[powerpress] Want to hear from one of the smartest and longest lasting dudes in the fitness industry? Listen up.
Charles has been producing Olympic athletes for many decades now and has certainly stood the test of time as one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world.
He has developed many unique brands including a highly successful supplement company, as well as making a full time living traveling the world and speaking at seminars.
I was lucky enough to meet Charles back in 2013 when he was teaching a seminar at Doherty's Gym in Melbourne. From there we developed a friendship and stay in contact.
In this episode you will learn:
- How to get sponsored as a strength coach (by the world's leading brands)
- Marketing tips to go from 0 followers on Facebook to 58k in 9 months
- How frequent you should be posting for maximum benefit (tips which he learnt directly from Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk)
- About a new series of eBooks that Strength Sensei will be bringing out along with a private membership site
- Much much more.
We also take a listener question from Kyle, who wants to know whether it is necessary to have an 'online training' page in the top menu....
Reaching Charles Poliquin:
Find out all of the above and more in this killer interview.
Hayden PT Prophet
HAYDEN WILSON: Hello and welcome to Episode 19 of the PT Prophet Podcast, I am your host Hayden Wilson and thank you so much for joining me. So this is the show for fitness industry professionals to learn more about their business and really maximise some of their efforts online. And if you want the show notes for this particular show, head over to www.ptprophet.com/episode19
So, what is happening? I hope you are well and having a productive start to the week. It is Tuesday I do apologise for not getting this podcast out on a regular Monday like I normally do, but I have been super busy doing a few things and this is a huge episode. I am so glad I could get Charles on the podcast, I actually met Charles a few, probably a few months ago now, just before the FitX. Really cool dude and we were actually going to work on a few projects together, unfortunately it doesn’t look like it is going through and also within the interview there are a couple of points where he had to take a phone call, so it does actually not flow 100 percent at a couple of points. So I do apologise in advance for that, but there is a tonne of actionable content within the interview. And we actually go into more about the stuff about the marketing, behind the scenes stuff and some of the popularity things that you can do personally to increase your brand and awareness. So definitely have a listen for that kind of content.
But before we go into the interview, let’s get into this week’s listener question; so this week Kyle has asked me “What’s the difference between having an online training page in the top menu or just having it in the services page and sort of blending in?” My personal opinion and this is what I recommended to Kyle personally, is that you should really have it on the top menu. And the reason for this is; it’s going to increase visibility and obviously get more views onto that page. This is really dependent on whether you want to push your online training division or if you even want one I mean some people don’t want online training. That’s sort of what I’m teaching within The Prophets ‘how to maximise your online training.’ So I think it is highly beneficial and especially within the world we are living in right now, that you can reach anyone. So that’s what you need to do is have it on that top menu and then have a detailed section and an individual page, just for that online training with some persuasive righting. And most importantly have a contact page or have a contact section within that page because you need people to take action and contact you personally about the service.
So yeah I certainly hope that helps Kyle. And if you have a question for me you can always send it to email@example.com and I’ll answer that. I mean not even if it’s on the podcast but I can just get back to you and we can have a bit of a chat by email and work out a few things. So you are always welcome to do that. And I also just want to say thank you to everyone who jumped onto my first marketing Q&A or Fitness Marketing Q&A session that I did via Google Hangout and that’s going to be available in The Prophets. And just so people who don’t know about The Prophets; it’s an online community that I am developing of personal trainers and fitness entrepreneurs that want to know more about what works online and how to do more of the in depth stuff and get their online training page up. There are exclusive interviews behind the scenes, I don’t want to mention too much about that, but if you do want to know more head over to www.ptprophet.com/register and you can see all information about The Prophets and what’s actually going to be included
Okay let’s get into the interview with Charles Poliquin Ideally hope that you enjoy it and one of the biggest guests I’ve had so far, so here it is.
4:01 HAYDEN WILSON: Alright so today on the line we have probably one of the most famous guests I’ve had on the PT Prophet Podcast and I’m quite glad I could snag him. Welcome Charles Poliquin.
4:12 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Thank you Hayden
4:13 HAYDEN WILSON: How you going man? I hear, well I know you have been doing a fair bit of travelling in the last I guess, I was going to say the last few weeks but I guess it’s been the last few years.
4:23 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah, like 36 years *laughter* But I have just come off from a long world trip I was just in Australia, and I did something for Utah State University, so I have been home for a few days now.
4:41 HAYDEN WILSON: That’s nice, so how I guess before we get too far, before I ask you about your history. How much travelling would you do per year? I mean are you away like 200 days a year or?
4:54 CHARLES POLIQUIN: I would say it’s about 3 weeks out of every month for 9 months so that’s what 27 weeks? Half the year.
5:04 HAYDEN WILSON: Wow okay, and is this something you want to try and reduce in the future or you don’t mind it?
5:11 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Actually I will reduce it in the future, because I just brought a gym in Spain so I am going to reduce the number of locations in which I do seminars. Australia is always very popular for me, so I will keep coming to Australia. But over the years I’ve found which were the best or places I like to go best, so I’m going to restrict the number of facilities I go.
5:39 HAYDEN WILSON: And let’s just speak your history to start off with so maybe like a 2 minute synopsis or whatever you want to say about some of the stuff you’ve done. I mean you’ve trained multiple gold medallists for the Olympics, but I’ll let you explain it.
