The Fitness Business Marketing Show – Episode #6

This is a full transcript from Episode 6 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 around nice guys, Frank Smarelli 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’re 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 6. I hope everyone is well. 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 every podcast available on our website. You just go to our website and click on the blogs tab and you will see the transcription is there.
Now, in this week’s show we’ll be discussing the most powerful lead generation strategy that we have seen in more than 20 years of fitness marketing.


BRAD CUSWORTH: Frank will – yeah, it’s a big call, but it’s true. Frank will be discussing his latest book review on Living a Life Beyond Limits Using The Power of Belief. We’ll also be answering two questions from our listeners, including where we see gym marketing heading in the future, and also a powerful group personal training model to really leverage your time and make more money in your business. Finally, Frank will be launching into this week’s weekly rant about a lack of sales knowhow. So, let’s get straight into this week’s episode. Frank, how’s things, mate?

FRANK SMARELLI: Feeling very good, mate. Very, very interested in what you just said, the – what did you say, the – the best lead generation strategy – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – we’ve seen in 20 years.

BRAD CUSWORTH: The most powerful lead generation strategy. And, it’s probably – probably worlds above any other strategy. So, yeah, stay tuned for that one.

FRANK SMARELLI: Yep. Looking forward to hearing about that. Yeah, look, feeling really good, mate. I’ve been – it’s really funny that my – my weekly rant that I do, I’ve actually spoken to – to some of my clients about this week, and – and they’ve – you know, they totally agree, and they said, “Frank, we’re really looking forward to this week’s podcast.” So, we mate – here we go, mate, let’s launch into it.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah. So, this week, straight to start the top of the show I’m going to talk about the most powerful lead generation strategy that we have seen in more than 20 years of fitness marketing. Now, I know it is a – a massive call, but, yeah, I’m sure you’d agree, Frank, this – what I’m about to cover now would easily be the most – it’s actually way above any other strategy that we’ve taught.
So, the reason I’m bringing this up now is because that it’s literally a perfect time to run this strategy, and I want to make sure all of our listeners are aware of it. It’s, like – it’s now, what, mid-October, and people are looking to get fit for the summer months. Now, obviously, this is talking about, Australia, New Zealand, for our southern listeners, but, yeah, it’s – it’s a great time to run this strategy.
We have a lot of clients about to roll this very strategy out, either – either now they’ve started it, or they’re looking to run it in November. So – so, yeah, so, I thought I’d cover this to – to get the show running.

FRANK SMARELLI: Beautiful. Let’s go for it.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Cool. So, about two years ago we developed some software that enables business owners to run Facebook competitions directly from Facebook. And, since launching this in 2015 we have now worked with over 600 club owners and personal trainers around the world, and generated more than 100,000 leads for our clients, which is just mind blowing.
Now, nothing comes close to these results, so – and, I want to spend a few minutes explaining how this strategy works, and also why it’s so powerful and continues to work two years after we launched it. Now, we – we have had quite a few questions about this recently, so I thought straight off the bat I’d cover this and – and, sort of, answer questions about how it works, and how they could get started as well.
So, the key to the competition is offering the chance to win a prize of really great value. So, for a gym it might be a free 12 month membership, or a two by six month memberships works really well as well. For a PT it might be 12 months of unlimited group personal training.
Now, the offer needs to be big enough to capture your prospect’s attention when people are browsing the Facebook news feed. As you know, with Facebook these days there’s so much happening on there. So, if you want to get leads these days on Facebook you need to have an amazing offer. So, that’s number one.
Now, to launch the competition you do a targeted boosted post to your local area promoting the offer. Now, just as an example, you could say, “Enter our competition for the chance to win a 12 month gym membership valued at $2,000.” Now, prospects click on the link to enter the competition and they answer three simple questions.
So, question one, ask them about their fitness goals and what they want to achieve. So, it might be fitness, weight loss, strength gain, muscle gain, they check the answers there. Then, question two asks them what they look for when it comes to joining a gym or personal trainer. Now, it might be location, staff, facilities, qualifications, check the answers there. And, then, in the third question we ask them if they would like to receive a free ten day trial to come down and try out the gym, or a PT might offer seven days of unlimited group personal training, as an example.
The prospect then answers yes or no, and then submits their details to enter the competition. Now, the majority of prospects answer yes to that third question, so you now have a really targeted local lead to follow up with. You know what their fitness goals are, you know what they look for when it comes to joining a gym or a PT business, and you also know that they want to receive a ten day trial, or seven days of unlimited group personal training. So, you literally can’t get any more qualified when it comes to leads.
Now, as I mentioned, we’ve launched this with over 600 club owners and personal trainers globally. Across this time the average gym is generating between 100 to 150 leads in a 30 day competition. And, personal trainers slightly less, probably around the 50 to 80 brand new leads, on average, over the 30 days. So, yeah, that – that’s just a quick overview of how the competitions work.
Frank, I’m sure you’d agree, this is definitely the most powerful strategy that we teach for generating a large amount of leads. It’s – it’s just been mind blowing how well this continues to work.

