Episode 305

Part 1: Improve Your Client Onboarding with Dr. Brittaney Cook

In this episode, Dr. Brittaney Cook joins me to talk about how to improve your client onboarding.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friend on today’s episode. I’m speaking with Dr. Brittaney Cook from athletic outcomes in Austin, Texas. She’s a unicorn study member and the latest addition to our business unicorns coaching team. We’re so excited to have her. And I’m thrilled to introduce you to her on this podcast. We’re talking about your 90 day onboarding process for clients.

And here’s the thing. Most gyms we talked to have a really. Terribly inconsistent client onboarding experience. As a result, people don’t stay as long. They don’t refer as quickly. Brittaney Cookthey don’t get that many quick wins. They often regret their purchase. Brittaney CookToday, in this two part episode with Brittany, we’re going to walk through a really tried and true 90 day onboarding experience.

There are so many great tips and tricks and strategies for you to try. So between this episode, which will be part one and the following episode in part two, please grab a pen, grab a pencil, get ready to take lots and lots of notes and learn from Dr. Brittaney Cook. Enjoy this episode.[00:01:00]

Welcome to the Business for Unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Keeler. 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. I’m very excited for today’s episode. But before we dive in, I just want to give a quick shout out to our friends over at Kilo. I know many of you as gym owners spend so much time or really you should be spending a lot of time following up with leads.

Who opt in through your website and we really like working with our friends over at use kilo. com because they will not only design you a really great website that converts with grass, great [00:02:00] SEO, but it integrates with all these backend tools that help you make following up with leads much easier. So if you struggle to automate those processes and follow up as much as you need to with your leads, go over to use kilo.

com, let them know we sent you and go give them a try. Cause I think it’ll make that process much more effective for you. Today’s episode, I’m very excited to have on the podcast for the first time, Dr. Brittaney Cook. Welcome, Brittany. How are you? Thank you. I’m so good. Good. How are you? I’m great. I’m so glad you’re on this podcast.

Let me just tell people a little bit about you and then I’ll ask you to elaborate. Perfect. Brittaney Cook is the founder and coach over at Athletic Outcomes in Austin, Texas. She’s also a Unicorn Society member for the last few years. And most recently joined the Business Unicorns team as a accountability coach.

Yay. I’ll pause for applause, hold for applause. And so I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. One more distinction is that during our Unicorn Society retreats that we have a few times per year, last year, Brittany had one of [00:03:00] the most popular, received Best feedback, given presentations at one of our retreats about 90 day onboarding and about her specific idea onboarding process, which is what we’re going to go over today.

I think it’s going to be a two parter. Today’s going to be part one. You’ll have to come back for part two, but I’m so excited to bring that presentation that she did for Unicorn Society to all of you listeners. Thanks for being here, Brittany. Tell us a little bit more about athletic outcomes. Yeah, so athletic outcomes.

We started eight years ago in Austin, Texas. My husband and I launched it and Right now we have what 11 11 coaches and we believe in functional fitness. We love our community is fan freaking tastic and yeah, we’re just You know, family owned gym, boutique gym in the east side of Austin, and we love it.

Yeah, it’s a great space. I got to visit last time I was in Austin and it really is beautiful. Lots of great light, great community, great space. So I’m so glad to have another podcast and so glad we get to work together as a team. So let’s dive in. I think, like I said, we’re going to make this a [00:04:00] two parter, but here’s what we’re going to talk about, dear friends.

We’re going to talk about the importance of having a really great. 90 day onboarding process for your new members. And so before we dive in, Brittany, like what makes this so important? What’s the why behind the what here? Yeah. So we really focus on the 90 day onboarding to let our people know our community, know if they’re a good fit for us.

We want them to know right away like who we are and we don’t want them to feel surprised at any point. So we create a lot of consistency. We lay out all of our policies, tell them what we’re all about. We educate them on our program. And we also hope that during those 90 days that they really understand our core values without us shoving them down their throats.

So really just give them the opportunity to understand who we are. What we do and what they’ll receive from working with us. Yeah. 100%. I think this part is so crucial. There’s research that shows that customers who have a great experience in the first few days, first few weeks are more likely to stay.

They’re more likely to stay [00:05:00] longer and refer friends, et cetera, et cetera. So I love that you mentioned that. You’re this is also an expectation setting moment to make sure they’re clear on who you are. You’re clear on who they are to make sure that it’s a good fit. I also know during this period, it’s helpful to distinguish yourself and the way your gym does things from other experiences they might have had.

