Listen to your favourite host










  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Transcription – David Steel Show 201

Chantal:               David, welcome and thank you for joining us on the show today.

David:                   Well thank you for having me. It’s absolutely my pleasure.

Chantal:               To kick things off today, can you explain to us why quality is more important than quantity when it comes to generating leads?

David:                   That’s a great question and one that’s often overlooked by most people that are in this business. Is that if you’re generating bad leads or leads that are not going to close, you waste an enormous amount of time in all the follow up that could be used for other things. And so when you really dig into the real cost of what we call customer acquisition or member acquisition, that becomes really really important. Most advertising and marketing companies don’t really look at that number and so for them it’s quantity versus quality. We really want to make sure that the leads that come in are closed and we do everything in our power, our core value is winning so we have to make sure that those leads are the ones that are going to close and we have to help our customers close those leads in a lot of different ways.

Chantal:               So David, I believe that you’ve got five ways that you’re going to talk us through today and the way that we can actually increase the quality of our leads. Can you take us through those?

David:                   Well first, strategy is important and that’s not really one of the strategies because it’s the overarching strategy which says, what is it that we do? How do we do it? Who’s going it going to relate to? Which kind of talks about which is the first, which is the audience is probably the most important that you’re marketing to. And so when you’re looking at marketing leads that are going to convert and ultimately you want to market to the individuals that are going to spend the most money in your club. You want to look for your members and your membership first. And what’s great about social media marketing is the ability to create look alike audiences. And so you look at your best customers and you find look alike audiences just like them. So audience number one.

Second is geography and interest. Geography and interest really says they will come to my club, so marketing to somebody 25 miles away that’s going to take them six hours to come to your club in traffic, that’s not very effective unless they work in the area. So geography is very important in making sure you’re going to be able to close it because ultimately you have to have geographically desirable prospects and members. Then the offer, and what you put out is what you get. So if you’re a high price, a low volume club that’s offering incredible service and you’re really fighting for those leads and you’re putting out these incredible deals that aren’t going to last or are not sustainable for that member, that you’d have to charge them more over a period of time.

Then you’re going to bring in people that are going to be disconnected and ultimately aren’t going to convert because they’re coming in for a low price, high volume club. So you want to make sure that the offer that you put out there is going to attract the people that you’re looking for. And yes, free pass always works, but it only works the case where you have a phenomenal tour. So if you’re a tour and your club is dirty and you don’t clean the bathrooms, which doesn’t happen to anybody I’m sure. But if you’re really just looking at bringing people in the club that are not going to be happy, then ultimately don’t put those offers out there. The next is ease of use. Look and feel, ease of use. So if you’re asking a tonne of questions to individuals and have a six page kind of survey they have to fill out, chances are they’re not going to fill it out or they’re going to lie on it.

So ask as few questions as possible, only asking for data that you’re going to use in your sales process. Lastly, it’s test, test, test, test, and test. It’s A-B testings, it’s trying different headlines. One word can make all the difference in the world, so that prospect and your lead acquisition. So you want to make sure that you test everything and you’re not just testing the ads and the copy and the sales process just for the cost of leads, the bringing down the cost of a lead, but you’re also doing it for conversion. You want to ultimately look at that conversion number or cost per member to determine what ads are most effective for you.

Chantal:               What a sensationalist David, I want to break all of that down. I’ve written a heap of questions for you. Let’s go back to number one. You talked about look alike audience. Now, unfamiliar with look alike audience on Facebook, now that there’s a connection between Facebook and Instagram, can we use look alike audiences for both of those platforms?

David:                   Absolutely you can. And what’s great about these look alike audiences, it’s not just uploading a list that might pertain to your customer base, but let’s say that you’re looking to attract individuals that want a pool. Let’s say that’s your draw. You have the best pool in the area and you think that that’s going to be the driver. So anybody who goes to that pool page, you can actually instal a pixel on your website that will start building a custom audience just for people that are looking for pools and when you have that, then you can actually grow that look alike audience and find other individuals that are interested in that particular topic. You want to always focus on what’s most important to your members and what has the best conversion.

Chantal:               Hi everyone. David just spoke about installing a pixel onto your website. For anyone that wants to know exactly how to do that, I’ve put a link on our website with a quick easy how to guide. Just go to today’s show notes at Now back to the interview now. Now the next one you mentioned was geography and interest. When it comes to targeting, how specific can we get? Can you maybe talk us through an example that perhaps you’ve set up for one of your clients that you worked with? Maybe a gym, a studio owner of how specific we can actually get with our targeting.

David:                   So we’re walking beacons, believe it or not. We carry these devices in our pocket that tells everybody, or not everybody, but Facebook and Google and even the cell companies where we are at all times because your phone is always on. And being that that’s the case is there’s more and more technology available that it’s driven by not where your computer is located, but where you’re actually at. So if you’re spending most of your time within a five mile radius of a club or studio, your cell phone is now that target. There’s a lot of different ad types that allow us to actually target people that are in a given area physically because that’s going to be walking traffic. What’s also really quite amazing, I mentioned this on a panel at Motionsoft, and people kind of took offence right away not really understanding the process.

