This week we have Paul Meldrum on the podcast.
Paul is from DC Health Performance, and in just 9 short years has established himself as a powerhouse in the fitness industry.
A natural born leader and mentor, Paul has been through the whole big box gym thing and decided to move away from that and start in a super small gym by himself.
Things took off from there and he now is about to expand onto his forth floor.
Listen along to learn how to:
- Transition from personal training...semi private training (and make a ton more money in the process)
- How to develop and follow up on leads with new customers
- Providing a killer service to your clients and providing a personalised service...efficiently.
- How to segment your customers into various categories to maximise their results
- Using automated lesson plans and videos to develop your service with your clients
- The importance of continuous development
- Why you need to be working 'on the business' not in the business
- The HUGE (and lucrative) advantage of learning marketing and sales within the fitness industry
- Getting tons of leads using referrals and Facebook (by getting SUPER targeted)
- Using eBooks to get leads through the door (this is super easy too)
- Why you need to network and how it can increase your customer base
- Joint Ventures and why you should be involved in them
- Becoming a mentor and how you can use your knowledge to help many many others
Transcription as Below:
HAYDEN WILSON: Welcome my name is Hayden Wilson this is the PT Prophet Podcast; the show where you learn how to get greater results with your fitness business online. This is Episode 25 I have a killer show lined up for you. This week we have a guest named Paul Meldrum he is from DC Health Performance in Sydney, really switched on guy knows a lot about Online Marketing. He has a great facility up there in Sydney and just an all-round good dude. In the interview we do go quite deep into some of the CRM and how to get deeper into a relationship with your client, so it’s really helpful I hope you enjoy that.
Before we get into that I’ve just got a couple of announcements; so ‘The Prophets’ which is my online community of personal trainers who want to really dig into some of the meaty stuff about sales funnels and becoming an online trainer is kicking along nicely. I’ve got a bunch of members in there now and the community is really growing, it’s great to see. If you want to be part of that head over to www.becomethe5percent.com and for $49.00 a month you’ll have access to a bunch of different video training materials, a template builder, heaps of standard operating procedures for your business and templates to help maximise your time and the community of course, where you can chat to other personal trainers. And you will get direct access to me to answer any of your questions regarding your websites and personal training online`.
In addition to that I have just brought out a great new video course for trainers to learn how to get more authority in the fitness industry. It’s uniquely named ‘Fitness Authority’ so if you just head to www.getfitnessauthority.com you’ll have full access to the entire course, it’s 100 percent free so jump in there have a look ad let me know what you think. You’ll learn about building a personal trainer website, the essential elements, how to start an email marketing campaign, sort of the different ways to get traffic to your website, there are 5 different ways that I mention. And lastly, a little bit more about online training, it’s really good you can just jump straight in and start implementing some of these principles into your business immediately. So that link again is www.getfitnessauthority.com
Now let’s get into the feature interview with Paul Meldrum from DC Health Performance, I really hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think in the show notes that are available at www.ptprophet.com/episode25
I’ll see you on the other end of the show.
2:45 HAYDEN WILSON: Okay so today on the podcast we have a very special guest from Sydney. He was actually put onto me by a friend and colleague of mine who’s also named Hayden, welcome to the show Paul Meldrum.
2:57 PAUL MELDRUM: Thank you very much for having me.
2:58 HAYDEN WILSON: Oh you are very welcome. So Paul you have been in the fitness industry for pretty much 9 years and it is amazing some of the stuff you’ve completed already in such a short amount of time and some of the achievements that have come to you. So why don’t you give the audience a quick little run down of what you have done and then we can sort of fill in the gaps and then it’s going to be a really interesting interview judging by what we spoke about just before we started recording.
3:24 PAUL MELDRUM: Okay yeah sure. Well as you said before I’ve been in the Fitness Industry for 9 years, I started out in Sales at Fitness First. I did that job for a while before I actually got into working with clients, since that time my interests were quite diverse early on in my career I think I had a very good mentor who introduced me to a lot of good people, some of which you’ve had on this podcast, such as Charles Poliquin. And actually the guy who introduced me to you, Hayden Pope who is actually a teacher that we shared, that’s how we met. So from there I have worked with The Australian Sports & Kinesiology Institute, lecturing nationally. I was Fitness First 05-06 Personal Trainer of the Year. I’ve had clients featured in multiple national magazines for their weight loss success stories including; just all the Women’s Day, New Idea, all those kinds of magazines. For a client who lost 50 percent of their body weight, so cut herself in half basically. And now up to the fourth expansion of my business DC Health Performance.
4:28 HAYDEN WILSON: That’s definitely something I want to get into further down the track in this interview, I mean 4 different facilities is quite amazing. Just before we go too far though, who was that mentor? Did you want to reveal their name?
4:40 PAUL MELDRUM: The mentor that got me started earlier on in the piece?
4:43 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah
4:44 PAUL MELDRUM: His name is Gary Crozier he is now the founder and director of ptEnhance which is personal training business management and website software, for personal trainers.
4:55 HAYDEN WILSON: Ah very cool. Okay so let’s just speak about the DC Health Performance Centre’s I guess you would say. When did you start your first one and let’s just go on a little journey to how you’ve got 4 now.
5:10 PAUL MELDRUM: Yep sure. It’s our fourth level of expansion so our next (inaudible 5:15) We started off, well I started off leaving Fitness First after 3 years as a trainer. I kind of, I was a little disenfranchised with the whole personal training that kind of big box gym environment. Just after being there after so many hours each week, it just wasn’t really making me happy anymore. So I kind of threw it all out, moved to a new place and really started from scratch again; working just out of parks and all that kind of stuff.
