Forget the Competition: 7 Things I Learned At The Nor-Cal Fitness Summit

forget competition

I just got back from attending the Nor-Cal Fitness Summit and I had a fantastic time meeting Fit Pros from the Bay Area. It was my first time there and I enjoyed seeing the sites and sounds of San Francisco.

I learned a lot at the Summitt. One of the biggest takeaways I had was about competing in today’s fitness business world.

A lot of fitness professionals have the wrong mindset when it comes to competitors.

Did you know that only about 1/2 of gym members actually go to the gym on a regular basis?

Over 80% of new members in January don’t make it past the 5-month mark.

Even with the explosion of the fitness industry and the variety of different fitness flavors, only a small percentage of the population even goes to the gym.

Only 24% of the population is considered “fit.”

The entire fitness industry only markets to those 24% who are already converted and go to the gym.

What about the other 76%?

The fitness marketing industry is terrible as a whole.

They do a fantastic job of getting heard but a terrible job of persuading people to take an active lifestyle.


I don’t have a definitive answer, but my guess is the lack of persuasion skills by fitness pros.

Persuading someone or selling someone is not about pushy sales techniques.

It’s about connecting with people on a deeper level.

connecting It’s about providing value first and actually caring about your clients.

In this post, I will highlight 7 things I learned at the Nor-Cal Fitness Summit and how they can help you in your quest to persuade the 76% of the population.

1 – Your Story is Unique

Everybody is unique.

We all have different genes and different stories to tell – We are born unique, but we behave the same.

Earl Nightingale once said that the biggest detriment to success is conformity. 

In every industry, you’ll find a minority of business owners that are doing well.

Most of the time it follows the 80/20 principle.

In the fitness world, I say it’s a lot higher.

10% of the fitness professionals are doing 90% of the sales.


One of the biggest reasons is that they don’t have a story to tell.

They conform with what everybody else is doing.

So ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s your story?
  • What makes you unique?

It can take a while to come up with one, I am still struggling with this myself.

(I never really liked talking about myself).

For me, I know my talents are in marketing and sales. 

For you it might be in breaking down complex fitness subjects into simple advice or holding people accountable.

Fitness pros see their clients several times a week so they form a deeper bond than other service professionals.

A good exercise that I got from Pat Rigsby that can help you is to ask the following 5 questions:

  • Who do you want to help?
  • What is their pain?…What do they want?
  • How do you deliver the solution?
  • What are the results?
  • Why should they choose you?

This will help you understand your story better which will help you build your brand.

2 – The 5 Whys And The Core Reason

One of the most powerful selling strategies is the 5 Whys.

The 5 Whys is a technique originally coined by Sakichi Toyoda, who instituted it at Toyota Motors.  

It was originally developed as a strategy to find out the root cause of an engineering failure.

In sales, it can be used to find the real core reason why someone might buy your product/service.

The 5 WhysHere’s a scenario on how a consultation might go without this technique:

Trainer: “Why do you want to lose weight?”

Prospect: “I want to feel healthier”

Trainer: “Great. Our training program will have you feeling healthier and younger than ever. Our specific schedule will hold you accountable….etc…”

The trainer didn’t get to the core reason on why would they want to train.

Do you think it’s because they want to “feel healthier”?


This is only a surface reason – Not the core reason.

Everybody wants to feel healthier and stronger.

The core reason will connect you with the person on a deeper level.

Here’s another scenario using the 5 Whys.

I got this from my friend AJ Mirzhad:

  • Why do you want to lose weight?  ” I want to feel healthier”
  • Why do you want to feel healthier?  “I need to lose 40 lbs”
  • Why do you want to lose 40 lbs?  “Because I worry about my heart”
  • Why is your heart a major concern?  “I noticed that my heart races when I walk up the stairs”
  • I’m sorry to hear about that, why does that bother you?  “If I don’t improve my health, I will die young and my children will be motherless”

Do you see the difference?

The fear of dying and not being there for her children is a lot more powerful than “I want to feel healthy again.”

These questions will help you connect with the core reason on why they want to hire a personal trainer.

Connecting and persuading is an important part of any fit pros job.

3 – Follow Up

Most sales are made on the follow-up.