5:56 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Well I mean I had my first qualifier for the Olympics was 1980 so I was only 19 years old, but I started training when I was 17 years old. And then we boycotted those Olympics so it wasn’t until 1984 before I was an Olympic Medallist. And then that summer and winter Olympics medallist and I kept going every year and of course many people don’t only go to the Olympics they go the World Championships, you set quite a few Olympic and World Champions and you start to give out world record holders in the early 90’s. I’ve had world record holders in 10 sports, so that’s not bad. And then after 2, around 97’ I moved to the US and started training pro athletes, pro hockey players. Success breeds success then I started training NFL players, NBA players, Major League Baseball Players and so on. After that I started to do consulting for Soccer in Italy, Spain, sorry not Spain, England, in their Premiership Leagues. Then I started working with the Military and Law enforcement agencies and a lot of people an interest in strength training. So and then in 2006 I started my own certification program for strength training and I sold that company and now I’m teaching a lot on fat loss there’s a system where we can actually target where the powerful fat loss comes from, an algorithm that measures 14 different sites. We can tell which hormones are out of whack. And then it’s the first time it’s a formula outside the DEXA Scan with calipers so we can determine how much the percentage of body fat comes from your legs. It involves 14 sites (inaudible 8:10 -8:13) that improved the formula with a bio print and now it’s the only formula in the world that can truly measure effectively lower body fat.
8:22 HAYDEN WILSON: Okay so bio print is like pretty much the new thing?
8:27 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah I mean every class has been sold out whether it’s Hong Kong or Spain or Germany so we just launched it this winter and it’s been going gang busters. Actually you know I’m giving 3 more in Australian 1 in Canada this year. I am off to Spain in about a week to teach it there and then Germany and then probably quite a few in England this year and then again some in the US. The problem is not, the problem is that I could sell it out every weekend around the world but I still need time for my life, I’ve got a family so I limit the number of seminars I give, you know?
9:14 HAYDEN WILSON: Mm and you actually quite like coming over to Australia yeah?
9:19 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yes very much so I mean I come at least twice a year, this year I will probably come 3 times. Australia has always been a big market for me, Australians interestingly enough will show up in any class around the world. So typically I’ve got students from 14 different countries that come to my classes. But it doesn’t matter if it’s in Sweden or Hong Kong or England or Canada there’s always Australians. I mean Australians are the greatest travellers in the world. They have the most passports per capita around the world. So it does very well, you know. For sure.
10:04 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah exactly, and it’s so interesting that people do travel from all across the world. So say for example guys that are travelling from Australia to a seminar you are having in Sweden, what made that, for example the one you just did in where Mark Ottobre a guest I had on the podcast recently brought over a team member Reese, what makes those seminars so special in comparison to the ones you run in Australia?
10:34 CHARLES POLIQUIN: The programs Irun?
10:40 HAYDEN WILSON: Well I guess the one you did in Sweden is that separate to the ones you’re doing in Australia? Is there specific countries where you only run specific…?
10:49 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yes, I mean there’s always target markets you know so for example; strength training for Hockey will sell well in the US but wouldn’t sell in Australia, so I do quite a few programs. So tonight I just came home from doing a Seminar for Utah State and I only work with the strength coaches from the University, so it was a private Seminar I only had 5 students. So the Seminars, I mean I do a lot of private Seminars for organisations sometimes it’s just people want me to improve the quality of their staff or the depth of knowledge I do those. I mean probably half the seminars never make it to the website on the page because they are booked privately, that’s common and actually an increase in business. So a lot of times people don’t want to share the information, they don’t want anybody else to know it so they’d rather pay a premium price and not invite anybody.
12:01 HAYDEN WILSON: Do you do many private consultations?
12:05 CHARLES POLIQUIN: I actually turn down a lot of them because I just don’t have time. I mean you know I may do about 4 a week, but that’s the maximum I will ever do. I mean if I said tomorrow I’m open for consults every day, I could do 40 consults a week. The thing is the return on my time is much greater if I have 60 people in a room, that’s a sweet spot so most of the time its people who’ve taken a seminar and they want extra information and if I ever have a hole in my schedule I will take them. But I certainly turn down; I actually pass out most of the consult requests to my top students. Yeah so in French we say “we turn in the elevator” so basically if you can’t hire me my friend can get more work. And it has to be also intellectually challenging, so if it’s about a business man who wants to lose 15 kilos of fat; well at the premium price I charge you’re going to get regular information that somebody would charge a fifth of what I do. So I don’tthink for the client’s sake at time it’s not worth hiring me for something like that. But if it’s somebody who wants to add the best weight room in the world he knows I have all the best contacts, I can get him preferential prices so just by hiring me with the discounts I got, they save, they’ve already paid for their consult. I can tell which brands are best, which pieces are best, by this company blah, blah, blah, so in essence everybody wins.
13:59 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah, they really do they are actually saving money if you look at it that way. Let’s just speak about your sponsors, I mean you must be one of the only strength coaches in the world that’s actually sponsored by equipment companies. So it’s Eleiko and Watson sports equipment. Why …
14:18 CHARLES POLIQUIN: There’s also Atlantis
14:19 HAYDEN WILSON: Say again?
14:20 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Atlantis
14:21 HAYDEN WILSON: Oh yeah, how did you get? Why do they sponsor you? Is it because of these recommendations and your large reach? Or is it just years of relationship building with these guys?
14:35 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Well, Atlantis for example I’ve been buying equipment from them since ‘82’ and I would say I like your stuff, I like the ways it’s built or I would like this angle I would like this strength curver or I would like this and that. So what turned out was every time I changed equipment from what Alike, they’ve changed their model line because they liked the idea and that increased their sales. So I have always been a good ambassador for them and then they offered to sponsor me you know in exchange for information and then people I mean it’s the best benches and machines in the world. Not because I’m sponsored by them, I was already buying from them anyway. So regardless of whether they sponsor me or not, I’d still be buying from them but again it’s the case of returning the alligator.