I set up my first studio, it was one room it would be lucky for it to be 3x3 meters in Hunters Hill in Sydney, where I mainly practiced Kinesiology. So I would do more treatment and therapy. After a period of being there for 6 months, basically I got busy, people asking to me to train them again. And I kind of pushed away from that and kind of got drawn back into it, so I moved in the same building and basically then took up a whole floor in Hunters Hill. It was still fairly a small place, but probably 5 times the size. Then after a period of time of doing that I kind of got itchy feet again and wanted to get back into training clients in gyms and working with people in that way. So I met my business partner at a gym in St Leonards just literally by chance, and he ended up becoming a mentoring student of mine and an actual student in the Diploma I taught.
From there we ended up getting one room, a fairly big room in St Leonards where we had our first DC Health place. After a period of a year and now we had to expand so we doubled the size of that again. So we took up a whole in the big building and right now we are finalising the stages in our next level which will be a 400-500 square meter Performance Centre in Crows Nest.
7:00 HAYDEN WILSON: Wow that’s awesome, you must be super excited?
7:04 PAUL MELDRUM: Excited, nervous, stressed out, yeah all of the above. It’s really, it’s great because I feel like it’s a great opportunity for us and I feel very privileged and very lucky to be able to have done that and it’s just a really nice thing to be able to do and we know we can help a lot of people in this new place, which is going to be great.
7:22 HAYDEN WILSON: Of course and that’s really what it’s all about, when you deep down look at it, it’s about improving the experience for the client. And I think not enough personal trainers realise that, they see this as a job and a quick way to make a buck or whatever you want to say. But if you’re providing a really good experience, it’s really how you are going to achieve success.
7:41 PAULMELDRUM: Oh absolutely 100 percent, like to be fair when I started off 9 years ago it was about a quick buck, it seemed like an easy, easy way to get paid. Like you hear about trainers getting paid, $60, $70, $80 up to $100 an hour for doing a workout with a client, it sounds like a no-brainer, like the easiest job to do. But after a while of doing it you work out pretty quickly if it’s for you or not for you, judging by how much you actually care about your clients getting the results and also actually giving the best possible experience.
8:11 HAYDEN WILSON: Mm and what sort of strategies have you developed along the way to make that experience better?
8:18 PAUL MELDRUM: Well it's been definitely a learning curve, we kind of went, kind of jumped head first in without really checking how deep the water was, when we started particularly I guess our 3rd place. We have been developing it over a period of time we think we’ve got pretty close to a very, very good system, we still think there are still kinks in it that we can work out to improve the experience. First thing we did; we transitioned from personal training to semi-private training to improve the experience for clients. We wanted to come up with a way to maintain the quality of the service, but drop the cross and increase the social aspect of it. And we found that doing semi-private training was something that literally, it doubled our revenue in the first 4 months of doing it. It was really, more people increased their sessions because they saw more value in it, they would start bringing friends along and it became a very much accepted thing. In our area, luckily no one was really doing it, we started that about 3 or so years ago.
And since then we have kind of just tried to reinforce more and more different systems that we can have, we’ve tried to systemise it all so the clients get the best possible experience. So my business partner Chris for example; we have automation set up where he gets messages every single week to check in with each and every client depending on how long they have been with us. So we definitely categorise our clients into basically levels of care I guess. Like so if we've got a client who starts up with us and you know it’s their first time in a gym they are learning how to lift, they are learning how to eat, it’s a very new experience for them, we give them a lot of focus and attention to try to make the transition into this lifestyle easy. So Chris will be calling a minimum of once a week they will be getting automated emails from us with their eating plans, giving advice, anything we can do to kind of make they’re experience seamless and easy. We have different levels of clients who get different levels of calls, like if someone has been with us for 3 months they might get a call once every 2 weeks to make sure. The clients who have been with us, my longest lasting client is over 7 years now she will get an extra phone call once a month, but we also see her every day we talk to her. We try to provide as many different types of services for our clients where it is easy for them.
10:44 HAYDEN WILSON: Is that a CRM system? I mean how are you keeping track and how is Chris controlling the calls and the reminders and stuff?
10:53 PAUL MELDRUM: Yep good question. We have, we use a few different systems to do it, is it okay if I mention them?
10:58 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah, please.
11:00 PAUL MELDRUM: Awesome. For CRM for just making sure we are keeping in contact with clients we use ‘Contactually’ which is a web-based application. So you put clients into categories in that and you can determine how often you want it to generate your reminder. So it stops us from forgetting people and letting them slip through the cracks. Which I think is, if you are running a business particularly when you are doing semi-private or classes, it’s very easy for people to slip through those cracks. *phone ringing* Sorry the phone is ringing, you can ignore that. If for all the other stuff we do, we generally run everything through ‘Infusionsoft’
11:35 HAYDEN WILSON: Okay, yep.
11:37 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, so we have clients contact, their diet programs through Infusionsoft, we send out our other services. So we use a lot of (inaudible 11:44) for identifying imbalances with clients, so they get their notifications through Infusionsoft and what to do. We send their diet programs through Infusionsoft, we’re actually in the process now which is something I would recommend for a lot of trainers, automating and systemising as much as possible our diet implementation. So we’re basically running that whole system through Infusionsoft; where we film everything that we kind of try and teach and writing supporting documents for, where clients can be entered into a system and their nutrition coaching is done for you. So it saves you a lot of time, it improves your results and it also gives the clients a very easy way to ask you questions and you can answer them in a very fast period of time.
12:28 HAYDEN WILSON: So can you just expand on that a little bit? As far as, let’s just speak about how that can still be personalised when it is automatic, if you understand?
