Several years ago, I was at a fitness conference in NYC that drew attendees from all around the world. You’d find everyone from part-time aerobics instructors who teach classes simply to offset the cost of their gym memberships all the way up to some of the most recognizable names in the business.
Of course, I always enjoy learning cutting edge techniques and the different philosophies my peers use during the lecture portion of the 3 day weekend event, but I’ve found the personal networking opportunities especially valuable.
After the day’s seminars were through, I’d always try to get acquainted with other trainers and learn more about them and the way they run their business. One evening, I met a trainer from Florida. There’s nothing especially shocking about meeting fitness trainers from the sunshine state, except this guy had a really interesting story. Before he got into the fit-biz, he was a male-stripper for 14 years.
Although he claimed to be very successful with his business, I quickly got the impression that he’d have trouble telling his acetabulum from a hole in the ground. But even with his limited textbook knowledge or experience in the industry, he taught me something absolutely mind-blowing about helping clients get results.
His success as a trainer was based around one simple concept: people want to have fun.
Now listen, I’m no dummy and I’m smart enough to realize that nobody really wants to do the hard work. But they do want the results and are usually willing to sacrifice some level of comfort to get the rewards. Most of us with a more traditional background (read: clothes stay on while working) would take something people didn’t want to do (i.e. exercise) and do our damnedest to repackage it as something more enjoyable – see how good that painful, burning, achy sensation feels?
“Mr. Stripper’s” approach was completely opposite. He’d find clients in upscale apartment complexes and arrange pool parties. There’d be tiki-lamps, grass skirts and he’d have some music along with light food and drinks available. Who wouldn’t show up for that?
After a while, once the guests got comfortable being arouond each other (you gotta figure, they’re all in bathing suits), he’d start moving ‘em into the pool where he’d lead an aqua-fitness class. Since they were already having so much fun at the party; their perception of the water-based physical activity was that it was just part of the good times.
Man, this guy was a genius!!! Ok, so he may have been highly intoxicated when he told me his story, but he was genius nonetheless. Drawing on his ‘entertainment industry’ background, he knew enough to give people exactly what they wanted. Then he threw a bit of exercise into mix when they weren’t even thinking about it.
Every time he threw another party, they wouldn’t just come back for more fun – they’d drag their friends along, too! As a side-effect of all this “partying”, they got the results they wanted without any perception of hard work.
Now why didn’t I think of that?