FRANK SMARELLI: There’s no doubt. Look, Brad, this – this – what you’ve just explained ties really well into the question one of our listeners has sent through, I think, a couple of weeks ago, Renee from, I think it was, Perth. It ties into the question that I’m going to answer today about digital marketing. I think that even though you said the average is 150, there’s no doubt, listeners, that some of our subscribers that have subscribed to the More Members software are getting, 200, 250 and even 300 plus – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – leads in a – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – 30 day period. Some people are even running six week competitions, and they’re getting 400, 450. Now, these are big box clubs that have the sales resources to be able to follow up properly. But, in terms of marketing – and, we – we say this openly, and I often say this, Brad, that I would say this even if we – you know, if we didn’t create the software. The More Members software, by far, is the most powerful lead generation software system or process that literally I have ever seen, and I’ve been in this game for a long time, as you have, Brad.
So, the key is inbound marketing. These people are putting up their hands saying, “Yes, I’m interested in a – in your seven day, or your 14, or your ten – your ten day trial.” So, the key moving forward, fitness marketing is all moving into inbound marketing, and this is the most powerful inbound marketing system I’ve seen by far. And, I – I – and, I stand by that 100 percent. And, I would be saying that if we didn’t even develop the software, as I must mentioned.
So, yeah, great summary, guys – or, Brad. Tell the listeners of our podcast, how do they – how do they see more information, where do they get a hold of this software? Yeah, I – I guess that’s what, probably, people are going to be thinking now.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah, absolutely. So, we – we’ve literally, just recently, launched a brand new website. It’s called More Members. So, if you go to, when you land on that website we’ve got a short two or three minute video at the top of the page. We then go through, in detail, all the software key features. We’ve got a whole range of resources and training materials, follow up scripts, we’ve even got images in the back end.
We’ve got a full back end where you can not only run the competitions, and run unlimited competitions, but we also teach you how to qualify your leads when they come in, how to convert them, and how to follow up to ensure you generate maximum conversions as well. So, yeah, Check out the website, and it’s a no brainer. Like, for the – for the investment – it’s 249 a quarter. Like, for the investment it is an absolute no brainer. We have no contracts, no fixed terms, so – we don’t do many blatant plugs on our podcasts, as you would have known, we’re episode 6 now.
But, we – we need to get this on the table, because we’ve actually had a few people say, you know, “Why don’t you talk about it more?” So – so, yeah. So, we wanted to get – hit the ground running with that strategy, make sure you use it leading up to – to the warmer months, summer months, if you’re in the southern – southern countries and – and, yeah, get it up and running.

FRANK SMARELLI: And, guys, just – listeners, that – just to confirm that, that’s 249 Australian dollars. So, I had – we had a subscriber from the US – sorry, US – UK, I think it was Monday. So, it becomes, I think, you know, 60 quid – I think
60 – – –

BRAD CUSWORTH: It’s a no brainer.

FRANK SMARELLI: Yeah, 60 English pounds – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – per month. Because, it’s 83 dollars Australian, billed quarterly.


FRANK SMARELLI: Australian. Yeah. So – so, about – for our UK listeners it’s about 60 pound per month, and for the US listeners it’s probably about 68 to 70 dollars per month, billed quarterly. So, yeah, like – like Brad said, guys, it’s – in terms of wanting to generate local leads, it’s a no brainer.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yep. Absolutely.


BRAD CUSWORTH: Cool. So, up next we have Frank’s book review. So, Frank, what have you been reading lately, mate?

FRANK SMARELLI: Yeah. Last week I – I actually read for the second time a book by – written by a – a Melbourne author, Rik Schnabel. I – I met Rik probably around – well, it must have been 2010, because that’s when I first read the book, and I – I bought his book at one of his workshops. So, I met Rik about seven years ago and, yeah, he wrote – wrote a book called – for our listeners it’s called Life Beyond Limits, if you want to write that down.
I’ll actually spell his surname, it’s S-C-H-N-A-B-E-L. Rik, R-I-K S-C-H-N-A-B-E-L, Rik Schnabel, Life Beyond Limits. I – yeah, as I said, I – I read it in 2010. It literally blew me away then. I felt that I enjoyed it more this time around. I always write my – rate my books, Brad, as you know, and I – I would rate this – this would have to be in the top ten books I’ve ever read in – you know, in my entire life.