12:39 PAUL MELDRUM: That’s cool, yep. Basically we divide the clients into a couple of different levels based on their knowledge, their expertise and how much they know of. So for a client who comes in, who what we consider a Level 1 Client; I know a lot of this sounds like it’s trying to be impersonalised, but it's just an easy way to categorise them, then we work with each client individually as well. Level 1 would be someone who basically doesn’t know what a vegetable is, they have had no experience of healthy eating before, they think a coffee and a croissant is a good breakfast. So the first level of coaching for them is basically; what is a good portion size, what are high quality foods, what are some good basic habits that they can get into, to get some results.
A Level 2 Client would be someone who has had some kind of knowledge and who has tried different diets and has had varying levels of success. And what we will do with them is then we start teaching them how to their own macronutrients, how to do your own meal planning and work with that. And a 3rd Level Client would be a client who we consider to be a specialised client; some who wants to do a fitness show, a bodybuilding show or something of that nature, where we go through more in depth strategies for them. But, we are able to use tags in our program to determine what strategies are best used for them and how we check them on a day to day basis and keep them accountable to a person as well and also to have that individual feedback, is we get all of our clients to record what they do on an app such as my ‘MyFitnessPal.’
14:17 HAYDEN WILSON: Yes
14:18 PAUL MELDRUM: And when they do that, when they come in all of our trainers and staff are educated on how to use that and they know where that client is roughly, in there I guess in their lesson plan. And they can look at the diet and make suggestions right then and there. So we are going to get individual feedback every week and nearly every session when they come in. But they are going to have consistent coaching in the background the whole time.
14:41 HAYDEN WILSON: Yes, I understand. And how many videos are they being sent? Is this like, say for Level 1 when they don’t really know what a vegetable is, which is not out of the realm of possibility like a lot of people who come to a personal trainer to start with don’t even know the basics. Which is why personal training exists, give us an example of the sort of things that are in Level 1, is it like a video you will explain to them in a series of videos that say go for an hour?
15:14 PAUL MELDRUM: No the videos are quite short, they are only about 15 minutes or so for each one and they all have supporting documentation. With a video, what’s one that we have? Like one of them is ’10 Habits’ that they can implement straight away; so like eating protein with most meals or emphasising vegetables. Each video will last for about 10-15 minutes and they get that every 2 -3 days. So they don’t get overloaded with information all at once, so it’s very basic stuff at the beginning . But as you said they are coming to see us because they have never actually done this before. If we don’t teach the basics and take the time to answer their questions and hopefully answer their questions in advance, they are not going to get a good result and they are not going to be satisfied with us.
16:01 HAYDEN WILSON: And then let’s take it to Level 3 then; so somebody preparing for a bodybuilding contest. Would you in one of the videos, would explain the dangers of metabolic damage or something like that?
16:14 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah. And with those clients generally with our staff, we have our staff, all our staff are trained to different levels capabilities depending on how long they have been with us for.; obviously we don’t expect a new trainer Cert 3, Cert 4 out of the Institute to be doing all this stuff for clients straight away. So I’ll generally work with those clients individually, myself as well as going through things like metabolic damage.
16:37 HAYDEN WILSON: Yes, okay.
16:39 PAUL MELDRUM: It’s allows me to kind of work with the clients that I am really happy to work with and that I am really interested in helping. And it allows the beginner trainers as well to cut their teeth and to really just experience working with clients are differing levels of complexity, rather than being thrown in the deep end and having to kind of just cope with it all. I found that was one thing that happened to me in Fitness First, of course I had a good mentor and I had; it was assumed that I had a much higher level of knowledge than what I did. So I would get thrown different clients by the managers all the time, people with conditions I was nowhere near qualified to work with. But what it did, it gave me it was great; I was able to learn a lot. But I also made a lot of mistakes, so we are trying to streamline it so our trainers work under us in our system, don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
17:28 HAYDEN WILSON: Of course. And how many trainers are underneath you now?
17:31 PAUL MELDRUM: At the moment we’ve got Chris and myself running the show, I’ll spend a fair bit of time in the gym still working with people. And we’ve got 1 head trainer, his name is Sean I think he is, yeah, he is only 21 at the moment, but he mentored me for a year before we hired him. So he is a really bright kid, and we’ve got 1,2,3… 4 trainers currently in different stages of their development. Some are doing interning, but they are actually working here part-time as well.
17:58 HAYDEN WILSON: Okay, perfect. It’s quite, it’s grown quite rapidly and a good little facility.
18:03 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah it’s doing really well actually.
18:05 HAYDEN WILSON: So I do notice that you’re quite big, you’re very switched on with all this stuff by the way it’s great to have this conversation. But I do notice that you are very switched on also with the mentoring side of things, you’ve mentioned that you’ve mentored people, you’ve been mentored. How important do you think that is in development, of personal development?
18:25 PAUL MELDRUM: To be honest, I can’t rate it highly enough. It was literally the biggest difference in my career, bar none. I remember, actually before I started mentoring with Gary I booked him in for some programs and training sessions, because I was qualified to be a trainer but I’d never actually had a training session with one. Which I thought was a little bit of a disconnect, I didn’t think it was the ideal thing to do. So I booked him in for a training session and he started doing all these assessments on me, and I’d never seen any of this stuff. I’d done my Cert 3, Cert 4, but he was doing neuromuscular assessments, joint range of motion, orthopaedic test. Testing my cervical spine for example, if he needed to refer me out and I was literally blown away, it changed my whole world view within 1 hour. So that sent me down the direction of that and working with another mentor, which got me into treatment and teaching. And I only got thrown into mentoring by an absolute, like again another I guess chance of fate.
