Chantal: Daniel, thank you so much for joining us on The Fitness Business podcast.
Daniel Priestly: Thanks very much for having me, I’m really thrilled.
Chantal: Before we even start today’s interview I’ve got to tell you a little story, because I came across your book from one of our previous guests on the show, Daniel Nyiri. I interviewed Daniel back at the beginning of 2017 and his entire show was all about great books that you should read, and as part of these books that you should read he mentioned, Daniel Priestly, Key Person of Influence.
So I started to make my way through some of these books that he’d recommended and I listened to KPI as an audiobook, which is how I consume most of my books, and I literally could not stop. Once I started listening I had to listen to the whole book, and I can tell you right here, right now, that KPI was life changing for me. So personally I just wanted to thank you so, so much for writing such an impactful and influential book.
Daniel Priestly: I can tell you how thrilled I am to hear that, that’s the whole reason I wrote it.
Chantal: I wanted to get you on the show because I want to be able to share those systems and some of that, I guess, inspiration that I got from the book I really feel is going to be so relevant for a number of our listeners, and that’s why I wanted to get you on the show today.
Can I ask you to just get started? What was it that actually motivated you to write Key Person of Influence and to develop the KPI programme?
Daniel Priestly: During my 20s I launched and grew several businesses and they grew very, very rapidly from an idea in my 20s to a multi-million dollar business, a global business by the end of my 20s. So I’d built a very reasonably successful and fast-growth business, and one of the strategies that we had employed through that whole 10-year growth period was that I always got myself under the wing of someone who was already very well-known, liked, and trusted. So I would have a … People on the board or who were advisers to the company who were authors and who were industry spokespeople. I would employ speakers to come to our conferences and we had celebrity speakers and we had people who had built very, very large and successful companies, multi-billion dollar companies came and spoke at our events.
Because I was getting myself so closely aligned to these people I really started to see that they were very similar in the way that they approached business, and I noticed just some … Just the similarities coming up again and again, the way that they would pitch ideas, the way that they would create products, the way that they were very protective of their brand and their reputation. And I developed this term by the end of my 20s called, “A key person of influence,” which is the kind of person who’s in the middle of the industry who all the opportunities go through them. When someone says, “We’ve got an idea in this particular industry,” they go, “We need to talk to that person because they’re the key person of influence in the industry.”
So I saw this as a phenomenon and I also really felt like I wanted to position myself as a key person of influence as well. I felt like it was time for me to play a bigger game and I’d been very much behind the scenes or … I was CEO and director but I wasn’t publicly facing as much as I thought I could benefit by doing that, so I wanted to position myself as a key person of influence and I began writing down all my notes that I had learned from these types of people, and it actually formulated into the five step formula that was in the book.
Chantal: Thank you so much. We’re going to go through those five steps shortly. One of the things that for me really made a huge impact was the chapter where you talked about micro-niches. In the book you say, “In every industry there will be micro-niches within niches.” For me that was a real light bulb moment and I think it’s something that is very, very relevant for our audience. Can you explain to us what a micro-niche is and perhaps share some examples of what you mean?
Daniel Priestly: Yeah. A micro-niche is where you really focus in on a very particular specialty, and you might narrow it down by a particular age group, a particular gender, a particular problem that you see in the marketplace that needs solving. For example, you might have a micro-niche training female marathon runners who are over 40, and that could actually be a micro-niche. Or you might focus on fitness training for moms who have had a caesarian birth, and that could be a micro-niche. Or you could focus on training male executives who travel all the time, Gold Frequent Flyers on at least two airlines and have to win business over lunches and dinners and drinks. By focusing on these really specific people and these specific challenges, it makes you immediately stand out.
Now, this goes contrary to what most people think because they think, “Actually, the safer strategy would be to be very general and to train anyone and everyone who comes along.” And that probably was true back before the internet. Before the internet you wanted to be a general store because you wanted to capture as many people in the local five mile radius as possible, but in the age of the internet, people can find you from anywhere in the world, they can get excited about what you do from anywhere in the world, you can probably deliver value to people anywhere in the world, and also, you need the ability to cut through the noise. If you’re too general than you’re just part of the noise and you’re not actually standing out from the crowd.
