The Fitness Business Marketing Show – Episode #5

This is a full transcript from Episode 5 of The Fitness Business Marketing Show. Click the images below to listen on iTunes or Soundcloud.



ALISON BRIGGS: Welcome to the Fitness Business Marketing Show, sponsored and created by Marketing for Gyms and Personal Trainers, one of the leading and most respected marketing companies in the fitness industry today.
Hi, I’m Alison Briggs, and I’d like to introduce you to the creators of the show, industry leaders and all round nice guys Frank Smarrelli and Brad Cusworth. With a combined industry experience of over 40 years, having owned and operated personal training studios, health clubs and managed well over 60 staff members, you are sure to get lots of valuable information from this week’s show. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight in.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Thanks Alison, and welcome everyone to episode number five. Thanks once again for all of the feedback over the past few weeks. This is always very much appreciated. Now, just a reminder that the show is now available on iTunes, SoundCloud, YouTube, and you can also listen to the show directly from our website at Now, if you prefer to read instead of listening, we also have a full transcription of the podcast available on our website under the blogs tab. Now, in this week’s show we’ll be discussing the importance of working on your mindset, an area that is often overlooked when it comes to building a business. Frank will be discussing his latest book review on Subscription Marketing, including the power of up-selling and cross-selling products to really increase your income. We’ll be answering two questions from our listeners including the future of marketing and where it is heading, and also some powerful tips to improve your client retention. Finally, Frank will be launching into his weekly rant about one night stand selling. So, let’s get straight into this week’s episode. Frank, how’s things, mate?

FRANK SMARRELLI: I’m good, Brad. Fantastic introduction. Hope you’ve had a super productive week and, yeah, welcome to our listeners. Really excited about this episode as – as we all are. We’ve got some really cool things to get through today. So, let’s – let’s launch right into it, Brad. What’s caught your eye this week in the fitness industry?

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah, awesome. So – so, today I’m going to talk about the importance of working on your mindset and personal growth. I know this is a topic we’re both pretty passionate about. I thought I’d bring it up.

FRANK SMARRELLI: Definitely. Yeah.

BRAD CUSWORTH: But, yeah, I was speaking to a personal trainer the other day about his business and he was just in a really bad place mentally. His business was really struggling, he was barely making enough money to put food on the table for his family, and I really felt for him after speaking to him, but I soon realised that the biggest obstacle in his business wasn’t marketing, it wasn’t systems or strategies, it was himself.


BRAD CUSWORTH: He had so many limiting beliefs and he was really lacking self-esteem and confidence, and I’m sure many of you can relate to feeling like this, you know, in your own business and your own life as well. I think mindset is such a huge factor when it comes to creating success in our business and it’s often overlooked, and from my experience working in the industry I find the majority of fitness professionals are so focused on the day to day operations and running of their business day in day out that they forget to take time out to really work on their own personal growth and development. And, you know, I totally understand this because there’s so many tasks to be done when you’re a business owner and when you’re running your own business, but I really believe working on your mindset should be the number one priority as this really has the biggest impact on the success of your business. So, yeah, I – I find often our fears and limiting beliefs prevent us from moving forward and this applies to many different areas. Maybe it’s lacking self-confidence to go out in the community and develop strategic partnerships or do some public speaking to promote your business or it might be the fear of really stepping out of your comfort zone to leave a commission-based gym and set up your own PT business, or it might be a range of limiting beliefs around wealth creation or making money that might also be holding you back from growing your business to a new level. So, at the end of the day, it is often ourselves that are holding us back from achieving the success that we want in our business, and we really need to take some time out to work and focus on our – our mindset and personal growth. So, yeah, if you’re – if you’re new to this area, and I’m sure a lot of listeners maybe haven’t explored this – this topic before in much detail – but I recommend starting on YouTube as a first step and watching some videos from a few of my best mentors – and I know you follow these guys as well, Frank – Tony Robbins I think is a great place to start, John Demartini which you covered a couple of weeks ago on our – one of our podcasts, the book that you read, and I think Joe Dispenza is another great guy as well to start following. So, if you type them in the search engine on YouTube – and a good tip as well, search for the topics that you want to work on, so it might be overcoming fears as a topic or it might be changing your beliefs around money. If you type that in along with some of those guys that I mentioned, you’ll – you’ll start to see some – some videos and there’s some amazing content out there, and I also recommend reading books on personal development and mindset as well. And a great tip as well for all of you time-poor business owners out there which is probably the majority of you, what I do is I subscribe to a company called, and with Audible you have access to literally thousands of audio books for about $15 a month, so you can generally get through an entire book in about four to six hours and you can listen to them when you’re driving, I listen to them when I go to the gym, so there’s six hours a week that I get there every week and, you know, it’s literally like reading a book every week. So, over a year, that’s 52 books a year, and just imagine what that would do in your business if you really focus on the areas that you want to improve. So, yeah, it – it makes a massive difference to your mindset and your results and, yeah, I really wanted to touch on that to start today’s episode.