With Watson the guy knew that I liked fat grip implements and the guy came to see me and said “hey would you endorse mine?” and I said “no not yet, because they’re not the way I want them” and to be fair to Simon Watson who is the owner he brought 4 different proto types before I gave my okay and then start to Sponsor me, so all of my centres have Watson Dumbbells. And every one of my students have brought the Watson Dumbbells and of course the Atlantis as well they say “oh wow this is a much better dumbbell.” So they sell themselves you know, and we’ve had a great relationship and since I’ve approved the model for endorsement so he by himself he has improved it twice from feedback from my students. So the dumbbells I have in my house are the 5.0 generation and the ones we have in my gyms in Marbella are the 6.0 variation so it’s better bearings blah blah blah and in my house they jump 0.5 kilos at a time so they are pretty small increments, and the same is true in the Marbella. S he’s been able to make them the way I want but every single student who’s brought them, has brought more. So the quality speak for itself.
With Eleiko, Eleiko’s been know forever to be the best barbell and plates in the world I mean it’s a well-accepted fact something like 78 percent of world records have been done on Eleiko. The change with Eleiko is that, Eleiko was well known in the weightlifting world, the powerlifting world but not known in gyms. And one of the goals of the Eleiko founder was to get it the Eleiko owner, was to get it into every gym around the world. And that’s a big goal, so (inaudible 17:28) I said “you’ve got to outside powerlifting and weightlifting” and my students tend to own luxury personal training studios, so they brought into it once they saw my centres. So it’s another case, where I would still buy equipment even if I had to pay for it and but it brought them into many gyms they’d never gotten to. For example Utah State University, all of the plates and barbells are from Eleiko and in Marbella that’s all the plates we have, and again it’s a symptomatic relationship because I didn’t have to tell them much about designing a barbell or the plates because they were already quite perfect, but I have given them feedback from all the interested markets. For example in the US, America is not big in kilos they’re big on pounds, so I convinced them to make pound plates and now many, many universities like USC, have Eleiko pound plates. So it’s just a way to get into the US market. It’s simple just making what the American client is going to buy. But in South America for example they still prefer buy pounds or kilos, same thing in Canada the guys in my generation prefer pounds over kilos.
So it worked well that way and they have a big education system and I teach for them, the relationship is quite symbiotic and also I’ve given them some feedback on a few types of bars which they have implemented and types of plates. They are very open minded to change, all these 3 companies so it goes pretty well.
19:24 HAYDEN WILSON: Exactly and just on that, you actually have quite a smart marketing brain and I’m not like trying to be offensive but you do have a very large knowledge of marketing, does that come from anywhere, like have you been to school or university for marketing? Or is it just tricks you’ve picked up along the way?
19:45 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Well I mean I have zero training in marketing, zero. So I can’t claim I’ve got a marketing guru or anything. I mean I do read quite a few business books, but for example with Facebook I’m the guy that’s big into numbers. So I look at what I did and I started to have my own page for Strength Sensei on Facebook in September and I built it to just under 50,000 Likes in less than 8 months. So how do you get to that? Well I give them what they want which is; they want free information, nobody one wants to pay for information, so I don’t charge for information. Information is I mean by the number of shares obviously if you link there so with everything that I do, I actually do very little promotion of what I do. If there is 1 post for every 12 posts is basically something I’m selling, that would be high I promote something once a week so out of an average of 14 posts I’ll promote something I’m doing which is usually seminars. But I do promote a lot of colleagues who have great products; I mean it brings me no financial return. For example I tell where to get information, who are the best teachers they are actually when you think about it they are competitors of mine, but you know there is no one single guru or somebody you should listen to. There’s a lot of bright guys out there who for example Josh Bryant has written a great book on bench pressing so I promote his book, why because I think he has written the best book on bench pressing, John Broz is great at teaching Olympic lifting how to get strong legs, so I promote his seminars. In the end people will remember you; if you’ve promoted them. The problem is people often ask me “what do you think I should go see for this or who do you think I should go see for that?” In Australia you call these guys wankers *laughter* you there are a lot of guys who self-promote how never actually done anything other than self-promotion. So when I promote somebody it’s somebody I would go see myself to get information. So in the end it’s about helping the client, if you’re focused on helping the client the money takes care of itself. So and I don’t do cheesy marketing gigs, so it’s pretty straight forward I’m teaching that date, you want it or not? So everything has sold out so obviously it’s working. My biggest challenge is cloning myself, so what I have decided to do is charge a more premium price and then you can see me.
Now I’m coming out with a series of eBooks so if a guy lives in Dubrovnik in Croatia he may never be able to afford to take a class with me. But he can get a lot of good information in an eBook pretty cheap on Kindle and that was partly I want to hit (inaudible 23:24) I’ve published 14 books in my life, but I am going to start publishing more short books; very centred and focused on certain training topics, and then that should do very well. And then I have a very large following internationally, and it’s fairly easy to translate those books. So if I write a book on arm training, to get it translated to Portuguese or Spanish, it’s very easy for me and then I can corner those markets. So this is more, I know you told me I was great at marketing I like the compliment, but it’s just bringing attention to what do they want and on Facebook I’ll post something let’s say ‘almond milk’ and then people say “What do you think of rice milk? What do you think of soy milk?” So then in the next few weeks I will answer whatever they wanted, so it’s just bringing attention.
24:32 HAYDEN WILSON: Exactly, you’re very savvy on social media, I mean it’s a 5 day a week posting by you and on the weekends it’s a repost, each days a repost of the most popular article and I believe you learnt that from Gary Vaynerchuk is that correct?
