We Have Lost Our Awareness

We have adopted a style of “everyday media multitasking” - which is a generous way of saying that we have lost our awareness of what is necessary and what is simply reflexive responding as though prodded by a sharp stick.

Adam Gazzaley & Larry Rosen, The Distracted Mind

People say that time is our most valuable personal resource, given its non-renewability, but I disagree. Our attention is more important. Only when we learn to optimize it do we ever actually accomplish anything.

A simple example:

An hour spent on the couch with your significant other while you both watch Netflix & scroll through Instagram will do less for your relationship than fifteen minutes of conversation, listening, & eye contact would.

Just like in the gym, the number of minutes we spend on a given task matters less than the quality of those minutes.

It’s time we stopped patting ourselves on the back for 50, 60, 70-hour workweeks, & instead started taking pride in how effectively we’ve wrestled control of our attention back from the tools & industries that would rather we continue distracting ourselves to inadequacy.

Patrick Cummings
How You Fit Into Their Lives

As much as you want your customers to talk about your products’ and services’ features and benefits, they probably want to talk about themselves, and how your offerings fit into their lives.

Phillips, Cordell, Church, & Moore, The Passion Conversation

One often untapped method of marketing that your gym can take advantage of is to give your members the means to brag about themselves publicly.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing so:

  1. Hire a good photographer to come in once a month & snap pictures during a handful of classes. Have her come to the morning classes one month, then the evening classes in the next.

  2. Ask her to send you the edited photos without any watermarks or logos.

  3. Pick one or two shots of each athlete that you have photos of, being sure to keep an eye out for images that make the athlete look strong, badass, & like they’re having fun. Upload those selects to an online design app like Canva.

  4. Crop each photo to be a square aspect ratio, & add your gym’s logo at the bottom.

  5. Text the photo or photos to the individual member, along with a note of thanks & encouragement. (Text is more useful than email since texting will put the images on their phone, where they can more easily share it on social).

Not all your members will post the images to Instagram or Facebook, but many will. They’re proud of the work they do within the walls of your gym. They’re proud of effort & the accomplishments. They’re proud of being the type of person who chooses to do difficult things.

They probably want to talk about that more often, & you as the conduit to those feelings of pride, but simply lack the visual means by which they can do so.

Word of mouth marketing will happen on its own, but that doesn't mean you can't help inspire it.

Patrick Cummings
When They Know the Least

The single biggest mistake idea merchants make is that they ask for money too soon…[T]his strategy introduces friction into the system. Many marketers require people to pay the most when they know the least.

Seth Godin, Unleashing the Ideavirus

The first 90 days of a new member’s journey with you is perhaps the most important.

Important for him because he’s establishing new habits, building new routines, & reintroducing his body to the kind of movement it hasn’t experienced maybe since high school.

Important for you because you’re establishing trust & making a case for being the solution to the problems he’s willing to tell you about (weight gain, decreased energy), as well as the problems he’s not quite ready to talk about (lack of confidence, fear of getting older).

If you can overwhelm this new member with excellence over these first three months - if you can earn trust, establish yourself as a knowledgeable guide, & show him he’s capable of making real progress - the chances you’ll celebrate your first or third or fifth anniversary together are high.

Being intentional & emphatic about where & how money fits into this equation can help.

Remember that even after he forks over his bank account information, he’s likely still unsure. Unsure if you’re the right place for him, if any of it will make any shred of difference, if he wants to pay this much for a gym membership.

Respecting all this uncertainty means thinking hard about whether charging full price for these 90 days is the most optimal way of ensuring you both have the necessary space to do the work of solving the problems at hand.

Maybe a better way would be to take ownership of building trust & establishing that relationship, to think about the first three months as when you earn the first three years.

Money is just a proxy for trust. The more trust you have, the more money you’ll make over a long enough timeline. You don’t need to rush it.

Trust compounds. Earn it early & it will pay dividends.

Patrick CummingsTribe