ALISON BRIGGS: And, I know that’s a big statement, you know, considering I – I’ve read well over 4,000 books. I love reading. But, look, it could even be in my top five. It just – it is such an amazing book, and he should be so proud of himself. Yeah, Life Beyond Limits.
The – the author offers you an understanding and tools to live a life beyond limits using the power – basically, the power of beliefs, like, your belief systems. Literally, if you really believe you have an audacious goal to achieve, or an incredible dream, if you really believe it with every cell, every muscle, every bone in your body, and have a plan, then the likelihood of achieving that goal or dream is multiplied many times over, just with the power of absolute belief.
To achieve life goals or dreams you must have a productive mindset, and Rik kind of – that’s the flow of the entire book, you must have a productive mindset. They’re about – I think there’s 39 chapters. Some are quite short in length, others are – are much longer. The chapter topics cover stuff like the power of focus, and – and, you know, how without it you’re – you’re not going to be able to achieve the dreams and the goals that you actually want to achieve. And, Brad, I know you’re a massive believer in the power of focus.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Absolutely.

FRANK SMARELLI: The power of productivity and clear thinking, again, there’s that – that’s – the general theme throughout the book is to have a clear mind, to be clearly thinking about your goals, you know, top of mind. He talks about the expectation that success is inevitable if you truly believe, and act according to your ultimate goals or dreams. He also speaks about – Rik speaks about if you can’t – and, I love this, if you can’t imagine it, then you’ll never achieve it.
I think that’s worth saying again. If you can’t imagine it, you know, within your own – within the space and time of your own mind, you won’t be able to achieve that – that audacious goal, or that big dream. I love that chapter, it really resonated with me on a – on a much larger scale. It also digs a little into science, namely the relationship between particles of energy and how the universal energy affects us on so many different levels. These were probably my favourite chapters, to be quite honest, as I – I’ve done a – you know, a – a little bit of work with quantum physics, namely quark.
So, Rik breaks it down. Like, some of the listeners, they might be sitting there going, ‘Oh, you know, it was sounding okay until you said the word, “science”.’ But, I – I kid you not, I – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book – I can’t remember off the top of my head that I’ve read a book that just breaks down quantum mechanics, or quantum physics like Rik does. Like, he – he really breaks down, you know, why does the law of attraction either work or not work, but he looks at it from a scientific perspective, in terms of what’s happening on – on a deeper level with our – with particles from within our body, and also outside of our body. It’s such an interesting read. Like, I just loved reading those chapters. So, yeah, again, you know, resonated hugely with me.
Overall, listeners, a great Australian book, and the author should be so, so very proud. And, look, I – I’ve actually got Rik’s email, so it’s probably worth sending him this podcast. But, I – I tell you what, Rik, if – yeah, it’s certainly one of the best books I’ve ever read for a long, long time, and you should be really proud of it. Guys, do yourself a favour – I sound like Molly Meldrum from Australia, do yourself a favour, listeners, go out and buy it. It’s, like, 12 or 13 bucks from Amazon.
You could – probably one of those books you could, you know, read in three or four nights. It’s hard to put down, and – but, the beauty of it that – if I can summarise it, he just breaks things down so they are – they – they’re really digestible. He almost makes it sound extremely simple. Just a fantastic book, guys. So, yeah, Rik Schnabel, Life Beyond Limits.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome, mate. I’m going to add that to my – to my upcoming reading list. And, I think the listeners will find a bit of a common theme with what we talk about, and we’ve – we’ve mentioned it a few times in the previous episodes, is the importance of working on your mindset – – –

FRANK SMARELLI: Mindset, yeah.

BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – personal development. Like, it’s – it’s probably more important, I believe, than working on all the business system strategies, or if not equal to. It’s just – I think it’s often a missing link when it comes to building a successful business, and – and, also, creating a successful life as well. So, yeah, looking forward to reading that book to add to the list.

FRANK SMARELLI: Yeah, look, there’s about five or six books that I – I – I continuously rave about, and try to get, you know, friends and family and – and clients reading and, you know, that’s one of those books. You know, like, I think I did a – a book review probably a month or two ago on Dr Jim –
Dr John Demartini, Inspired Destiny.


FRANK SMARELLI: That’s another book that I highly recommend. But, like – like – you know, we – we keep rapping on about this, we’ve been saying this for a long, long time, if you haven’t got the mindset for success, or if you haven’t got the mindset for growing a fitness business, then it doesn’t really matter how good you are at marketing, or selling, or – or retaining members, you – you’re going to hit a – a big pothole. The – the key thing is you have to have a clear mind, have a vision, and make sure you’re working towards that vision every day with a very strong mind.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Absolutely. Well said.

FRANK SMARELLI: What’s up next, Brad?

BRAD CUSWORTH: Cool. So, before we move onto our Q&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, mate?

FRANK SMARELLI: Well, as you know, every episode, Brad, we’ll always be answering two questions from fitness professionals that are club – club operators around the world. If you have a question that you would like answered, simply go to our website, guys, on I think I might have thrown an extra W in there, Brad. There was four Ws. Click on the
podcast – – –

BRAD CUSWORTH: Three Ws, just to clarify.

