[00:00:00] Hello, my friend on today’s episode. I’m back again with Pete and today Pete is pulling back the curtain at Cressy sports performance to sharing his playbook for how to generate leads with an event does a wonderful event called night with the pros, and he shares his exact playbook for how to prepare for this event, execute this event and follow up with new leads.
After the event, I think it’s some, some fantastic takeaway. So if you want to generate more leads with in person events, this is a great episode for you. So keep on listening.
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. [00:01:00] Let’s begin.
Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the Business for Unicorns podcast. And I’m back with Pete. How are you, my friend? I am well. Got my potentially bad decision, hot cup of coffee, mid afternoon, ready to go. I’m here. I’m caffeinated. Let’s do this. Fantastic. I’m working on a diet Coke.
So we’re both in the kind of caffeine category at the moment, but before we dive into our caffeinated conversation, I just want to give a quick shout out something I haven’t talked about in this podcast in a little while, which is if you haven’t been following us for a while, you might’ve missed the fact that our dear Mark Fisher, our partner in crime here wrote a book last year.
And it’s all about Mark’s fitness business secrets, all his inside scoop from how he’s done all kinds of things at Mark Fisher Fitness over the years. He put all of those ideas and secrets from 12 plus years of running MFF in a book that you can get. If you go to businessunicorns. com slash book, it’s available.
There’s great reviews. People find it very actionable and [00:02:00] inspirational. And there’s a lot of tactical things in there that you can take away right away. So if you haven’t gotten Mark’s book yet. Go to businessunicorns. com slash book, click the link in the bio and go grab that book. In fact, buy 10 of them, give them out for the holidays and make a great gift to your fellow gym owner friends.
That being said, let’s dive into today’s topic. And today’s topic is one that is relevant to you right now, Pete, because you’re in the process of doing it. And we get this question a lot from Unicorn Societies and this, the topic today is going to be about how to generate leads from an event. This is a topic that’s come up before.
In fact, we had one of our Unicorn Society members, Mike Baranis, probably a few months ago on the podcast, talking about how he generated a couple of hundred leads from an event he’s been doing for years. And today we’re going to be talking about an event you’ve been doing for many years, the Night with the Pros, uh, and how you generate leads from the event.
And I really want to break it down for all of our listeners so they can understand all the work that goes in beforehand, all the things that happened the day of and all the follow up you do after this kind of event [00:03:00] to make. An event will be generation activity. Before we dive in, Pete, you want to just give a little context for what your event is, and maybe we’ll use your event as like the avatar as we walk through those three stages night with the pros is an event we started in, I’m going to say 2011 or 2012.
Because I do remember doing one in our old facility, and at the time we had a lot of minor league baseball players who trained with us, and we had a lot of kids with questions for them, but they were too afraid to approach them in the gym, or parents who were intrigued by their presence, and so we leveraged their presence to kick up our credibility, and this started as a panel discussion, I remember the first one we must have put like 15 minor leaguers On training tables at the front of the room and we’re like just fire away.
Nobody has questions It has since evolved over time to us building out a panel of people from the field So our event is going to be tomorrow night as we record this And we’ve got as of [00:04:00] right now around 125 rsvps Most of which are people I have no idea who they are They’ve they are leads that we’ve built through our network and they’re coming to see three Affiliated baseball players, one division, one college coach, one professional coach.
His title is a pitching coordinator for the Mariners. And then we are putting some of our team onto the panel. So we’ll have Andrew Millet, the in house PT is going to be there available to answer questions. I’ll have our pitching coordinator blaze sit on the panel and I’m probably going to intro everybody and then ask that my business partner, John effectively MC it facilitate Q and A.
And this is an event that was big for a number of years. COVID killed it for a period and we’re just now bringing it back. And based on the success we’re having already with it, as far as revenue generating goes, I’m really disappointed that we had to take a few years off. And, and by revenue generating, I don’t mean the event itself.
It’s [00:05:00] entirely free. It is definitely a come one, come all type scenario. I’m probably going to put somewhere between five and 600 toward it between chair rentals and. buying food for our panelists and just a little ancillary costs associated with it. And I will pour probably around three to four weeks of kind of day to day effort into publicizing it.
