Perfect Timing

Comedians understand that perfect timing can make or break their act. A punchline only works because the audience is primed for it. The same is true for any message. We become better influencers by understanding our audience’s mindset and motivations at a given time.

Bernadette Jiwa, The Right Story

There are two fundamental & concurrent journeys a new member in your gym undertakes when they begin. One is the physical, the other is the emotional.

Most gyms spend most of their time in the early stages of this new relationship focused on the physical - on getting the air squat figured out, on introducing the individual to the barbell or the rower. Important, certainly.

But what most gyms aren’t doing is giving the same respect to - & designing with the same intent - the emotional journey of their new athlete.

Just because they’ve walked through your door once doesn’t mean they’re convinced they belong. Just because they’ve graduated your Elements program doesn’t mean they’re confident in their ability to continue. Just because they’ve paid for their first month doesn’t mean they’re actually comfortable in your gym.

Every step in the first few months of their emotional journey with you is another decision point for them, another choice to either continue down the difficult path of change or return to the status quo they know to be safe.

It’s easy to get their billing account set up & think their emotional journey is over. That they’ve made their decision. That you can focus on the air squats some more.

But that’s like making plans for a second date & inviting your parents to tag along.

The goal shouldn’t be to get their credit card on file & get them into class. The goal should be to construct an onboarding process that respects the considerable amount of time it takes to feel comfortable in a new place & around new people, to establish new habits & behaviors, & to earn trust.

Done well, that’s going to take investment. It’s going to require patience & an eagerness to overwhelm your new people with excellence as they get steady on their feet.

Start by thinking deeply about each step of the emotional journey, & by asking yourself: What do they not yet know that I need them to know, & what do they not yet believe that I need them to believe?

Then go about designing a process that helps them step-change their way into the kind of consistency they need to thrive as a member in your gym & that you need them to have to succeed as a business.

Patrick Cummings