FRANK SMARELLI: Yeah. Yeah. Click on the podcast tab in the top menu bar, guys, scroll down and click on the banner that says, “Ask a question,” and literally go for your life. Little pop up comes up and asks – asks you questions, yeah. So, this week’s question for me is from Renee. I think I may have mentioned her just a bit earlier. So, Renee manages an F45 training studio in Perth. For those of you who are outside of Australia, Perth is in Western Australia. So, here’s her question, “Do you see marketing” – or, sorry, “Where do you see marketing a gym or studio heading in the future? Will it be all about social media marketing?”
It’s really funny, I’m – I’m going to – I’m going to ask that question again. So, “Where do you see marketing or gym or studio” – sorry, “Where do you see fitness marketing heading for a gym or studio? Will it be all about social media marketing?” I could count on one hand how often I used to – or, how often I would have received that type of question, or a question that’s very similar. Probably on one hand 12 months ago.
It almost feels like, listeners, that I get this question, or a question that’s very, very similar, weekly. In fact, I – I pretty much got almost the same question from the existing client on Monday, which I’ve been speaking about. So, it was interesting that this question came through last week. So, look, for well over a decade I taught that 33 percent of your entire marketing activity needed to be under what I call internal marketing. So, 33 percent needed to be under external marketing. These are, kind of, the key – the three key pillars of marketing a – a fitness business. So, internal – sorry, external marketing being outreach. And, 33 percent needed to be digital marketing. So, promoting your website, your web pages and, over recent years, obviously, lots of social media marketing.
Now, there is still room and place for outreach marketing, but it’s certainly dropped over the last – you know, over the last five or six years. That – that activity, or that workflow under that particular outreach – under that particular pillar, outreach marketing, has certainly dropped. Look, it’s probably dropped to 15, and even, maybe, ten percent. And, certainly digital marketing – some people call it web marketing, or social marketing, I call it digital marketing because it encapsulates both of those – has probably increased to about 60 percent.
So, there is no doubt in my mind that fitness marketing is pushing more and more towards digital and social based marketing. It’s there already, but it’s increasing and increasing. I’ve seen – like, I – I said to someone, Brad, on Monday that two years ago, openly, we really weren’t reaching much Instagram, certainly in Australia. It just wasn’t there yet. There was probably – there’s 6.5 to 6.7 million Instagram users as we speak right now, late 2017.
I would say 12 years ago – sorry, 12 years ago – 12 months ago it would have been – it certainly would have been under 5 million. So, Instagram, the – the users of Instagram are – are growing. Facebook, just FYI, is almost 17 million users here in Australia. So, Instagram is a platform that’s certainly growing. Facebook has slowed down in terms of the users using it, as in, like, new accounts being opened, but there’s no doubt that social media is growing more and more in this country, in particular, Instagram. And, I think, Brad, you may have spoken about Instagram in the last podcast, or was it – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – the podcast before that?

BRAD CUSWORTH: I think it was a couple of podcasts, yeah, ago. Yep.

FRANK SMARELLI: Yep. So – so, Renee, you’ve got to make sure – and, to all the listeners, you’ve got to make sure that you’re optimising the hell out of your social platforms, namely Facebook and Instagram. So, ensure you have the right plug in systems, or software, to capture local leads. Brad mentioned More Members at the start of the podcast. The bigger your prospect list is, guys, the more powerful your marketing can be. And, if you have a great sales system or process in the background, the faster you’re actually going to be able to grow your membership numbers. Upskill yourself and learn more about social posting, and social media marketing in general, or literally delegate it to someone that does. I – I’m seeing more and more – certainly we’ve had more requests – excuse me – this year about social – doing social media management than we’ve had in previous years. So, I’m a big believer. This is just my belief, I’m not saying I’m right or I’m wrong, but I’m a big believer that your club manager, or the – or the owner of the studio or the – or the club should not be doing social posting. You should be delegating this to a specific staff member, or delegating it out, sourcing it to an outsourced company.
Because, social can suck a lot of time out of your day, and a – and a – and an owner that’s operating the actual studio or the gym, or a – or a manager that’s managing should be dealing with leads, and – and, that’s their main role, being on the phone, leads, leads, leads, tours, tours, conversions, conversions, not spending hours and hours on social. So, for me, it’s really more about delegating it, outsourcing it, or delegating to someone from within, but not the manager or the owner.
So, listen, guys, Facebook is, literally, the front door of your business, as websites were five or six years ago. So, you must get it right, and you must get it working for you. I believe in three or four years’ time I think video marketing will be the biggest platform to promote and increase your brand awareness in the local area, and also extending out towards the local area. So, typically, when a studio – like, here’s an example, listeners.
So, typically, when a studio or a club sends out an email for a promotional purpose, for example, I don’t know, let’s say, you know, I don’t know, join this month and receive a zero dollar joining, which is such a common offer within the fitness industry, especially with health clubs, or join this month and receive 21 days free, or 30 days free. The actual offer is in the email copy, so the email’s got a subject line, it’s got, “Hey – hey there, you know, John, just thought I’d send you this pretty cool promotion we’re doing,” and then you’d – you’d launch into the promotion, you’d add value. So, all the actual copy is within the email.
Moving forward, I believe the email will be, basically, one to two lines, the email will have a link that opens up into a video, a pop up video, of the club owner, or the club manager, or maybe the head trainer, articulating what the offer is. Like, so – so, it’s basically a pre-recorded video. Now, this – this might be, you know, really organic – like, an organic setting, you know, maybe sitting behind your desk, or under the business logo, for example, if it’s stuck on a wall. I guess it kind of depends on your brand, or the type of studio or club that you’re actually running. The same video would also be used, listeners, on social pages, namely Instagram and also Facebook.
So, interestingly, Andrea Vale, Brad, who we’ve worked with, we’ve done some work with in the US, she wrote the book Facebook Marketing for Dummies. She actually said, in one of our Skype calls, that, you know, basically all marketing will be video marketing within the next five yeas, and it’s someone that we highly respect, Andrea Vale. So, in fact, we might even try to get her in on a Podcast, Brad.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah, great idea.