One of the things I encourage people to do, especially as a place to start, is to go into a nice micro-niche that they can become known for, became famous for, and then broaden out from there. There are some famous examples. Even before the internet, there’s a motivational speaker that everyone’s familiar with called, Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins actually began with quit smoking and then fear of phobias and over-eating. He would go around talking about phobias and quitting smoking and eating more healthy, and he broadened that niche and broadened that niched and broadened that niche until he became all about person empowerment and he released the series called, “Personal Power,” which was a very general programme. But he had actually built his entire reputation, his brand up, from starting with some very, very micro-niche problems that he solved.
A micro-niche can be a place to start. Maybe you broaden it as you grow, but it’s certainly really powerful for cutting through the noise.
Chantal: I think that’s a really great example that you talked about, saying how much more accessible it is to do this nowadays with the internet. We had Michael Stelzner on the show recently and he talked to us about Facebook Watch. which of course is the platform where you can start to develop a series and get your message out there. To me, I think that matches perfectly with the concept of a micro-niche because it’s a really great way that you can actually show people just how specialised you are in a particular area and gain a following from all over the world, which I love the idea of. So thank you for explaining the concept of a micro-niche.
Now, let’s get into the real grit of KPI. Can you talk us through those five things that you need to have in place in order to be a KPI?
Daniel Priestly: Yeah. The five Ps in order are the ability to deliver a perfect pitch. So when somebody asks you the question, “What do you do?” you’ve got a really compelling response to that. That’s step one. Step two is to publish content. Whether it be a book, whether it be blogs, articles, or podcasts, but publishing content, getting your ideas into a digital, scalable format that people can discover you on those platforms. The third P is the ability to [inaudible 00:08:01] product ecosystem. You have to not just have one particular product or service but you actually have to have several products and services that become your signature product and service ecosystem. The fourth P is called, “Your profile,” and that is how you’re seen from a distance. It’s your awards and accolades, it’s your social media profiles, it’s your traditional media profiles. And then the fifth P is the people that you partner with, so the ability to bring together the right partners. Perhaps partnering with bigger brands, more successful or more well-known brands so that you can actually partner with them and lift yourself up as well.
When I was travelling with all of these celebrity speakers and these multi-millionaire, multi-billionaire entrepreneurs, what I noticed is that this is almost all they focus on, they just focus on these five Ps. So they’re pitching all the time, they’re publishing content and publishing articles and creating products. If we think of someone like, for example, Richard Branson. Richard Branson on the iconic billionaire entrepreneur, he actually doesn’t do much other than these five Ps. He’s pitching ideas and he’s pitching the Virgin business. He’s publishing books, publishing articles, publishing content. He’s choosing which products the Virgin brand goes on, he’s raising his profile and the profile of Virgin, and he’s doing partnerships. Almost of all the companies in the Virgin group are in partnership with companies that know how to run those businesses.
Pretty much that’s all Richard Branson does. He’s not functional in any of the businesses, he doesn’t fly any planes or do any credit card deals or open any … Run any of the gyms. He’s not functional in any capacity, he just does these five skills.
Chantal: Daniel, you mentioned it in your Precor Quick Fire Five and then you touched on it again then, and that is the idea of actually publishing a book. We talk about publishing content online and I think everyone has a fairly good handle on that, but I think that there are a lot of people out there that love the idea of publishing their own book but it’s a pretty big task, or it feels like a big task. For anyone that has that on their wishlist of things to do, is there any advice that you could give us around that on publishing your first book?
Daniel Priestly: Yeah. A book tends to be 40 thousand words, and what you’re looking to do is to educate and inspire people to come and do business with you. You’re not trying to create a textbook, you’re not trying to create some sort of massive, thick doorstop that tells everyone and everything … Everyone every single thing about what they need to do. In a book these days, what you’re really trying to do is sell an idea. You’re trying to get people to think differently about a topic, interrupt their way of thinking, educate them about something they may not know about, and inspire them to get in touch with you, inspire them to take some action.
Those are the kinds of books that really build businesses. They’re typically about 40 thousand words and typically they’re full of stories that you would already tell if you were asked to speak at your industry conference or if you were asked to give a sales presentation. These are the types of stories you would already be out there sharing and they’re probably even stories that you have shared in emails and blogs and those kind of things in the last couple of months.
