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Once Upon a Time, The Art of Story Telling in Business... Part 3

January 24, 2018
5 minute read

I just want to thank you for listening to my story so far - and a special thank you to everyone that has replied back personally too, I really appreciate it :)! I want to add one last bit to my story that I think is relatable to a lot of trainers...

"Jono's Story: Part 3"

So I was now running a hugely successful Bootcamp... Easily the biggest in the area... I had over 100 clients registered.. My retention was the best in the company... I thought I was king of the world... One issue... It's one thing to get to the top... It's a whole different thing to stay at the top!

My numbers slowly started to drop... First drop was from about 100 to 80... To be honest I didn't really care... I was still making good money... I still had the biggest Bootcamp in the area... It was almost a relief because it would be easier for me... I just thought 'these things happen... you can't stay at that many clients forever'. (that's a bullshit excuse btw...)

My numbers started to drop again... From 80 to about 60-65... Here I started to get worried... Not too worried... Because I still thought I was a lot better than I what I actually was and numbers were low because it was winter and that numbers would automatically magically pick back up during summer (some more bullshit dreaming...)

Numbers dropped again from 60 to about 45-50... Now I was stressed... Badly... My income had halved... I had previously two trainers working for me... I had to drop both of them because I didn't have the clients or the cash to justify it... I would feel super depressed every session because there's was half the amount of people coming... The thing that would kill me was when people would ask 'where is everyone'... That just made me feel so bad... I became super desperate as well... I was more 'needy' on sales calls... I would get frustrated at sessions more easy... and just no where near as happy as what I used to be...

I knew what the issue was... A 'clique' had formed in the group... A group of clients who had been with me for a while... Nice people... But they just hung out with each other before / after training... They were really confident and loud... They would hang out on weekends together, do fun runs / events and then post on the Facebook Group of their outing (even though they didn't invite other members of the group)... They would only pair with each other during the sessions... I mean nothing too bad... But just enough to ruin the group dynamic... Enough were a new person would feel a little 'uncomfortable' or that 'they are not part of the group'... Wheras previously, when people joined - they were part of the group on Day 1!

I had a tough choice to make here... I could either
a) Keep things going the way there going and keep the 'clique' happy... BUT then chances are my numbers would keep dropping because the only people happy were the 'cliq'.
b) Break up the 'cliq' (basically not get them to join) which mean losing a regular 10-15 clients... along with the usual drop off that had been happening....

I went with Option B... I didn't ask the 'cliq' to leave... But I basically did things that I knew would be good for 'the rest of the group' even though I knew 'the cliq' wouldn't like it and would complain... Now this may sound like an easy thing to say... But it was one of the hardest things I had to do... It's intimidating as it is... Doing something that you know some your group wont' like.. Especially when this is a group of clients who had been with me for a long time... and who I used to have a really good relationship with... It was REALLY STRESSFUL for about 3-6months... But it's what I had to if I wanted everyone else to be happy and my Bootcamp to grow...

So within about 3-6 months pretty much all of the cliq left along with the usual drop off... I was down to about 30 clients... Not enough for me to live off anymore... So I had to start working back at the gym teaching classes and I also started looking for some extra outdoor PT to supplement my income...

BUT... It was the best thing that happened to me! I was basically able to start from scratch again! The participants I had remaining were all the perfect clients I wanted... They were all down for having fun, getting to know each other, team work etc etc! And I was able to tailor my Bootcamp to this - which I loved! I then made sure to stay on top of the community vibe and make sure I never have a 'cliq' again! If I even felt a 'cliq' slightly forming - I was able to squash it immediately before it got awkward and affected my numbers! From here my numbers started to sky rocket again and so did my retention! Within a couple rounds I was back to where I used to be, was able to hire the trainers back, cut down the Group Fitness Classes at the gym and the Outdoor PT and focus solely on Bootcamp again :)!

This was game changing for me.... As I felt from here - I could now build a bootcamp up to whatever I want... Whenever I want... I started at the bottom... Worked my way to the top... Dropped back down to the bottom again but then worked back up and stayed there!

So I had HEAPS of different learning experiences from this experience... But the major ones

a) Community! This is EVERYTHING in a Bootcamp! You can support your clients as much as you like and get them to like you... BUT that will also get you so far! What happens if the trainer down road also supports their clients as much as you AND their group is friendlier / more accomodating! You're going to lose! So you need to ensure your Bootcamp is a close as a group of friends!

b) Continually up skilling! I got lazy and over confident... I thought I knew I everything and stopped up skilling myself... My numbers and retention dropped... As soon as I start up skilling again my numbers and retention increased. During this time I made a commitment - every 3 months I was going to do a course / seminar / conference that would help me grow my bootcamp - that was the best thing i've ever done.

NOTE: I've since changed Point B. It's no longer a course every 3 months. I am ALWAYS enrolled in a course and I spend a minimum 60mins a day on that course... It's non negotiable for me... It's like a work out... I spend 30mins every day of my life working and i spend 60mins every day doing something that will build my business... As soon as I finish that course - I find the next course I want to do and start that. That process has changed my life!

At the moment i'm currently doing a 'Facebook Live streaming course' with "The Streaming Experts" and a mentorship with Online Supercoach AJ Mihzard. I've also purchased all the video content from the IDEA conference 2017, so as soon as I finish my 'live streaming course' I'm just going to start going through the videos from the IDEA conference. I'm also going to San Diego in February for a 5 day Social Media Convention and then Melbourne in March for a 5 day Sales Convention. So I strongly recommend always keep learning and getting better at what you do! Check out our 5 Tips to Grow your Bootcamp.

Now we would love you hear from you. In the comments below, let me know your opinion.

Blue Side BG

Fitness Education Online are one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to the professional development of Personal Trainers. We have over 30 registered AUSactive CEC courses.  Click here to check them out!


About The Author: Jono Petrohilos
Online Course Creator I 2020 Fitness Australia Educator of the Year

Jono is the co-founder and director at Fitness Education Online. Fitness Education Online is one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to delivering online education to Fitness Professionals, providing over 30 registered CEC courses.

Fitness Education Online is also the admins of the largest Facebook Group in Australia / New Zealand for Fitness Professionals (Fitness Education Online Community Facebook Group).

Jono is also a qualified Exercise Physiologist, best selling author (The Bootcamp Blueprint), and the host of the successful podcast “Fitness Education Online Podcast”.

Jono is the current 2020 Fitness Educator of the Year (awarded by Fitness Australia)

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