I had dropped out of the course I was doing the Advanced Diploma in Sports Kinesiology, because of money reasons and being bored and a whole bunch of different stuff that was going on. And what I had forgotten, was that I had organised for my mentor in my class to actually come to the gym I worked at to do their weight training module. And all of the sudden I was in their one day working with clients, I had an early day, great I’m going to go home and I see them all in the gym and I shat myself *laughter* pretty much he is like “Paul, where have you been?” and I’m like “uh nowhere, busy” sorry, and he is like “right what are you doing today?” and I’m like “well I was about to go to the beach to be honest” and he was like “do you want to teach with me?” “okay.” I’d never done that before, but I also figured I teach my client’s every day, this is just teaching more clients in one go, so it can't be too bad. So I taught with him for 3 days straight, I cancelled all of my clients because I found the experience just to be fantastic. Which I don’t recommend that you do by the way, if you are a trainer listening *laughter* Don’t cancel your clients if something comes up, but that was me being young and stupid. And from that he actually decided because he was double booked, to send me sown to Melbourne to do my first national thing; which was my second job teaching, teaching an introductory day to the course to a group of chiropractors, osteopaths, physio therapists and exercise physiologists. Which again led me to shit myself, that day went really well, then literally the bug went, I caught the bug full on. I started developing like really dedicating myself to studying how the human body works and developing mentor programs; firstly for the trainers in the gym that I worked at, at the Fitness First club I mentored 15 trainers at once which was quite fun and also very profitable, per hour it was very good use of my time. And then I obviously started teaching full time in the Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Diploma as well. And since then I kind of developed the DC Program, how we take clients through the mentoring and within the next 3 months after we move to the new facility; that will probably be where more of my energies are directed anyway, putting that online and growing that.
21:42 HAYDEN WILSON: Yes so I also noticed you are very big on, that’s an awesome story by the way sorry. And I’ve noticed that you are very big on working on the business as opposed to in the business, you are very aware that there needs to be at least equal time spent on those 2 things.
22:00 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, absolutely. And that was a mistake that I absolutely made early on in the career, so I spent; how long have I been doing it for? 9 years. I probably spent the first 7 and a half literally just working in the business and learning the technical side; the money and the accounting and the books, the marketing and all that. I just let it take care of itself, because I loved what I did, I seemed to be doing okay at it, the people seemed to be happy and coming back. So I figured I wasn’t being too shit, and I would do any continuing education course or read any book as related to the technical side. Then we had a little bit of a financial mishap in the current, in the former place we were at. We misread the figures, we overpaid things; we kind of screwed up and ended up being in a little bit of a hole. And we went “holy shit, this is actually a real thing; we really need to work on this business.” Both Chris and myself had that realisation. It was a bit of a tough one actually, I was actually in Paris on a 3 week holiday. Everything went shit when I was overseas, so that was fun. But we literally spent the last 1 and a half years really working on the business and if I could recommend anything to a beginner trainer; start that straight away.
Really read the book the 'E Myth by Michael Gerber', understand some of the advice in it isn’t awesome and that kind of stuff but the general premise is that every time you start your own business you then have to play 3 roles; the entrepreneur, the manager and the technician. Get that into your head, and dedicate equal amount of time to each of the different disciplines. There is a definite skill, there is a definite application and a definite need for learning about marketing, learning about the stuff your teaching online training, learning about sales processes, how to communicate to a client during a sales process. So you are doing it not just to take the money but you are doing it to help them, money just happens to be part of it. Learning how to create products, and things that can help your clients, definitely systems because if you don’t have some degree of systemisation in your business, and not everything can be systemised in my opinion. More people say you can systemise absolutely every element of it. I’m in a little disagreence with that, because people are individuals and unique. You can systemise how you do it, how you approach them but you can prescribe the same things. If you do that early on in your career; you’re going to save yourself so much trouble, it is going to be much more lucrative for you and you are going to enjoy it. You’re not going to get burnt out, I’ve been burnt out I think 3 times in this so far, where I’ve literally had to lay in bed for 3 days.
24:38 HAYDEN WILSON: Wow.
24:39 PAUL MELDRUM: And it’s something, particularly when I was teaching, I think my longest streak of working. Because I use to have to teach on Saturdays and Sundays as well, so I would do from 6am -8pm Monday to Friday, literally on my feet the whole time. At the gym from 6am-8pm on a Saturday, teaching from 9am-6pm and then teaching from 9am-6pm on a Sunday, I think my longest streak was 5 weeks straight like that.
25:07 HAYDEN WILSON: Nice
25:08 PAUL MELDRUM: Which was
25:09 HAYDEN WILSON: Well, not really nice but you know what I mean, it’s very impressive to have that work ethic mate, well done.
25:13 PAUL MELDRUM: It was good commitment, but I ended up on my ass for 3 days straight, so *laughter* so it wasn’t the best thing I did for my career.
25:21 HAYDEN WILSON: Let’s just speak about; because I love all this stuff about systems and automation. Let’s speak about how you are getting leads into your business and sort of what is the process from there, with the first contact? Just choose a lead medium and then we will speak about it.