But it’s already bearing fruit. We have booked a number of consults. I think I have already booked three out of the RSVP pool for paid assessments. And these people haven’t even come in yet. And so it’s a thing that we will be doing in a year after year format from this point forward. And actually we’re doing one in Florida tonight.
So our Massachusetts one is tomorrow. Our Florida one is tonight. And we coordinated in the sense that we worked off the same Canva template. We talked about it and publicized it in the same cadence. And it’s amazing that [00:06:00] we are like, Inside of 10 RSVPs from one another the whole way through. It’s been like a little mini competition and they’ve stayed close and they’re both generating leads in business.
So I’m happy to answer all the questions you have about what goes into it, but it’s one of those things where I to date have not written an SOP around this. And the reality is. Running a night with the pros, unfortunately, currently only exists in my head and Eric’s head and I’m, I’m running the playbook.
I just haven’t published the playbook. Yeah. Speaking of it, it’s a playbook that we will have on our unicorn society content library soon, because we have more and more folks doing events to generate leads. And maybe we’ll use some ideas from this podcast. Cause I know I’ve been ideating on this for a while, but I think it’s so amazing that you already are generating money.
paid people walking in the door before the event has even happened. So let’s just go back and break it down. And before we jump in, I just want to make it sure it’s clear to listeners that listeners we’re going to use [00:07:00] Pete’s example as like the avatars who walk through this, but ultimately this strategy is not just for sports performance gyms.
This is a strategy anyone can use. Just think about replacing that panel of Of baseball pros with any other community or group in your neighborhood, right? This can be a night with the local firefighters, right? It can be a night with the PTA. It can be a night with there’s all kinds of groups and people you can partner with and leverage to get people into the door, right?
So this doesn’t have to be sports performance oriented, but let’s just talk a little bit about Pete, about what you do leading up to the event. So in terms of promoting it, getting people’s attention, registering people, talk a little bit about how that works. Sure, before we do, I want to share a thought that I don’t want to lose.
I don’t want to forget to share what it out. And that is that, um, there are a lot of people out there who are kicking around the idea of working with you. But they haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet. And the business that we’ve created from this without yet having made an ask [00:08:00] is a function of that.
And so we put a deadline on an RSVP. If we say, Hey, we need to hear from you by 5 p. m. The night before so that we can get our chair rental figure, right? It forces people to reach out who have been saying I should really do that. And the people who have booked consults. Have asked to RSVP. I respond. Yes, we’ve got room for you.
We’d love to have you We’re so excited to meet you on Wednesday. All three of them have gone the same route They say you know what while we’re at it. I’ve been meaning to ask about this or my kid needs training Can we talk about an assessment? Can you send me some info? Can we meet in person on Wednesday when we have this event?
Can I answer any questions in real time and It’s amazing. This has been the impetus for them just getting off the pot. That’s it. I think that’s the brilliant thing about these events that people who do them well and do them consistently are realizing that it goes after three people at once. Right. It certainly can be a great community building and value building for your existing members.
That’s really nice. What you just mentioned, which is it helps people [00:09:00] who’ve been in your orbit, who’ve been suspects like lurking in the shadows of your email list or following you, but not engaging on social media gives them a chance to just. Come in with no obligation. It’s free. It’s fun. It’s valuable.
Uh, and then the other thing is that it ideally will also bring in some strangers, some people who may be only peripherally heard of you, but I think this event sounds really cool. And so like events like this can really attract a broad spectrum of people and create all those different kinds of benefits.
So I’m glad you said that. I think that’s really, yeah. So let’s talk buildup the limiting factor for executing on this, just like. Getting the first domino to fall for us is cooperation from the panelists. So, we don’t have a night with the pros without pros, and they can be a little bit finicky as far as getting them to commit to specific times.
So that tends to leave us with a tighter window for promotion than I would like. But the higher profile athletes are ones that I will compromise and wait on, because I know they’re going to draw bodies. [00:10:00] In this case, this time around, we, they really slow played us, and I only had two weeks to promote this, from the day we concluded on our date.
But we do it at a time of year where we’re up against it with the holidays coming, and we don’t want to mess around with being too close to one, or sandwiched in between all kinds of company and family holiday parties. So, we’re doing it before Thanksgiving as we record this, and once we have the date, from there it’s a mad dash.
