Want to be different than everyone else? Do the things most people don’t. There are so many different ways you can be different than everyone else – you can have the most excellent equipment in town, you can have a Powerlifting Coach to teach strongman classes, you can have a sweet smoothie bar with the most delicious shakes around and you can have the most experienced and knowledgeable coaches in the world.
These things are all great, but what they are just that: things.
Things won’t make you different, but the one thing that will is that you need to focus on how you make your members FEEL. I recently read a great quote that went something like this: “your value doesn’t come from what you know; it comes from how you make [your clients] feel.” This quote, while stating a straightforward fact, blew my mind and gave me one of those “a-ha” moments.
The experience is what your clients are paying for. The PRs, weight loss and life-changing fitness are great, but those things come as a result of FEELING BETTER. Members like the way the gym feels, they like working hard with friends and like how their coaches try to get the best out of them every day. I’m here to tell you that you have the one the most awesome powers known to people which is the ability to turn someones shitty day into an amazing one. Here are a few steps to do that.
Greet every single person that walks through your doors with a smile and a “Hello (insert name)!” This is something I have put into practice with every class I teach, and I know for a fact that people appreciate being greeted by name. Not only are you acknowledging their presence and the fact they decided to come into the gym today, but also that you know their name and that you care. If you genuinely care about your membership and regardless of how many hours you coach, you should know the names of every person that walks through your doors.
In addition to greeting everyone, do your best to use the name of every person in your class at least 3 times. Having personal interaction with each and every person during your classes will ensure that your “premium service” feels premium. When coaching, I intentionally try to give each person in class 3 pieces of feedback. This requires 3 separate interactions with each athlete and reaffirms their feeling of personal attention.
Write scores on the whiteboard. This is a controversial topic at some gyms, but I think it is essential to recognize and acknowledge the effort put forth by each member of the class. The object here is not to delineate who did the workout RX and who did it scaled (we don’t put “Rx”, or even if the athlete did the same workout – we just get their name on the board), but instead to recognize each athlete for the effort they exerted during class. Rather than ask “Did you RX the workout?” ask “Is that the first time you put 100lbs overhead? Awesome job!” Use this time to celebrate victories and set the tone for the next time they attend class.
Live up to it every second you’re “on.” In a previous post, I touched on the idea of class as a performance and that when you’re coaching, you need to be the best version of yourself. Think of it as you being you, but at a level of 11 out of 10. Throughout your class(es), you need to be singularly focused on delivering the best performance possible. What this means is you are relentlessly observing, cueing and correcting athletes movement patterns, engaging in conversations that both educate and inspire your athletes to be better versions of themselves, and are giving them an experience that makes them FEEL better leaving than they did when they walked through your doors.
These ideas are a starting point for improving the relationships with your clientele and is by no means the only interventions you can make to better their experience. If, after reading this, you are still struggling to understand the message, go take an affiliate class. Take affiliate class at your box or at a friend’s box and pay attention to how you felt before the class and how you felt afterward. Make a list of those positive interactions and then start a discussion amongst your coaches about how you can begin to incorporate the “positive deposits” in your affiliate’s classes. Remember – no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Written by Matt Sherburne