Can you say a little more about that? Yeah, from the very beginning, we give them the opportunity to take advantage of learning from us, maybe on more of an individual level. So we invite them to little things like, we have a coffee club, for example, and they come and they can ask us any question about who we are, our history.

Who the coaches are. We just, we’re in open books. We’re very transparent with them. And I really feel like it provides them with trust from the get go. And I feel like they like the idea of knowing a little bit more about just the meat and potatoes of our business, who we are, where we came from. That sort of thing.

That’s it. Just letting them connect with you personally, like on a more personal level, understanding why you do what you do. And I love the idea of just inviting them to [00:06:00] coffee as a way of doing that. They’re not going to read a million emails, right? They’re not going to come and sit in some long, boring workshop, right?

But if you can invite them into Brittaney Cookreally connect with you and your team. It’s a great way to differentiate yourselves from other experiences they’ve ever had. I also know that a big part of why you have such a clear and well defined 90 day onboarding process is that you can really handle like a high volume of clients, right?

The more clear you are about your onboarding process, the easier it is for you to like, Just bring a lot of people into the business without systems breaking. Cause you can just talk a little bit about like how you think about building SOPs for this 90 day onboarding process. First and foremost, it’s always changing.

I think even after the retreat, the presentation, I went home and even update, but yeah, it’s constantly changing and. We I feel like there are things that we add and take away We want the client to feel important with our events, even if they’re just starting I want them to feel important when they’re post 90 days Brittaney Cookto engage with us as much as possible [00:07:00] So laying out those super clear expectations like educating them as much as possible hand holding them through the beginning and then towards the end like really Focusing on how can we engage them in future events like future experiences that are super consistent.

So consistency In regards toBrittaney Cook their experience, which therefore leads to our SOPs, Brittaney Cookcreating those automations that we send out for our communication, sending out text messages that are initially automated, but then turn into a little bit more customBrittaney Cook helps us. Number one allows us to communicate with a lot of people, but then we’ll still implement some custom messages here and there.

So they still feel like they’re important. So SOPs, they’re always changing, but we base it off of. What exactly is, what does the client need in that moment? And then we’ll just update the SOP, the automation immediately. That’s great. Now, I love that you talked about two things there. One is making sure that there’s clear instructions for how your whole team, not just one person, not just you, creates a consistent experience.

So that no matter how many people are coming through the door in a [00:08:00] given week, how many people are trying you out or in your low barrier offer or trial, that they are having a consistent first few weeks experience. And then I also love that you talked about some of it is automated. And the robots help and some of it is really personalized where you’re really inserting personal thing.

And I think there’s a balance for people to find there because I think people often do all of one or the other or it’s all automated and so impersonal or they’re breaking their back making everything so bespoke. And I think it’s really a balance of the two that makes it sustainable. What were you going to say?

Yeah. I was just going to say that I do think people fear automations and we really do take advantage of them. Something as simple as, Hey, it’s your 25th visit. That’s something I don’t want to keep track of. And automation is perfect for that. And they’re like, hell yeah, it’s my 25th visit and then we celebrate it.

So those are the things that you can use automations for. We really take advantage of it. That’s great. Let’s just give them a lay of the land. I promise this is going to be a two part episode. And so let’s just tell them what the whole thing is. I’ll lay it out like this, that there’s a bunch of stuff that Brittany and her team does before the person’s first [00:09:00] visit.

So before the lead even comes in for their first visit and their first low barrier offer, there’s things they do during the trial. Which I think we’re going to get up to that point in today’s podcast. Then after that, there’s going to be 30 days, 60 days, 90 days worth of content. And that’s probably going to be part two.

Does that feel good enough? Yeah. Yeah. Let’s dive in. When we talk about that pre visit all the way up through the first 30 days, I think you have something like 20 plus contact points. Can you just talk a little bit about what’s your focus during this time? What are the things you’re trying to communicate during these kind of initial few chapters here?

Yeah, for sure. So we have, we, I think we do 20 to 25 contact points and the contact point is just like a moment where we focus on our 90 day onboarding. So we’re trying to provide either an experience for our team or an experience for our members or hopefully potential members, right? So during those first 20 to 25 contact points within the first 30 days, we really dive into.

giving them like very [00:10:00] clear points of this is exactly what you can expect when you walk in the door for the first time. And with that comes onboarding of our team. For example, hey, this is what we told all of the trial people what they’re going to experience. And now this is how you do it. So we role play.