FRANK SMARRELLI: And that’s great, Brad, and with our PT Business Accelerator Program listeners, the first thing we want our – our PT clients or I guess subscribers to do is – what do we do, Brad? We – they’ve got to watch the first webinar on mindset. It’s a webinar that we did that goes for – – –

BRAD CUSWORTH: Number one, exactly.

FRANK SMARRELLI: Yeah, it goes for about an hour and that’s the first thing we do. Yeah, what’s the statistic? 80 or 90 percent of personal trainers that come into the industry don’t make it through a third year, and I think that has very, very little to do with their capability of being a personal trainer, having the knowledge to train people, it’s more to do with their belief about whether they can actually run a successful PT business. So, if you don’t believe that you can do something, it’s really simple, you won’t be able to do it. So, I think even – even club operators – you know, if you’re looking at – let’s say a gym’s at 800 members and the goal is to get to 1200 members. If you don’t truly believe within your – your mind, body and soul – I often say with every cell, muscle and bone in your body, if you don’t believe that you can get to that point, well, you know what, you’re not going to get there. And – and, yeah, we – I mean, we’ve been harping on about this for years. The biggest thing with personal trainers is not their ability or inability to train clients, it’s their inability to stay strong of mind and actually believe that they can run a successful business and also, you know, make $100,000 a year. Brad – listeners, Brad and I feel that every single personal trainer that’s walking the face of the earth, if they’re serious, if they’re a career personal trainer, if they’re serious about their personal training business, then you should be able to make $100,000 a year. Now, some of the PTs that we speak to are like, ‘Are you kidding?’ They’re like, ‘I’m making 45,000. How can I double that?’ Well, you’ve got to believe that you can do that first and foremost.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Exactly right. Spot on.

FRANK SMARRELLI: Well said. All good.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Cool, mate. So – so, up next we have Frank’s book review.

FRANK SMARRELLI: Fantastic, yeah.

BRAD CUSWORTH: So, Frank, what have you – what have you been reading since our last show, mate?

