FIRE DRILL! Get 100 NEW Clients FAST!

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The following guest post is by Sean Greeley, President of NPE, an organization dedicated to supporting coaches and fitness business owners in mastering the “business” of fitness. We are excited to have one of our most supportive partners share some amazing business tips and strategies.
Good questions lead to good thinking. One of my favorite quotes I share when teaching sales training is that “The income you make in your lifetime will be directly related to the quality and quantity of the questions you ask.” It’s from a book called […]

The following guest post is by Sean Greeley, President of NPE, an organization dedicated to supporting coaches and fitness business owners in mastering the “business” of fitness. We are excited to have one of our most supportive partners share some amazing business tips and strategies.
Good questions lead to good thinking. One of my favorite quotes I share when teaching sales training is that “The income you make in your lifetime will be directly related to the quality and quantity of the questions you ask.” It’s from a book called Question Based Selling by Thomas Freese.
Recently I was asked a good question by a long time client of ours at NPE.

“If you were opening a new location with no pre-existing clientele, what would you do to generate over 100 clients in the fastest way possible?”

Great question!
But before I talk about marketing strategies and tactics, I want to back up a moment. By framing this question a little better, we can walk away with a much better answer that will be more valuable to you. Here’s how I would suggest we re-write this question:
“If I were to open a new facility, what do I need to be thinking about in order for it to deliver massive profits and run smoothly…. as fast as possible? With more net profit, I know my business will be sustainable. And that means I can buy more freedom, enjoy a better lifestyle, and have more resources to reinvest in the growth of my business which allows me to ‘make a difference’ and help more people!”
See the distinction between these two questions? By crafting a better question first, you start thinking much more in-line with all the things that really matter for your success. Just getting 100 clients isn’t very cool if your business doesn’t do all the above! And waaaay too many people take the “other pieces” for granted.
I know a lot of folks that have businesses with a significant number of clients (over 100+!). And many of these business owners call us everyday asking for help because they’re broke!
Just having a lot of clients doesn’t guarantee net profits and a good lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination! Having clients is only PART of the equation. Got it? See success ALL starts with asking the right questions! The better questions you ask (of yourself and others) the better outcome you’re going to reach!
Ok, so let’s start answering this question as I’ve just reformatted it. So our goals of this new location are to:

  • Have strong net profits
  • Be profitable and debt free quickly
  • Run with good staff and systems in place that deliver leverage and freedom

With that in mind, we need to start with defining the following:

  1. Your Dream Lifestyle
  2. Your Business Model
  3. Your Marketing Plan

This isn’t something you do in five minutes on a napkin. In fact, we normally spend two full days working with our clients on these pieces during our VIP University training.
On Day 1 we work to define a client’s dream lifestyle in writing, plug and play all their numbers into a spreadsheet that clearly defines the targets needed to achieve the net profit result they’re looking for from their business (to live their dream lifestyle).
And then on Day 2 we build out their entire Marketing Plan needed to go make it happen!

Your Dream Lifestyle

I won’t spend too much time on this here, because I’ve talked a lot about it in other posts. But essentially it’s critically important for you to define (in writing) the lifestyle you want to live. This includes the work you do, the relationships you have, the places you go, and a whole lot of other stuff.
The POINT of doing this is to challenge yourself to think about and define what you really want and what’s important to you. Armed with this information, you can then design your business model to serve as the vehicle for delivering your dream lifestyle.
It’s also “mission critical” to tap into your dream, because passion for your dream is the fuel you need to push through challenges in building your business (or a second location, or whatever).

Your Business Model

What is a “business model” and why is it so important?
Your business model is essentially the mathematical equation that explains how your business makes a profit.

Gross Revenue – Gross Expenses  = Net Profit

Only the real answer to this equation involves a spreadsheet. Because there are many numbers that go into “designing” your business model. Not just your rates, your packaging, but also your labor costs, general overhead, and more.
Why am I talking about this before we get into how to just go find 100 clients?
Because unless those 100 clients (or whatever your target is) actually delivers you a net profit result you want and need to live your dream lifestyle, then why waste your time doing any marketing at all?
I hope I’m connecting with you here.
When you understand this, and actually have a working model on a spreadsheet for your business, you will be ahead of 90% of small business owners out there in the world today.
Most small business owners NEVER make a profit, or only make a meager one at best, because they haven’t ever put numbers in a spreadsheet to truly understand how their business actually makes money! So those of you skimming through this section, nodding your head “yeah I get that”, but in reality you have NOT taken the time to do this… all I can say is I told you so.
You’ll eventually listen to me and do this work when you’re ready to get serious about building a strong business and not just trying out random tactics to go find more clients! And hey, if you want help with this, just reach out and talk with us because this is what we do at NPE!
Onward…