24:50 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yes I read Gary Vaynerchuk he tells you to post a lot more, I don’t because I have other things to do. But Tim Ferriss helped me a lot and Tim gave me basically you need post twice a day and you need give quality information and it’s got to be free. But according to Gary I would have to post 7 days a week so you know I have a family, I have other things to do, I have hobbies. So and it’s a lot of 80/20, I think you’ve got 80 percent of results posting 5 days a week and the extra work of posting 14 times a week. So those extra 4 posts I don’t think increase your business, that much. So I only do 5 and you know we increase pretty much by 2000 people a week at this rate, so that’s not bad return on time invested. You know I wouldn’t be surprised if I was up to 100,000 Likes by Christmas this year. And the thing is the quality has got to be up, so when you start, I know I’ve got colleagues in the industry who post way more than I do but after a while it’s not, it’s like comedy shows, everything has some shelf life. And then I think that you can over post. I mean one of the only rare exceptions is like comedy has been around for a long time is The Simpsons, but The Simpsons has a huge team behind it stretching to every language you’ve a French so that’s how big the market is yeah so they have a French Simpsons for France and they’ve got a French Simpsons for Quebec because the style is different and then so that’s a case of a product having long puerile value.
The interesting thing too is more people are interested in strength training, cardio has lost ground, CrossFit is going up as a method of training, and they obviously use a lot of barbells, and dumbbells and plyometrics so for the weight training industry it’s giving it a boost. I mean Eleiko sells a lot to CrossFit and I know there is CrossFit equipment websites.
27:49 HAYDEN WILSON: So let’s just speak about your eBooks I hear you’ve got a very, very good publisher for this. But sort of what eBooks are you going to be producing and how are they going to be different?
28:04 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Well again from reading and writing a lot, I’ve realised the new generation can’t read, you know so that’s one problem. So the way I’ve structured my books they are all information bits so its 250-600 words information bit. I’ve learned to; basically the way the books are designed you can open at it at any page, read and you’ll learn something. So I don’t need to introduce a subject for a long time well let’s say it’s an arm training book and you want to learn how to isolate the triceps you don’t give a hoot about your biceps, you can just go to the triceps chapter and with eBooks and Kindle they are easy to search; so let’s can punch in triceps and find every time I mentioned triceps. And let’s say I say “overload” you can find everything on overload instantly, so that’s the nice thing about eBooks. The thing I will do dramatically different; is that with eBooks they will be linked to websites that will show technique
29:26 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah so what is the strategy with the eBooks I mean we just spoke about how they can link to, we are going to be linking them to videos. And the problem with print books is that you can’t technically see how an exercise is performed, so what strategy are you going to use with the eBooks and linking them to the library of exercise tutorials?
29:46 CHARLES POLIQUIN: So basically, the person will be able to click on the link and then go see how it is done directly, right? So they don’t have to guess how it’s done. So it’s a big advantage to the reader because there is no doubt and you can give much better feedback visually, then a regular paper book right? I mean that is one of the positives about having those things.
30:20 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah, definitely especially when you are prescribing exercises such a Zottman curl, which is if the listeners might not know what that is depending on how much they have followed your stuff. But just different exercises or a Trap 3 Lift or like I said the Zottman curls people aren’t necessarily going to know how to do that and YouTube hasn’t really covered that side of the market. So where are you going to host the videos to try to minimise piracy? Or minimise someone who hasn’t purchased the book?
30:54 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Well people how have brought the book will be able to get in, so that basically eliminates piracy in an effective way. And then eventually the exercise databank will increase but you will only be able to see the exercise related to the book if you’ve purchased the book. Because then all these people (inaudible 31:21) I see pirated PDF’s of all my books on the internet for free well or even for a price, so with the kindle we’ll circumvent that to a great extent.
31:36 HAYDEN WILSON: And what’s your opinion like if you do see one of your books like a pirated PDF book of ‘ The Poliquin Principles’ does that cheese you off? Does that bother you? Or a you more under the impression like some people that the more books that are out there I guess are leads for a Seminar buyer or they might buy something down the track?
31:58 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Ah well someone who is cheap enough and doesn’t have any respect on piracy, won’t come to a seminar. Yeah so the point is, is that I know some of my clients, some of my colleagues I was talking to a nutrition guy and he estimated that for every 10,000 copies that you buy out there are 50,000 illegal ones, right? So that’s a lot of money lost. So if a book is $20 bucks it’s easy to do the math but his lost a million right? So that would cheese me off too, so the key is to make the information more exclusive. But piracy will always exist; people pirate DVDs, they pirate TV shows, they pirate whatever. It’s kind of a sad reflection of society, interesting enough a few years ago somebody sent me an auto print book and I always delete them just out of principle because I am an Author. So I look at this title and I knew the worth of the book, so what I did I opened it up looked where the guy was from I don’t know what the book price was, there was nothing. So I sent him $50 and a letter and said "listen if I owe you more you know just email me and I will send you the difference.” And then about a week letter I got the cheque back in the mail with a letter saying "enjoy my book this is the first time I’ve had anybody ever send me money for it so I appreciate the fact that you are honest enough to want to pay for it, but since you are Charles Poliquin I’m offering you the book, bad luck."*laughter* But he said "no one’s ever done it and he's never received a cheque in the mail for someone whose got a downloaded copy.” But people are cheap that’s the way they are and but what I have found that every person who has been to my seminar usually brings the print book for me to sign it. Meaning that they bought the book, they value the book enough to buy it in print fashion.
