acquisition or marketing strategies. So don't do anything. Just don't do anything, just totally ignore it, and just things kind of work. But then they wonder, why am I having all these problems? No thought came in your head to say something to these people who are pissing you off who you don't like, you're having trouble not making enough money working out, just I don't know, I just wished that things were better. Well, that's not how this works. It's just not how this works. And I think that that's the thing that we run into a lot. Now, when people are, there's a lot of red flags that can come up. But when you're starting to chase leads, just in general, the incentive, if I'm hiring a marketing person to come in and bring me leads, they're only there to bring you leads. And if they're going to get you closed members, well guess what, it's probably very much implied that you're going to be closing members, that might be a little bit outside your target market a little bit, because they're just going to stack them, they just want you to close them, they don't want you to work, they don't want you to worry about it being a right fit for you or for them. And that's one of the reasons why the fitness industry is failing the end user. This is why we are fat people with one of the biggest fitness industries in the world. Right? We are not fit yet the industry is crushing it. Isn't that weird? If our food is like our food systems here, the food industry was the absolute biggest industry in the country, and everybody was starving. Wouldn't we have some fucking red flags?

John Fairbanks 43:14

Or if it was so big, taller, and everybody was getting diabetes and getting horribly sick? And it's fat? It's also true.

Tyler 43:22

But yeah, it's like we are selling fitness, we are trying to match people up with opportunities to get fit. And yet, here we sit, less fit than we were five years ago than five years before that. So I'm telling you guys, trying to let everybody everything be for everybody is not how it's going to work. And you need to know that when you start getting involved with marketers and marketing strategies. John, every one of these strategies is X amount of members in X amount of days. Sure is everybody who's fucking trying to come at you guys as gym owners is that because we see all and we also searched for those types of ad campaigns as well in the ad library to see what other bullshit is going on both from gyms to consumers, but also from consultants to gyms, and it is all bullshit. It's absolutely all bullshit that has nothing to do with actually lining people up with a direct path to getting them results. It's a quick cash grab all the time. And it's why the whole industry sucks. It has a shit reputation compared to what it could be if things were done the right way. Well,

John Fairbanks 44:24

it's because we've touched on this before, right? But it's like this idea where the measurement becomes the target. And, and that's where we have an issue, but it also is that we have two different entities, right, two different businesses that have different end results that they want. And the mistake is that you think it has to do with getting more members. You want more members. You want more clients, but this is why for years we've been calling out No you don't. What you want is more money. When you say that in your mind, man I just need to get more members like we need to get more people in, I need to get more leads, it's just you are actually saying we need more money, I need more revenue, because all you

Tyler 45:07

I really want more work, right? It's not necessarily the wrong strategy, but it ain't the full strategy. And

John Fairbanks 45:14

The problem is then when someone says, I'll give you everything you want. And this is one of those things where like, you gotta be careful with what you wish for, it's like, I will give you 30 members in 30 days. That is, when we start to see this misalignment become clear. And if you've been in this game long enough, you know this, right, you know, that those members that are about to come in, they're not aligned, but you're getting what you want, you know, pay $100 for every person that shows up to a league because they've worked at or whatever and to get that person, because we get contacted by franchisees are the most common Tyler that we get contacted about this particular thing. Where they are seeing a misalignment in being able to get people that come into their franchise at that fundamental base level. And they cannot move them into their coached products. Why the flying fuck do you think that is? Because

Tyler 46:12

nobody goes to McDonald's for fucking steak. It's the fucking problem. People came in here, these people came in on a $1 offer usually starting today for $1. And then we wonder why that person with that type of carrot that's dangled them, you dangle that carrot that attracted that person got the bait. And you wonder whether they don't why they don't have the want to or the resources, whatever, either or both. To spend 1000 bucks a month or 500 bucks a month or whatever on an expensive premium coach product that just costs money, there's labor, but like it's personal training is not cheap. But to wonder why you can't do that is it's the biggest question we get from franchisees and 24 hour spots, I tell all of us and then start directly advertising for your fucking personal training. That's the one thing stop advertising $1 Stop saying Free, this stop, say no fees for this. The attraction should maybe be products and results. But it's not that because you motherfucker sell discounts, and you sell key cards, and you sell a facility with access, and it's fucking it. And then you wonder why. And frankly, the strategy that we advise anyways, in almost any gym business model is of course, we want them to directly market these premium services so that you get a reputation as a place that has premium services first. The second one is that your coaches, who are the human beings involved in that transaction, and involved in that relationship and who they're going to be working with, need to market themselves and also try to attract clients with their own personality, branding, marketing, etc. Now in doing so that's why the place that we're at now has a handful of personal trainers that are able to sell big ticket stuff and make decent money. But none of those people are people that we're getting from the funnel underneath GM, Jim, I don't want it. I stopped taking those calls. Because they're all bad leads and they're all broke. We're

