Episode 323

The Secret to Free Leads on Social Media with Ben Pickard

In this episode, Ben Pickard joins me to talk about the secret to free leads on social media.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friend on today’s episode, I’m speaking with Ben and we are talking about the secret strategy to getting free leads on social media without spending a dollar on paid advertising. So if you, if you sunk a lot of money into paid ads, you’re not alone, my friend, it can be useful, but the reality is you can get really great leads on social media without having To spend money on ads, the strategy is often referred to as sell by chat.

And we’re going to review all of our best practices for how to be successful at selling using chat on social media. So that sounds useful to you and you want more free leads from organic social media, keep on listening. My friend,

welcome to the business for unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business, I’m your host, Michael join me each week for [00:01:00] 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 unicorns podcast. I’m back here with my man, Ben. How are you, my friend? Hello, I’m doing great. I’m writing the post retreat. Hi. It was fantastic. We’re recording this a week after our unicorn study retreat in Austin, which was magical, but today we’re going to be talking about sell by chat But before we dive in I just want to give a quick shout out We have a new free resource that Mark put together, which is about the Personal productivity and time management.

We know that many of you as small business owners and gym owners struggle with managing yourself and your time, and you’re not always focused on the most important things it’s tough. And it’s, and honestly, it’s a skillset. It’s a skillset you can learn, and we have a free [00:02:00] resource to help you with that.

So down on the show notes, click the link and there’s a free tool to help you get better at managing your time. And there’s lots of tools out there. For time management and personal productivity and there’s gurus and there’s books and there’s hacks and there’s Instagram accounts, but the tool we’re giving you here is specifically for you gym owners, right?

So it’s specific to the kind of work that you’re doing on a regular basis. Go get that link free resource. We hope it helps. Next, let’s dive in, Ben. Let’s talk about sell by chat first. What the fuck is sell by chat? Great question, Michael. I’ve thought of this as a bouncer bouncing this around in my head.

I’ve thought of this as like organic social media 2. 0. You’re out there, you’re posting stories every day. You’re putting up feed posts on a regular basis. You’re gaining followers. So by chat is really. How you ultimately sell people via primarily Instagram DMs, but it’s really the next step of engaging your followers to see who’s a five star prospect and who might be a good potential client for your [00:03:00] facility.

Yeah, 100%. We talk all the time about social media. If you’re going to use it for marketing and selling means you have to be social on social media. Like you actually have to talk to strangers, start conversations with strangers, get in front of new eyeballs and people engage. You need to actually engage with them.

And so I think thinking about this as social media 2. 0, I think is fantastic. And so let’s walk through, we have a whole playbook for this, obviously for our unicorns and numbers, how you execute. On sell by chat. But today let’s just go through a very high level. You already mentioned one of the terms we’re going to cover, which is, what is a five star prospect?

These are the ideal people you’re going to go after during sell by chat. But I also want to cover some common pitfalls and then share kind of our overall sell by chat model. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to try and do that in under 15 minutes today. Let’s see if we can. First things first, you mentioned this term already.

What the hell is a five star prospect? Yeah, a five star prospect is. I guess the reason we have this is because I’m not getting enough clients. I’m not getting enough leads. Like maybe they’re not the [00:04:00] right people. So we define a five star prospect with five pieces. The first one is someone who’s willing to engage in dialogue with you over sell by chat.

There are also people who are like friendly and cooperative, like arguably might want to spend more time with this person. There are people who also know what they want. And know when they want it. If they’re not sure I could get fit, but I could not, and it might not be ever not a five star prospect. And the last and most important step is someone who would like some help.

So it’s people who are willing to engage in dialogue, are friendly and cooperative, know what they want, know when they want it. And. Would actually like some help with their problem. And this is critical, right? If we’re going to start to DM people who are engaging with on social media and build a connection with them, build rapport with them, understand their needs, and eventually try and sell them something, get them on a phone, at least get them to give us their email or phone number or actually sell them something.

Then we need to make sure we’re going after the people who are [00:05:00] right fit for this kind of sales approach. And so I’m just going to reiterate the, I’m going to sort of restate the ones you just said, Ben. People who are the right fit for this, the people we’re calling five star prospects, willing to talk to you.

They’re friendly and cooperative, they have some sense of what they want, some goals they have in mind, and they want it now, they know their timeline for it, which is now or soon, right, and they know they want some help, they know they can’t do it alone, and for, if people are not checking those boxes, it’s very often they’re just not going to respond to you, they’re just not going to engage in your cell by chat.

approach. And so I think don’t waste your time on people who don’t check those boxes. Now, listen, are some people going to not respond to you within five minutes and might respond to you within like a few days? Sure. But for the most part, we want to make sure that we’re reaching out to people who want help, who know they have some goals they can’t reach on their own and are willing to engage with you.