With our team onboarding, we really dive into our core values. What does it mean when somebody walks in the door? What’s your job with that? So those first 23 contact points are laying out super clear expectations, educating them big time on exactly what we do, what our business is all about. Our programming, for example, I do really feel like that separates us from other local gyms.

And so we like to educate them on the programming rather than them just coming in like clueless of what, why they’re there and what they’re doing. And I always say handholding, like we’re really just there to try to guide them as much as possible. If they have any questions about memberships, any questions about the showers, the shampoo brand that we use, anything, we’re just really there to be like, What can we do for you?

So that’s great. Time. Yeah. Those, I think there’s a really great three specific things that it’s a, it’s about clear [00:11:00] expectations. Here’s what you can expect day one walking in. Here’s the parking lot looks like, here’s what your workouts going to look like. Some education, helping them understand the why behind the what, like why you program the way you do, why you chose the exercises and equipment that you do.

And then the third piece, I think you said was more like handholding, just being there with them, supporting them, answering questions, making sure that they don’t feel lost or confused at any point, that there’s someone there to catch them. I think those are three great, really great kind of guiding principles.

So let’s dive in. So before they even come, before they even walk in the door, just give me a few examples of the kinds of touch points you do before they even come for their first visit. Yes. Absolutely. Like I said, our onboarding for our team is really focused on creating that first impression. So we do focus a lot on the core values regularly with our team.

So not a contact point for the clients, but definitely a contact point for us to provide a consistent experience. Like I said, immediately when they register, they just go online and they like create an account. They could just add their [00:12:00] username, password, phone number, email. We immediately send them an email right away and we’re like, Hey, this is who we are.

We saw you’re interested. What can we do to help you? Can we send him a text message also? Because, I don’t know, I love texts. Email just get, Brittaney Cookit’ll be like 100th on my list. Oh, I’m so bad at opening emails. Yeah, but I’m working on it. So I love a text message and the text message is just, Hey, we noticed you signed up.

It’s very casual. It’s not forceful. It’s not salesy. I think that’s key for our communication too. Like our messaging is. Me talking to you, and I really try to focus on, if I was to have a conversation with somebody when I walked in, this is exactly what I want it to sound like. But it might be like, duh, smiley face, like very casual.

We do, before they sign up, so right after they do sign up for their first session, we send them like an expectations text message. It’s Brittaney Cookhey, we’re parked behind Capital One, there’s plenty of parking, so don’t stress about that. Brittaney Cookcome in the door and within one second a coach will be there to acknowledge you and you know What it’s like when somebody walks into a business for the first time they just look like deer [00:13:00] in headlights We can spot them pretty easily.

We don’t have a front desk So we really are on top of who walks in the door when they walk in the door. We’re very aware of it And then we do a lot of role play with this, making sure that our team is like constantly challenged with like new entries. Like when somebody walks in the door and they put their stuff down, but then they look confused.

Okay. What can you say at that point? Oh, wow. It looks like you knew what you were doing. Sorry. Didn’t notice you were here. So acknowledging it and like also being super human. We’re all humans. And Brittaney Cookwe’d like to communicate in that way and not feel very salesy and pitched. Yeah, there’s so many great things in that, Brittany.

I hope our listeners are taking notes here. One is that so much of your focus here is about making sure the team is ready to actually be present and anticipate this person’s arrival. So role playing with your team, how to even greet people when they walk in the door, is such an underrated. Good use of time for you and your team.

Brittaney CookI love that, that you’re also talking a little bit about setting expectations via text even before they come. And I think that casual [00:14:00] text language is so important to make it feel like a friend is writing to you, telling you about your plans for the weekend, right? It’s gotta be like chill vibes, not like coming from a business.

It’s gotta feel like it’s coming from a person, ideally like a friend. And I think there’s no detail too small to give them a heads up about. Here’s the parking. We got showers. We’ve placed to put your stuff. Here’s what to wear. Brittaney Cookany of that stuff I think is so valuable, especially for those of you who serve a general population audience who may not always be gym people.

They might not go to the gym that often. You might be the first gym they set foot Brittaney Cookin a while. Let’s make sure they feel really comfortable is huge there. Anything else that’s important for that first visit touch points? Yeah. I’ll just add to that. We use those text messages, those automations as a way to prevent future work.