25:39 PAUL MELDRUM: Okay, sure absolutely. Two main lead mediums we use are; referral based strategies and we also use Facebook. So we will just go with Facebook for this one; with Facebook we basically work out an offer we want to give. Whether it be someone can use ‘$14 FOR 14 Days’ 4 week program for $399.00, one we use is ‘$28 for 28 days.’ Which I wouldn’t recommend, it’s too little money for too much work. We work out an offer like that and we basically, my business partner Chris deals with most of this stuff, but I am very familiar with it. We then set up our supporting structure behind that, before we start running it on Facebook and actually offering it to people. So we make sure our email automation is in place, we make sure that the programs design section is already done, any individual diet stuff, any diets we might recommend for this program already done. So I guess we’ve got all the, I guess all the support structures in place before we launch. Then when we launch we basically do sponsor story targeted ad, use some targeting strategies to get people in the immediate area into the program, who’ve got a very particular set of interests.
And one thing we do with the Facebook advertising that we found worked quite well; was not just targeting fitness as a topic. So a lot of people target some common ones people use on Facebook; fitness, fat loss, weight training, Jillian Michaels 6 week abs. We also targeted to things that related our clients, our ideal demographic and what they spend their money on. Whether that be Vogue Magazine or Alfa Romeo Cars, or whatever that may be, something like that it also added in a higher demographic market.
27:30 HAYDEN WILSON: Yes, that’s really cool.
27:32 PAUL MELDRUM: They may not have actually been thinking about you know fitness at the time, but the ad comes up and if they see it and it appeals to them, then they will click on it, they generally go through to a squeeze page where we will get them to create a video and do other stuff like that. They then enter in their details, we always try to get a phone number, because sometimes with a squeeze page or a lead page some of the templates only have email. We really like to have a phone number because we want to call the person and make a personal point of contact as quick as possible, because we want to develop that element of trust. If you’re selling, this works more for the programs; like you are asking people to part with a few hundred dollars, because you need to get yourself on the phone and actually introduce yourself and develop some degree of rapport quite quickly. If you just try to do it over email, it’s a little bit your sign up rate for that campaign is going to be on the low side. From there we call them, we book them in. If they're for some reason they are outside the area that we are working with and they can’t make it to the gym, we’ve also made it a point to send out that client something anyway to help them.
28:44 HAYDEN WILSON: Yes.
28:45 PAUL MELDRUM: So just because, you know sometimes how Facebook is; people share things and they see their friends click on it and they are like "oh I'll do that" and they don’t really read the area or whatever. We’ve had people from I don’t know, Canberra for example sign up and we call them and say “oh so when can you come in” “well I’m in Canberra” “okay that’s a bit awkward, no worries” and we send them like a free nutrition book.
29:07 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah, okay.
29:08 PAUL MELDRUM: Because, what that does they are on our list then, so they can be notified of things and if we do, do anything on line for example, they’ll be on that list, they’ll be notified of that, when that happens. It builds us up as experts as well and the more we give, the more we seem to receive.
29:25 HAYDEN WILSON: I think that’s extremely underrated; the use of offline methods to gain trust with clients, when you are using an online system. I think using a combination is deadly, it’s really, well deadly in a good sense. It’s really powerful.
29:42 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, absolutely. Because there are a whole bunch of different personality types and profiles that people kind of fit and there’s some people who will see something online and they trust it straight away. They will be ready to sign up for it, if it appeals to them. So for example; my business partner Chris is very much like that, he’ll see something, his thought is that, he sees something he likes he will go for it straight away. I am a lot more, I think conservative, more sceptical is probably the word. I’d say sceptical that’s a nice way to put it and I’ll generally shy away from something like that. And I’ll go away and I’ll research that person or that particular offer or what that person has to do. So if somebody is offering an eBook for example; you opt into receive that, because I know I am going to be put on that person’s list and receive stuff from them. I’ll go to their blog or their website and I’ll read pretty much everything they’ve written. Because I want to develop, it’s not, the best way to put it is, to develop my relationship with that person and what they do. So if I feel like I am more connected to that person, even though I have never met them, I’m generally going to purchase from them more readily.
So we found that yeah some clients will just sign up for the program online, you send them an email and they’ll reply right within 15 minutes and they are booked in and it’s very little effort for us, which is a win if you can get it. But we found that when we added in longer phone calls, spending more time trying to develop a relationship with that client in the beginning stages, we got better results.
31:21 HAYDEN WILSON: Okay, so the lifetime value of the customer actually increased further, because you initially invested that time in them.
31:29 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, we increased a lifetime value of a customer. So with us, we are very much aware that it’s much easier to keep a client, then to get a new one. It’s also a lot cheaper because they are already there, so if we want a client we really do want, not a lifetime but a fairly long term relationship with them. So if we build that trust up straight away, if we are doing a 2 week trial, we know we have done a good job when on their 2nd session they ask “how much is it to continue?” the faster we get that the better, that clients lifetime value. Literally we assume they are going to be with us for a least a year after that, because that is the pattern that we’ve seen develop. If they don’t ask us, within the first week and they haven’t developed a relationship with any of the trainers; like have any kind of rapport, they don’t respond to emails, we know that’s someone we haven’t connected with yet and we need to figure out why we haven’t.
32:28 HAYDEN WILSON: And what could you do to sort of boost that connection at that stage?
32:32 PAUL MELDRUM: Yep, that’s a good question. That’s what we generally use contact leading stuff for, we make sure that we follow up with them, as much as we can. And the main thing we do is just ask, we ask them “are you having any problems? What could we do better for you?” We try to take an attitude of humility, where we know that we may not be doing everything right, for every client all the time or maybe not be talking to them or communicating with them in a way where they feel comfortable and they can resonate with. So we’ll call them and we have literally ripped clients program up and diet plans up after speaking to a client on the phone and told them we will change our approach to them and then made them into clients. Which you know, I still believe that you should stick to your guns and what you believe in, but you should try at least to communicate whatever the client wants in terms of their value system and how they respond to it.