So it’s get into Canva and make the template for publicizing it, gathering images of the athletes or panelists and titles and things like that. But from there, John and I just sat and we made a list. Who are people with influence in our community? Who are the coaches that we want to advocate? For us on this one, who are the club programs or the directors that we have good relationships with, who are the parents of little leagues locally, who are the people who are the parents on our own kids [00:11:00] teams.
In my case, I spammed the summer baseball, the app we use to communicate with parents to communicate to them. This might be interesting. And basically we just look at our Rolodex and ask ourselves, how can we position this in the eyes of these people as valuable to them? And then I just make asks. I send them a flyer.
I say we designed this with your community in mind. It would be so great to have a bunch from there. It’s a hundred percent free. I’d love for you to share this with them if you’re interested and to them, it’s a value add because we really are, we’re trying to help kids and their parents appreciate the importance of smart training, good nutrition, how to navigate the college recruiting process.
These are burning questions that they all have, and we’re bringing experts together completely free for them to come in and mingle with them, and so it’s not a big ask to get people to share this. And from there, it’s just put it out in the wild, get it into as many hands as possible and ask that they share.
And then from there, it’s [00:12:00] really a matter of not allowing yourself to feel like you’re talking about it too much. We have to talk about it every single day on our platforms. We need to have it visibly promoted inside our space. We need to share it on our personal accounts, on our professional accounts.
We need to talk about it on podcasts like this. This one’s not going to help in any capacity because it’s retroactively published. But anywhere we can discuss it, we should. Because it’s easy for us to say, I feel like I won’t shut up about this, people are getting annoyed hearing about it. But the reality is…
We’re all bombarded with so much that no one heard us the first 15 times they needed to hear it the 16th to make that move. So it’s just been a. A never ending discussion for the last 13 days, Michael. Yeah. I love that so much, Pete, because it just, it’s proof of, I think, two really important principles when it comes to events.
The first one is that it’s really important for us as gym owners to leverage other people. Other people’s personality, other people’s [00:13:00] fame, other people’s connections, other people’s networks in having events like this, right? The pros serve multiple functions. Like they’re the content, right? They’re experts coming in to offer opinions and advice, but you’re also leveraging their notoriety, leveraging their names, and hopefully they’re sharing and leveraging their networks.
And that’s critical. I mentioned before. Yeah. Even if you’re not doing sports performance, you can have a panel of doctors, chiropractors, local nurses. Like I said, you can, it doesn’t even have to be educational. You can do it like this. It’s just fun. Compete, do a obstacle course tonight with all the local fire department, right?
There’s a million ways you can leverage existing communities and networks. Mom’s groups, running clubs, dad’s group, local country club, right? There’s organizations and people in your communities to your listeners that you can leverage. To get more strangers to your events. And that’s part of the function that the pros serve here is that their name gets this event into new people’s eyes and ears.
So I think that’s a really important [00:14:00] principle is using, using the people that you’re centering this event around as leverage. And the second one, I think you said so beautifully, which is you, your goal should be that there’s no one you’ve ever met in your life that doesn’t know this event is happening, right?
There’s no one you’ve ever met or worked with who’s at least not had the opportunity to learn this event was happening and you have to not shut up with about it for at least two or three weeks. If you have the time and yeah, I think for example, at the beginning of this podcast, I mentioned Mark Fisher’s book, I don’t know, probably for the 20 or 30 of time on this podcast, but I bet today was the first day someone actually heard it.
And maybe went and bought that book, right? We’re just going to keep talking about it because we can’t take in every message we hear every day. So I think those principles are so spot on and such great evidence of that’s what it takes. Anything you would add to that? I’d add that as much as we are leveraging the identities of these panelists.
We are helping them appreciate the fact that they’re paying it forward. And most of them want to. So most of [00:15:00] them know that they had a lot of people who went out of their way to help them to climb to the ranks that they are at. And I usually position this with them as an opportunity to create the event they wish they had.
And they have insights now that they did not back at the time and they can make the, say, the college recruiting process will be something that will eat up probably more than half of the conversation tomorrow evening. And they have the benefit of hindsight and they know what they stressed too much about.
They know what they didn’t stress about enough. And we’re putting a college, a division one college coach in the room. To answer those questions. That’s great. And so I think that’s maybe the third most important thing here. If I’m going to keep making a list, but it’s leveraging the existing networks and notoriety, shouting it from the rooftops for at least a few weeks.