FRANK SMARRELLI: Yeah. Last week I read a little book – I literally read it over a couple of nights, probably 200 pages. I think I read it an hour one night, an hour and a half the next night. It’s called Subscription Marketing by Anne H Janzer. I might get the listeners to – I’ll say that again, guys, so you can actually write that down. Subscription Marketing by Anne H Janzer. A couple of hundred pages. You’d be literally able to finish this book in a few hours. The premise of the book, Brad, is that keeping an existing member is much more profitable than selling to a new one, especially in a subscription-based business. We can look at health clubs and even PT studios as subscription-based business via selling memberships. The book offers, like, really creative ideas or strategies about how to turn customers, I guess, into longer term customers by building really strong relationships. It’s almost like – it almost talks about, like, relationship marketing. Anne, the author, also talks about adding value not only at the point of sale but also adding value after the sale, and I – I – I really – I really enjoyed that. It really hit a chord with me. She covers up-selling. She also covers cross-selling to engage the customers more. The author also talks about that when someone spends more money with you initially, then they’re going to spend more money with you mid to long term, so that’s why cross-selling and up-selling becomes so important. The idea that it’s much easier to sell a secondary item or more products and services to an existing customer or member again really hit a chord with me. Ryan Deiss, who we consider probably to be the world’s number one digital marketer or online marketer – [0:08:46] Frank Kern – and Ryan Deiss said something really important. Listeners, I really want you to get this. He says that it’s never been more difficult to sell something to someone first off in 2017, but it’s never been easier to sell someone a second product after they’ve bought the first. So, what Ryan Bryce – Ryan Deiss is saying is that, yes, it might be difficult to make that initial sale, but once you’ve sold something to someone, it is much easier to actually up-sell them and cross-sell them a second and third and fourth time. So, repeat business is important once you’ve made that initial sale. I – I also have been screaming this out for years, that attrition or the loss of monthly members and clients is and will forever be our biggest problem or nemesis or kryptonite in the fitness industry. To grow a club or PT business, you really need to be able to focus on combating attrition and also increasing retention, and that really starts at the point of sale. Any subscription or member retention based book, guys, is worth reading, especially nowadays. I’ve – as I said, I’ve been mentioning this for years, that the biggest problem in our industry will absolutely be monthly attrition, so the loss of members, and how do we combat that? Well, we need to provide better service than our competitors are providing, and that starts at the point of sale. We were just talking about Mel earlier this morning. Mel’s one of our clients, and I know, Mel, you’re going to be listening to this in Ballarat, Victoria. One of my clients, and I really mean that. And she said, ‘Frank, can we really focus on the onboarding focus in our – in our next coaching call?’ You know, we openly spoke about 90 percent of health clubs globally think that an induction process is showing people equipment and then basically going, ‘Okay, well, you’re set – you know, you’re set to your own devices now’, and what – listeners, what we teach is a 90-day induction or onboarding process, so making sure that we’re touching – you know, checking in and circling back to that particular member, you know, at least 9, 10, 12 times over that 90-day period. I mean, you would have experienced this probably, Brad, at the YMCA. ‘Let’s – let’s do a complimentary PT, let me show you how to use the treadmill. This is off, this is on. This is how you lift a barbell. This is how you do a lat pulldown. Okay, see you in 12 months’ time.’

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yep. Exactly.

FRANK SMARRELLI: There needs to be a proper – yeah, a proper induction and onboarding process to maximise the opportunity or the probability of that particular new member staying on for a longer period of time.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah, and I think – you touched on YMCA. When I – you know, I spent ten years working at YMCA. I think that is one thing that the YMCA actually did really well, and I think the industry’s changed a lot, but the YMCA was very much about customer service. You know, we used to have – we always had a – an instructor on the gym floor, we used to do program starts and reassessments every four to six weeks and, you know, we’d sort of chat to members every time they came in, but I think over the last five or ten years it’s sort of – it’s sort of changed to that 24/7 model – – –

FRANK SMARRELLI: There’s no doubt. Yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.

BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – where you come in, you don’t see anyone and then you do your workout and then you leave, and now – I – I’m sure you agree, Frank – it’s sort of coming full circle again where a lot of the – the booming sort of, you know, market now is – is the F45 type model where there is more – more, I guess, personal contact and more touch points and – – –


BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – and things like that where it is a more service-based industry now, whereas at – yeah, with that 24/7 model I think you’ve sort of lost touch with the – the connection aspect of, you know, really helping people to achieve their goals.

FRANK SMARRELLI: There’s no doubt. Look, I – I say this openly, that when the 24-hour model really hit our Australian shores in ’09 heavily, ’09, ’10, there’s no doubt that the fitness industry gained something enormously, but they also lost something as well, and what they lost is that – that touch point, that personal customer touch point.