In their DMS, anything you would add to that, Ben, just, I think this is important framing. [00:06:00] Cause not everyone you message is going to answer. And the number of times we’ve heard Jim always be like, I emailed them, but they didn’t say anything back or I’ve talked to them, but they weren’t really working with me.

Like not everyone’s a good fit and that’s okay. And that’s why it’s important. Remember, like you’re looking for five star prospects, not everybody. In your city is a five star prospect for your gym. Yeah. 100%. So just don’t waste your time on the folks who are just not checking those boxes and not engaging.

They’re just not the right fit right now, but you can reach out to them again in a few weeks, a few months, a few years, and they might be. Yeah. So that’s the first step is make sure you’re only spending time on the right kind of product. Uh, the right kind of lead. Let’s talk about some pitfalls. There’s a lot of things that people get wrong when it comes to trying to sell people through Instagram DMS.

And so what are some of the pitfalls and how do we people overcome them? Yeah. So there’s a number of pitfalls. The first one is you’re coming into this with an agenda. It’s not random chitchat. Your goal is to move them or your goal is to see if they’re the right fit. Five [00:07:00] star prospect to move to the next step of your funnel for the phone call strategy session, whatever your offer is.

So the joke that we have in the playbook is don’t get friend zoned here, but. Like you’re coming into this with an attention. It’s also really important that you’re not always asking the same questions. So I know how hard it can be when you pull up Instagram, you send some messages, you circle back to it six hours later, maybe, and you can’t just copy and paste the conversation every time.

Tell me more about your goals. Tell me more about your goals. There’s got to be a natural flow to it. You’ve also got to make sure that you’re not interrogating people. Obviously you’re going to lose tone on an Instagram chat or any text based communication for that matter. Take So it’s important that you’re like taking extra care to acknowledge and to validate and to add value and to ask questions, throw some emojis in there.

Cause otherwise it does come across interrogation. Like, why is that important to you? Why have you not gained muscle yet? Why are you failing at your things? I know that’s not what we mean, but keep in mind, dude, I don’t know you, bro. Like why are you coming in so hot with these questions? It’s too much too soon.

Exactly. [00:08:00] You’re also going to have to like, put your adult pants on and ask for the sale, so to speak. At some point, it’s going to be like, is that something you want some help with? So you just got to be ready to make that ask. And if you’re not ready to make that ask, it goes back to the point. Number one, it turns into random chitchat.

And then probably the last piece, that’ll be the hardest for the BFU listeners out there who have been stewards of Michael Keeler’s coaching approach. This is the opposite of coaching. You are not asking, no, not at all. You are asking closed ended questions. It’s what do you run one on one or small group to your clients?

Are you working with gen pop or athletes? It’s not the typical coaching open ended questions. You’ve got to make it easy for people to respond quickly. Your goal with this whole thing is you’re only trying to get them to the next step. The first step you’re trying to get them to is to respond. The next step you’re trying to get them to is to actually have some sort of engagement.

You’re not trying to sell them anything off right off the bat, and you’re definitely not solving their problems over an Instagram chat. Yeah, I think those are really great. [00:09:00] Let me just reiterate some of the ones I think stand out to me. Have a plan and a strategy. Ideally a script. This is not like random chit chatting.

Try not to be too redundant and paste the same things over and over again. Try to actually respond to what they’re saying when they do respond to you. Try to avoid interrogating. Don’t go in asking a ton of questions. Offer some value. Acknowledge what they’re saying, right? Make it a human conversation, not just an interrogation.

At some point, as Ben said, the whole goal here is to get them to respond, and to keep them going, and get them to engage. But at some point, you’re probably going to ask them for something. Ask them for their email, ask them for their phone number, ask them to book a session with you, or a strategy call. And don’t be afraid to escalate when the time is right.

And I think the last one is really important, which is this is not a coaching conversation, right? This is yes or no questions. Make it easy for them to respond so that you can get them to respond again and again. And that makes it so much easier. I think that the thing you highlighted here, which I just, I think it’s worth saying again and again on this conversation is the [00:10:00] most important goal.

When you’re doing sell by chat is to get them to keep responding to you just to keep the conversation going. Cause if you’re talking, you haven’t gotten a no yet, right? If you’re talking, you’re obviously learning something about you. You’re learning something about them. They’re learning something about you.

You’re building rapport. You’re building trust. You’re building what we often call no and trust as a marketer, right? Which gives you at some point permission to then ask for something, but you gotta spend some time building value, like in a real life conversation. Um, Anything you would add to that before we move on?

No, that’s clear. Okay. So let’s talk about what you do. Like what’s the strategy. We won’t have time to go in all the details. Like I said, obviously for our unicorns that I remember, so we have a whole very detailed script and playbook for this. And maybe we’ll come back and do another podcast with a little bit more detail, but you want to just talk overall about what are the core steps you need to follow in this.

