I don’t remember the exact day other than that it was a cold one in October years back – my first day personal training.
Excited but nervous, I checked to make sure my Tupperware lunch was still in my bag as I adjusted my toque.
5 steps away from the gym some time close to 8am I saw a big muscular figure approach. He was looking at me but didn’t react. Calmly, cooly, coldly he nonchalantly locked the door and walked away.
This was the start of my first day at work.
2 seconds later he came back with a huge smile on his face and unlocked the door. Extending his hand all that he said was, “you must be Jon – I’m Bill — I heard you were starting today. Great to meet you man.”
I spent my first day shadowing and observing the other trainers. What I saw seemed odd at first. The gym had energy unlike anything I’d ever seen and it all started, and often ended, with Bill:
“Hey Mike!” (strong handshake and double pat hug)
“Becky! Hello – great to see you” (full bear hug)
“Justin! How’s the training going with Jeff? Great. That’s good to hear. And your wife Sandra, how is she” (strong handshake)
and on… and on… and on…
This went on all day with every person who entered the gym. There were 7 different trainers working and regular exercisers. Bill knew all of them by name and made them all feel like they were the most important person in the world.
Bill is the most successful trainer I’ve ever met. He has a huge waiting list, charges $120+ an hour, and his clients absolutely love them. They take him out for dinner, shower him with lavish gifts, and have even sent him on a trip to Japan.
In honor of Bill, one of my first great mentors, I dub this…
The Cheers Effect
Why are people taking so long to come into our gyms or not coming at all? It’s certainly not due to lack of available information. It’s also probably not due to financial constraint because, let’s be honest, almost everybody can afford a personal trainer once a week if they align their values and reevaluate their expenses.[Tweet “Almost everybody can afford a personal trainer once a week if they align their values and reevaluate their expenses.”]
The gym isn’t a comfortable place for most. They dread the thought of being surrounded by half naked beautiful people and learning something completely new is daunting. People want to go where everybody knows their name. It’s comfortable, it’s friendly, and they’re willing to step outside of their comfort zone a little bit.
What was Bill’s secret to success?
His secret was that he made the gym a place that people looked forward to going as an escape. Because sometimes they wanted to go where everybody knew their name. They wanted people to be glad they came. They needed assurance that their troubles were the same as the others.
By now you know that I hate thought-provoking posts. So I’ve built some systems for you to use the Cheers Effect to help build you business. I included a screenshot of my template at the bottom of this email for tracking important client details.
Your 5 Ways to Introduce the Cheers Effect Into Your Business
- Introduce your clients to everybody. The first step to making your clients comfortable in the gym is to incorporate them into the community. When you’re with them make an effort to introduce them to other trainers, other members, receptionists, the cleaners, anybody.
- Work out all the time. Whenever you have a break or there’s a lull in training at a time that you would like to have a client, work out. Change out of your shirt and into regular clothes. Spend every second on the workout floor you have just being present. Smile at the other members and say hello. Ask how they are doing and try to make small talk. If they seen disinterest in conversation simply wish them a good day, write down their name on your workout template (when they’re not looking) and walk away.
- When a member walks in through the door give a boisterous HELLO with a big smile. Make them feel special just for coming in through the door.
- Set a reminder system on your phone. Add any important date that any of the members mention to you. This could be anything from a birthday to anniversary to child’s Bar Mitzvah. Whenever your phone beeps with an event, send out a short email to the client.
- Keep a spreadsheet of all important member information. This was one of the best things I ever did for my business. Any time that a member told me something about their lives or family I would go and add it to the spreadsheet. Then, when the client came in the nex time, I popped open the spreadsheet and took a quick peek. “Oh yeah,” I might remember, “Cindy’s son’s name is Jeff and he’s married to Beth.” I then would walk onto the floor and say hello to Cindy and continue to ask her how Jess and Beth are. An example of the spreadsheet is below:
Little things go a long way. You care, so show it. Systemize your efforts. Don’t you like it when you walk into a place where everybody knows your name?