FRANK SMARRELLI: So, yeah, look, guys, Subscription Marketing by Anne H Janzer, about 14 bucks from Amazon. Any book about retention, about member retention or subscription-based businesses is absolutely worth reading if you own a health club, operate a health club or a PT studio.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome. Now, before we move on to our Q and A section, Alison has a quick message from our podcast sponsors.

ALISON BRIGGS: I’d like to say a quick thank you to one of our major sponsors, Gym Pages. You can visit their website at for more information on how to easily create customised landing pages and websites for your fitness business. Now, back to the Fitness Business Marketing Show.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Thanks, Alison. So, Frank, what else do you have for our listeners this week?

FRANK SMARRELLI: It’s – it’s – I was just talking about Mel, Brad. I thought Mel’s question was in next week’s podcast. I’ve actually got Mel’s question today. So, listeners, as you know, every episode, Brad and I will be covering two questions from the fitness industry or fitness professionals and club operators around the world. If you have a question, literally go to our website,, click on the podcast tab in the top menu, scroll down to click onto the banner that says ‘ask a question’. You can’t miss it, literally. This opens up a pop-up form. Ask your question, submit, and we literally get that in our inbox. So, please do that. We’ve got lots of questions to get through but we’ll even – you know, I – I think we’ll prioritise maybe – Brad usually covers the PT questions. I – I – I cover the club questions. But please, guys, continue asking your questions. So, Brad, the question from Mel – this is from Bodyconnect in Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, guys, if you’re living outside of Australia. ‘What are your thoughts’ – a great question – ‘Frank, what are your thoughts around sales and marketing in the future and what are we trending towards? What do you think?’ So, good question. I – I really like that question, Mel. Mel’s a very – she’s always thinking, you know, and – and that – that’s really cool, it’s refreshing. I’ll cover the first part of the question first. So, for over a decade I – I taught that 33 percent of all your marketing activity needed to be under internal marketing, so the internal marketing pillar, 33 percent needed to be under the external or outreach marketing pillar, and 33 percent needed to be all things digital marketing, which includes social. Now, this has changed enormously over the last few years, and as again I’ve – I’ve been teaching that 33 percent formula – and I’ve spoken about this at FILEX – for years and years and years. Now, digital marketing now should be about 60 percent of all your marketing efforts, so under that pillar of external marketing, that – that’s the one that drops. So, internal marketing stays at 33 percent, digital/social marketing goes up to 60, and external marketing goes to about – drops to probably, I’d say, 10, 15 percent max, dropping down from 33 percent. Now, there is still room in the market under that particular pillar or there’s still room for, you know, marketing a club or a fitness business, but it needs to be much more targeted. So, rather than doing spray and pray marketing like flyer drops or door drops, door hangers, it needs to be much, much more targeted. Outreach marketing or external marketing, as some people call it, it’s so resource-heavy, like, you need lots of resources and it can be quite expensive and it doesn’t actually build a prospect list and you can’t track it. One of my other clients that I was speaking to about this sort of stuff in WA last week, he said, ‘Frank, I don’t – we don’t engage in any outreach marketing because you can’t track it, there’s no real metrics. The only way you can track it is by someone coming into the club and saying, “How did you find out about us?” “Okay, cool, I picked up a flyer, you know, at Subway or the local sports store.”‘ I guess you could track it that way, but I – I agree, I love digital and social, listeners. Well, Brad and I both love it because you can actually track the – the metrics. Now, if I still had my club, I’d be spending 60 to 70 percent of all my lead acquisition – all my lead acquisition would be under the digital marketing pillar, so I’d – I’d literally be optimising Instagram, Facebook and all my webpages as much as possible. So, Mel, in terms of marketing, the future of marketing, I see it really moving over into digital much, much more than it is now. I think Australians and New Zealanders, we probably take a while for – for stuff to filter through. I think the fitness industry in these two countries tends to move a little bit slower than – than the US, so yeah, my – my understanding and what I see and what I teach now, I think it’s really heavily moving into digital marketing. Okay, the next part of the question, sales. This is really simple, Mel. You’ve got to add more value than your competitors, and this will eventually outsell your competitors. So, guys, that – listeners, that doesn’t mean dropping your prices. In fact, I don’t like when PTs drop their PT rates. I don’t like when club operators drop their membership rates. Rather than doing that, actually start to add real perceived value. Sales is about building connectivity or rapport, and as I’ve said, the fitness – the fitness industry often calls it rapport, but it’s about building a deeper level of connectivity so you can actually make the sale. You’ve got to add real value. Like, I – I’m all about adding as much value as possible at the point of sale to build a stronger relationship, more connectivity, a deeper relationship, and also sell with confidence, Mel. It’s just one of the things that I – I – in my coaching calls, I see this so often with club operators and personal trainers. You’ve got to have the ability to sell and understand how to sell. Brad, I was talking to you about this yesterday, that one of my clients thought he was doing all the right things over the phone, but at the end of the day he wasn’t asking for the sale.