If you don’t have a system in place to properly follow up with your prospects, then you risk losing most of your sales.

There are lots of different sales and marketing studies that show that 80% of the sales are made after 5 follow ups.

Tenacity and persistence result in sales.

I know a lot of fit pros don’t think of themselves as salespeople but in reality everybody is a salesperson.

follow-upWe sell our friends on our ideas, we sell our families on our dreams, we sell ourselves to our dates.

We are always selling whether we want to admit or not.

Having a proper follow-up sequence is a must.

It’s amazing how many fit pros I talk to don’t have a CRM that organizes their prospects.

Having a CRM is crucial.

By using a CRM, you’ll be more organized and efficient.

I’ve used Contactually myself for 12 months and have been happy with it.

However, you used to be able to integrate your Linkedin and your Facebook accounts which made it an all in one dashboard.

This is no longer the case because of Facebook’s and Linkedin’s restrictive API.

Other CRMs include Salesforce and Active Campaign.

4 – Unique Selling Point

You have probably heard this a million times, but it’s very important.

You need a unique selling point to stand out in the fitness industry.

If you don’t have one yet, the following questions will help you come up with a unique selling point:

  • What separates you from the competition?
  • Besides your unique story what expertise do you have over other fit pros that will make someone hire you?
  • What’s your specialty?
  • What’s your niche?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a better story to tell when you’re selling your prospects.

uspThe only way to get better is to practice and over time your USP will become unique and powerful.

Your USP should be used every time you speak with a prospect, in your marketing campaigns, on your website and on everything your business does.

Take the time to think this through.

By coming up with a unique USP that you can say succinctly, you will have a much more powerful message that will cut through the noise and make an impact.

5 – Absolute Confidence That You’re the Best Solution to Their Problems

Once you’ve identified your USP and have found an engaging way to tell your story, it doesn’t just end there.

You also have to be confident that your service will be the absolute best solution to their problems.

Depending on the person, I’ve seen success with the “fake it till you make it approach” or the practical type of confidence which comes from experience.

Both can work.

If you are a fit pro that has the technical knowledge and have a lot of experience than this shouldn’t be a problem.

6 – Community of Fans

Creating a community of raving fans is one of the best ways to attract, engage, and retain the people that go to your gym.

It’s one of the most powerful referral strategies you can use.

By creating a community, people will feel that they belong – This will naturally lead to more referrals.

community of fansPeople love the feeling of belonging in groups.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a secret Facebook group that you use for your clients.

With a Facebook group you can do the following:

  • Hold people accountable.
  • Encourage people.
  • Build relationships.
  • Share ideas.
  • Fill a need.

This is not only a great marketing tool, but you can use this to connect with your clients on a deeper level.

7 – Preeminence

I’m reading Jay Abraham’s book Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got,  which was recommended me by, Mark Fisher and the number #1 strategy Jay talks about is Preeminence.

What is preeminence?

Watch this video and see how Jay Abraham talks about Preeminence:

Preeminence is summarized below:

  • Refer to Everyone as Your Client, NOT Customer.
  • Consider Yourself a Leader; The Client Begs to Be Lead.
  • Take a Position; Have a Point of View/Perspective.
  • Future Pacing; Take Your Client Into the Future.
  • Have a Higher Purpose.
  • Fall in Love with Your Client.
  • Have Massive Empathy for the Client.
  • Create Clarity, Focus and Certainty for Your Client.
  • Not a Commodity; Value-Based.
  • It is Only a Matter of Time Before Money Exchanges.
  • Hands, Start Giving Value Immediately.

This is a great concept and philosophy for life and business.

This is something I am still learning myself and will continue to learn for the rest of my life.

It’s an easy concept to understand, but it can be hard to apply in your business.


I learned a lot of things at the Nor-Cal Fitness Summit. I learned that we are doing a terrible job of marketing to that 76% of the population…

We preach to the converted but never reach out to regular people.

We should not see other fit pros as competitors – Nobody can copy your story.

They can copy your marketing, but they can’t copy your community, your USP, and your brand.

I hope you can apply these things in your business.

These 7 strategies will help you stand out and attract the non-converted.

What strategies have you used to attract non-fit people?

Let me know in the comments.

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