FRANK SMARELLI: We’ll just try to, maybe – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – organise that later in the year. So, the fitness industry at time, guys, if you’ve listened to my podcast before and you know me, I – I – I – I’m – I’m a critic, sometimes, of the fitness industry, because I think it – it reacts very slowly. It’s not – it’s very reactive and not proactive. In this type of industry the most successful studio owners and club owners are the ones that are very, very proactive and not reactive. So, to get ahead of the curve, listeners, really start to think of ways to market your business with video. It doesn’t have to be, you know, high quality movie video.
The best tip that I can give you is get a really, really good quality mic. The most important thing about shooting a good video is the mic. It needs to have great sound. There is lots of plug in – mics that you literally plug straight into your iPhone. And, the other tip I can give you is just practice your verbiage. So, get a fantastic mic, practice your verbiage, make it fairly organic, but still make it very professional. Video marketing is going to be massive.
I mean, some of my clients have said to me over the last couple of weeks, “Frank, we are really, really going to commit to this in the new year. Like, basically, you know, all our – all our video – all our email promotions are going to be video based.” You can also do MMSs. They’re quite expensive, but I – I think they’re coming down there. That’s when you actually get a – a text message that’s an actual video. But, video marketing will be the future of the fitness industry. I – I believe in many circles, or many areas of the world, it’s already here. It – what’s stopping people from doing it is – is people themselves.
I’ve – I spoke about the book, Life Beyond Limits. You know, people are, like, “Oh my God, I don’t – you know, I – I don’t have the right look,” or, “I don’t have the right sound,” or, “I don’t like doing video.” That’s cool, delegate it to one of the staff members that does. I can guarantee you this, if we’re doing another podcast, you know, around October next year, which we will be – we will be, we will be talking about the impact that video marketing has had in the fitness industry over the last 12 months.
I – I think the fitness industry, in terms of marketing, changes every year. Like, this year, I think, in Australia the biggest change for me has been Instagram. So many more fitness studios and club operators and fitness professionals are using Instagram. I think Instragram’s been the really big mover in this country in 2017, and I believe that video marketing is going to be the big mover, globally, in the fitness industry.
Now, some listeners are probably sitting there going, “Well, Frank, we’re already here.” A minor, minor amount. Actually, like, literally, three – less than three percent of our industry really use Facebook – sorry, video marketing properly. So, next year, I think, that’ll be the big mover. Renee, great question from Western Australia.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome. Great answer as well, mate. I – there – – –


BRAD CUSWORTH: There’s no doubt our – our clients that are currently using video are – are just smashing it. They’re getting more comments, likes, interaction, they’re getting a lot more engagement on the videos.

FRANK SMARELLI: It’s much more personal.

BRAD CUSWORTH: It’s more personal.

FRANK SMARELLI: Yeah, it’s much more personal.


FRANK SMARELLI: Absolutely. Recorded video and live streaming video on Facebook. So, that’s where it’s heading. That’s – that’s my belief, anyway.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome. Good stuff.

FRANK SMARELLI: Cool, mate. So, what’s – what’s your question this week, Brad?