Sure. So we’re constantly getting a phone call, and for us to stop what we’re doing and answer the phone, it’sBrittaney Cook and they’re like, how do I find you? And it’s, man, this text message that we just sent you literally tells you exactly how to get here. So we really try to use those [00:15:00] automations as a way to, like I said, lay out policies or prevent future work.

Like making sure that we’re nailing all the questions that people have and like really forcing them into that first few, those first few interactions. That’s so great, Brittany. What it reminds me of is Brittaney Cookmy past life and hospitality. One of the things that separates like Good hospitality from like world class luxury hospitality is customer service that anticipates the customer’s needs, not just responds to or reacts Brittaney Cookto a customer’s needs, but you’re getting in front of here’s what I know they might need.

And I’m proactive. You’re practically offering, right? It’s example, like at a hotel, like a great hotel, when you’re leaving and checking out, we’ll ask you, we’ll have some water available. If you ask them for it. I’m like, Hey, I’m jumping in my car. I got a long car right ahead of me, or I’m getting a long ride to the airport.

Like you have a bottle of water I can take with me. A great hotel will proactively offer it. Hey, where are you going right now? Do you some directions to the airport? Would you like a bottle of water to take with you? Can I call a cab for you? They will proactively ask you for what you need. Same thing at the gym.

So we know you’re going to be driving here. There’s no other [00:16:00] way to get here. Let me tell you about parking. Let me tell you about your stuff. Let me tell you about the stuff we have in our locker room or shower. And so I think that’s really fantastic. All right. So you’ve done all these touch points before they walk in.

Now they’re there and they’re in your kind of trial phase. Typically just for context, explain to people like, what is a typical trial period for you? Yeah. So we do a two week long trial and for our classes, it’s, they come as many times as they want. Small group, we narrow it down to four visits within that trial.

Okay, great. So then during that trial phase, during that two week period, you have a bunch of more touch points. What are the kinds of things you’re doing during this period? Great. First and foremost, we always make sure that we are practicing remembering names. And Brittaney Cookif somebody comes for a first visit, they walk in the door, and I’m the coach who’s there.

I’m gonna remember their name. We try to do the five repeated way of, Oh, your name is Sally. Hey, Sally. And that’s the second time you repeat it. And then Sally, this is Tim. And then you try to, we try to repeat it five [00:17:00] times within the first five minutes. Love that. And it usually makes it a little bit easier to remember.

But if Sally’s next visit is with another coach and they’re not new, you’ll tend to spend a little bit less time with them. You won’t show them where the showers are. So there’s that lack of forceful name remembering. First and foremost, we try to focus on remembering names. That’s something that we’ve been told is really important.

Yeah, so our coaches are working on names constantly. We do, after their first visit. Excuse me. After their first visit, we’ll ask for feedback. So our coaches, if it is their first visit, we’ll just go right up to face and be like, how was it? And it’d be super, it’s not a forceful conversation. It’s very casual.

It’s just tell me everything. You did a pull up. That’s amazing. Awesome job. Let’s do it again. Not salesy, but just like getting feedback face to face. And then we also ask for feedback in a text message we’ll say immediately right after How was it? And that’s when they’ll get a little bit more truthful to the, to our team’s face.

They may not be say what’s really on their mind, but no, it allows them to be a little bit more honest with us. It [00:18:00] was really great, but I couldn’t find a towel. Okay. Great way to learn that we need to always focus on towels on that first interaction. Send them a text message. And then that’s when we start to invite them to things that’s like within those first two weeks That’s when we’ll invite them for example, like to the coffee club that we talked about Which again is just we have it every fourth sunday It’s just an opportunity to come drink free coffee and just hang out with whoever attends So I always run them just because i’m obsessed with them.

I love drinking coffee with people And that’s where we start to invite them to those sort of things invite them to our events And that’s when they’ll also start getting just our regular newsletters. And so regular newsletters, not salesy, just more like educational focusBrittaney Cook just so they start to feel like they’re involved in the family.

Yeah, that’s so great. I, again, listeners, I hope you’re taking notes. There’s so many good pieces in this, Brittany. I hope you know how good it is. One I heard, I just want to recap and highlight the things I think are so good is named names. Get feedback, invite them to stuff. Yeah. Let’s just go through like big picture.

Those three things again, because I think it’s so critical when it comes to names. When do [00:19:00] you all actually practice this as a team? Is this like a thing you do in team meetings? We focus heavily on it and onboarding. And then we talk about it. So we have team meetings and we’ll just talk about our new members.