33:28: HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah, back to what we have been saying the whole call, it’s all about the client.
33:33 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, it’s the client. And as soon as, we were doing really well at marketing, getting a lot of leads in and we had a very good conversion rate. Like for one promotion we had a 95 percent conversion rate, which is pretty awesome.
33:48 HAYDEN WILSON: *laughter* Yeah, pretty awesome. Understatement of the year, that’s pretty awesome, geez it was 95.
33:53 PAUL MELDRUM: It was pretty good, that was the people we got in, not the people who clicked the ad. If we did that, we would have been retired by now. We found then, we really thought, okay the reason why we really got into focusing on customer service and all that kind of stuff is because we dropped the ball. We lost a client, we asked her “why?” and she mentioned that she didn’t feel like she was getting enough attention and all that stuff so we fucked up, basically. We called her, we spoke to her about it, we apologised and then we, she still didn’t want to continue on just because she didn’t feel it was right for her anyway, which is fair enough. But then we decided that okay, cool we lost one client that’s not a big deal in terms of the bigger picture of our business finances, but if one person goes, that means another person can go. If another person goes, it can become a pretty quick cycle where; all of a sudden you have lost 10-15 clients or so and you can’t pay the bills. So we decided right there, we are going to give customer retention, customer care, anything kind of service we can do to improve that person’s experience with DC Health.
35:00 HAYDEN WILSON: 100 percent. I just want to the listeners to take note of something very important; that Paul asked that client “what was wrong, why she wasn’t’ happy and why she did leave” it’s very, it’s a great strategy to have. You could call it an ‘Exit Survey’ or whatever you need to say but just try to get some feedback on why that client didn't think the system was for them. It’s very powerful.
35:25 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, it’s good. You feel like you’ve been dacked just before you do it the first time, because you are leaving yourself vulnerable. It’s vulnerable to criticism when you ask for feedback and swallowing that pride and going ‘okay maybe I didn’t know everything, maybe I didn’t do everything, maybe I did drop the ball on this one’ you know it’s take a bit of guts to do. But once you’ve done it the first time, it gets easier each time and you know what the amount of saves that you can develop. If you lose, if you’re charging $80 bucks a session for example; and that client’s doing 2 sessions a week, that’s $160 worth of income gone, if that client leaves. And some might leave because they get a job overseas or life happens, but if they train something like 50 weeks a year and they have 2 weeks off over Christmas or whatever, that’s $8000 that you’ve lost right there. If you had 20 clients at $8000 a week you’ve got $160,000 a year business. That’s like, that much, that large percent of your business just like that, that can happen o a trainer, they can lose 5 clients in a week and they are screwed. You really don’t want that to happen, so doing that made the world of difference for us.
36:42 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah, I don’t want to get too bogged down with mathematical, but if you really run the numbers if you see you lose that first client $8000 over the course of the year, if you didn’t have that exit strategy, that’s potentially like you said it could have been $160,000 but because you did it you could of made that $152,000 if you understand.
37:02 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, absolutely. That’s one thing that we do spend a fair bit of time doing, and as trainers apart from counting tempo and reps, we are not really numbers people. *laughter* We are very much kinesthetic in nature, we like movement, we like moving around, we like teaching people how to move around. But in business, numbers are effecting, they’re important, they are why I guess, at the end of the day puts food on the table and give us lifestyles that we want. We have to be aware of those numbers and when you crunch those numbers, and see what losing a couple of clients can do; it’s a very sobering experience for you and any time you get a sobering experience where it forces you to look at what you’re doing and have some humility, you can really improve yourself. Which when you can improve your service and when you can do that, you are going to get more clients anyway.
37:53 HAYDEN WILSON: Yes. So let’s speak about some of the challenges along the way, we spoke about that one just then. Let’s speak about some other, some of the harder things you’ve had to deal with in your journey so far.
38:07 PAUL MELDRUM: Oh god, where do we start? *laughter* The hardest things that we’ve dealt with; we experienced a couple of years ago where we were mismanaging, we weren’t paying attention to numbers. That was the hardest thing, because we kind of had to claw back and learn about the business side of it. One of the hardest things that we’ve had recently to deal with, it’s never been about managing staff; it’s about managing facility. If you want to run your own studio and all the logistics and all the work that go into running a gym, it is a very massive undertaking and you’ve got to be aware of so many things and you really need to put together a crack team like an A team of people to help you get through that. We’re moving now to, I think I may have mentioned before a 500 square metre gym, which is you know, fairly sizeable. There’s DA’s to deal with there’s Councils, there’s Landlords, there’s Real Estate agents, there’s legal stuff to be aware of, accounting. There’s a lot of different things that you need to be aware of and it really does boot any trainer who’s ever thinking about doing that to go out and get as much advice as possible. Speak to your clients, that’ also a great resource. Most trainers have an absolute goldmine of people who work with them, because people who are in those industries can generally afford training as well.
Work with those people and get all the advice you can and make sure you do everything right when you open up a facility. Because in our first facility we did it wrong, we stuffed up so many things; we didn’t have Council stuff. I have a friend who runs a mixed martial arts, jiu-jitsu type place and they didn’t run anything through the Council and when the Council found out about them, they got, it cost them a lot of money. Yeah so just making sure when opening a facility, the thing we have struggled with the most is opening a facility and making sure it is done right. Not in terms of making sure you have the right male squat racks or enough weight plates to go around. But making sure you do everything right for the legal side of business.
40:22 HAYDEN WILSON: Do you have resources for people who need a hand with that sort of thing? As far as legal contractors or is it pretty much just find someone in your local area?