FRANK SMARRELLI: You know, ‘If you’re interested I can send you this link, and if you’re interested you could fill out that link and if you’re – that form – and if you’re interested, I can call you back.’ No, actually make the sale. ‘We’re in foundation memberships, we’ve only got 50 left. My suggestion is let’s secure the foundation rate because when we go to full retail it’s 30 percent more. If you come in and the club is not for you and if your wife doesn’t want you looking fantastic and terrific and fitter, that’s fine, we’ll rip up the contract, but at least this way we’ve actually secured your foundation rate.’ You’ve got to actually ask for the close. So, Mel, in terms of sales, add as much value at the point of sale as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome, mate. Great answer, and great question as well, Mel. I know Mel quite well, I’ve known her for a number of years, but yeah, someone who definitely is very proactive and always looking for the next thing that’s going to give her that – that edge, but yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head with – with digital marketing. I think – I don’t know, it tends to be in this industry that we are a little bit delayed generally across the board.


BRAD CUSWORTH: I know a lot of gyms in my local area are still relying on, you know, really old school strategies. Like, they’ll do a letterbox drop and that spray and pray type approach. But yeah, this – this day and age, without – without digital marketing and – and those sales conversion tactics, I think, you know, clubs are going to close, and – and that’s what’s happening – – –

FRANK SMARRELLI: Well, you’re up shit creek. You’re up shit creek.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah, exactly.

FRANK SMARRELLI: And I know – and I know that sounds harsh – – –

BRAD CUSWORTH: It’s – it’s essential, isn’t it?

FRANK SMARRELLI: Yeah, it sounds harsh. Look, and Brad, the industry is – and I’ve been in it for 25 years, since ’92 – so the industry is very, very reactive and you can’t be reactive in the industry because you’ll get gobbled up and spat out pretty quickly. You’ve got to be proactive. And look, I – I said this in a previous podcast and I’ve been saying it for a while and I have had backlash. I even had backlash at – at FILEX about – I think it was 2014. 70 percent of club operators and owners actually shouldn’t be operating and owning clubs. They’re – they’re not up to what it takes to actually run successful clubs, because marketing and the way – the way you sell and the way you market clubs and personal training services these days has changed enormously, especially the way you market with social media platforms growing and digital marketing. People are – you know, some people don’t even know how to spell Instagram, and when you talk about digital marketing with some club owners, it’s going over their head. So, my – my attitude is, guys, up-skill yourself in digital marketing, learn more about social platforms, learn more about webpages. It’s all about trying to get as many prospects as possible onto your webpages. And when we say webpages, guys – and – and I won’t get Brad started on this but – we’re – we’re not talking about driving traffic to your website per se, because when someone jumps on a website, they have 20 things that they can jump on. We don’t want that. A customised landing page is where you want to draw traffic to. There’s only one thing to do, and that – what’s that one thing, Brad?



