Episode 293

3 Tips to Improve Your Sales and Client Engagement with Pete Dupuis

In this episode, Pete Dupuis joins me to talk about the 3 tips to improve your sales and client engagement.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friends on today’s episode, I’m speaking with Pete and Pete is sharing three tips today. And these tips came from conversations he had with our unicorn society members. And these tips specifically are going to help you improve your sales process and improve your client engagement. So if you want to do those two things, keep on listening, my friends, before we dive into today’s episode, I want to make a very special announcement because we’re doing something that we’ve never done before, which is we’re offering a last minute chance to join unicorn society in January of 2024.

And we’re giving you a chance to lock in the best pricing you’ll ever get. Uh, as you know, if you’ve been listening to the podcast, we already had our enrollment window for Unicorn Society, but we’re opening back up with five more spots. But the glitch is here, the kind of trick is here that you have to apply before December 24th at 8 PM.

So if you thought about joining Unicorn Society, but you missed our last enrollment window, we’re opening it back up again, just with five more spots, but you have to go and apply before December 24th. At 8 [00:01:00] PM. So click the link down below in the show notes or wherever you’re listening to this podcast and come work with us, my friend, applying does not mean committing.

It just means expressing interest. And we’ll get into a conversation and talk about whether or not you’re the right fit, but do it before December 24th. See you soon. Enjoy this episode.

Welcome to the Business for Unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Kehler. Join me each week for actionable advice, expert insights, and the inside scoop on what it really takes to level up your gym. Get ready to unlock your potential.

And become a real unicorn in the fitness industry. Let’s begin.

Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the business for unicorns podcast. And I’m back again with Pete. How are you, my [00:02:00] friend? I’m doing very well. And yourself? I’m having a pretty good holiday season so far. Had a kickass Thanksgiving. We’re recording this right now between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And I just feel like I’m in the middle of this sprint to get as much done as humanly possible before the year is up. Which seems like a recurring theme every year. But all in all, it’s going pretty well so far. Yeah, we don’t sprint this time of year. We just try and stay alive. Cause it’s like, all of the college kids who left a couple months ago all come back, 50 percent of which are scheduling compliant.

The rest just wander through and they’re like, I’m here for my evaluation that I didn’t tell you I was coming for. And we just, we just put fires out and keep the lights on and make sure the music is loud. I feel like this is the procrastinate. Procrastinators Olympics is like these three weeks in December before Christmas is like everything that you said you were going to do or wanted to do this year that hasn’t gotten done has to get done before the holidays.

And so we’re just like trying to cram it all in. [00:03:00] And one of these days, maybe in my fifties, I’ll learn my lesson, but I’m in my forties and this is still how I’m operating. So it doesn’t seem like it’s going to change. Because zebras are changing their stripes in their fifties. I’ve seen a lot of that over the years.

Come on, that leaves a root for me. Pete, you want to tee up today’s topic? Today’s topic, I came to Keeler and I said, Hey, I did a bunch of calls today and I thought we could do an interesting episode on shit we’re going to steal from Unicorn Society members that we learned while coaching them. Yes. And there’s just a lot of very effective and efficient gym owners in our community.

And today I just took a couple of notes during my calls and I thought either a, I’m just going to straight up steal that and start employing it in my space or be, I can see myself kicking this advice forward to other coaches in the community during coaching calls. And there’s just, there’s a lot of value in this community that doesn’t exist.

Purely inside the heads of the handful of coaches that we have working with. Yeah, I think that’s beautifully said my friend. And I’ll just say this before [00:04:00] you dive in with those tips, I just want to say, I think this really gets at a core kind of foundational value that I have, that I know I’ve tried to insert as much as possible into Unicorn Society and continue to try to imbue into the community, which is the idea that you want to treat everyone like both your teacher and your student.

Everyone you meet in the world, it’s like a great attitude to have to be like, okay, what can I offer this person? What can I, what value can I add for them? How can I make their lives better? How can I support them, educate them, inform them, share something valuable with them. And how can they do the same for me?

How can I be both a teacher to folks that I meet and a student? What can I learn from them? And that’s really the kind of. Energy that we try to bring to unicorn society, at least all the group calls that I mainly facilitate. Our retreats are certainly that way, which is how can everyone in this community, both be someone that learns from you and that you learn from.

And like, you’re a perfect example. Us coaches are not excluded from that. We are learning from the people that we are coaching on a daily basis. And so, [00:05:00] yeah, let’s dive in. What’s the first tip that you’re stealing? Alright, so this morning I had a call with Justin of the Justin and Harrison pairing and Justin and Harrison recently became business partners.