Your Marketing Plan

Alright, we’ve finally made it to the getting clients part. But first off I’d like to check-in with you here. Is 100 clients REALLY your target?
When you did the work on your business model (above), how many clients do you need, at what price point (which includes your packaging), to deliver the net profit result you need to fund your dream lifestyle?
For simple math and the sake of this post, we’ll use the 100 clients number here as our target. BUT… before we jump to “a list of things to do in order to get clients”… I’ll tell you that the MOST important thing you can do FIRST is create a marketing plan.
I never see anyone talking about this anywhere. I see a lot of folks talking about a big “to-do” list of marketing activities, but never creating a marketing plan.
And THIS is yet another big “reason why” most folks run around like a “chicken-with-their-head-cut-off” trying a bunch of tactics, that they heard worked for someone else, or they read about online, but they don’t see the marketing results they’re looking for in their business from their efforts. They don’t have a marketing plan.
If you want to stop that crazy nonsense, and get off the hamster wheel of “doing things” that aren’t getting results, then you must sit down and craft a solid marketing plan for your business.
What must be included in creating a marketing plan? Well a solid marketing plan answers the following questions:
1. Who is your customer?
Before you go fishing, you better know what kind of fish you want to catch! Defining your “ideal” customer is all about getting VERY clear about the profile of the best customer you want to work with. Do you want to work with men or women or both? How old are your best clients? Where do they live? Why do they train? What types of goals are they working towards?
Essentially we want to define their demographics (gender, age, profession, income level, etc), geographics (what part of town do they live in?), and psychographics (what are their goals, what problems are they looking to solve, why do they want to train?).
The clearer you can define your best customer, the better we can craft the right bait to attract that fish and target the right ponds we’ll find them in!

2. Who is your competition?
With the rise of fitness services on every corner, you better take the time to understand your competition. That way you can find the right positioning, message, and USP that will ensure you can stand out in the marketplace to the right clients you want to work with!
There is certainly a bunch of things you need to research here, but most important are your competition’s pricing, packaging, messaging, offers, and more.
3. What is your USP? How will your business and message (positioning) stand out from other businesses offering a similar product or service to your market? What makes buying from YOU the best and obvious decision for the prospect YOU are going after?
Alright, now that you’ve defined your best customer, and you’ve done good research on your competition, we can get into the real work.
The real work is defining your positioning and USP (which stands for unique selling proposition if you’re unfamiliar with the term). How can you quickly and easily answer the question “why should I do business with YOU?”
Truth be told, this takes a little time. And there are a few critical exercises and worksheets we take our clients through (and have them prepare in advance of attending VIP University) to prepare for this.
You’re basically putting your market research, competitor research, and some good intel on your business that you’ve defined and surveyed your top clients about into a big melting pot…. Stirring it around… letting it simmer…. And then creating the “secret sauce” that will drive a large part of the success of your marketing efforts.
Of course this is much more involved than just having a good personality and attracting a few people to you. This is what most people in the fitness industry do as a busy owner/operator with no business experience or coach to help them understand and work through this stuff.
But hey, do this right and you’ll have everything you need to have as MANY facilities as you want (not just one or two)!
4. What is your primary offer?
Your offer. Well your offer is the proposition you make for people to engage your sales process. Now the offer you use will partly depend on the type of services you’re offering and the profile of the client you want to attract. You’ll notice Rolex™, Lamborghini™, and BMW™ don’t market with “buy one, get one free” or “special discount this month only”.
No.
They know they’ve got the best products around. And they know they’re after top clients that aren’t making buying decisions on a budget. They’re targeting customers who are looking for the best and can afford it. So… those kind of offers would be inconsistent with their brand and positioning.
Make sense?
We’ve tested many different offers over the years, and 3 of the best ones we’ve used with our clients over and over again with great success are:
– The complimentary consultation- Evergreen offer, allows you to pre-qualify your prospect, feeds qualified candidates into your sales process (when you learn the consultative system of selling).
– The 21 day promotion- A good entry level, low price point offer that gives people a reason to respond now and get started on their fitness program. Usually $97
The kick-start program– Typically 4-6 week program, priced anywhere from $97-$397. Addresses the perceived most difficult challenge with a fitness program- getting started!
Each of these offers ALWAYS gets funneled into a consultation. And if you’re doing it correctly, 80+% of these folks who respond will be converted into a new client on a 3, 6, or 12 month program.