Of course with eBooks there's not print version of it, but it's good enough to I mean for, for some markets for example for a Spanish market I mean the layout of a book costs a lot of money and then you have to find distributors and blah, blah, blah. You know I have quite a few of my books translated into foreign languages but as an author you don't really get much, it's the English version. Talking to guys like Tim Ferriss it’s the same thing, the copies you sell in Iceland to translate it to Icelandic you won’t get that much money. So with the eBook me as an author I will get more and the advantage of eBooks is, people say oh it’s for how little it costs they'll just download on their Kindles they don’t think it’s worth stealing, you know or anything. They are gracious enough to pay for it. I mean well I buy 3 -4 books on Kindle a week. so you know I appreciate it, the things I like with Kindle is that for example there's a nutrition book that had the data links to website so you can click on right then and I may buy a because you link into ecommerce yes I brought the book but if I brought a PDF of it then I would have to enter it. Sometimes they say 'if you want more information click here' but there is no information about what the link is so which is I think in one way kindle will reduce copywriting and infringement.
36:16 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah definitely and the way we're setting up with the, just running it through kindle as opposed to PDF will actually assist because of that, the privacy issue. And you know an impulse purchase pricing them under $10.00. So if they are $9.99 or $7.99 whatever, like you saying it’s an impulse purchase people aren’t going and thinking overnight about it you just with Amazon it's a one click purchase you click a button and you've got it straight away downloading immediately.
36:45 CHARLES POLIQUIN: yeah I mean so the time it takes you to find a pirated copy it will cost you more than the book does, right?
36:51 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah true, plus viruses and all that crap.
36:53 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Right? So the I think it’s the future and then yes you can and also to market for better products like he is going to give a webinar on this topic so a percentage of people will up-purchase, you will be able to upsell better. So I think it’s the way to go.
37:20 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah excellent, I want to transition away from the eBook and some of the online stuff now. Let's speak about some of the gyms you've been to around the world. So first of all let's speak about some gyms that you're co-owner in so Nick Mitchell and yourself have in Marbella in Spain….
37:41 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah
37:42 HAYDEN WILSON: is that the only one that you've got or have you got a few more?
37:44 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Well we're looking at actually investing in more mainly in South East Asia possibly in Australia, I wouldn’t compete against my own students but there's a lot of markets available in Australia still. But in South East Asia mainly the expatriates market is very strong. So we are looking into that and of course the Middle East, but the one in Marbella is actually doing extremely well and it's only been open since March. The only problem dealing with Spaniards is we don’t have a phone yet for the business, we’ve asked for a phone since last November we are in April now. So you know they don't move too fast while the gym we have opened up in Singapore it's a different culture, everything is on target.
But you know you live and learn, but the thing is for me the main reason I invested in Marbella is I wanted a European base that was enjoyable to go to. You know I mean I am very popular in Ireland but to find a good gym in Ireland is really hard, I mean there is a lot of good gyms, private gyms where my students are. But they are not big enough to host other sellers, so we just decided to build the biggest gym in Southern Europe in Marbella and think about this right if you live in Estonia and you have a choice to go to Dublin for a weekend or Marbella you’re going to go to Marbella. That's why my seminars in Marbella sold out in 9 days and then I have a waiting list for it. I mean I could probably put triple the amount of people in there, but then it's no good for the student because you don't get individual attention.
So I would like to open up one in Australasia because the market is very big for me and the thing is for that in Marbella the equipment I like to use but also I still like to train so I like a nice gym when I am in Melbourne I either go to the Australian Strength Performance, which is down the road from Tony Doherty’s gyms and they attract two different crowds but I like great gyms. When I was in Sydney I had a huge paid offer to visit other gyms and I’ve given those gyms I will be giving publicity to those gyms on my website, if they are good but it turns out truth is; it doesn’t look quite good.
I visit a lot of gyms, a lot of people email me "hey can you talk about my gym" “well I’ve never been to your gym,” “yeah but it's a great gym,” “according to you and then maybe not according to me.” So a lot of times I go visit those gyms and I sign on as a different name and they recognise me and they go and they ask me can you put me on your website and I say no (inaudible 41:04) because we have clients. Like for example I have students who will say “hey my client is going to the UK where do you go?” and I will say “where in the UK?” and they will say “London” “where in London?” because I have a lot of students in London and so that I can give them a precise recommendation. So that's why on my website I’ve started “where should I train in?” and I fill in the blank and then it turns out that it’s been very popular. I just got an email about an hour ago from one of my students and he said that I mentioned him on my website and he is already booked for 5 consults, so and the post came in yesterday.
So you know obviously that is the beauty of the internet the internet is a blessing and a curse at the same time, you can have access to a lot of good information but the quality overall is very poor and things like SEO manipulation can make something great when it's not. So that’s why when I endorse a gym, I’ve been to that gym and I can vouch for it. Because I don’t want to put my name, financially does it do anything for me? No, but again it's about serving your client it’s; free information and then I get lots of emails saying “thanks for recommending (inaudible 41:42) in London, (inaudible 41:43) in Perth those gyms were great now I am going to Kuala Lumpur what do you recommend?” I don’t have any to recommend in Kuala Lumpur that I can recommend. For example I don’t have any students who opened up a gym in Finland yet, but I have been to Finland quite a bit there are 4-5 gyms in Finland that are excellent, so I will tell them where to go. But again there is no financial reward for me, but you just can’t think about financial rewards because in the end I have clients who will recommend you for other things
43:22 HAYDEN WILSON: Mm and how many emails are you getting say per week or per day regarding simple questions such as where can I train here? Or I mean is your email private in the fact that people can’t just access you with people saying "oh what’s the best bicep exercise" or
43:40 CHARLES POLIQUIN: We get those on social media
43:43 HAYDEN WILSON: Oh
43:44 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah and then the thing is that it’s funny that people assume that I will take 7 hours out of my day to write them a program, for free. You know I mean 2 percent will offer to pay out of these two. We get a lot of emails “Hey you are very popular in Dubai come and teach here” so my secretary sends the prices and of course we don’t hear from that guy *laughter* You know because they think, I don’t know what they think, but then you know there is the odd serious offers and they say that's good with me can you give me a date, and we give them a date and I show up. So that works out, but it's over 400 a day of "what’s the best bicep exercise" the more insulting ones "I’ve read everything you’ve ever written and they will ask me what do you think about carbs post workout? *laughter* I haven’t written about carbs post workout since ‘82’ how come they never read that article or you've written once about forearm training can you give me a link?