BRAD CUSWORTH: At the end of the day, the purpose of a landing page is to generate a lead.

FRANK SMARRELLI: That’s right, yeah. So, if you’re driving traffic to a glorified brochure, well, then you can’t expect someone to opt in and get that lead coming into your inbox.


FRANK SMARRELLI: Okay, Brad, what’s next on the podcast?

BRAD CUSWORTH: Well said, mate. So – so, next we have a question from James, who owns an outdoor group personal training business in the northern beaches of Sydney. So, yeah, James says, ‘I have an outdoor group personal training business that is going okay, but my retention is really poor. Do you have some tips to increase retention of clients and keep them coming back?’ So, yeah, this tends to be the theme of our podcast, is retention, but I think it’s such a – such an important area. So, yeah, this is a great question, James. Retention is an area that many fitness professionals simply don’t pay enough attention to, and we find most of the attention goes toward generating more leads and clients but very little attention goes towards actually keeping them. So, the group training model is fantastic for leveraging your time and generating more income in your business. It’s also a really great model to really focus on your retention by creating a real sense of community and a community-based environment and really focusing on building relationships and connection within your group. Now, the first step I recommend to increasing retention is creating a private, members-only Facebook group for all of your clients. Now, with this group, post some great content here at least once per day, so you need to make sure you’re really engaged in the group. It might be a motivational tip, a home workout video, it might be a recipe idea, or simply sharing a success story from one of your clients. Now, this adds a lot more value to your members and they’ll instantly feel more connected between your actual training sessions. I also recommend welcoming every new member to the group, so as soon as you get a new client onboard, do a bit of an introduction to the group, make them feel connected and ask them to share their fitness goals as well. Whenever – whenever a new member starts and they actually openly share their fitness goals, they’re going to be much more likely to achieve those goals and it brings in that accountability factor as well with the rest of the group. The key with the group is developing a really supportive environment and a supportive group that are connected and interacting to support each other to achieve their goals. So, that’s definitely number one that I would recommend. Now, another tip is to organise social events at least every quarter, if not more often. Now, this could be a catch-up over at breakfast maybe or a night out on a weekend or even a family fun day at a local park. Build an environment where your clients have the opportunity to really connect with each other and form lasting friendships and relationships. When a friend network is developed within your personal training group, your retention will be much higher as everyone will support each other to continue working toward their goal. It’s so important in that group environment. Now, one of the challenges with group training is making every client feel valued and supported as opposed to just being another member or another number, so you need to make sure you make an effort to spend a few minutes every session really connecting with every single member. And I know back when I was a personal trainer, sometimes it’s easy just to stick to talking to the people that you get along with and the people that you would, you know, generally associate with in your day to day life, but what you really need to pay attention to is the clients who you would maybe – are a little bit outside of the – the crowd and they’re – they’re on the fringes and maybe they’re the ones that need your help the most, so make sure you give each client, you know, that personal attention that they need and, you know, focus on their individual goals even though you are in a group setting. Now, another tip, also I recommend giving each client a personal phone call at least once a month. So, yes, it is group training, but if you take the time to connect with someone personally with a phone call at least once a month, just touch base with them to see how they’re going with their training, and it’s also a great opportunity to ask them for feedback on the program as well before they potentially cancel their – their membership with you. Now, if someone does leave and they – they decide to stop training, make sure you ask for some honest feedback about the real reason why they are leaving and also what can be improved. So, this feedback will be extremely valuable so you can continue to refine things as you move forward and improve the way you run your business. So – so, thanks for that question, James. Hopefully those tips give you a few ideas in your business and – and keep the members staying on it for – for a much longer term.