Harrison was a member of the community. He brought in a business partner named Justin and they’re doing good things and what they’ve been, I don’t want to say struggling with, but what they’ve been working through is figuring out whose lane is whose and how they were gonna cut their responsibilities down the middle and assign tasks and with them both being Equity position type owners, they weren’t, I would say neither of them were fully ready to completely release the reins on things like selling because both of them got to a point of success in their careers because they were effective at accumulating clients and Justin explained to me this collaborative selling protocol that they go through that I thought was absolutely brilliant and I don’t know that they realize all the reasons why it is effective in my mind, but [00:06:00] for the way he explained it to me was They schedule the opportunity to sell in person and the person will come in and they’ll basically get the first half of the pitch from one of them.

Then they’ll get like a tour of the space and they do a handoff midstream. It’s like Justin walks like a potential client into a busy weight room and says, Oh, that’s my business partner Harrison over there. He’s actually working with a group. You know what? I’d love for him to answer a few questions for you.

I’m just going to swap in for him and they do a switch. And Justin steps in and he coaches the group that Harrison was happily coaching. And Harrison steps up and says, Hey, let’s step off the training floor. I want to run you through some of this stuff. I’m going to imagine that Justin’s given you this and this and they’re polished about it.

And then they close. And obviously the value there is twofold in the sense that you can familiarize them with multiple faces. But beyond that, you’re conditioning your clients. To accept the fact that this [00:07:00] system, the coaches are interchangeable. The environment is what it is, but you can trust anyone here to do a great job here.

Look at how that person just did that midstream and it was seamless and it sends that message to the existing clients, to the perspective client. It solves one of the biggest headaches I hear about for people who are either trying to move from one on one to small group or semi private, whatever we’re calling it these days.

It just basically eliminates that problem of clients being like, no, I’m a killer guy. I’m not interested in what Fisher has to say. Killer’s my guy. And you just put that fire out right away. And I heard that and I was like, I gotta figure out a way to mix that into how things happen around here. It’s yeah, I think that’s so you’re right.

I think it’s really brilliant for multiple reasons. Uh, the fact that you also get to leverage this. different skill sets of two people who are good at sales and both allow them to flex that muscle is really valuable. But I think you’re right that so many gyms that we talked to are trying to make it so their clients don’t feel so much attachment to just a single [00:08:00] person, that they feel attached to the gym and to the team and to the community.

So that really, when a trainer leaves or schedule changes that we don’t lose a client. Because they’re just overly attached at the hip to a single trainer. And that 100 percent sends the message like, no, we all train you. We’re all responsible for your success. We all give a shit about you. We all know your name.

We all know your goals and we can all support you in the way you want to be supported because I just told him what you want. I handed it off in a way that says, look, we communicate well. And when you can, we are our great communication benefits you because we’re all here to support you. So, yeah, I think that’s so great.

I think that’s awesome. I think the people who should consider that kind of approach are the folks who are at the stage where they have more than one person doing sales. For you listeners who are just like, there’s just one person and you’re the only person that ever has sales conversations. And there’s no one else you could even possibly train that.

Yeah. You’re not gonna do any pass off. But the minute you start to train someone else, the minute you have someone else that you can start to teach how to have these sales conversations, this is a great way to do [00:09:00] it. Teach them half the conversation. to start teaching the first half of the second half and and use the pass off model as a teaching tool.

I think it’s another great use of it. That’s fantastic. Yeah, we have a number of coaches on our team who have varying styles of bedside manner for lack of a better term. And we hand pick coaches for assessment scenarios based on our interaction with people during the selling process because some might be the boisterous out there.

fun, loud coach, which might not speak to the introvert who seems like they’re a little intimidated by the environment. So we might slide them to a different coach and we can get creative there. But if we do have more than one seller, that means we have more than one selling style as well. And so this can be an opportunity to pivot away from a less than effective pairing.

Into like, all right, let’s close with our closer or if you have the flexibility to do you give the head nod to the person Be like, hey, this is so in my wheelhouse I’m going to close this i’ll be out in a little while and you don’t even make the hand off But the [00:10:00] flexibility is just what I love about it All right, let’s move on because I think you said there was a second tip that you got recently that you’re taken from your unicorn Sighting conversations.

What was that pete? Yeah, I had a lesson that I learned in philly From a presentation, I want to say it was from Brittany, who mentioned that she has either a monthly or a quarterly coffee hour of sorts with her community, which I just thought was fantastic. Maybe open the gym a tiny bit early or open up the offices 60 minutes before you start sessions on a Saturday morning or something like that.