40:33 PAUL MELDRUM: It's a good question. Our accountant who we work with, we were very lucky to find a very good accountant who kind of specialises in fitness businesses, just by default he's ended up doing it for the last 10 years which really helps out with that. We were very lucky, we have a few of our clients are Barristers and Lawyers and they were really good to work with because they were also invested in our success. So if you can't, if you are doing this, it is obviously a big undertaking; I recommend to trainers because there are all different areas, and people may not work in different areas, is to first look into their own network. who are the clients that you are working with? Because generally if you've got people who you care about their success and getting their goals, they are much more likely to help you.
When we were for example; in that poor financial situation a number of years ago, one of our clients has been a CFO of a multi-national massive company for the last I don't know, 20 something years. He, we asked him about it, "hey can we pick your brain over a cup of coffee I'll take you out to lunch. He was like "sure" we took him out to coffee and lunch spoke to him about the situation. The next day he was in there with the book keeper working out the situation, because we invested in his success. We also we have been working with him a long time and he was happy to work with us. That is one piece of advice I would recommend to a lot of trainers, look at your network, your clients that you work with. You would be amazed at what you find.
42:06 HAYDEN WILSON: That is so true, every person has their own story and there are so many different branches to get help with it. And in your situation you were very fortunate to have someone that was a CFO of that company, but everyone is going to have someone who can help them. and it might not necessarily be in a bad situation, such as what you were in. But there are always situations where someone can help and there can be different parts and pieces that they can assist with.
42:32 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, absolutely. Like just the other day with us; we had a client in and we had been helping him with a knee problem he was, he is very good with internet SEO stuff. And he's like "Paul thanks heaps for helping out with my knee, it's never felt better blah, blah, blah" I'm like "no problem all part of the deal" wasn't expecting, wasn't asking anything. And he said "I've been looking at your website, I've got a few ways which you can improve it." And I was like "okay, go on" and he said "sure let me show you" And literally within the hour he had found 5-10 things that were actually effecting us and how we could optimise that and make it better. We didn't ask for this, we literally just provided a good service and the more we give people, they generally tend to give us stuff as well. Which works out really well.
43:20 HAYDEN WILSON: That's really awesome.
43:22 PAUL MELDRUM: Yes, I also do recommend to never rely on that as a strategy. We have been very blessed in a lot of different ways. And if you are a trainer and say you don't have a client in your network or someone that you know immediately, look around the area that you are in. There is going to be another successful gym owner within your radius of your Personal Training Studio. In Melbourne for example; there's heaps of them in Sydney, there's heaps of them. Just give them a call and ask them who they work with, because they have obviously been through it and that trainer will generally be empathetic to your cause. They've been throw the same amount of shit, they've deal with it, they are going to know people. they are going to be happy, my general experience is, they are going to be happy to refer you to the person who helped them.
44:07 HAYDEN WILSON: 100 percent, if they well, pending they are a good bloke and or female
44:14 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah they are not all (inaudible 44:17). Like I've called; when we were having issues with DA I called a fellow gym owner who's helping us out with some stuff, some mentoring that we've been paying for and we were like "oh do you know anyone who can help with this?" and he gave us 3 numbers like that, really good. Just ask other gym owners in the area, they will know someone who's helped them, fingers crossed and they would be glad to forward their details on.
44:44 HAYDEN WILSON: I think that's an area personal trainer's especially struggle with and I think that's something they should bring themselves up to speed with, is networking. Because there is this whole thing, 'oh there is only this amount of clients' and they think if they are reaching out to another personal trainer or dealings with another personal trainer, they may steal the clients or whatever. But there is enough to go round.
45:08 PAUL MELDRUM: There's a shit tonne of clients to go around, Australia is now the 2nd fattest country in the world. *laughter*
45:16 HAYDEN WILSON: They're everywhere.
45:17 PAUL MELDRUM: They're everywhere, 90 percent another niche; 90 percent of all Australians will experience back pain at some stage, if look at most people under an MRI they have a slap lesion or a torn labrum. Like there is always work that needs to be done, let's be honest; who doesn't want to look better naked? pretty much everyone, so there are always clients. One thing we have been really fortunate with and were lucky that we focused on it awhile ago is; looking at joint ventures. And working with other people in the industry to share clients, to give them clients, not necessarily, they may not be trainers are such, but your local hopefully good; chiropractor, beauty spa, hairdresser, tanning salon. Like tanning salons and training they really have a lot of common clients.
46:04 HAYDEN WILSON: Oh yeah that's a really good idea.
46:06 PAUL MELDRUM: Like yeah, it's a freaking goldmine. It's easy to do and the first thing trainers need to do with these joint-ventures and working with other people; is try to off them some value you first for their customers. What can you do for them? Like, a lot of people think of joint-ventures and working with other trainers or therapists or whatever; as just as 'I'll give you a client, you'll give them back when you're done. I'll give you a client, you give me a client.' Like its very like a trade like that, but that doesn't, in my experience I have me a lot of people, like there is one therapist I met with who had a DEXA Machine, and his thing was just send your client's to me and I'll tell you how fat they are. And my first thought in my head was, well I can look at them and see that *laughter* but I thought 'okay, what's in it for me?' Well if I see someone who is really fat, and hasn't had a trainer I will send them to you, now this guy was on top of another personal training studio, so I, to be honest didn't fully believe him. They could just walk downstairs, why are they going to get a extra bit of distance? But, the next way we did it, with another studio we work with in that, I went in I sat down, I gave them a presentation on all the ways we can help add value into their business, add value to their clients, increase their clients perception of them, in their eyes. And basically that was literally a sell, all they saw was that I was trying to help their clients out as much as possible, they're so much happier to send us clients now. And it becomes a far more lucrative engagement for both parties. So really need to think win, win all the time with that kind of stuff.
