More Leads Than I’ll Ever Use

It’s the middle of the summer in South Carolina. This is the time of year that reminds me that I am from the northern part of the country. How long will it take for me to get used to the heat, I wonder.

Working in the air conditioning is a welcome relief. We have so many more days of sunshine in the south that I no longer feel that I must get outside every sunny day – another sunshine filled day is on the way.

Yesterday, I took full advantage of the air conditioning and decided I would add names of prospects to my “list”. Every business needs a list of prospects and the 6-Figure Trainers business is no different.

Where to find names is usually the challenge. There are a variety of sources; including paid lists, online advertising and free sources. I have had mixed results with every option.

I decided to take a challenge and to see how many leads I could find for free in a period of two hours.

I used the free (as I used it) program Reference USA as my data source. I had a clearly-defined description of who my ideal market is. I have a local library membership which allows me to use the program online in the privacy of my office.

I had a little experience with the program before, which made little difference as the program is so easy to learn. All the information is free. One challenge is that you can only download 250 records at a time, but you can repeat this process as quickly as you choose.

So I decided this is like an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) workout.

Are you ready for this? Within 2 hours I had downloaded over 7,000 records!! I was psyched to say the least.

The records are all in Excel and, with another hour of work, I had sorted about half the records. I have another hour to go and then I am guessing I’ll have about 1,500 qualified leads in an Excel spreadsheet – 1,500 leads ready for me to contact! I slept soundly last night.

The lifeblood of our businesses are sizable prospect lists that we continually grow and manage responsibly. Being able to reach out to a huge group of prospects is the solution to most business challenges.

Now there are other ways to get a huge prospect list. To build my personal training business, I purchased a local community list of about 3,000 names that fit the profile of my ideal customer. With that list I created a $100,000/year income.

Reference USA is primarily a business resource. Names listed for businesses consist of the key leadership. I have used these business contacts for personal training clients, corporate wellness programs, fitness lunch and learns (where I promote my business to the employees after providing free useful fitness-related content), and collaborative relationships. (Contact me if you would like more ideas and details about how to promote your products in a win-win scenario.)

The Reference USA list is there for everyone. Take advantage of it with the three steps below.

Step #1 – Get a local library card. Most libraries have the Reference USA program, but check first to make sure. Once you have the card, you can set up your account so you have access to the program from your personal computer

Step #2 – Define your ideal customer. Once again, it’s critical to know who your ideal customer is. Once inside the program, you do a variety of searches and it is critical to narrow your search down as much as possible.

Step #3 – Sort and refine your new database. I download the information as .csv files and then combine them into Excel. (I like Excel because I am very familiar with it, Google Sheets works as well.) Use the data function to organize your database and delete anything and everything that does not meet your key criteria.

Bonus, Step #4: Use the new database to immediately begin contacting people. For some people, it’s a CRM, but it could also be a mailing. It doesn’t matter as long as you have a plan and put it into place immediately.

Get your name out there now so you come to mind when people start looking in September! Want more ideas or simply want to chat about this, give me a call. It’s a complimentary (free) conversation and I guarantee you leave with a sense of excitement for your future.

You can simply pick up the phone and call me at 585-737-3316. If you get a busy signal, it’s because I’m following up on my new list. 🙂 Just leave a message and I’ll call you back.

Make it an awesome day!

Force Multiplier for the Fitness Professional
6-Figure Trainers and Coaches

The Membership Mutiny Surprise!

In the past week I have had two conversations with fitness business owners that are facing a crisis.

Can you imagine suddenly learning that 20% of your members are considering leaving you, all at once? To make matters worse, they are being encouraged to leave you by someone you thought was a raving fan of yours.

It happens.

I hope it does not happen to you, but I have seen it happen in almost every fitness business I have known. The good news is that 100% of these businesses survived, and most thrived, as a result of the experience.

That means there is hope, even in the midst of seemingly dismal times. In the midst of the crisis, good things happen that lead to a strengthening of the organization, or it goes out of business. .

There are several reasons why a situation like this can occur, but usually it comes down to misunderstandings and lack of communication. When a fitness professional fills their client base with less-than-ideal customers, or even worse, tolerates customers who weaken the culture, the probability of this kind of revolt is amplified.

Like all situations, there are things we can control and things we cannot. The wise business owner limits his/her energy to the things that can be controlled.

With good stewardship you can lessen the probability of a small mutiny of your clients and members. There are literally 100s of things that can be addressed on this issue, and there simply isn’t enough hours in a day for that task. However, it usually comes down to a few things that went wrong and slowly the train derailed.

What is always amazing to me is how all of this comes as a surprise to the business owner. They simply started taking things for granted. They had been in business a few years and lost the “edge” they maintained in the early days of the business. It happens all the time, that transition from trainer/coach to business sometimes comes with a high price.

I always recommend to my VIP clients that we get ahead of this potential problem, first, by admitting that it is a possibility and, second, by taking pre-preemptive action and strengthening the relationships with clients.

Here are three things you can do today to lessen the possibility of this happening to you.

Strategy #1 – Stay close to your people. Do a a quick survey. This is especially powerful when you don’t see a real need to survey your clients. A simple one-question survey works the best. Learn how here.

Strategy #2 – Do a quick facility audit. Start with what I wrote about last week. Decide what 2-3 things you can do to freshen things up a bit. These are usually not drastic or huge things, just something small and easily recognizable. Note: Doing these things will make you feel better, too.

Strategy #3 – Be aware that people can decide, even be promoted, to leave you. Simply being aware of this possibility makes you more attuned to your clients. Don’t over-react if you suddenly find yourself facing a crisis. It’s really easy to assume that everything is going great and you have nothing to worry about. It’s really easy to overreact when things seem to be suddenly off track.