And let people come in and just pick your brain or talk about what they like, might like to see more of and things like that. And that was something that jumped to mind. With me when I was asked this morning what the suggestion was as a performance training gym owner who does not have the space to facilitate constant interaction with the parents.

And so what they do is they try to keep parents out of the gym for lack of a better term. They just don’t want them wandering the weight room and without a lot [00:11:00] of waiting area, waiting space, like we have in my space here in Massachusetts, you basically kick people out to their cars. They sit in the parking lot and they wait and.

They’re compliant at this person’s gym, but it means that they don’t have a ton of meaningful interactions with the parents outside of email. And they asked how I would navigate that if I were in that circumstance, and I said, I learned this thing from Brittany a couple months ago, and I really think you could do that with your community.

You could just, plain and simple, say parents only. No kids allowed at this one. Because some of the most common feedback we get from parents who are proposed the idea of coming in and training with us are like, No, no, this is my kid’s place. They’ll kill me. If I try and train in that gym and I need to be respectful of that.

So we say, Hey, all right, let’s flip the script. Once every eight to 10 weeks, we’re going to open this place up. We’re going to have a couple of boxes, a box of Joe or whatever they call it at Dunkin Donuts these days. And we’re going to open doors and we’re going to just [00:12:00] say coffee with the coaches. Come on in and learn about what we’ve been working on with your kid.

And one of the reasons I liked this is because I thought it could be effective kind of sales tool in an environment like ours, where I don’t ask for long term contracts with my clients where month to month, and I have to effectively win their business each month. And in this experience, you could use it as like aspirational language that says we don’t have one for another three months, but that’s great because at that point we’ll be wrapping up your son’s third month of training and we’ll be talking about how we’re going to map the next season of Strength and Conditioning and I’ll be able to fill you on where he’s been and where he’s headed.

And instead of being like, I hope we win your business from month one to month two, we’re talking about month four, like it’s a foregone conclusion. And so that was my piece of advice for the how do I. Engage with parents more effectively periodically and it was a combination of a lesson learned from another unicorn society member Now turned coach actually and then a kind of a [00:13:00] piece of advice moving forward how you could mold it Into a performance training facility Yeah, I think that’s so smart.

I think it’s so smart because we’re so, it’s so important to build those kind of relationships with our clients, whether they’re kids, whether they’re the parents, whoever, however you’re considering your client in this scenario. And to build that relationship, sometimes we need to do things that are outside of like the transaction we’re part of.

Like we need to just do something that’s not just you paid me for this hour, but it’s like, we’re just going to hang out. We’re just going to connect. We’re going to like, just talk, spend quality time together. And I love the idea of just having an office hour, whether it’s like free coffee and donuts, or it’s, I don’t know, maybe it’s free wine, like whatever.

It’s a happy outer local bar. But the idea of, I’m just going to make myself available and let’s talk about you. How are you? What’s working? What’s not working? What are your next goals? What’s on the horizon for you in life? That’s the kind of relationship building that keeps clients around long term.

Love that. Yeah. So, I’ll build off it with one more thing that I got excited [00:14:00] about conceptually. This person said, I already do a standing educational session with those kids early, a couple Saturdays a month, and I’m interested in building out that curriculum further. Do you have any suggestions? for topics.

And I said, what do you cover now? And he said, Oh, we do a nutrition one and we do one about the mind game and we do one about the importance of recovery. And it’s all the. I would say cliche topics that we can and should get into, but everybody’s talking about them and everybody’s doing it. And I said, you know what, if you’re working with youth athletes and you see yourself as, uh, being in a position of mentorship with these people and you value that role and responsibility, I want you to go completely off script.

And I would suggest that you dedicate one week to teaching basic financial literacy. Like, how cool would it be, as a parent, if your son was like, Hey, can you bring me to the gym early? They’re gonna explain compounding interest to me. And it’s like, what? Holy shit. That’s awesome. And [00:15:00] it’s, oh yeah, they go off book and they want to talk about stuff that’s important that we learned that we’re not getting in school, but things that they wish they knew.

As a parent, I’d be so fired up and looking for ways to talk to my peers about what they’re doing. In that environment and so I suggested that they think creatively about that How can you either bring in some guest lecturers that talk about like life skills? In addition to this just like importance of hydration or sleep or whatever it is And I think that it could really dramatically ramp up your position of mentorship, not just in the eyes of the athlete, but the parents see you as like an invaluable resource and someone who is doing good for them inside and outside of the gym.