And this is like your event is actually a solution to a lot of your clients. Challenges, right? It is solving a problem for them about access to. Yeah. All the things you mentioned information, demystifying the [00:16:00] college process, et cetera. And so I think that’s another great takeaway for our listeners is if your event can solve a challenge or a problem for folks.
Great. Like I said before, it can also just be fun. And that’s also an opportunity for events like this, but the fact that yours is so modeled on filling a knowledge gap that people have, I think also is part of what makes it so successful. Yeah. And it cleans on this proximity bias that I see this in my space all the time, kids who come in.
And their parents signed them up for a nutrition consult and my staff member who they admire and they really, they like working with says, you should eat vegetables and the kids like dad, we have to go to the grocery store on the way home. Josh told me I should eat vegetables and dad’s you’re kidding me right now, right?
Like you’re going to act like this is the first time someone suggested vegetables in your life. This is BS. A lot of these topics that we’re going to touch on tomorrow. We could talk about this. We have been talking about this, our team, but we’re boring at this point in that sense to them, they want to hear about it from a pro.
[00:17:00] And so I’m okay with that. I’m okay with them delivering the same wisdom that we’ve been sharing and doubling down on it. And like you said, it might finally be the moment that they hear it or they feel it, or they act on it. And so we’re leaning into that as well. Yeah, that’s great. I think the thing I’m picturing in my head for like most gen pop gyms out there is I know all your clients at a gen pop gym, they got back pain.
All of that. If there’s any through line between if you serve people in their thirties, forties, fifties and beyond, they got back pain. And just think about the panel you can put together of a local physical therapist and a chiropractor and a massage therapist and a surgeon and whoever a homeopathic person, right?
That’s a great panel. I bet there’s a lot of people who would come and just learn more about how to get in front of and, and help their back pain, right? It’s such a, I would go to that. I got back pain. I love it. Sign me up for that panel. I’ll bring a bunch of people, a bunch of adults with aching, crummy backs into a room and I’ll make them sit on these shitty folding chairs for an hour.
Shitty folding chairs. While we talk to them about it. [00:18:00] It’s perfect. Totally. Totally talk about pushing on pain points. It works, sells itself after that. Yeah, I totally agree. There are a thousand different iterations of this concept that you can run. Yeah. But the, the point is really that you need to always be working your list.
Mm-Hmm. and asking yourself, how can I get in front of all of them with something of value? Yeah. Kind of periodically over the course of the year. Yeah. Let’s talk about this. I know we don’t have a ton of time left, but I wanted to say what’s important about the. what happens the day of. Okay. And after the event.
You just want to talk about those two pieces. So day of, we are routinely blindsided by a late influx of leads. So the idiots who have heard me say 15 times in the last five days that you’re almost out of time to get your name on the list. Please make a move by X date. They always wait till that date plus one.
So we have like I said around 120 RSVPs I’ve rented 150 chairs to be safe And I’ve actually [00:19:00] talked to the vendor about the fact that I might need to stretch that out to 175 or 200 as little as 90 minutes before the truck’s supposed to leave to make the delivery to us. And that’s fine. We’re used to it.
We’ve seen it enough times. But day of, we’ve already got our plan in place. John and I met to discuss it this morning. And the cleaning process actually started about 72 hours out. And then I have already communicated with the half dozen or so clients who typically train at the back end of the day on Wednesday evenings, who could potentially feel inconvenienced.
By a change in environment, I’m putting it on their radars and basically asking for forgiveness in advance. It’s not that they’re not going to be able to access equipment. It’s just that they love their routine and When they leave the gym on a regular Wednesday night They’re the ones who close it down with the staff and they walk out of an empty space and this time around They’re gonna walk out as 150 people stream in and so that’s a different [00:20:00] dynamic.
So I need to communicate with them What I’m going to do immediately after you and I get off of recording this is I’m going to email 100 percent of our RSVPs and reiterate the timing and the expectations for how to navigate the property, knowing where the restrooms are, knowing how long I expect the event to run, how we intend to structure it, and basically just over communicate on that front.
And then beyond that, it’s really just making sure the place is tidy more than anything else. Yeah, I think the important thing that I think we said, but maybe it’s worth repeating is that you ask people to register, you ask people to register to use what event, right? Or something. No, in this case, we’re just so antiquated in old school that it is email to register.