In this conversational approach to selling. Yeah. We’ll give a quick overview of the steps that may be kind of a couple key points on each one. So the four steps that you want to [00:11:00] keep in mind as you’re running cell by chat at your gym are first is post. You’re probably already doing this. You want to have a, have active posts there.

Otherwise you’re not going to have people to engage with. The second is connect, which we talked about a lot in the pitfalls. The third is qualify, you want to make sure they’re someone who is actually looking for the type of training that you offer. And then the last step is to convert them, is to take them to the next step that can lead it into a real sales conversation.

So why don’t we start by talking a little bit about step one of posting? Yeah, let’s talk about it. I think your point you already made, which is y’all, none of this happens unless you’re posting regularly on social media. And for this. Purpose of this podcast. We’ll just keep talking on Instagram. That’s where most of you these days have most of your audience, but if you’re not posting, there’s nothing for people to engage with and yeah, you want to just give a quick tip about this one.

Yeah. The key points here are you want to follow the inspire, educate, entertain, which are your three types of posts, and then you need to be asking for engagement. So this can be things like comment [00:12:00] below, share this post, take a poll. But you can’t, I guess the key point here is don’t expect people to engage if they haven’t been asked to engage.

Some people will anyways, but you need it. Every few posts put something out there that says, Hey, would you prefer this or this? Take a poll on what your goals are, like get people to actually engage with you. Otherwise you’re not really going to. Interrupted scrolling. I see so often, especially in the fitness space and I get it and I’m not trying to shame here, but so often a lot of fitness folks are just like lecturing on the internet.

They’re just out there like talking at people through their videos, right? They’re not engaging them in a dialogue or asking questions or like even asking for any sort of response. So if that sounds like you, dear listener, it’s time to make your content more conversational. Ask them to engage in the chat box.

Ask, do a poll once in a while. I. Actually, record yourself having a conversation with a team member or a client and do a collaborative post, but you got to give them something they want to engage with because that engagement tells you it’s time to [00:13:00] move on to the next step, which is connect. So let’s move to that one.

Yeah. So connect is. Exactly as you think it means, it’s begin the conversation. So it’s very likely you’re going to have to do a cold open and send them a message. Um, but it could be things like, hey, thanks so much for commenting on this, on the post about whatever, the poll about plyometrics, like what plyometrics are you doing?

It might just be like, hey, thanks for the follow. And that like, might be a starting point, but you’ve got to, again, like I said, put your adult pants on with this and you’ve got to actually, Begin the initiation. It’s like when you, I don’t know, you’re walking down the street and you see a stranger. And instead you look at the floor beside or the ground beside you and just walk past.

You just be like, Hey, just like, Hey, I’m acknowledging that you’re here. Thanks for engaging with my poll. Thanks for commenting below. Here’s that free resource that I mentioned that I’m sending your way on. I’m just going to keep going to plyometrics, but it’s getting some sort of open and then having a conversation starter.

Like you just hear for the content, or is that to help you with one of your fitness goals? [00:14:00] How’d you hear about me? That type of thing that just, it’s a simple, closed ended question to get them to engage with you. Yeah. Want to know more about plyometrics or do you do plyometrics? I love that you’re using that as the example.

You do a lot of plyometrics over there at Leanstrong. Almost none, but I’m just thinking sports performance today for some reason. I love it. I love it. Yeah. But listen, it doesn’t matter what the content is, right? It’s about reaching out and saying, Hey, I saw you engaged with me. I saw you finish the poll.

Thank you. Oh, what did you vote? Or I saw you picked green. Why didn’t you pick red anything at all? That’s technically an open ended question, but you get the idea. Like it’s something that just is about the fact that they just engaged with you. Right. They said, hi, and you have to say hi back and then continue the conversation by asking them ideally a simple, succinct, close ended question.

And that’s the connection part. That’s just reaching out and making a connection. If they respond, then they’re on their way to becoming a five star prospect. The next part of this process, after you’ve connected [00:15:00] and engaged, added some value, is start to qualify them and learn more. What’s that stage look like?

Yeah, there’s a few steps in here that I think we probably want to go in a little bit more in depth podcast, because this is like really what the The chat part of sell by chat, but you want to start by asking curious questions, getting to know them and building rapport. You don’t want to make sure you’re reflecting back what you’re hearing.

Make sure you have, you can show them that you can actually help them. So by referencing client success or that type of thing, or even a free resource would add authority in that space. And then really making sure that you understand what they need. But this is, this is having an actual conversation.

Honestly, not that much different from the standpoint than if someone were to reach out and be like, Hey, I’m interested in joining your gym. What are your prices? I’m hoping, dear listener, that you don’t just say, here’s our price sheet. Which one do you want to buy? You’d be like, Oh, I’d love to share my prices with you.

