Before I get to the guts of this article I think you need to know a few things about me. I am opinionated; tend to talk when I should listen. Offer advice when none is asked for. Have made an ass of myself more times than not by opening my mouth when I shouldn’t. Have a tendency to rub people the wrong way, and butt in when I shouldn’t. But with all these faults, it still doesn’t make me wrong most of the time, it makes me a bad messenger. If you’re reading this, regardless of your opinion of me, I hope it will sink in and possibly help.
If you don’t care about your business, and can’t stand tough love, then leave, and don’t’ read this article because it will probably piss you off.
Just the facts.
There are a few facts new affiliate owners should understand before starting their business and some established ones should remember.
You are a FOR profit business, you are there to succeed, and make money. If those are not your goals, you are more like a charity (which is a noble cause, but an entirely different entity all together).
Your affiliate is no different than any other business. You need a plan, capital, a license, a location, advertising, marketing and much, much more.
I’d like to talk about the marketing and advertising aspect for now.
Advertising your business effectively can make a huge impact on the number of people coming through your doors. Done incorrectly and you will have wasted huge amounts of time and effort, not to mention money.
Daily, I see affiliates scrambling to use social media, google adwords, news paper ads, craigslist etc. to get the word out and many never understand that one of the best forms of advertisements is themselves.
Regardless of your views on the matter and your lofty goals, you should realize that the vast majority of visitors to your box are after one thing, great looks. Sure you can spout the fitness stuff, the nutritional this or that, the effect on their wellbeing, but for the most part, the billions spent on fitness are spent to make people look better. Diet this, fat loss that, it is all for the one universal human flaw, vanity.
If you recognize this and embrace it, you have won half your battle.
Your job as an affiliate owner is to educate AFTER you get them in the door and signed up. Your job is to make them whole while they are your athlete, but you can’t do that if they never even take the plunge.
Would you take your own advice if you were selling to yourself?
Would you more readily take financial advice from someone who drove up in a Pinto or a Ferrari? Would you take marital advice from someone who has been happily married for thirty years or from the person who has been divorced six times? And who would you trust more about fitness advice and training, the person who was fit or the person who isn’t?
Lets say you’re a new affiliate owner, or are just planning on opening your gym. You have limited funds for traditional advertising so you decide word of mouth is the way to go. You approach some people you know, start to talk diet, exercise, and all things CrossFit.
Now lets imagine you’re the other person listening to you. Do you think they are hearing everything you say? I bet their first reaction is to look you over, to see if what you’re pushing actually works. Remember they want to look good first, and hopefully you look good, because you are you’re best sales tool at this point.
My question to you is, “In your current condition would you take your own fitness advice?”
I know that will ruffle some feathers, but that’s ok. If it will help you get a few more customers then my mission is complete. Business is hard and anyone can fail for a myriad of reasons, sometimes at no fault of their own. It just happens! But I believe that to give yourself the greatest chance at success you need to do everything in you’re power to succeed and this means starting with you.
If you’re thinking of starting an affiliate or you’ve been at it awhile please take this time and check out the affiliate finder map on crossfit.com, if you haven’t in awhile do so now.
See all those dots within a short distance of you, those are your competitors and I promise they are doing all they can to succeed, and so should you.
Here is how I see it. You run a business built on first impressions. Someone bases their initial decision on how you look, then you’re personality, and lastly on cost.
If you’re the only game in town then, well you’re the only game in town (now), and you have a captive audience. But remember the affiliate finder map, it grows each day and you never know when a box is going to open up down the street or right next door.
During my Level 1, I took a look around, overhead this conversation and that, and ran a small test. I asked myself, “If I new nothing about CrossFit, who would I want to train me?” There were people of different fitness levels for sure, but what caught my attention was the people who were out of shape. When they stood next to the really fit people, it was a no brainer which trainer I’d pick.
I’m not saying that someone who is out of shape couldn’t hire a bunch of in shape trainers and open an affiliate, because that could work. I’m talking about the trainer/affiliate owners who are out of shape and don’t have the means to hire others. I’m talking about the folks who are going at it alone, and expecting to thrive.
Crazy excuses bad for business.
Over the past several years, I’ve spoke with many affiliate owners and when asked how often they workout, some tell me, not as often as they’d like, some hardly ever. They express that they are just to busy these days running things. The thought that runs through my head is “ You’re to busy to make more money”?
Honestly I wonder how owners/trainers go about convincing someone who has a hectic life that they should find the time to exercise, when it’s obvious that they themselves, who are owners of a gym, and are in one every day don’t have the time.
Seems silly right?
So here is my advice, before you spend another dime advertising, buying business cards or social marketing, take a look in the mirror. Ask yourself, am I a great marketing tool for my business? If not, make the time. Remember the fate of your business rests squarely on your shoulders.
I recently spoke with a close friend about this same subject. Melissa Finnegan, owner of CrossFit Tehachapi and she said I could mention her in this article. She said she fell into this same rut, but has decided to take the plunge and stop with the excuses.
Her coaching skills are top notch and you would be hard pressed to find a better trainer around. She has a great personality, loves her athletes and has a wealth of knowledge that I wish I had. After falling into the “I’m to busy rut” of running her affiliate, she somehow forgot that she is her best business card, which is easy to do.
Melissa and I are working together to make her the best sales tool that she can be. I plan on documenting her progress along the way. So keep checking back.
I hope that didn’t offend, as that was not my intention. My hope is that you flourish and help countless others reach their fitness goals.
If you have any thoughts on this topic, please share them in the comments below because I’d love to hear them.
See you in the hills.
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