So it’s something that I’m workshopping. And I honestly, I walked out of that call and I found John in the warmup area. And I was like, I want to talk about this concept. He was like, I like it. I’m in. Let’s figure out a way to make it out. That’s so cool. It’s so in line with that thing that we talk about all the time, which is like as you’re as a gym being like people’s [00:16:00] third place, right?

The idea you got home, you got work. What’s the third place? And I think for a lot of people, it’s a gym. And in that way, it’s really, I think, valuable to think about your gym like a community center, right? Like where the people who gather there are sure working on their health and their wellness in many ways or performance.

But what else could they learn at this community center? Could they learn about financial fitness? Probably. Could they learn about better taking care of themselves in other ways? Yeah, there’s lots of other ways people can take care of themselves. And so I think that’s a great idea. I love that. And I think I see a lot of Unicorn Study members start to move in that direction where they host outside guests who talk about pain management, where they have like a chiropractor and a physical therapist, or they have outside guests who come in and do.

Cooking demos and things that help people learn how to cook more healthy. So they’re all in this kind of wellness umbrella. But I think, I think managing your money is in the wellness umbrella. And like 100%, if you have a bad relationship with money, there’s not much else, it’s going to be [00:17:00] helped fill that gap in life.

Yeah. And it’s sad that it’s not a staple in our foundational education as kids. I remember when I was in my senior year of high school, I opted into a, a micro economics course. And I remember doing so because my buddies were like, Oh, the teacher’s really cool. Like she’s awesome. She’s cool. And ended up being a really meaningful six months or nine months of my life.

And honestly, it informed my decision to go to a business school. Because I was like, I like this. I want more of this. Where can I find this? But it was an option. It was an extracurricular at the expense of something else It probably cost me like open gym or study hall in the library or something So I was volunteering for more work, which felt a little outside of my work ethic at the time but I’m so happy I opted in because it it sparked an interest in me that I didn’t know existed and Stuff like that should just be baseline [00:18:00] education, which obviously we’re not going to get into, but for another podcast, but Hey, if I can contribute in a positive way towards solving that problem through a gym setting, then hell yes.

Let’s do it. That’s amazing. I think that’s a great call to action for you, dear listeners, which is like, how can you think about your space being more like a community center and how do you drive people to improve their life or improve something about themselves in your space besides fitness? Like what else can you offer that makes your space so sticky and in a positive way that people can’t wait to come and talk about what you’re doing there?

I think those are tremendous ideas, Pete. Yeah. Yeah. Look, it’s like my kid does an extended day program and they said, do you want us to make the homework happen? And because basically extended day is us paying for up to three additional hours of recess every day. And so we’re going to make sure your kid has a place to play kickball and knockout and we’ll give them a snack.

But if you want. We can make sure they don’t do any of the fun shit until they’ve done their homework. And we’re like, yeah, he’s got to do his [00:19:00] 20 minutes of reading. Exactly. He needs the worksheet done. Get it all done. Check all those boxes. So when I pick them up, I can just enjoy his company. Maybe I can do something like that with the gym as well.

Create a homework station for you. I just made me have a, maybe we’ll cut this in the podcast, but I’ll share it anyway. I would just, I can think of all the funny. But effective combinations of what you could add on to your gym, right? I picture like a gym slash laundromat where you just throw in a load of laundry, but then go take your class.

And then halfway through the workout, everyone goes and swaps it out and dries. By the time you’re done, you’re cool down. There’s just so many ways you can think about your gym serving. Let’s wrap up with letting me tell you how wildly ironic that is from you. I’ve had two jobs in my life. I have owned a gym since 2007 and for a little over three years after I graduated from my undergraduate business school and I went to get my MBA, I worked for a Maytag distributor and my job was to be a marketing manager for Laundromat.

Oh my gosh. How funny. I didn’t even knew that. That’s [00:20:00] amazing. So I know who I would call if I wanted to put this equipment in. I know the commercial grade stuff I want. I know that. President’s day weekend is the weekend. They put it all on sale for some unknown reason. So it’s just really strange. That’s the direction.

That’s where my brain went. I was feeling those Maytag vibes from you. let’s leave it there, my friend. I think there was so many great fun takeaways in this conversation. And hopefully Pete illustrated here why it’s so valuable to, to think about people as both your teacher and your student, because there’s lessons learned from every conversation.

So thanks for sharing yours, Pete. This was a great conversation and I’ll, I’ll see you on the next one. Sounds good. Talk soon.