SERVICE WITH A SMILE: THE ONLY WAY TO RUN A FITNESS BUSINESS

SERVICE WITH A SMILE: THE ONLY WAY TO RUN A FITNESS BUSINESS

Posted on 30. Dec, 2010 by in Marketing Fitness


 

Disney is all about good will and smiles, but their CEO’s have been known to be anything but.

One thing I’m always teaching trainers how to do in my programs is start to develop the inner toughness that you need to start, run, and grow your own training business.

How to develop that inner belief that will allow you to be comfortable with getting big results, and avoiding all of the nonsense most people do that completely screws them up.

And also to develop that competitiveness and fire it takes to push even farther, beyond your limits, and do what needs to be done to become a leader in your business, not having to work all of the time, while still achieving the cash flow and profitably you’re looking for.

I know it’s a ton to accomplish, but if you’re serious about achieving it, it’s hard to do on your own.  That’s why I do what I do, condensing a lifetime of hard knocks experience into courses that will get you the same results in a fraction of the time.

And I’ve got into the thousands of copies sold of my programs, and hundreds of success stories to prove it.  Some of them that were available last year for only a week of sales moved more than 50 copies at prices close to $500.  The two major programs I have out today, the SIX-FIGURE TRAINER PROGRAM and STUDIO START-UP aren’t as expensive, and sales have been into the hundreds.  That’s why without much effort on my part, I’ve been able to become one of the leaders and most trusted authorities in the business of fitness today.  The truth and hard-hitting info will usually rise to the top on the web these days.

What makes my courses unique?  We get deeper.  We go underground.  We get dirty.  We go into insider employee and customer psychology.  What really impacts customer decision making.  How to position your products for the maximum possible rates.  How to do it with the least possible effort.

This is only the kind of info that someone that was formerly deeply in the game, but is now outside of it, can deliver.  After all, you can’t have this kind of info out there for your customers or employees to discover.  And you don’t want to give your competitors the ammo of your hardest hitting secrets.  That’s why ever since I’ve partnered my business with that of a well known celebrity trainer, and am temporarily out of the game, I’m an open book.

But believe that once I do get back in the game, my tactics will be off the market forever.  I’ll still be eating steak at Peter Luger’s regardless.  But whether you get to eat steak could be impacted by your choice of picking up one of my courses, so if you need any of the info in these programs, you better move quick.

 

How was that for some selling to start off today’s article?  By now I’m sure you’ve gotten very comfortable with my sales side.  It’s a part of me and the reason why I’ll never have a hard time making money in my life. You need make it a part of you, and make your customers very comfortable with that part of your personality too.  Once you make that happen on a high enough level, any kind of money problems, or difficulties with increasing income will be a long gone thing of the past.

But when it comes to this kick ass toughness and competitiveness, I’ve got nothing on some of the world’s legends on the subject.  Reading their bios and hearing some of their stories are inspiring, and will change how you look at your own role in your business.

One person that’s always been an interesting and sometimes funny example of this  is former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

I’ve never read Eisner’s autobiography, but he’s such a legend that stories of his shenanigans have come my way from reading other bios and news stories.

There’s one story about how he once jumped the fence at the construction site of a competing theme park in the middle of the night to see what they were building over there.

In another, he told one of his female employees to sleep with an exec at another competing film company to learn some of their secrets.

As you can see, this guy is not afraid to play rough, and that’s just a few of the more tame stories related to Eisner.  Our business doesn’t require us to play as dirty as him, but it’s just an example of the competitive fire it takes to win.

Now those aren’t the stories of Michael Eisner that I wanted to share with you today.  There’s a different one, related to service, that shows a very important lesson.

One day, while personally wandering the park, when he was CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner instantly fired the entire chorus line of one of the shows. Why? “Because they didn’t have ‘the Disney smile.’”

It takes COURAGE to manage that way, but it is the only way to really manage if you understand how linked your marketing is to employees’ routine interaction with customers and prospects.