BRAD CUSWORTH: All right. So, next we have a question from Sharon who has a PT business in Hobart, Tasmania. So, Sharon says, “In episode 1 you mentioned the group training PT business that you run with your wife Sarah. Can you please walk us through how the model works? I’m looking to do the same thing with my business.” Awesome.
So, thanks for that question, Sharon. So, yeah, I’ll – I’ll give a bit of an overview of how we set it up, and – and what we did. So, about two years ago my wife, Sarah, and I created a brand new business called SJ Mind Body Training. At the time we had two kids under the age of three, so, we wanted to create a – a really leveraged model that would maximise income, while also minimising the hours that Sarah worked as well.
So, we decided to create a model where we ran four by eight week group training programs per year, based on school terms. Now, our target market was women only, between the ages of 20 and 50. People pay up front for the entire eight week program, and we run three group training sessions per week, on a Tuesday night, Thursday night, and also Saturday mornings as well.
Now, in terms of pricing, what we did is we – we set it up so it’s an upfront payment at the start of the eight program of $375. And, what this includes is, basically, they get access to three sessions per week over the eight week period, we also add a private Facebook group as well, where Sarah does posts every day on motivation, and mindset, nutrition and, you know, keeping people ticking along throughout the program as well.
We also have a membership site where they gain access to additional content, such as we’ve got 50 recipes in there that they can download in PDF format, we’ve got home workout programs, we’ve got articles on mindset, we’ve got a little supermarket tour video, and, yeah, loads of information on health and nutrition as well that they can download. So, a lot of – a lot of bonuses, as well as the eight week program.
And, we really wanted to do that to create a real point of difference to – most of the personal trainers that are out there are only offering, you know, your one on one, two on one or group training, but they don’t really give much support or added value outside of that training. So, that was our – bit of our point of difference when we did our – our marketing plan originally.
Now, for the first 12 months we ran one eight week program for – for a maximum of 30 people in each program. This generated about $11,250 per program for 24 sessions over the eight week period. Now, if you break that down to an hourly figure it worked out to be about $460 per hour, which is bloody good, considering we had two young kids, and Sarah wasn’t – wasn’t willing to work too many hours, which is understandable, because she’s a full-time – full-time mum. So, yeah, just slightly better than the $40 per hour that Sarah was making doing Les Mills classes at the local YMCA before kids.
So, yeah, it worked out to be a perfect model for us. It’s – it’s just grown, and really flourished since then. We – we now run two by eight week programs. So, the way we do that is we do it back to back. So, Tuesday, Thursday nights and Saturday mornings hasn’t changed, but what we do is we do 5:30 to 6:30 Tuesday nights, then we do 6:30 to 7:30, and the Saturday mornings we have back to back as well.
So, yeah, the business now makes over $90,000 per year, working six hours per week, over four by eight week terms. We’re – we’re maxed out at 60 women, which we’re happy with keeping it at that at the moment. Obviously, there’s a bit of time outside of that where Sarah does her daily support on Facebook, you know, calling leads, follow up and that sort of thing. But, yeah, overall, it’s – it’s literally the perfect model for us. And, there’s no reason that – other personal trainers listening to this podcast, there’s no reason you couldn’t set up a similar model, whether you’ve got kids or not.
You know, I think it’s an amazing model to generate a large amount of income, serve a lot of people and add a lot of value, and – and, you know, reduce the amount of hours that you’re working. I know when I was a PT back, you know, over ten years ago, I wasn’t doing group training, I was doing all my sessions one on one, or two on one, and literally working, you know, 50, 60 hour weeks, and – and making pretty ordinary money. I wasn’t even making 90 grand, you know? I was working full-time – more than full-time hours back then, so, I wish I had a model like this.
But, yeah, with social media these days, and online marketing, membership sites, things like these – these are the tool – this is the toolkit we have at our disposal, and we have the opportunity to run programs like this, add a lot more value and reach a lot more people and, you know, it – it’s really grown. We’ve got a waiting list now for – for the program and, you know, potentially when the kids get to school, which Lachie, who’s five now, will be at school next year, you know, we’ll probably add a – a morning program for – for mums when they do school drop off around, you know, that – that 8:30, nine o’clock in the morning.
And, then, we’ll probably run a program 9:30 to 10:30 in the mornings to – and, that’ll open up a whole new market where – now, potentially, we could do morning programs back to back, two – two programs in the mornings and then two at that we’ve got now, you could have 120 women in there and that would be a business that makes 180 grand a year working 12 contact hours a week. So, it’s a – it’s an amazing model, and, yeah, hopefully that gives you a bit more detail about how it works.
In our PT business coaching program I’ve actually got a full one hour webinar explaining exactly how we set it up, and what we did from start to finish, you know, even the website, the landing pages, the marketing strategy, the referral program that we implemented. All of that is in our PT business accelerator program. So, you could find out some more information on that as well. And, if you want to look at Sarah’s website, and how we set up the bonuses from a – from a marketing perspective as well, go to, and you can also follow Sarah on Facebook as well, and, you know, she – she literally posts on her Facebook page every day as well, and adds a lot of value there as well.
So, yeah, Sharon, thanks for that question. Hopefully, you know, that helps a lot of people who are looking to really leverage their – their personal training and – and make more money for less time, which I – I’m sure most of you would be in that boat. So – so, yeah.

FRANK SMARELLI: Awesome, Brad. I’ll – I’ll just quickly jump in too, listeners. Some of the PTs or fitness professionals that are listening to this podcast might be saying, “Well, you know, 90 grand isn’t too fancy.” You’ve got to understand, guys, that Sarah would do six contact hours a week, and openly, Brad, would she do another, I don’t know, would you say another four hours just replying to emails and, you know, posting on the – on the private group? Would you say, maybe, it’s ten hours a week max, or – or 12?