That is part of our 30 days. The first 30 days is just like conversation. Hey, who’s joined? Who is this person? What do we know about this person? And we’ll be like, oh yeah, the guy who wears the Nikes. Yes. His name is Greg. And we’re like, then we can’t. I don’t know about you, but there are certain ways that I remember people’s names.

Same with when I worked in an ice cream shop. I remember what they ordered for their ice cream by their vehicle. It just clicked. Brittaney Cooksame withBrittaney Cook shoes. We’re definitely shoe people. If they’re wearing Nikes and they’re red, we’re gonna probably remember their names. So hopefully they don’t change their shoes in the first few weeks.

During our team meetings, that’s where we do discuss. Discuss our new members or our new trial people even. And that just allows us to, if I’m not working in the evenings, it still allows me to learn about who these people are, even if I haven’t seen them face to face. Yeah, it’s so critical. It seems so basic, but so many places just don’t do it.

You’ll go, there’ll be a client that’s in there for the third or fourth [00:20:00] time. And people still don’t know their names. If they do know them, not using them, it’s just an easy way to build connection and trust. Brittaney Cookand so that’s great. Brittaney CookI also love the second part, which was about feedback, which is you ask for feedback in person, you ask for feedback after the fact.

Via text, or you can certainly do it by email. And Brittaney Cookwhat do you do with the feedback when you get it? Everybody’s first impression is key, I believe, to them continuing. A first impression is everything. If you just get acknowledged, it makes you feel so warm and fuzzy in a business. Getting that feedback, we’re really sensitive to it.

To just make sure that those first visits are like providing the experience that we think that they’re providing. So something as simple as the music was too loud. Okay, cool. Yeah, as a team, we’ll talk about it, but we also want to lay out expectations. Yeah, we love music here. It’s super fun. If you are suggesting a time that if you would like to hear a time, that’s maybe a little less loud, like our 4 p.

m. super chill, great opportunity to come and listen to like more chill music. We want to stay true to ourselves, but we also want to take that feedback. And if it’s a [00:21:00] constant, continuous feedback, then we’ll definitely make changes to make sure everybody’s happy. But. At the end of the day, you can’t make it 100%.

I think you’re right. That’s so much. Just hearing the feedback, making sure they understand that you listened, you cared, you did something about it. If you could, you give them some suggestions and tips for how to navigate it. If you can’t. And I think that in of itself helps build like loyalty, trust, all that.

And then the last thing you said, I just, I want to highlight these three because I think it’s so critical is invite them to stuff. I know so many gyms who do have a monthly book club or a running club or, but they don’t actually, they just expect their members just to find out about it somehow, just Brittaney Cookdiscover it someday.

But you’re saying no, that in these first two weeks during the trial, make a specific invitation to ask them to join. And I think that goes a long way. So other than coffee club, any other invitations you tend to make? Yeah, Brittaney Cookwe do, we’re events crazy. We love events. We have happy hours. We do events just like out in the community, free workouts all the time.[00:22:00]

We really believe that if you have a friend at Athletic Outcomes, you will stay. You will continue to come back. Nothing is better than waking up and being like, I’m going to see my bestie at the gym today. I think it helps our team stay longer when they have a friend. At work and it helps our members stay longer when they have a friend at the gym.

So whatever we can do to create that community those connections those relationships We’re gonna do all the time as much as possible So we’re very event crazy and I don’t know if you remember during the 90 day presentation I did get some feedback like that’s a lot of events. We’re like, yep, but we are Social bunnies.

We love just like doing random things. It works for you. And it works for your avatar. Your avatars at that age where they do want to socialize and bring their friends, get to know people. That’s not right for every gym, but it really works for you. And certainly MFF has always been that way as well.

Social people. You know what? Let’s leave this here. Let’s call this the end of part one and then we’ll make everyone come back for part two. So we’ve covered in this one is why 90 day onboarding. What the why behind the what we covered, we talked a little bit about the things you do before the first [00:23:00] visit and then during the two week trial, or we’re going to cover in part two, when you all come back is what do you do in the first 30, 60, 90 days.

So once they’ve actually become a member, gotten past the trial period comes next and Dr. Cook is going to keep walking us through it. So thanks for listening to this episode, my friends stay right there, Brittany. We’re going to keep on recording. And if you all love this episode, keep listening for part two and leave us a review five star review everywhere you listen.

I appreciate you all. See you in the next one.