47:53 HAYDEN WILSON: Definitely mate, definitely. Just finally before we take off let's speak about your mentoring, so I know we spoke about it earlier. But is this a paid arrangement for people? And if so, how are you getting these new clients on board to mentor? Is there like a selection process? Do they come to you and sort of not weed them out. But, you know what I'm saying?
48:17 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, I totally understand what you're saying. There does need to be some selection criteria, I guess you can't teach everything to everyone and be everything to everyone. What, the main way I have worked with mentoring, I was very lucky to teach for a number of years which introduced me to a lot of people. And when they get into actually working as a practitioner they will generally call up and want more help, which I am happy to give. I have done it in two ways; first one was doing like a paid thing where they come in every week and they get like a certain workshop or lesson on how to do certain things. With the current approach that I am looking at, I am definitely trying to take it more, to a larger scale then what I can see person to person. Because person to person you are limited by your time, your energy and your space. As I am sure you are very much aware of, what we are doing now, we will be obviously developing all of the back end content at the moment which is exactly what we taught in person for the last so many years. We will be running advertising for a number of different venues, but the main thing we are looking at is to be running a Seminar when we open up the new facility. We will be hoping to offer a 1-2 day free Seminar where I have invited a number of people I have spoken to in the industry who are kind of big names in the last couple of years. And actually give something away for free, to get people interested and to actually start developing trust.
From that, the main way we are going to be doing it on Facebook, this is a great approach to even selling your services as a trainer, is to give away something called a lead magnet. So something you giveaway to get leads back in, so I've developed I think, it's a 3 part series on a trainer who has not much experience just out of the industry, can deal with lower back pain. How to deal with it in a safe easy way without diagnosing. And you can also know where the appropriate places to refer your client out to. So with that kind of system in place the trainer will sign up for the program because they obviously want to know how to help their clients, they'll go through the program. And before I try and sell anything, I try to deliver as much information, as much value as much education and quality as possible.
I find with that kind of stuff; if we do the job right and the product isn't priced at a ridiculously high point, people are generally pretty keen to get involved in that.
50:57 HAYDEN WILSON: And is that going to be through lead pages or and then just delivering a virtual webinar to get them onto that list.
51:07 PAUL MELDRUM: Yeah, it will be done I think I am not sure if the main intro pages done by Opitmizepress or Leadpages to be honest. I'm not taking care of that at the moment, I will be very aware of it I guess in the next 2 or 3 weeks when it gets closer to launch date. But yeah, it will be through one of those two services. Then the program will be optimised by video delivery, probably via Infusionsoft if anything.
51:34 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah, definitely. Video is super how right now man.
51:37 PAUL MELDRUM: Well it's good, as I said before trainers are very kinesthetic. Probably the best learning type for trainers is visual. We need to see things, it's very hard to teach someone how to do a test for hip flexor length via audio or via text.
51:54 HAYDEN WILSON: Oh yeah, geez.
51:57 PAUL MELDRUM: And yeah you know, with our Facebook and especially Twitter which is 149 characters or more, or less sorry. Attention span for reading, has gone down. It's not a good or a bad thing, it's just a thing it allows us to develop better ways to deliver information in easier understand forms for people, rather than having to crank out a 5000-10,000 word article, to understand something. And I think it's a really good thing, it allows trainers to manage their time much more effectively, not everyone reads at the same rate, some people are fast, some people are slow. In a video you know you are going to dedicate 15-20 minutes learning about this particular topic; you know where it begins you know where it ends, you can dedicate that time and then you can go out and implement it. Which makes it an absolute winner in my book.
52:51 HAYDEN WILSON: Nah, definitely mate. And it's, I would be very interested to see how it goes. I actually just finished a webinar I conducted on the weekend, about webinars about how to prove some value in there and I'm happy to share that link with you. Although it sounds like you know quite a few strategies yourself already.
53:09 PAUL MELDRUM: Could always be humble, I could
53:13 HAYDEN WILSON: No stress, alright I will share that with you. But just as we finish off, it's been a really awesome interview thank you so much for your time Paul. Whereabouts can the listener reach you and get in contact with you?
53:24 PAUL MELDRUM: Yes, the two best places to find out about us are our website and Facebook page. DC Health Performance if you got to the web www.dchealthperformance.com.au
53:36 HAYDEN WILSON: Awesome, I will put that in the show notes and again I just want to reach out and say thank you so much man. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Any plans to come down to Melbourne at all?
53:45 PAUL MELDRUM: You know what, Melbourne yeah I am looking actually to come down to Melbourne in the next 2 months actually. I think maybe just for some social stuff, I'd love to catch up with you.
53:56 HAYDEN WILSON: Yeah for sure, let's do that.
53:58 PAUL MELDRUM: Awesome man, I will get in contact with you.
54:00 HAYDEN WILSON: Alright Paul, thanks mate.
54:01 PAUL MELDRUM: Thanks buddy.
54:02 HAYDEN WILSON: Bye, bye.
*End of Interview*
HAYDEN WILSON: Big thanks again for Paul, for jumping on the podcast with us here today. Really cool guest and if you want to know more about developing your list online and some more of the stuff we talked about in this episode, head over to www.ptprophet.com/episode25 and you can gain all the show notes there and learn more. That's the end of this show, if you want to learn how to get more Fitness Authority, head to www.getfitnessauthority.com and you'll have access to a four part free series of videos and training tutorials. I hope you enjoy it and have a good week.
*End of Show*