BRAD CUSWORTH: I’d – I’d say – I’d say during programs it’d be four hours maximum.

FRANK SMARELLI: Okay. So, that’s ten.

BRAD CUSWORTH: When it gets a little bit busier, it’s probably – you know, when you’re leading up to a new program, because you’ve got a bit of invoicing and lead follow up, things like that, but on an average, at the moment, I’d say she does about ten hours a week, and – – –

FRANK SMARELLI: So, yeah – – –

BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – you know, ten hours a week to earn 90 grand a year, I mean, that – – –


BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – that’s pretty good money.

FRANK SMARELLI: That’s right. Let – let’s call it ten to 12 hours, $90,000 a week. So, listeners, to – to read in between the lines, this is a lifestyle business that Brad and Sarah have created. Now, if you’re sitting there going, “Well, you know, I want to earn 250, 300,” you can do that, you’ve just got to work more hours, more contact hours. But the reality is that Sarah’s working on $400, $450 an hour.


FRANK SMARELLI: So, the old – the old one on one model, you know, any – any – any coach or mentor that works within the fitness industry knows that that’s not the way to earn big money as a personal trainer. You’ve got to start to do semi-private. You’ve got to start to do groups to earn more money, and $450 is earning a hell of a lot more money, you know what I mean? They’re – they’re – they’re – they’re fees that a lawyer would be charging.


FRANK SMARELLI: So, you can absolutely create – I – I’ve seen this being built from nothing to a really successful business, and they’ve just – you know, what – what is – what’s the old saying, it’s – it’s not about being perfect, it’s about progression. They’ve progressed into something like this, and, yeah, it’s getting bigger and bigger. And, I – and, I’ve seen this, and I’m disassociated. I haven’t had anything to do with Brad and Sarah’s business, but I see it growing every quarter. So, they’ve done a fantastic job. Well done, mate.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yeah, thanks mate. Okay. Cool. So, this 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 SMARELLI: Okay. Thank you very much, Alison. So, guys, listeners, my weekly rant this week is a lack of sales knowhow, a lack of sales knowhow. I specifically spoke to one of my clients, Shay Sidell, about this, who owns two Anytimes – cheap plug there, Shay, for you – who owns two Anytimes in – in Tassie.
So, firstly, let me explain that the Australian fitness marketing in October/November 2017 – so, basically, now – is at 65 percent saturation. We all know that. A little bit higher in the US. Research, and people that know a hell a lot more about fitness economics than me, are saying that within three years – so, let’s say 2020 – the Australian fitness marketing will be at 85 percent saturation. I don’t think you need – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – to be a rocket scientist to work that out, that it’s existing brands are growing, wanting to grand more, and – and brand new brands are coming into the market, you know, almost monthly. So, that means that the only – you know, only the best marketers, and the people that know how to sell their services, will only – not only survive, guys, but actually thrive in a super competitive market.
It astounds me – no, actually, it – I’m being polite here, it frickin’ freaks me out, Brad, how many club managers and studio operators and fitness professionals across our industry lack the fundamental skills of selling. Every gym or studio manager listening to this podcast should be organising formal sales training for their staff. If I combine the national sales conversion average, and I’ve done this, of the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia – US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia, from walk-in or trial to paying member, it’s a little over 50 percent. Fifty percent. So, that means that every ten people that walk into your studio, basically, five are walking out.