One of the things that I always recommend is to work alongside a team who do this all the time. There’s now this industry called, “Hybrid Publishing,” and I’m affiliated with a company called, “Rethink Press,” in the UK, although we do do books all over the world. The Rethink Press have a team of people who their full-time job is just coordinating people’s books to come out, whether it be the writing, editing, or production process. In the same way that someone who’s never gotten themselves into a great fitness condition, they’ve never been super-fit, have benefited enormously through being part of a group or having a personal trainer, it’s very similar to writing a book. The difference with a book though is once that book is out, it’s a permanent asset. You can lose your fitness if you don’t keep it up, but once that book is out it’s permanent, it’s out there and you will always be an author from that moment on.
Chantal: Daniel, you talked earlier about the product ecosystem and that book would make a part of that product ecosystem. Do you generally see a book when you’re a KPI as a revenue line in the business, or do you do use it more as a way of actually promoting other things that you do within the business as a lead generator?
Daniel Priestly: I used to employ business development managers, and the typical business development manager role you would expect to pay about 60 thousand dollars as an entry-level business development manager. You would also pay travel, you’d pay computer, all of those kind of things. Realistically you’re probably going to be looking at 75 thousand dollars in order to have somebody in the role, even in a fairly junior capacity.
When I look at a book I simply just compare it to that business develop manager role. This is a tool that goes out and communicates the message perfectly every time. It has an impact for every person you send it to, it’s very cheap for the book to travel, it never calls in sick. One of the things, a business development manager can only really work about 1,500 hours per year, that’s if they’re really good and they’re always on. So if you were to just print out 1,500 books and send them to everyone in your industry or everyone who was a potential client, I guarantee you that for one-tenth of the cost of the business development manager that those fifteen hundred books are going to go out there and actually do 10 times the job.
I will say this, the absolutely shocking thing that happened to me is that I started getting royalty checks, and that blew my mind. I never wrote any of my books … I’ve written four bestselling books, I never wrote any of them to be anything more than tools to go out and share a message and to talk about the good work that we’re doing. I never thought of them as money-makers and then suddenly every six months I start getting these royalty checks. The royalty checks are actually … Have started to become quite substantial and it’s like in … I originally thought, “Oh well, if it’s a bit of champagne money, fine, that’ll be nice.” But actually it’s quite ridiculous how actually some of these royalty checks can actually add up really quickly because Amazon has cut out a lot of the costs, so authors can now earn about $2 per book pretty easily, so if you sell 10 thousand books it adds up.
Chantal: Absolutely. I think it’s an important thing to talk about because I think that quite often the fantasy’s that you’re writing a book and selling a book to make some money out of it, but I think, and as you’ve just shared with us, perhaps that might come later on the down the track. But I think mindset-wise for a number of our listeners it is really as you say, about going out there and sharing your message using that publication as a way to reach more customers, to talk about that specialty micro-niche that you work within. Perhaps approaching it with that mindset is a more, I don’t know, sensible way to start.
Daniel Priestly: It’s also a positioning tool. It positions you as someone who cares enough about what you’re talking about to write a book. So even if nobody read the book, the fact that you’ve written it says a lot about who you are and how much you care about the industry. It’s a very good positioning tool and immediately gets you into the media and immediately gets you on radio and TV and all that sort of stuff, or it gives you about three times more likely chance that you’ll get accepted on those kind of platforms.
The funny thing was, is the more books I gave away the more I sold.
Chantal: And you get to write author on your LinkedIn profile.
Daniel Priestly: I get to write four times author.
Chantal: Of four bestselling books, [inaudible 00:16:12].
Daniel Priestly: Exactly.
Chantal: That’s fanatic. Okay Daniel, one last question for you, can you leave us with your top three tips for fitness professionals that want to become a key person of influence?
Before we hear those last takeaways from Daniel, here’s a message from one of our podcast partners.
[inaudible 00:16:29], if you haven’t explored a functional training space for your gym, then now is the time. With Queenax functional training by Precor, there is a unit to fit every space. Plus, education is included to ensure that training is delivered with confidence. You need to jump online and check this out right now, go to precor.com/fitnessbusinesspodcast.
Now let’s go back to Daniel with his top tips for fitness professionals who want to become a key person of influence.
