We’re all still at home doing the best we can with what we’ve got. If you’re a fitness professional, you might be feeling antsy to get back to the gym and your in-person clients. But hopefully you’ve been using this time to build up your online business and remote clientele base. There are tons of useful resources out there to help you grow your brand—podcasts, books, blogs, interviews, etc. After all, one of the most useful ways you can spend your time is to listen to successful people speak about their journey and what steps they have taken to get to where they are today.
That’s why we’re sharing with you a conversation between Sam Pogue, Vice President of Brand at TrueCoach, and Matt Reynolds, founder and owner of Barbell Logic, who has recently recovered from coronavirus. Barbell Logic was founded in early 2016 and they’ve grown exponentially since; Matt has a full team of coaches working for him now. “These guys do such an excellent job with the element of coaching their clients,” Sam said. “They get such a great compliance rate and retention rate.” We’ve got a lot to learn from Matt and his business. Here are five steps he has taken with Barbell Logic that we can all learn from.
He Didn’t Get Obsessed With Training Athletes
It’s common for fitness professionals to get overly excited to work with athletes. It’s the perfect time to implement everything we know—plus, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your client take home a gold medal or a big win since they started training with you, right? Well, not so fast. Matt expressed great joy in being able to work mostly with everyday people who are nowhere close to professional athletes.
“We do want our 45-year-old executives to think of themselves as athletes,” he said. “But the reality is that the vast majority of these people are very normal business professionals, soccer moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, so on and so forth. I almost hate to say it this way, but our primary demographic is incredibly ordinary, normal people.”
This may not sound like as much fun as training the next LeBron James, but it simply makes more sense to target the everyday person who needs help getting their health in order so they can be a better-functioning citizen in society. Matt added, “I don’t want to train athletes. They’re genetic freaks so you don’t know if you’re a good coach. It doesn’t matter what program they do—they’re freaks because they’re freaks. You have no idea if your programming is any good.”
When you’re working with everyday folks who might be struggling with excess weight or chronic injuries, you get to see big results from your programming. You can see exactly what works and doesn’t—and this experience is what makes you a better coach in the long run. “My passion is training 50-year-old men and women,” Matt concluded. “It’s brought me a lot of joy for sure.”
He Put His Focus on the Brand—Not Himself
It’s easy to get swept up in boosting your name and visibility for the whole Internet to see as you’re building a remote fitness business. But don’t get too wrapped in focusing on yourself. Instead think long term and consider how you can build a brand that will last long after you’re gone.
“It’s not a cult of personality. It’s not about me,” Matt explained. “Because if it’s about me, if I die in a car accident tomorrow, my family doesn’t get paid, my coaches don’t get paid. I’ve tried to build a business that’s not about me, but about the brand and coaches.”
Even if you’re a one-man show and you don’t have any employees or coaches working for you (yet!), you can still learn from this mindset. Yes, you want your brand to be an extension of who you are and what you represent, but you want it to be just that—an extension of you, not the entirety of you. When you’re building your brand and remote coaching business, it’s important to think about the long game and consider how you can pour yourself into your company without making it all about yourself.
He Made Sure They Were Producing High-Quality Content
“We put out a ton of content and that content is always free and extremely high quality,” Matt said. “We speak to the demographic that we have.” He cited the fitness content you see on YouTube and Instagram, which usually speaks to the demographic of the 20 to 30-year-old age group or millennials and Gen Z. The quality of this content is usually not very strong, but it speaks clearly to the demographic it’s targeting.
Matt and his team not only produce high-quality content, but they do it in a way that specifically targets their main demographic. Their podcast Barbell Logic is one of the top two strength podcasts in the world and rakes in hundreds of thousands of downloads each month. They also have a strong blog that’s run by an editor-in-chief, where content is constantly produced on a regular basis.
The content produced by Barbell Logic isn’t just recorded or written and then posted online. It’s meticulously edited and produced at a high level. This is what sets them apart from many other brands. When you consistently show that you offer a high-quality product, you make a name for yourself that will pay off in the long run.
He Set Up Monthly Recurring Revenue
“One of the things that’s big for us is, we are an automated monthly recurring revenue business,” Matt shared. “We don’t sell three months of time and then go after a client and be like, ‘Hey, want to do another three months?’ Because now they have to think about, ‘Well was it really worth it? Do I want to write another check?’”
You don’t want to give them a chance to rethink their decision and say no to what you’re offering. Matt said the average churn (rate at which you lose clients) is going to be about 10 percent per month. So if you have 100 clients, you’ll lose 10 of them each month. Well, Matt’s churn over at Barbell Logic is much lower than that, thanks to his savvy business strategy of recurring revenue.
“Our churn is 4 percent per month,” he said. “That’s insanely low. February was 3.3. In March, it was 4.4 in the middle of COVID. That’s insanely low in the middle of a massive disaster where 10 million people filed for unemployment.” You want their payment to be automatic every month. Not only does that keep them in business with you, but it motivates them to keep working hard because they know they’re paying for it anyway. As much as you can, set up your clients on a recurring monthly payment schedule.
He Has Excellent, Award-Winning Service
“We’re great at service,” Matt said. “The thing is, they come for the service because the service is great and they’ll often stay long term because their progress is so good. They hit PRs, they reach their goals.” And it’s important to realize that helping your clients hit their goals is about so much more than good programming. It’s about being there for them when they need you.
Ask them how they’re doing. Ask how quarantine life is going, whether they’re facing any specific challenges in their day-to-day, etc. :Those are questions that a coach should be asking of their client for several reasons,” he explained. “One, because you’re making those deposits into their emotional 401K. But the other thing is: isn’t our primary job to continue to add healthy stress to our clients to make them better and stronger?” Their progress isn’t only visible in the gym. If they’re excelling in their daily habits and personal life, chances are they’re killing it at their programming too.
Develop a relationship with your clients. Let them know regularly that you’re there for them. This is the kind of service they won’t mind paying for every single month. You should be one of the first people to know when a major life crisis hits, when they have a miscarriage, when they got laid off from their job, etc. It’s up to you to help them recover, recharge, and keep their health on track so they can come out on the other side victorious.