And then we just keep a very detailed list and we can segment by parent or athlete. And I’m going to make. After the fact, I’m going to make multiple offers depending on whether you fall into the parent or athlete category and we are going to, we’re doing a raffle day of, so we’re [00:21:00] raffling off some sports paraphernalia that is signed by clients from both our Florida and our Massachusetts facility and signed photographs and baseballs and we’ll raffle off some CSP gear and what I will do is the next day after that I will send a follow up offer that’s uh, thanks for coming, um, As a parent of an athlete come through the space, we’d like to offer you a complimentary month of our strength camp offer expires on next date.
We’d love to see you come on in for a free trial type deal. And having that RSVP list is huge because it’s my starting point for next year’s RSVP list. Yeah, it’s like already the win right having people register in advance and in your case be able to separate them into lists immediately Which again you can do by email or you could do by a form or some app But I think that’s huge because then you get to communicate with them set expectations Follow up if they don’t come or if they do come right and then also make them really unique offers based on what you know about them And that’s where I think a lot of folks drop the ball when it comes to [00:22:00] events.
They don’t force collect everyone’s contact information. So people will show up and they won’t have collected a name, phone number, or email from them. And then afterwards, they maybe send one email and then that’s it. But I know you’re going to follow up with some folks, probably more than once. To at least the ones who express interest and treat them like a real lead.
And that’s, I think, a lot where a lot of folks drop the ball. There’s, I sent one email to everyone. It’s like, some of those people came, some of those people didn’t come. Some of those people in your case were parents, some of them were kids. So how do you send one email to everyone that, that does that?
You know, you really do have to do some segmenting and some specific marketing to each group, if it’s a diverse, I’ve already written the copy for three different emails that are going to go out at 9am on Thursday. The first is the offer to the parent. Of a current client or just a cold lead, clearly apparent.
’cause everyone who RSVP says, I’d like for my son to come. And then I email back and I say, would you like to join them? We’re renting chairs. It would be good to have a big headcount. And then there’s the offer to the existing clients. We’re trying to sell them something. Just discounted nutrition [00:23:00] consult.
We are selling, trying to get them to sign up for a package for our winter package. It’s not significant savings for them, but it’s something, it’s a reason to show up back in their inbox. And then there is the offer for non client athlete, like youth athlete who is clearly part of the club program that facilitated the lead for us.
So they’re all getting their own kind of special version of a followup email. I’m not making a singular flyer that says if you fall into this category claim option a claim option B, because then we get into the, Then I get into the whole other conversation, which is existing clients coming to my desk and being like, I want that deal.
Of course. Yeah, we’ll save that one for another podcast, but that’s what we all hear from time to time. That’s a good one. All right. I think we’ve covered a lot of ground here. We talked about like, why you should do an event like this. Talked about how to get started in prep. We talked about day of and follow up from this event.
And clearly you’ve already been generating leads, not just generating leads, but you’ve already been converting leads to a trial or an assessment, which is [00:24:00] so fantastic. So I think listeners, if you found this valuable, please let us know. And we’ll come back again once this event is over. And if Pete has any updates, we’ll share them.
Oh, we can definitely do takeaways and I’ll be transparent about how much business I drove. Yeah, totally. We’ll come back and give some updated numbers. Anything else you want to say about the event before we wrap it up? Know what you want to sell when you step in front of the room and cook it into the conversation the whole way through.
I will be selling from the minute I start my intros. It’ll be gentle and it’ll be subtle. And nobody’s going to feel like I was a used car salesman from start to finish. But everyone in the room who was not familiar with us coming in is going to know exactly what we sell, exactly why we’re better than the alternative in our market and exactly how to book with me by the end of the night.
And I’ll be there as late as it takes to talk to everybody. Yeah. I love that. I think that’s a great way to end. Awesome. Thanks for a great conversation, Pete, as always. I think it’s some really great takeaways from this one. So listeners, I hope you were taking notes and as a [00:25:00] reminder, could leave us a five star review everywhere you listen to podcasts.
So we can keep doing this and sending, bringing you great content ideas like this one today and click the link down below, get Mark Fisher’s book at businessunicorns. com slash book. Thanks Pete. Have a good rest of your day. See you on the next one. Good talk. See you soon, Michael.