5. What are your 3-5 CORE marketing strategies?
Ok, we’re making good progress now. YES!
So we’re starting to get to the list of things to go do. But first we must define your core marketing strategies. Choosing your strategies is kind of like preparing for battle and choosing the weapons you want to fight with. Do you want to use a pistol, a knife, a machine gun, a bazooka, a tank, a fighter jet, etc?
Well that depends right? They can all get the job done, depending on the enemy your fighting, the defenses they have, the battlefield conditions, your military budget, etc.
A 50 cal machine gun sounds like a great idea, except when you have to hike 10 miles over the mountains. Then all of a sudden that thing and the ammo you have to carry is heavy and will wear you out before you ever get to use it!
You also want to assess what you know your strengths are and use them to your advantage. If you’re well trained with a knife, take it and use it for close quarters fighting!
So the strategies we select for you… given all the work we’ve done above… will most likely be a little different for you than they would be for me or someone else.
Hey if we’re selling water in the desert, all we have to do is hold our hands out to collect cash! But if we’re one of 5 water stands, outside in the dead of winter, while it’s snowing, it doesn’t matter WHAT we say or do… nobody is coming out to buy our water. They’re going to stay inside where it’s warm!
Make sense?
I’m not going to cop out on giving you an answer here.
I just want you to really understand all the things that go into finding the BEST answers for yourself when you need em’!
So, let’s make a few assumptions and I’ll break down the core strategies I would use:
Assumption #1: we’re targeting middle income professionals, age 30-55, who make at least $80k/year, both men and women, in a defined community with average home prices of $230k, who want to lose fat and look and feel better.
Assumption #2: there are a couple “big box” gyms in town with poor quality training services (the typical trainers who text and check FB on their phone while they’re supposed to be “coaching” their clients). But there is only one or two small to mid-size “service based” training facilities in town. They do ok, but have zero competition. So right now they just own the market by default of being there with their doors open. They don’t have any real marketing systems in place. The owner is a nice guy/gal, but they are the only real trainer in place. So the business is pretty tapped out in terms of capacity.
– Assumption #3: I’ve done an inventory and SWOT analysis to determine my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I know what I’m good at, and I know the resources (most important are time and money) I have available to go get the job done.
Strategy #1: I know I’m good at public speaking so I’ll use that.
Strategy #2: I know I’m good at networking and building relationships with partners.
Strategy #3: I know how to create a good direct response advertisement/print ad/flyer/postcard.
Strategy #4: I know I’m great at serving people, over delivering in the value I deliver, and creating raving fans. So I’m going to make referral marketing systems a big part of helping to spread the word.
6. Given the strategies above, what will my tactics be? What projects do I need to outline and go complete?
Strategy #1: I know I’m good at public speaking so I’ll use that.
Projects to support: I’ll research all the companies, groups, and associations in the area THAT I KNOW MY TARGET CLIENT most likely belongs to.
I’ll then visit the groups, talk to the organizers, meet the people there, and investigate the opportunities for offering a free workshop or lunch-n-learn session.
I’ll put together a great presentation that speaks about the goals I KNOW my target customer has, and the problems/challenges they face in reaching those goals. I’ll also jam pack it with case studies and share stories of people I’ve helped just like them. I’ll finish my talk by making a couple good offers, collecting contact details, and following up with everyone I meet who has expressed interest in some way of learning more.
Strategy #2: I know I’m good at networking and building relationships with partners.
Projects to support: I’ll investigate what related businesses in my community also serve my ideal target as their client/customer. I’ll then find ways to connect with those business owners (either find introductions, join business networking groups/associations, or just go out and meet them to explore their mindset around marketing).
My goal will be to set as many “one-to-one” meetings as possible with the owners of these businesses to learn a little more about them, see how I can best serve and help them with what I know and have to offer, and then in turn I’ll ask to set up a mutually beneficial marketing relationship whereby I may receive their endorsement and an introduction to their clients and customers. My goal will be to establish ongoing “evergreen” systems that allow me to have a steady steam of leads coming from their business every single month.
I know that many businesses have been built off just ONE good relationship like this.
Therefore if I establish three, four, or five it will be game over. However I know this will take time to establish trust, build a relationship with the business owner, put systems in place to support this process, and grow and scale it. But it’s worth it, so I’ll do it.
I’m not just interested in getting 100 clients now. I want to install systems in place so I can have all the clients I’ll ever want for years to come.
Strategy #3: I know how to create a good direct response advertisement/print ad/flyer/postcard.
Projects to support: I’ve researched and found the community where the majority of clients live I want to target. I’ve discovered this community has a print newsletter that gets delivered by the HOA door-to-door every month and I can advertise in it, or include an FSI (Free Standing Insert) ride-along for only a few hundred bucks (which I have to invest).
So I create some good print marketing tools and deploy them. They have great offers that drive people to my website or phone. I’ve put up a simple website and created 2 opt-in forms.
One for a consultation request for info on how to grab one of the just 50/100/150 spots available in my grand opening (I’m a fan of the rolling launch strategy).
This means that I’ve limited my facility capacity to just X. I’m going to market that number HARD to build urgency and scarcity in getting folks to respond to my offers and secure their premier position before it’s sold.
The second opt-in form allows for a free report download with a great message that speaks DIRECTLY to the prospect I’m targeting, and is filled with great case studies, testimonials, before-and-after photos, and more. Then at the end of the report I’ve included a call to action that drives back my “A” offer for that consult on how to grab one of those limited spots you have available.
BTW… I’m using this “rolling launch” strategy, positioning, messaging, and offers in ALL my strategies (not just this one). So I’m talking it up in my public speaking, in my networking, and more.
Strategy #4: I know I’m great at serving people, over delivering in the value I deliver, and creating raving fans. So I’m going to make referral marketing systems a big part of helping to spread the word.
Projects to support: Create some simple referral marketing tools. Make referral marketing a condition of doing business with all new clients.
Give them tools and make them feel “special” about inviting their friends to check out this exclusive club and try it out so they can secure one of these premier limited spots in the facility before it sells out and membership is closed.
Also set up some special “bring a friend” Saturday workouts/BBQs/ and fun. Invite ALL clients to come out, bring their friends/family/co-workers and have fun getting to know the community. Create a great experience. Mix this up and do something different each week.
Once a month do something different like perhaps take all the clients on an adventure hike. Do things to build your community and make it strong. Because that is more valuable to the people you serve than just someone who takes their money and tells them how to squat.
RELATIONSHIPS are the keys to building a rock-solid community people never want to leave and tell everyone about how awesome you are. And the others guys in town aren’t doing this, so let’s immediately position what we do as something completely different!