John Fairbanks 48:08

just not good enough at sales, though, to be able to move someone from $1 a month thing up to your,

Tyler 48:13

but I seem to be booked. So I was looking at, oh, you want to eat shit. Uh huh. And take low and deal with headaches and people who can't pay and all this stuff and have 100 sales conversations to close 20 people, which is actually not a terrible ratio. If we're talking just cold people who cold leads to people that can't actually afford to do business with you. A bunch of them are going to say I had sales conversations with people who were on SilverSneakers who are on a fixed income, and their membership was subsidize and they thought that it was a fucking gym tour. Of course they did. Like what the fuck is absolutely not. He told us to bring our shoes. Like I was like, What do you think I'm gonna work you out? Like, I don't that wasn't what I'm here to do. So I cut that whole thing out because I don't fucking play it. I just don't play that shit. And uh, but um, so I'm telling you for these the 24 hour spots you you've been playing the race to the bottom game for a long fucking time. And the way it works for us is just like we said, as we go around that then so that the product is the thing, but know that the things you're doing to attract people who want a $1 deal are not going to attract people who want a high quality product. It's 1000 bucks a month or more. It's just fucking not. So you're playing the wrong game. You're singing the wrong song. Okay. And

John Fairbanks 49:29

I've said this before and I will guarantee you I will say it again in the future. It's what you have done to get you here that will keep you here. Yep. And that is where we do draw the line and ultimately say sorry, like we can't work with you. We can't work with you one on one. We can't work with you and the gear Academy. We can't do this because what you are looking to do is you're looking to be able to improve. Say you're coaching products. You want to get more personal trainers. You want to do these things, but you are unwilling to understand that what you are going to have to do in order to get that has to be different. Because the problem that you have is by your get and what the perception is, right and that, and that's so huge, right? Because from a franchise perspective, or from an affiliate perspective, you are paying that money to have a reputation already established for you. The hardest part of owning a business or starting something new is that you've got to establish what you are, because nobody knows who you are. But he's a double edged sword man. Because if you have Anytime Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, you have fucking planet fitness, you have all these different entities that are out there. CrossFit, people already know what you are. And the problem is, is that if you're the discount spot, if you're the $1 $30 key fob, whatever the fuck spot, that is why people are showing up to your shit, you're not going to have doctors and lawyers that are expecting a high quality premium product to now be at your spot. Now you have to work uphill from there.

Tyler 51:12

And there's an exclusivity component to all that as well. You're too cheap. One of the reasons I don't want to go to a place is that even if it's nice, and it's too cheap, just because it's nice doesn't save me from all the other people who are going there because it's too cheap. Correct. So I'll go somewhere else. So it's, I think I can't overstate this enough. Now, when it comes to the things we just described about, you know, like your business needs to fundamentally change what it's perceived as, or at the very least, you need to start shining a light on the fact that you do these other things that should be your primary focus, right? That has to happen. In the same way that when someone comes in and wants to lose weight, they need to change the way they eat, I need you to change the way I need to change your attitude around food. You're also you don't get to open a fucking $30 A month joint and wonder why nobody responds and wants to spend you spend two grand with you. You don't get to do that. So you don't get to eat like a fat. And then I can wonder why you're not losing weight. Yeah. This shouldn't be that hard. But it really is. It's like the number one thing, John, we know of gyms that have been like CrossFit gyms running coach products that we're offering, like 60 bucks a month. Yeah, we're like, this is never gonna work. This is never this can never work. And fine, but like, you're only going to get just the worst, just the worst, I think of what we did when we were in the heating and air conditioning company, right? We were obviously very expensive. When I first moved over to that place, I had done heating and air conditioning in two different cities. And when I went to this spot so when we were when I started with this company, what happened was as we were going again, we had a reputation for being expensive. We had a reputation for being the complaints that cost a lot of money. Lots of people who couldn't focus on their complaint were that we were so expensive. The other contractors in town the other cleaners' air conditioning came to this overprice level, but showed up in button up shirts, right out in nice slacks. Right? I'm not out slogging through the model damn a real professional. Letting your house I'm gonna wear booties, I'm gonna take my shoes off. I got long sleeve shirts, no visible tattoos and clean. I'm an articulate person. We have a script that we have to follow that makes sure that your experience is a good one now for all of that. Yeah, it was expensive, like 50 to 80% more per service probably than the other guys in town. But we provided a better service. We were there on time, we were friendlier. We weren't available. We had if you had an issue, you called us back in two weeks, you had full written out notes of every description of every single thing your technician did. Everything like all of this stuff was very well documented. When a lot of these other companies John are just writing things down on paper and sending you an invoice and didn't know fuck all what happened last. It's on the technician's brain to remember. Right. And while being more expensive, I was initially very concerned about asking those prices. Right? early on. giving people options was really expensive, right. But what I noticed very quickly, is that everywhere that I did go whether it was on maintenance or service calls, I had never heard as an employee of a heating and air conditioning company so many times when people said, Can we really love you guys? You guys are just the best, like constantly. It wasn't a thing that kind of happened. I was like holy shit. It made me very proud to work for that company even when I was new. I was like the right move, like by being more expensive, people are choosing to have a better experience. And this is the lesson I want you guys to take away when you're setting your pricing or your products or whatever, when you're trying to use that, the utility of that, to determine who really should be doing business with you, okay, is of all the gyms that are out there that do the same types of things that you do. There's a $10, Planet Fitness, there's all the pile of fucking franchises in the middle between 40 and $50 a month. Okay. And then there's your 80s 90s 150, there's your premium equinoxes, and the four to $600 range, stuff like that, there's lots of fucking really interesting opportunities for you to price your gym. Know that if I'm looking at that, and I choose to spend $500 A month $400 A month, I am abs when I can go spend 10 I am choosing because I want that experience to be better. Okay, that's the difference. Every person who when given a choice chooses the more expensive option, that person is choosing to have a better experience, they are choosing very much to have a higher likelihood of success and a cleaner experience and better customer service. Their expectations already are that it's going to be good. Which means then it's much easier to just not fuck that up than it is to like, when someone's expectation is for it to exist for $10, you're gonna get a lot, I would, there's nothing I would want less than to be the cheapest in town.