Daniel Priestly: Yeah. The top three tips that I have for fitness professionals in particular is that it’s really important within the noise of the fitness industry that you really tune into the person who is suffering a problem or is … You really got to tune into your customer and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. One of the best things that a great entrepreneur can do is empathise really fully with their client. The fitness professionals that we have worked with in particular, one of the things that really built their business is they started by going out and asking lots of questions of the perfect type of customer, really understanding why they struggle with their fitness, what their fitness is worth to them, and really getting under the hood of how to create a real transformation for the person.
The second thing that that transformed into is a high value offering. One of the things we’ve done with our fitness professionals that we’ve worked with in Key Person of Influence, is we’ve really encouraged them to go high end rather than trying to have $39 classes or trying to sell online videos for a few dollars here and a few things there. One of the things that we’ve really discovered is that for a lot of fitness professionals, having a small group of elite clients actually makes a lot more money than a vast number of low paying clients.
For example, one other fitness trainer that we worked with here in London, we quadrupled his income by cutting his client list by two-thirds. What we did is we made sure that he offered a full and remarkable concierge level service to some elite CEOs and he basically did nutrition, fitness over Skype when they travel, looking at the menus that they’re going to be eating from, looking at what’s going to be served to them on the plane and actually what … Helping them pre-order special meals on the plane. Really focusing on when they’re in Hong Kong, getting on Skype in the middle of the night and actually doing that workout with them on … In the hotel gym, and offering that really premium level service. Now, this particular fitness client, fitness industry client that we worked with did a third of the … Cut the list back to a third of the clients, and his income went through the roof working a lot less hours and by focusing on a high … A real high value offering that really solves a problem.
Then the other thing too, the final thought, is that in the fitness industry you’re constantly creating … You’ve constantly got the potential for creating beautiful digital assets, and it’s important to capture them. There are certain stories that you tell your client one-on-one that really inspire that client, it’s worth recording that and putting it out there, perhaps in a video or on a podcast. There are images, before and after shots, that would really inspire a lot of people. Make sure you capture those, get permission and start to share them. Don’t just share them on classic Instagram where everyone’s beautiful, go and share some of these things on LinkedIn where everyone’s suffering from not having enough fitness but they’ve got plenty of money and they need a breakthrough.
Capture those digital assets, share those digital assets across a multiple of platforms. Go outside of the normal platforms that every fitness trainer is utilising and you’ll actually find that there’s a lot of people, more than ever, who want to pay a high value for a really good service to transform their fitness.
Chantal: Daniel, they are great tips to finish off on today so thank you so, so much for that. Now, we briefly mentioned your other books today which of course are Entrepreneur Revolution, Oversubscribed, and 24 Assets. Now, if people want to read any of your four bestselling books or if they want to find out more about the KPI programme, where’s the best place for them to go?
Daniel Priestly: My books are all on Amazon under Daniel Priestly. They can follow me on Instagram or Twitter @DanielPriestly. One thing that is a really useful tool is for a smaller business that’s perhaps under half a million dollars, the influence scorecard is a really powerful 10 minute questionnaire that allows you to tune into, are you being a great influence or not? And that’s keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard.
And then if you’re … If you’ve hit about half a million dollars in revenue and you’re not looking to grow and scale and widen the margins of your business, we have something called the, “24 assets heat map,” which looks at some of the assets that you could perhaps start to look at making those assets digital, some of the areas of the business that could be automated or you could put some [media 00:21:38] in there, that’s called 24assets.com. So you can visit keypersonofinfluence.com and find the scorecard, or you can go to 24assets.com and hit the heat map. Both of those tools would be really right to help you to grow and they’re just really good data-rich reports that you get, sharing with you specifically how you can grow those areas of the business.
Chantal: Daniel once again, thank you so, so much for your time today. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to chat to you. I want to thank you personally for, as I said at the very beginning, the influence that you have had on my own personal career and I’m very grateful that you’ve come on the show today to share all of your experience with the listeners of the fitness business podcast, so thank you.
Daniel Priestly: Thank you so much.
Active Management Members receive monthly tools to make your life as a fitness business owner, manager or team members easier. Become a member today at www.ActiveMgmt.com.a/joinnow