 

First, there has to be a “Program” – expectations about behavior, right down to the smile. Then, second, those who won’t get with or stick to The Program, gotta go. Now, not later. Ruthlessly, not gently. Publicly, visibly set on fire as examples, not quietly, gently ushered out the back door.

There must be sufficient rewards for “successful behavior”; there must be swift and consistent justice, severe and profound penalty for “bad behavior.”

For all the talk we have here about the business and marketing of fitness, if you are serving the general population with your fitness services, and your business isn’t a fun, pleasant place to go and be associated with, don’t even bother.

In my case, if you know me, have ever met me, or as you can probably tell from my writing style, I’m not always the most upbeat person in the world.

That’s why I’ve always made it a point to hire people that are the complete opposite.  When it comes to my support staff now that handles questions and inquiries from customers, to when my training business was kicking ass here in Queens New York, I’ve always sought to hire the most friendly and upbeat people I could possibly find.

There’s one in particular employee I had that me and my brother still routinely joke around about.  My brother worked for me during summers and Christmas vacations from college, and he got to know and was at times supervised by my training manager, Salim Arbaje.  This guy was so positive, it was as if he was on a constant Valium drip.  He always had a smile on his face, and was always singing something or had a hop in his step.  And there was always so much laughing and joking going on between him and the customers, you just felt like you wanted to be a part of it.

He was the perfect balance to my straight man act, and brought a lot of life to my large group sessions, and I always knew that he wouldn’t drop the ball on service whenever I left him in charge to run the training when I was on vacation.

Salim’s strength wasn’t a degree in the field, a hundred certifications, or anything like that – it was a positive personality and a good attitude.  When dealing with the general public, this is one of the most critical factors.

And I’ll go as far as to say that even if you’re dealing with special populations that require more of an emphasis on technical knowledge, the attitude of the people in your business is going to be the biggest factor impacting the satisfaction clients have with your services.

And just like in my case, if being “up” and friendly all the time is not part of your personality, you don’t have to fake it.  You can surround yourself with people like that, allowing you to be you, but still making sure that your business is a warm, friendly, and fun “third place” for your clients to spend their time.

Ok – this has been a long post so far, but I hope you’re getting the picture.

Now I have one more thing to share with you related to this subject so we’re not done yet.  Here’s a question I got from a reader last month in the comments section that I wanted to make sure I got to, and it’s related to this subject.  Here it is:

You’ve Got Questions – I’ve Got Answers:

Kaiser, I have followed the posts for a couple of years now. What I have noticed(and Im not knocking you at all, just curious) is that in the beginning it was all about being a successful trainer and getting away from being a gym employee ASAP, to being an independent trainer, to centralizing your operation in a new studio, now to expanding your studio/gym. It just seems like the guidance has done a full circle and come right back to where they started….in a gym…although now as the owner….hamstringing other gym trainers like we used to be. Is that the ultimate goal?

– Brett

Brett, do you own any of my products?  It sound like you do.

Because in them, I do talk about the “real world” of hiring, training, and managing employees that some could say sounds exploitative.

But you need to look at the full context.  What I also point out is that your business should be such a good place to work that they are afraid to lose their jobs. And that their should be tons of benefits in it for them beyond pay.

So I see your point, and in no way am I advocating you become a sweatshop like a big box gym.  The big box gyms force employees to be salespeople, have low ethics, low pay, and overall they exploit their trainers.

I allow trainers to be trainers.  To be part of a fun environment.  To learn valuable lessons while they are on the job.  To earn a very competitive pay.  The fact that I would have my own brother work for me and have him very happy to do so shows you that I’m not a believer in exploiting employees.  And just like many of my other employees, he was able to take the lessons he learned under me and turn them into tremendous business success for himself at a very young age.

That’s why I ask that if you do own my programs, to go through the entire course and look at the full picture.

