What Really Matters….
Like it or not, fitness and training is about people. Not bodies, not research, not certifications. Far too often trainers become enamored with the science of strength and conditioning and totally neglect the fact that they are, as Coach Boyle says, assholes that no one would ever want to be around. 18 months into owning my own facility and I find my bookshelves that were once fully stocked with every title from Super Training to The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine now overrun by books about communication, leadership, and motivation. My most profound realization has been that I will never get anyone to buy into our program by displaying my vast knowledge of all things fitness; rather that the gatekeeper to success is the ability to make a meaningful connection to the person in front of me. I find it ironic that so many “trainer-heads” spend hours complaining about the poor technique, lack of coaching, and overall ignorance of trainers and organizations like Crossfit while completely missing the reason that they are successful and thus the key to overcoming them. THEY GET PEOPLE TO “BUY-IN.” They build adherence, loyalty, and a sense of community. Ask yourself this; if you repeatedly hurt someone with your program, would they keep coming back for more? Do your clients hang on every word you say without regard to whether or not it’s a good idea? Well Crossfit’s do. You may say, “Well those people are crazy, I’d never want them as clients anyway!” I disagree; it’s much easier to be a better shepherd than to find a whole new flock of sheep. I’ll gladly take motivated, hard-working, committed, but slightly misguided clients. I think many trainers have taken the Michael Port concept of “ideal clients” and used it as an excuse for not doing a good job selling. They create a little story in their head of why that prospect didn’t like them or wasn’t “right” for their facility. There are very, very few “ideal “people on day 1. Did you think your spouse or significant other was going to be the “one” the first time you met? If you get a few months down the road with someone and they are more trouble than it’s worth, simply have an honest conversation with them and tell them you aren’t the right place for them. Most people are skeptical of anything of at first, particularly successful people. But in my experience, those early skeptics are the best clients in the long run because once they believe in what you are doing, they won’t be easily swayed by anything else. Loyalty is the most precious of all commodities in this business, and everything an owner does should reflect it as the primary goal. Why is there a Crossfit Games and not an L.A. Fitness Games? Because L.A. Fitness does nothing to create loyalty and community. Big commercial gyms offer no appeal to emotions so the only basis for comparison with others is rational price analysis. People LOVE Crossfit, almost on a religious level. People should LOVE your club, your staff, and your community the same way. Stop thinking so much about how smart you sound when bringing someone new into your club. Trust me, most people have pretty functional bullshit detectors that get more sensitive the longer they are around you. Not knowing everything is excusable; not caring is inexcusable. Where do you go when you have a problem? Do you go to someone who you trust and who is great at listening, or do you go to someone who will just tell you what to do without hearing you out? Your prospective members have a problem, that’s why they are in front of you. Will you hear them out and develop a meaningful relationship, or will you simply use them as another audience for your awesome display of anatomical brilliance?