45:01 HAYDEN WILSON: *laughter*I love how people think Facebook, me and my girlfriend were talking about this before how everyone thinks that Facebook is a search engine so someone posts up a link "oh what’s the best exercise for my serratus and I am thinking just Google it or learn to train to normal exercises to start with so people need to learn to stop treating Facebook like a search engine or just people in general. I mean like your saying there is so much information out there and the number 1 website in the world is Google, bloody use it.
45:35 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah but the thing is that like I find a way now to solve one of the biggest problems that I’ve got, people say “you say do this and Billy Bob says do that what’s your opinion?” Well dude you already know my opinion, you know Billy Bob’s opinion what do you want to do you want me to say again what I think. So I, someone gave me a good answer which is “we don’t offer a service of solving internal conflict” *laughter* So you have both opinions of both experts but I can’t you know what I say, you know what Billy Bob says, so it’s up to you to solve it.
46:26 HAYDEN WILSON: There should be no more confusion
46:29 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yes so I mean I don’t even tell them try both and then tell me what works best for you. So since I have been doing that as a standard answer, my secretary does that. And then the number has dramatically dropped especially when we have published publicly on Facebook and people go sometimes people will come to my rescue and go "dude don’t be an asshole blah blah blah" *laughter*
47:03 HAYDEN WILSON: Saves you the hard work.
47:05 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah saves me from giving them the bad news, you know some people I posted something yesterday and some people were offended by it. But one thing I learned from Tim Ferriss you’ve got to be who you are. Some people I mean the thing is; that people don’t value your time and your worth, when they ask such questions. You know someone’s asking me “do you train bikini competitors” "no, where do you live?” “I live there” “well this guy is really good” But at least she assumed rightly so, there is a fee, like she said “I will pay you the fee blah blah blah” well it’s not something I care for or have time for but there's guys who love doing that and they are very good at it so I refer them business, because they are students of mine so it’s good to always repay the favour by rewarding them
48:13 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah of course and what is your opinion on niching down? So becoming the best on something in particular and then like your saying palming off some of the other stuff you don’t particularly like. Do you think that’s only when you become advanced in a field? Or should you just head that way from the start, suffer from the beginning but sacrifice and learn everything you can about it?
48:38 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Well you know you only know that you’re good when you start to have haters *laughter* right? So when you have haters that’s it "Poliquin is only good at making you bigger, faster and stronger”
48:54 HAYDEN WILSON: damn what a problem
48:55 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Wow what an insult *laughter*or another one I heard "he is only good at making you much faster as an athlete" and that’s what I do for a living I don’t cook sushi *laughter* I don’t pretend I’m a sushi chef *laughter* It’s like how much of a loser can you be to make that sort of comment? But I think that it’s a good question; should you niche market? I think initially if you’re into strength coaching you should never miss an opportunity to take a new challenge to perfect your skills. For example let's say you are the best guy in volleyball in the world and a guy says “well can you help me out with basketball?” Well yeah there is a lot of cross transfer. So that person says yeah I will take you for volleyball but if its gets to a point, I think that niching to answer your question is something you do when you’ve achieved a certain level and your basically, it comes to a point where it’s actually diluting your brand right? For example in figure skating I was very successful and I could of switched the next day just to figure skating and I would of made a hell of lot of money. Just if I worked in figure skating but the reason why I ever did that I would of had so many figure skaters that after a while no one would have known if it works. Right, so I would I consciously and decided just to take a few and I had offers from many different countries to help out and I turned them down.
So then what I did, I increased my prices so that if you were a figure skater, so I would only work with the best. So I’ve in some way gone to niche marketing but honestly if you are 20 years old and you want to be a strength coach when you grow up then I wouldn’t say niche market, try and get as much experience as possible. As you get better you can narrow it down.
Like one my former athletes makes a fortune in American Football gets offers all the time from other sports and he turns them down. But if you want to make money in American football he is the guy to go see, he probably makes nearly $3 million dollars a year doing it which is pretty good. But the problem I have for him is the American football league is not allowed players to go maximum amount of months outside the organisation, so best case scenario for him; he gets some players for 8 months a year. But now the most the guys can go outside the organisation is 3.5 months and that changed progressively occurred in the past 2 years. So if you are making 3 and you are down to 1.4, well people say “if you make 1.4 you shouldn’t be complaining” but sick logic you’ve been an Olympic Medallist, Gold and now you are ranked 8th in the world. Well people are into a growth mindset they want to grow back $1.4 million.
And I was talking to two more colleagues who have extensive business in the Pros and they all suffer from the same thing. One guy is luckier because he was smart enough to stick with Hockey and Hockey has not done that yet. So his got a few more years but what’s going to happen with him if Hockey imposes that then he is going to have to switch his market to kids who want to make it in hockey. he won’t be able to pay what he pays but he will have to clone himself and have guys take those kids in for him right? And once they get to the pros they can work with him. So there’s always a solution to every problem, but hidden within it is; that it’s a constantly evolving industry and if you are smart you jump into something new before everybody does.