If you find yourself in this situation, reach for a lifeline. Talk to another business owner who has grown through this challenge. And/or give me a call. It’s a complimentary (free) conversation and I guarantee you will feel better once you have a sense of direction.

Make it an awesome day!

Force Multiplier for the Fitness Professional
6-Figure Trainers and Coaches

The All-Important First Impression

I am back home after a road trip last week to spend time with family.

It was a wonderful time of connection and celebration. We had not seen each other since last fall. I am always amazed how some things change while other things seem to never change.

On the way home, I stopped at a client’s CrossFit Box to do some staff training. We had a great time and covered a lot of ground very quickly. Sometimes a team just needs to hear another voice and a slightly different approach for that moment of inspiration.

We talked a lot about how the fitness world is evolving. We discussed what makes one Box (gym) better than another in a community with lots of competition.

We talked about culture. What is the Box’s culture? What do you want the culture to be? How does one change a culture?

All of my workshops end with a list of 1- 3 actionable items that will be implemented within 24 hours. The world is full of ideas, perhaps too many. The real point of learning something is to implement it asap!

We did a quick brainstorm session and came up with three actionable items. The team at this Box was in total agreement and everyone left the training very excited. Within 24 hours, I received my first picture of results from one of our actionable items. They are crushing it!

I could spend a lot of time on this topic of culture and how incredibly important it is, but I want to focus on three things you can do this week to tweak your culture and none of them has to do with training people!!

These three items are easy to implement, very important and not urgent. (See urgent vs. Important) They are often overlooked as we focus on the urgent and rewarding job of training people. And, to make matters worse, we tend to take these things for granted which is the last thing we should do.

The critical thing is to look at each of these items from the eyes of a beginner, someone who is walking into your facility for the very first time.

Three actionable things you can do today to get this process started:

Strategy #1 – Front Entrance. What impression is your front entrance giving off? Is it organized, welcoming and warm? Do people immediately see something motivating and energizing? You only get one chance to make a good first impression and your entrance way is your chance. Make the most of the opportunity.

Strategy #2 – Restroom/Bathroom Cleanliness. This is critical. Your restrooms need to be clean, neat, organized and welcoming. They need to SMELL clean, too. You simply cannot put too much emphasis on cleanliness in this area.

Strategy #3 – Office Organization. Your office sends a huge message to your members and clients. It’s your workspace. You and/or your team will use it for a variety of reasons including talking to people at those times when you need a private conversation. Is it warm and welcoming? Does it send the message about your culture that you want it to send? What will a new person sitting in your office learn about you and your business? You have the power to create that message.

In previous issues of this weekly email, I have talked about the difference between important tasks and urgent tasks, and time management. We are all busy and it’s normal to pay less and less attention to these details as time goes by. Clutter builds up, dust builds up, we become complacent without even realizing it.

Take a good look at these three critical areas of your operation and do whatever is necessary – it’s usually not much – to tidy things up a bit. Your clients will get a sense of renewed energy and your prospects will be more likely to join your tribe.

Make it an awesome day!

Force Multiplier for the Fitness Professional
6-Figure Trainers and Coaches

Uncomfortableness and Business Growth

I just finished a meeting with my business coach. It was a very productive meeting, but it was not one of the more comfortable meetings of my week.

Before I fill you in on the details, let me tell you about one of the most comfortable meetings of my week. It’s happening right now as I write this email to you. I am sitting outside under a big shade tree. Ahead of me is a canal full of boats passing by. People are walking with their pets and children along the path in front of me enjoying the beautiful weather.

I love days like this. Everything seems perfect and life is to be enjoyed. I feel especially blessed to be able to write to you from this special location.

A few years ago I couldn’t have done this. I was too busy with my business going frantically from one obligation to another. It seemed that I never had enough time to relax and focus. Then I made some quality decisions, put new things in place and my business transformed. Looking back, things always seem so easy.

Back to my uncomfortable meeting with my business coach. It was uncomfortable because we were talking about goals for the rest of the year. The uncomfortableness was all mine. I knew what I wanted and was willing to work toward – that was easy. Committing to the specific goals for the next 6 months is where things got uncomfortable.

We are halfway through 2017 and this is a perfect time to review our goals for the year to see where we are at and what adjustments need to be made.  The successes to date have opened the door to new thinking and new goals. This is where it gets uncomfortable. If I know how to get there, it’s not much of a goal.

We worked our way through the process and I have a plan. – and some work to do. Not knowing all the pieces in advance makes the process an adventure. When I stop to think about where my business will be in 6 months, it’s exciting.

The first part of July is the perfect time to go through this process. I invite you to step back and take a good look at your business and where you want it to be in January 2018, a short 6 months away.

Three actionable things you can do today to get this process started:

Strategy #1 – Dream bigger. Take some time to figure out what you really want for the rest of the year. What would make your business life perfect as you start 2018?

Strategy #2 – Commit to your goals by putting them in writing. Remember that a large part of committing is also committing to what you are NOT going to do in the next 6 months. Make that list, too.

Strategy #3 – Start working on faith and never give up. It is amazing how many people give up way too soon. Goal achievement does not come overnight. Work toward your goals every day and unexpected doors will open to assist you. Take advantage of these unique opportunities and you will be amazed at your progress when you look back in December of 2017.

You may have moments of doubt, we all do. Just remember that you are not alone at those times. Recognize that you are in the company of people dedicated to making the rest of 2017 the most productive and altering 6 months of their business life.

Make it an awesome day!

Force Multiplier for the Fitness Professional
6-Figure Trainers and Coaches