FRANK SMARRELLI: I just also want to add to that, listeners, too that in a – this is just common sense, right – so, in a competitive market, the more the market gets competitive globally, the more natural attrition you’re going to have. So, if you know you’re going to have – excuse me – more natural attrition, you have to focus on better retention initiatives, so retention has to be one of the key focuses in your business. So, people often say, ‘Frank, if you still had your’ – this is a question I get often asked, Brad – ‘Frank, if you still had your club, what percentage of your efforts would go into marketing, so lead acquisition, and what – what level or percentage would go into actually retaining your members?’ And I always say, ‘Split it right down the middle.’ I’d go 50-50, because I know how much it used to cost us to actually acquire a lead and turn that lead into a member. Most clubs really should know that. All clubs should know that. And I also knew how easy it was if we were doing the right thing by that particular member to keep that member. So, I would split it down the middle. I think retention, the retention of members, needs to be one of the most important aspects of your personal training business or your club, because in a competitive market, if you do not focus on that type of activity or initiative, then you are going to have a higher level of natural attrition.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yep, totally agree.


BRAD CUSWORTH: All right, cool. So, that brings us to the last segment of the Fitness Business Marketing Show.


ALISON BRIGGS: And now it’s time for Frank’s weekly rant.

FRANK SMARRELLI: Again, once again, thank you Alison. I just can’t get enough of that to be quite honest, Brad. I know that sounds weird. Listeners, this week, my weekly rant is one night stand selling. What is one night stand selling? It’s when your manager or salesperson converts a new member by paying them lots of attention at the point of sale. They sell the benefits of being a member at the club, the supportive staff, the variety of exercise equipment, the immaculate change rooms, the group ex or small training, and the more than helpful personal trainers that are more than willing to write customised exercise programs. Right. Then directly after the first day or night, the member is looking for support that was promised and they are effectively looking for a relationship, yet the manager or the salesperson is looking for the next one night stand, which is the next sale. 50 percent of people that join health clubs are de-conditioned. Lots of people that join your health club have not been into a health club for at least two years. They need nurturing and real support, listeners, not to be abandoned and left to figure it all out for themselves. You may be able to use a lat pulldown or a quad pull effectively, but a de-conditioned person may struggle to use it properly at all. As soon as the new member or members start to go to the gym less than once per week in their first 90 days, attrition will begin to rise and retention will begin to decrease. Your goal as a club operator or manager is to increase weekly visits so that the person, the new member, comes in more than once a week. Optimise your induction process, give away complimentary PTs, write a fricking custom exercise program for new members, not a one fits all program, work on building better member services, treat your new members and existing members for that matter like family. Well, that’s if you like your family. Stop one night stand selling and work on building better member relationships and deeper level of connectivity. One night stand selling is not going to grow your club numbers. Brad, that’s my weekly rant.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome, mate. Love it, as always.

FRANK SMARRELLI: It’s been a real retention kind of theme, and we didn’t mean to do that, listeners, but there’s been a real retention theme to this podcast, and I think that’s reflective of where the business is going. The amount of people that – this is kind of an extension of my rant, Brad – the amount of people, listeners, that reach out to us – like, here’s an example. So, I would say three years ago we would very – I would say it was 90/10, so 90 percent of people that were reaching out to us would be mainly marketing and sales. Very rarely would we have people reaching out to us saying, ‘Hey, guys, we need some help with some retention initiatives and onboarding processes and induction processes.’ I’d say it’s almost 50 – I’m – I’m going to say it’s 60-40, so 60 percent of people that reach out to us globally at the moment are either – they – they need help with marketing, and specifically social, and also sales, but 40 percent, down from – up from 10 percent – 40 percent of the people that reach out to us on a weekly and monthly basis now are saying, ‘Guys, I actually need help. We’re – we’re closing 40 people, losing 35.’ You know, small group fitness kind of niche businesses, you know, ‘Frank, we’re – we’re closing 25, we’re – we’re losing 27.’ Retention is going to be – attrition is – is the biggest problem in the fitness industry. I know I sound like a broken record, but you need to be able to focus on making sure that you have proper retention initiatives in place. Two or three years ago, a club operator that I didn’t end up working with – I just didn’t think that we were going to work well together – he said, ‘Yeah, Frank, we – we do retention really well. We – we make sure that we smile to customers and, you know, if we do remember their first name we’ll call them by their first name.’ Smiling and calling someone by their first name, that’s not a retention initiative. That’s what you should be doing anyway. I’m talking about retention initiatives that you can actually measure. There it is, Brad. Maybe retention – sorry, rant extension number two.