So I jumped into the Certification Market, and now I’ve got colleagues competing against me and got into. But I’m already on to something else, so the trick in business is ‘do today what someone will copy tomorrow’. But by the time they copy it, it's obsolete most of the time for example I can safely say I am the guy who has made the most money in the Pros, but once I got out of the Pros that’s when they started to cut back. But I could see the change in attitude, so I jumped before everybody else did. By the time they copy you the market gets saturated and then after a few years the top 3 are the ones who rule the market. Look at Cell Phone companies, so a new cell phone comes out "hey new cell phones in" the bigger guys eat them up and then they always say; within 5 years of a new market, the top 3 will own 100 percent of the shares.
54:25 HAYDEN WILSON: Alright, so you spoke earlier in the interview about your own gym and I just had a killer thought about a video that you can put onto the Strength Sensei page. I think that you should have like a Poliquins gym video and just show people, because I am definitely interested in seeing some of the stuff you've got in your home gym and actually what it looks like. So even just a few pictures on social media would be killer
54:49 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah actually I was waiting for my new Watson dumbbells I think I will actually post them, it’s a good idea.
54:58 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah sweet, alright brother well we are nearly finished the interview. So let's just finish up and I mean I guess you will be getting a few hundred information requests per day. But if anyone wants to reach your staff or see some of the things you've done is it best for them to go to your Facebook page Strength Sensei?
55:21 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Strength Sensei would be a great page to follow to know what is new right, but you can go straight to the strengthsensei.com and look at the stuff we have right. The website is going gang busters ranking internationally I’m some countries its number 800 of that country. So that I mean Finland I don’t know how many websites Finland has, but it’s 1200. But in Canada I think it’s 32,000 in the UK I’m 42,000 in the US I am 128 or so. But a few months, that’s 128,000 of course.
We only started a few months ago, so that’s alright. And worldwide I think I am 130,000 points. That's pretty good because there a lot of websites in the world but I think that by June I should be sub 100,000. The magic happens (inaudible 56:39) when you are sub 100,000. The thing is that I have not put translation to the website yet so when it comes up with the most popular languages it's going to go gang busters. But it won’t affect the US market because it is in English and of course my top 5 countries in the world are all English speaking countries Australia, Canada, Ireland, UK and US. But interestingly enough, counties like Sweden, are in the top 10. Everybody speaks English in Sweden there are only 194 countries in the world there are ones where you don’t get the internet, north Korea so you don’t get the market is 193 countries, but I have visitors from 185 countries
57:38 HAYDEN WILSON: Wow
57:39 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah that’s right, yeah so that’s pretty good so some countries only two visitors, unique visitors per country but...
57:48 HAYDEN WILSON: That’s all good
57:50 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Yeah but no something like Kazakhstan, since Borat doesn’t know me I guess *laughter* interestingly enough, some countries I got over 1000 unique visitors they are not big countries. Usually like Bulgaria I only have 2 or 3 Bulgarian students ever, but in their country they are the most known trainers and they refer to me so in Hungary I get quite a bit I only have 1 or 2 Hungarian students but they promote me so much. Slovakia is in my top 20 countries its one guy in the Slovakian Special Forces that keeps promoting me and oddly enough I was in a restaurant in Slovakia and I was having lunch by myself and this girl recognised me because of her boyfriend. You know she walked over and said “are you Charles Poliquin?” Christ I’m 30 miles from the Ukrainian boarder in a small restaurant. But it’s funny like the internet, in the beginning the first time I was in Melbourne I walked from my Hotel to Doherty’s gym and 4 times on the way there I was asked to pose for a picture on some guy’s phone. And I was like that’s interesting I said I couldn’t understand why I was so well known in Melbourne. Then I got to the gym the kid didn’t recognise me, but people in the gym recognised me and said it took 10 minutes and you know his boss was furious that he made me pay to get in. And that's how I met Tony Doherty but when I got back to the hotel I said “that’s odd of all the places I have been why am I getting recognised so much?” And I went to see my hits for Melbourne and at the time 1 person out of 50 in Melbourne would Google my website on a daily basis so that means 2 people out of every hundred in Melbourne knows who I am. Which is like wow, because I divide by the population of Melbourne to see the percentage. And then I was with my daughter in Norway in Oswald. This is summer and we were just visiting the palace and some Viking museum and whatever and every half an hour so many people ask me verify my identity and ask for a picture. So
60:29 HAYDEN WILSON: *laughter* I love that they verify first
60:32 CHARLES POLIQUIN: They would say "are you Charles Poliquin" and I would say "yes" "can I take a picture" my daughter always loved being the photographer but she said "papa you are really well known here" it’s kind of funny but throughout Scandinavia it was everywhere. And I said “wait til you come to Australia its way more impressive from waiters, to waitresses and movie ticket, attendants, verify. That’s the beauty of the internet but when I just use to be in print, this would never, it would rarely happen. If it happened, it would be somewhere like Mr Olympia not being at Blockbuster’s you know.
61:16 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah of course what’s that ranking called, you told me about some ranking that like 1 in 20 people possibly in Melbourne would recognise you did that have a special name?
61:31 CHARLES POLIQUIN: No I just go by my Google analytics and what I do is I take the city divide by I look at the number of hits and I divide by the population of that city and it gives me a ranking. So for example there's more people from Perth that came to my website then France. So Perth has a population of what, 1 million? And France has like 80 million so at the moment I would be recognised in Perth than the whole of France, so you know the French people don't lift weights so
62:10 HAYDEN WILSON: They just eat croissants
62:11 CHARLES POLIQUIN: that's right, and have bad breathe *laughter* from not eating breakfast but the thing is that it goes to show culturally where weight training is. I was in Latvia and people would recognise me and I would say wow how small of a market is Latvia. But the thing is; is that I got more recognised in Latvia airport than would at the (inaudible 62:41) airport right? Which is, which goes to show where is weight training popular and then where it's not. Like for example I have a very strong Danish following and it's actually a fourth language that people log into my website from that most popular, it’s actually Danish actually think its Finnish. But so there is more Danish speaking people then Spanish speaking people that come to my website.