John Fairbanks 56:31

Nothing. Because that's your reputation. And that's the reputation of the people you get. Those are the people then your coaches have to deal with. The odds are if you're the cheapest in town, you can only afford to pay your coaches so much. So that tells you the type of coach you're gonna get. Like it's this massive trickle down effect to where it's like, how do you attract the right people, the right coaches, it's right where you started, which where it's your price outright. And then you have to make sure that you're doing something that's different. You can't just be the most expensive and then do the same as everybody else. You have to be able to understand. Where's the right network in your community? Who are the right people to be affiliated with? Right? You get one doctor? The odds of getting more doctors goes up?

Tyler 57:16

Yeah, I would say probably like, at one point at one point, we probably had 15% Maybe 20% of our members were medical professionals. Not a surprise, no surprise. You don't they're not bombs coming in to use the fucking shower and having skins to schizophrenic episodes because they can continue to afford 35 bucks a month. What the fuck? Correct. That's really anyone who comes into an AI thing with a drug out of me immediately. It's not like, I'll just take your money, we'll let this happen. It's crazy. So yeah, so stop doing fucking low value business if you want to make fucking high value money.

John Fairbanks 57:57

And if you're not making high value money, because you spent so much time in low value business, or better yet tolerate not even that as could be low value business, you just haven't been looking at it. You haven't been paying attention. And as a gym owner, it's one of those things where all of a sudden, now you're putting your eyes on the thing. And it's been a while maybe that you've looked at this. And you'd be like, Why are we struggling here? It's fucking step back and be like, Well, what, gosh, where were you before? Where you were happy, quote unquote, what were the things you were doing then? I'd be willing to challenge you, you probably aren't doing those things. What are the relationships that you had before? What are the partnerships and affiliations and things that you have done? Back in the day when you were really hustling and wanting something to work that you were getting more opportunities, you were getting more inquiries, and then you're not. And as you can kind of get lulled to sleep in that day to day kind of grinds almost to where you are just if there's no problems, then it's almost like you it's like an ostrich head in the sand. Yeah, it's like I don't see, I don't have a problem. And it's

Tyler 58:59

and then they only see it when they're not making enough money and just want to fucking move things around to make one I was like, Can I just turn on more money

John Fairbanks 59:06

and you want a quick fix or you want some hack or some bullshit that's going to allow you to then be able to make the money instead of just doing the work.

Tyler 59:14

You want your shit to work, you want to work right, you want to work for your clients, you want to work for your clients success as well as your pocketbook getting the gear academy or work with us directly. Both of them are with us directly. We have a few options for getting in our gear Academy can run you through kind of helping to shape your gym into the version of your gym that you really really want it to be. While making some good money along the way, but doing things the right way. That's what we're here to do get into gear Academy, go to gym owners We also have some like, direct us to you consulting that we do as well if you're looking for a faster track, so get involved go to gear academy or gym owners Lisa description for the gym owners revolution Facebook group follow me at Tyler effing stone for the show at the gym owners podcast and John Follow me at J banks f L thanks a lot guys we'll see you next week

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