BRAD CUSWORTH: No, I love it. And I think in this highly competitive market there’s – there’s so many options for people now, and if they’re not 100 percent happy with where they’re at, they’ll just find somewhere else, so you’ve got to make sure you pay – – –


BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – attention to them and make sure they’re happy and they’re actually achieving their goals and what they’re setting out to do.

FRANK SMARRELLI: There’s no doubt. Like, the suburb where my club used to be, there used to be three clubs in that suburb, now there’s seven clubs and three personal training studios.


FRANK SMARRELLI: If – you know, if – if you stuff up your customer service probably more than a couple of times, if you piss the – the member off, there’s no doubt they’re going to walk. It just – it’s – and I know it sounds – I also – I kind of probably sound frustrated, listeners. It’s not frustration, it’s passion. I just think customer service, generally speaking – you know how I feel about this, Brad – customer service is just – it’s just been lost in the fitness industry, and my attitude is bring it back, you know, look after your customers and your members as much as possible, because once they leave, the reality is they’re probably never going to come back, and at the end of the day we only have a certain amount of prospects to pull from from each single suburb or neighbourhood, and once that prospect pool is – is – is drained, there’s only one way to go, listeners, and that’s – and that’s down, so you’ve got to treat – I mean, this is the attitude that I try to impart on my – on my clients, Brad, and that is, treat a lead like gold, treat a prospect like diamond, and treat a member like a family – that – that is, if you like your family.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah, nice.

FRANK SMARRELLI: So, treat your lead like a gold, treat your prospects like platinum, and treat your members like – like family.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Love it. Well said, mate.

FRANK SMARRELLI: Okay, good show. I really enjoyed that.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah. So – so, just a quick reminder before we wrap things up, so every episode we’ll be answering two questions from our listeners. Now, if you have a question that you would like answered, simply go to, click on the podcasts tab in the top menu bar, scroll down and click on the banner that says ‘ask a question’, and this will then open a pop-up form where you can submit your question. So – so, yeah, Frank, another – another great episode. That wraps up another one. It just flies by, 30 – 32 minutes, bang.

FRANK SMARRELLI: It does. Well – well done, Brad. We’ll definitely connect at some stage early next week. Listeners, have a fantastic weekend and, yeah, stay strong and stay healthy.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome. So, listeners, as always, until the next Fitness Business Marketing Podcast, knowledge without consistent action means very little, but when you can take massive action, you’re sure to generate positive results in your fitness business. Please like, comment, share and leave a review for us on iTunes or SoundCloud to help us spread the word. Our goal is to become the world’s largest podcast on the topic of fitness business and marketing. We really need your help to achieve this. So, to wrap things up, Alison has a quick message from our podcast sponsors. Have a great week, and bye for now.

ALISON BRIGGS: I just want to quickly thank our major broadcast sponsor for making this Fitness Business Marketing Show possible. Marketing for Gyms and Personal Trainers has created the world’s number one lead generation software for fitness professionals and club operators. The More Members competition software has generated well over 90,000 local leads for our clients and it can easily be integrated and working on your Facebook page within days. Visit to check out all the features and benefits of this game-changing software system. If you want more local leads and new members coming into your business, then you will want to be using the More Members competition software as your main lead generation system.

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