A lot more countries speak Spanish, rather than just Danish. But it helps me when I decide to have a Seminar, should I have Seminar in Spanish? Or should I have it in Danish well or in English in a Danish market. And it will sell out right away in Copenhagen in a matter of days but if I were to go to Bogetar I won’t necessarily get a lot of people. But that’s why when I come out with books it will be easily translated. For example in Brazil I use to have 55 people then my former company I found someone who could translate in Portuguese. Well, within 6 months I went from 55 people to 6000 people coming per month to my website their main language is Portuguese. So then I got someone to translate in Chinese and then poof; Macau and Hong Kong and inland china they start to come so the beauty here Americans have a tendency to believe that everybody speaks English but it’s not true and then we have a Polish Strength Sensei page and we have a Spanish one and a French one and they are slowly building up. But once we put those languages on the site, it is going to skyrocket. But the thing is that, the average Polish person doesn’t make that much money, they will buy a Kindle in Polish but they won’t come to a seminar. So what typically happens is that the top earners from a given country, let’s say Bulgaria will come to my Seminar and they will make me more popular in Bulgaria, but it doesn’t mean I could bag a Seminar in Sofia tomorrow.
65:15 HAYDEN WILSON: But that’s cool though because you can get that reach with the eBooks which I guess is the goal.
65:19 CHARLES POLIQUIN: Right, because you know that’s the beauty because there are 150 million people that live in Brazil. So I gave a seminar in Brazil last June and I had 660 people in it, so basically 10 percent of my Portuguese following is at the Seminar. Which is a lot, I have my slides in Portuguese I have my Portuguese interpreter. But if I publish a Kindle on arm training I probably will sell 6000 copies in Portuguese the conversion rate will be really high. So then after that people will pass it on and read it then 3 years Brazil becomes, like I have been invited last month to go to Brazil to teach every single (inaudible 66:27) for the Olympics. But what would happen if I didn’t have any Portuguese traction you know, the advantage I have over all my competitors I have actually produced Olympic Medals, so I had a reputation before the internet which helps out a lot.
66:49 HAYDEN WILSON: That always helps, yes
66:51 CHARLES POLIQUIN: I tell students stop spending so much time on Facebook and time on Google or whatever. Go to the gym make Olympic champions and then people will want to hire you but if you have zero credibility and you market yourself and post 15 times a day. I tell people stop posting what you eat for breakfast who gives a shit if you make an egg white omelette, with some broccoli. So that is one of my pet peeves people who post the food they eat like what’s his name the black comedian would say “you want a cookie for that?” he says “hey guys I’ve never been to jail, wow you want a cookie for that?” So the thing is that the biggest problem I mean with a lot of experts are predicting that social media will crash for too much shit. But I post my stuff but I don’t follow anybody. the reason I don't follow any body is that its likes a time warp "oh this student is up to this and I go see them" you could waste so much time on it so I decided I post.
I don’t read anybody’s posts because its, I provide information but most of the posts are zero information. Anything like I’m a Starbucks and I’m getting a Frappuccino, do I care? No, but the there is some guy for example if the information is great enough, I will receive by email. So one guy may say “you need to watch this video” so I had one today and it was worth it so I make it clear, if you think it’s really, really important you have my private email then send it to me and I will go and read it. But otherwise to publicly post, there is just too much information. Another good one, “why don’t you write a book on strength training for field hockey?” “Well I don’t know the first thing about field hockey, how many do you think I will sell 4?” And then I live in a country where I have 36 hours every day, so my standard answer now is yeah as soon as they come out with 26 hour day I’ll get on it.” Why don’t you write a book on this? That is one of my pet peeves, people don’t know how long it takes to write a book I remember I had a guy I worked with me "shoot a video on this write a book on that" and after a while I said "dude do you actually know how long it takes to write a book?" "No" I said "best case scenario is 6 months I mean there are guys like Johnny Bowman who is a great writer he makes a living writing books, great for him. He can produce a book every 3 months. If I work 70 hours a week just writing a book yeah I could come out with a book every 3 months but if you know John isn’t a coming out with a book every week, right? So if you have a number of books you want me to write I would have to be able to not sleep, not eat you know and then work 160 hours a week writing a book. And then at the end of the day you know the profit margin on books is not that great, if I fill up classes with seminars if I get a good trainer to train who i.e. gives good diets or exercise programs he will influence 20-30 people but if I write a book then Joe Shmo reads it, doesn’t mean Joe shmo is going to influence many people in the industry. So I want to leave a legacy of better nutrition, better workouts. Then I find that sadly enough you have more impact if you just teach a few people, so eBooks are good but to get people to change; you need to influence influencers.
71:36 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah okay, influence the influencers, that’s sweet. Awesome brother that was the longest conclusion to a podcast ever, but I wouldn’t change it. So thank you so much for jumping on the call with us today Charles.
71:49 CHARLES POLIQUIN: You're welcome Hayden and best of luck.
71:50 HAYDEN WILSON: cool awesome thank you so much Charles for the interview and thank you for listening, I do hope you got some value out of that and enjoyed.
If you want to get the show notes for this episode head over to www.ptprophet.com/episode19 And I hope you have an enjoyable week, I will catch you next week for episode 20. Wow I can’t believe I am up to episode 20 already but I got another great guest lined up and just on that if you do enjoy the podcast please head over to iTunes and leave me a star rating. I would really appreciate it and obviously the feedback is invaluable. And additionally if you want anyone on the podcast that I haven’t had already shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my very best to get them on the show .Okay ciao.
*End of Show*