Now about your other point, about the focus of my site and content changing over time, that is true.  When I started, it was with programs and content to help trainers dump the gym.  That’s because most trainers work for sweat shops, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

But my core group of students have been able to get great results in a relatively short period of time, and were asking me for more.  That’s why I stepped it up and started delivering more advanced programs.  The trainers told me they wanted it, and it was a very smart move for me because they have been very successful.

Hope that answers Brett’s question.  And to everyone else, I hope that drove home the importance “service with a smile” has in your fitness business, no matter what type of market you serve.

Keep going hard and I’ll talk to you again in the new year!

– Kaiser

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11 Comments

Travis Tucker

31. Dec, 2010

Was there an article in here somewhere? Happy New Year dude.

Derrick

31. Dec, 2010

Never apologize for selling your courses Kaiser. It’s because you sell them so hard that I bought them, and they completely changed my life.

Thanks and happy new year!

Raquellle

31. Dec, 2010

I’m with Derrick – you should sell your programs as hard as possible, because they are life changing.

Your SIX-FIGURE TRAINER COURSE completely changed my life – I quit working for a gym, and now am very close to making six-figures. To put this in perspective, I don’t know if I was making much more than five figures when I was at 24.

And your SUTDIO STARTUP COURSE has completely changed the way I’m looking at my career. I never would have thought in a million years that I could open my own training studio, but now I have a plan to do it, and hope to do it by the end of the year.

Thank you so much for everything you do. You are amazing – never change.

HAPPY NEW YEAR KAISER!

Your friend and fan,

Raquelle

P.S. don’t drink too much in AC!

Devon NYC

31. Dec, 2010

Hey Kaiser – great post as always.

You are a very good salesperson, because I own two of your courses and they’re both great.

About Brett’s comment, I noticed the same thing. But I remember you once had a blog post where you asked us what we wanted to see. And I remember me, Raquelle, and a few other people were asking for more advanced courses on how to open a studio, etc.

So you pretty much gave us exactly what we wanted.

Thanks for everything you’ve done for me this year, and I hope you have a great 2011! I can’t way to see what you do next!
– Devon

Terry Kennedy

31. Dec, 2010

Happy New Year K-man – keep killin em!

Rahim

01. Jan, 2011

I must be honest that I have not read the entire SIXFIGURE TRAINERS PROGRAM materials since i got it, because there was a lot of stuff plus a lot of mp3s –

but I can say that it has been amazing so far and given me a million ideas as has your blog, so there is nothign wrong with selling your servicves. I am starting to see that I have not been believing in myself enough to sell my services.

Thanks for the post and happy new year Kaiser – I hope to be one of your success stories very soon. Thanks.

Harry Kellerman

01. Jan, 2011

Great post Kaiser – happy new year! Keep up the awesome work and much success to you in 2011.

Anthony

03. Jan, 2011

Kaiser, this post is so correct – service with a smile is the only way to run your business.

I have known this all the tme, and your six-figure trainers courses drive this home even more.

I hire for the smile now more than anything else. Great advice – every trainer needs to remember this.

Screw the certifcations -it’s service that counts!

Happy new year big man!

Luis

03. Jan, 2011

I agree with Anthony, Smile all the time. That’s a huge powerfull thing.

My three rules before the session:

1-Smile and shake hand
2-Smile have fun in the session, and boost their asses
3-Smile ,Say goodbye and a little pat on the rear deltoid
(meaning, Hey i had fun and I am the leader)

Luis :)

Luis :)

Kaiser Serajuddin

09. Jan, 2011

Loved the feedback gang. Glad this post hit home and everyone could relate to it. Get this right, ingrain it in your brain, and you can pretty much forget everything else when it comes to marketing and sales in your fitness business.

Daniel

12. May, 2011

A smile does make huge change. Smiling is a very powerful act especially doing business. So smile.. smile smile! Thanks Kaiser ^_______^

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