FRANK SMARELLI: Simple maths will tell you that, you know, you need hundreds of leads every single month to turn in a successful year. At the end of the 12 month of – of operating period, when you factor in natural monthly attrition, you need to be able to convert, or else you’re actually going to go backwards. There’s a hell of a lot of clubs globally that if they look at where they were in October last year, and they look at where they are now, they’re pretty much in the same boat, and many have actually gone backwards.
Owners, if your managers have less than a 50 percent conversion rate over four or five months then, honestly, that is not the right seat for them. Either you move them into a different seat, or you move them out. And – and, I know that sounds harsh, but that’s the reality. You need to be converting at at least above average. So, 50 percent is classified as average, and I’m going to say very bloody average, but your club manager needs to be converting – give him some leeway, give him, you know, as I said, four or five months. If their average is below that they’re not – they’re not in the right seat.
I often say leads must be treated like gold. Prospects, who are further down the pipeline, should be treated like diamonds, and members should be treated like family. Well, that is, if you like your members, and love your members. Sales follow up is another area, at times, that is disgraceful in our industry. And, I know that sounds harsh, listeners, but to say that you’ve followed someone up three times, they haven’t returned your communication, then all of a sudden mention, “Oh, well, you know, I – I – I’ve rang that person three times and they’re not answering. They’re – they’re not interested. They – they were probably a tyre kicker, so I stopped following them up.”
Listeners, man, if – if Brad and I gave up on a lead or a prospect after three communication points, honestly, we probably wouldn’t have a business. You know, I – I know that there’s been clients that I’ve had to follow up – or – or, potential clients, prospects, that I’ve had to follow up eight or – eight or nine before they actually go, “You know what, Frank, the kids have been sick, my – my assistant manger resigned, you know, my son broke his arm on the weekend. I’m so sorry. When do we start?” Follow up is King. And, I know that sounds very cliché, but, jeez, in our industry it’s – it’s one of the things that really, really frustrates me the most. Follow up needs to be such a systemised process in our industry.
If you think the market is tough now, well, sorry to be the bearer of, you know, some cold, hard facts, it will only get tougher in the future. And, what needs to improve is sales conversion. We need to get better at converting our leads. Hence, the reason why I always say, leads are gold, prospects are diamonds. You’ve got to treat them with respect, and you’ve got to keep following them up.
It’s so important to keep thinking of a conversion mindset, a conversion mindset. The best marketing in the world is not going to save your business. The best marketing in the world is not going to grow your business if you can’t convert the leads that the marketing generates. Get better at articulating your point of difference, get better at dealing with common objections, get better at closing, and then re-closing, and then closing some more. Learn to show value, value, value in your product and service. Develop the skills to connect with prospects on a much deeper level. Advanced rapport skills should be the cornerstone of any type of sales training and education. Develop the skills to connect with prospects on a deeper level. Advanced rapport skills should be the cornerstone of any type of sales training and education. Upskill, upskill, upskill.
Brad, that’s my weekly rant.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome, mate. Absolutely loved that one. Good work.

FRANK SMARELLI: Well, I – I’m so passionate about it, because, at the end of the day so many people point the finger at marketing – excuse me – and – and, really, you know, like, if – if you’re getting – I’ll – I’ll give you a perfect example. I’m not going to mention who it was, but, it’s – it’s a studio that I started working with probably about five months ago. They were getting 80 to 120 leads consistently a month through social and through their website. Now, I’m not talking a small sample size of a month or two, I’m talking about consistently for six months, and they weren’t growing.
Wow, guys, if you’re getting 80 to 120 genuine leads a month, that’s virtually 600 leads over six months, why wasn’t this business growing? Well, their sales conversion was 19 percent. So, from – – –


FRANK SMARELLI: – – – trial – sorry, excuse me – so, from trial period and walk-in to closing member was less than 20 percent. You – you can’t – it’s – you – you’re playing catch up the whole time. You can’t grow a business if your conversion is 19, 20 percent. So, they didn’t have a marketing issue, they had a sales conversion issue. So, you go in there, you upskill your staff, you make sure they’ve got the right techniques and systems, they follow the process, they double their conversion ratio in 90 days, all of a sudden now they’re chockers.
It’s quite simple. If you go from 19 to 38 percent, it’s pretty easy to grow a bloody business.


FRANK SMARELLI: So, sales conversion is so important. So, owners out there, and – and managers, make sure your staff are being upskilled. If you can’t upskill your staff, send them to people like us, or send them to other – other, you know, sales gurus or – or, you know, trainers. Make sure they’re being upskilled, because the name of the game, I can guarantee this, if your conversion is below average, whether you’re talking about UK, Australia, New Zealand, etcetera, if your conversion is – is below average, it’s going to be difficult to consistently grow. So, sales conversion, guys, is so important. I’ll shut up now, Brad.

BRAD CUSWORTH: It’s one of those things where the – the smallest increase in percentage – – –

FRANK SMARELLI: Makes a massive difference.

BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – has such a massive difference – – –

FRANK SMARELLI: Yeah, absolutely.

BRAD CUSWORTH: – – – on the bottom line, doesn’t it?



FRANK SMARELLI: There’s no doubt. Yeah. If you increase your – your conversion ratio by five, on an average of getting 50 leads a week, it’s – by the time you get to the end of the 12 months you – you’re going to have dozens and dozens of more members, just by increasing your sales conversion by five percent.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Yep. Exactly. Good stuff, mate. All right. So, just a quick reminder to all our – all of our listeners out there. Every episode we’ll be answering two questions. If you have a question that you would like answered simply go to, click on the podcast tab in the top menu bar, scroll down and click on the banner that says, “Ask a question.” This will then open a pop up form where you can submit your question.
So, Frank, we’ve gone a bit over time today. We’ve got – we both got a bit carried away, but, hopefully, our listeners out there have – have got some great value from today’s episode.

FRANK SMARELLI: Awesome. Listeners, enjoy the rest of your week. Brad, you also have a great week, and a great weekend, and, yep, stay tuned for the next podcast, guys.

BRAD CUSWORTH: Awesome. So, listeners, as always, until the next Fitness Business Marketing podcast, knowledge without consistent action means very little, but when you take massive action you are 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 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.
Now, to wrap things up, Alison has a quick message from our podcast sponsors. So, have a great week, everyone, 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 1 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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