Can you tell me more about your fitness goals? So it’s a similar conversation with the difference here being you initiated and not them. So you have to be a little, a lot softer with the sales piece. [00:16:00] I think that’s a great way of thinking about it. Those four kind of steps in this part, which is ask great questions, things simple.

Do you live in the neighborhood, right? Do you have a current fitness routine that you like? Then reflect back what they say, show them that you can help, and then keep going until you really understand their need, understand what is the core thing that they want. I think those are the four steps that are really at the heart of.

The cell by chat, which is really getting them to share with you. What is the problem they have that you can solve? And then trying to position yourself as the person to solve it, which really leads us into step four, because once you’ve built that rapport and that connection, you start to qualify. This is someone who could actually use your help.

Then we get to step four, which is to convert. And this, I think, is probably pretty self explanatory. But what happens here, Ben? This is where you’re asking if they would like some help reaching the goals that they told you are important to them. And generally speaking, we usually recommend having some sort of introductory call, like a discovery call [00:17:00] before a sales process.

So people don’t feel like they’re being pushed directly to a sale. And this is really asking, Hey, Michael, would you like some help reaching your fat loss and plyometric goals? I’m like, yeah, I think I’d be open to that. Cool. Here’s what I’m thinking. Why don’t we hop on a quick call to talk a little bit more about your needs, brainstorm a couple of solutions and map out a plan to help you achieve that.

Does that sound good? And then you get them booked for their call and that’s the beginning of the real sales process where they’ve expressed like, Hey, I’m actually interested in getting some help from you because often we hear from people. We don’t want to, you don’t want to just feel like you’re like, Like spamming people, harassing people at this point.

Now they’ve actually raised their hand. They’re not suggesting you spam or harass them, but now you can move them into a, like an actual conversation, which is going to do more of everything we talked about, build rapport, build trust, see you as an authority, and then be able to move to obviously the thing here is you’re gonna be able to help them map out a quick plan, but it’s very likely they’re going to need some help executing that plan.

Oh my goodness, how convenient that you own a gym that does exactly that [00:18:00] thing that they’re looking for. I think it’s a great summary, Ben. This is the end of the process where you turn a corner and you make an offer. You make an offer to either give them some more free resources or get them on a discovery call.

Or oftentimes this first step doesn’t actually cost anything. So we’re not trying to get them to whip up their credit card in Instagram It’s just getting them to continue the conversation, maybe in person or on zoom or by phone. And I think that in of itself is the goal at the end, which is to continue the conversation out of the platform.

All right. Let’s pull up there. Cause we can keep going. This is a deep topic. There’s a lot of other kind of pro tips we could get into, but how would you summarize what we covered today here, Ben? Yeah, the summary would be like, keep in mind, not everyone’s a five star prospect. In fact, most people probably won’t even respond to your open, like I think we’re aiming for like a two to 3 percent of every a hundred DMS you sent, you’re going to get maybe two to three sales.

If you’re really good at it. That means you [00:19:00] might get like maybe 10 conversations, which means that 90 percent of people might not have even answered anything. So keep in mind the five star prospect and don’t let it hurt your ego at all. If you’re not getting the responses that you’re hoping for, this is a volume play and then I’ll Keep the steps.

I’ll just also want to just jump in because I don’t think we said this earlier. I just want to do a little tip of the hat, give credit to Dean Jackson. I think he’s the one who you started using that phrase five star prospect and we love it. So thanks Dean Jackson. Yeah. Keep on going. Sorry. So keeping that in mind, because you’re essentially collecting nose and the Noah’s And not even answering.

And then it’s just making sure you’re following those steps in order. First step is post compelling content with calls to action to get people to engage, not necessarily by your thing. Make sure you’re building a real relationship with people and asking quality questions. Make sure you’re qualifying people to see if they even are that five star prospect.

And then make sure you’re making the ask to see if they want to move to that next step and get some help. Cause it might, there might be a fight. There might be an almost five star prospect. And they fit so [00:20:00] many things, but they’re not ready for help now. And that’s okay. You’ve still planted the seed.

You’re still top of mind and you never know when that person’s going to circle back. Great summer, my friend. I think we covered as much as we could. I thought with the time we had today, we went a little over 20 minutes. We’re doing it, but I think this is a sell by chat as a strategy that I think most people listening should try.

It’s a great way to drive leads on social media without having to give the social media gods, any of your money, right? This is like an organic way. to drive leads, build rapport with people on the internet and be social and social media, but in a strategic way that is more likely to drive results. And so I hope we all found this useful.

Thanks as always for the great conversation, Ben. If you all want to learn more about the time management tools that we have available to you for free, click the link below in the bio and I’ll see you on the next one. Have a kick ass day, Ben. Thanks. You [00:21:00] too.