 Summary

Well if you’ve made it to this summary, kudos to you. You’ve taken the time to read this full article.
And that separates you from the folks who gave it 30 seconds, then when they saw there wasn’t a quick list of stuff to do they went back to reading Facebook status updates.
I’ve made some assumptions up pretty quickly here on the fly. So to do this right, we work with our clients to do the research and work up front to get all the info needed.
Then we sit down and bang all this out over 2 days in our VIP University workshop. We then have bi-weekly coaching calls to coach them through execution of their plan as they progress up the levels of building savings, eliminating all debt, and living a great lifestyle.
Getting clients is simple when you do the right things. And “doing the right things” means taking the time to define your dream lifestyle, work the numbers to design a winning business model, and put together a complete marketing plan.
Building a great business is kind of like painting a house. The hardest part is scraping, sanding, and prep work. That’s 80% of the job and the only thing that really guarantees your house will look good in the end.
Slapping paint on is simple.
Said another way, we discussed this famous quote in one of our meetings this week at NPE and I’ll share it with you now:

“If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first 4 sharpening my ax!”
Abraham Lincoln

 
Sean Greeley is President of NPE, an organization dedicated to supporting coaches and fitness business owners in mastering the “business” of fitness. Check out NPE’s new 3x Telly award-winning documentary The American Dream: Freedom, Prosperity, and Success in the Fitness Industry, featuring 17 industry leaders who share their STEP-BY-STEP strategies, systems, and secrets for building highly profitable fitness businesses and show you how you can do the same at: www.AmericanDreamMovie.com

 

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