But Facebook and Google are both faced with the same problem that most marketers are, which is how do you find what customers actually saw an ad and came into the club when they might not have taken advantage of the ad itself, but just saw in the sides to come into the club. So now there’s technology that allows you to upload people that have come into a club, for example, to Google and Facebook has got this as well, but Google is really got the market on this. That will show you all the people in that list that have seen an ad within the last 30 days and not in a way that says this individual person did it, but it’ll start attributing dollars and cents to those people. Because of privacy issues, they won’t say the exact person because they don’t want to give away too much information.

But when people took offence of that was, but we don’t want to upload our customer list. We don’t want to send that data to Google, we don’t want them to know this. But truth be told, if you’re doing anything with join online’s or do anything with Google analytics on your site, they probably know more about your customers than you do. And because of that … I mean it’s a fear that you’re uploading data to the big monster in the web that has all this data, but truth be told is they know not just where your customers are shopping and where they’re looking at, but where they went right from your site and where they were before they came to your site. So all these things that they have, somebody is going to be playing with this data and using it to their benefit. You might as well use it because they have it anyway.

Chantal:               Okay. So when we are creating a look alike audience in Facebook, isn’t that the same thing? We’re uploading the data about our customers anyway. We are uploading their email address. When we’re actually creating look alike audience, is that the same thing as uploading their information to Google?

David:                   Yeah, it is the same. But people look at it differently because at the end of the day you could actually attribute dollars and cents in the Google model where you can actually say that this person spent $75 if you want to do it that way. But you’re not necessarily building a look like audience, you’re getting data back on data they already have, you’re upending your existing data in a way where in Facebook you’re getting something in return which is a look alike audience member that you want to attract. Secondly is I think people just look at marketing different that sells data, they look at like, I’m saying this after Facebook but they don’t really know what this group is about. But keeping in mind that they know when they’re in the gym based upon just your phone in your pocket.

So being that they have that data, big data kind of looks at so many different variables that they have most of the things that you already stopped loading as well. So I think it’s the fact that if something new, people haven’t really gravitated to it yet, but it will be. It’s common and people are using it and it’s very effective. Actually Chantal we’re about to publish a blog post about this because we are so excited about it and it’s cutting edge or we just like to say bleeding edge. So as soon as it’s available, we’ll make sure you get a link to that and be able to share that with your listeners.

Chantal:               That will be excellent David. Thank you. I know that is a topic that I certainly want to know more about and I’m sure that the FBP family do as well. So let’s keep working our way through these five ways that we can increase the quality of our leads. Now the third one that you talked about was offer, and this one always fascinates me because I know that often we have 10 class just put out that free pass thinking that that’s the best way. Are there any examples of an offer that you have seen that has worked particularly well that you could share with us?

David:                   Well, I wan to flip it around a little bit especially for how the free pass works because nothing is better than a free pass. And the reason why I say this is that it really allows you to highlight how good your organisation is. And I’m talking about for lead generation. For join onlines and getting people interested in referring a friend, offer based like, financial offers work the best. Whether it be a free trial, a pay trial, whether it be a class pass that has 10 class, if you’re a studio. Whatever it is, financial incentives work best for join onlines or having people actually take action online to buy something. But for lead generation, nothing is better than a free class or a free tour to see what the club’s about. But I want to flip this around a second because this is where people … And there are gym operators and studio owners that do this amazing.

But I find that with kind of gym owners and studios fool themselves into thinking that it’s working every time. People that know me know I love yoga and you in and I do it probably more than I should. The studio I go to is actually a client of ours. And what I love about is I actually get to see the work in action. And I can’t tell you how many times somebody checks in and goes into the studio and then the teacher just really makes it so difficult with … I’ve seen people actually walk out of class, like new people and they never come back. And the studio owner thinks it stops at the front desk. When somebody has a free pass, it’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure that that person is treated well and treated with kindness and respect because they’re scared for the most part.

And you’re there to really help them with their fitness journey. And I can’t tell you how many times people either mess it up someplace in they’re actually tour or not focusing what’s important to the person because they’re just talking about their club versus allowing the person to express what they’re really looking for and why they’re there. That’s the most important thing. Why did you come in today? What are you hoping to gain? What is it that we can do to make it better for you? And that’s what we have the power to do and why I think that it’s so important, I talk about this all the time, it’s your opportunity to love the person that’s coming in and show them how great you really are and you can’t take that lightly

Chantal:               David, I love that observation that you made about how important it is that it doesn’t just stop at your welcome desk team, that it’s every member of the business that needs to get on board when it comes to, you put that free pass out there but it doesn’t just stop at that, there’s so much more to take into account. Now, one of the other things that you talked about which was point number five in these five ways to increase the quality of our leads is you talked about how important it is that we test and mentioned A-B split. Now I’m going to assume that most of the FBP family will understand what that term means. But just in case there’s anyone that doesn’t know what A-B split is or hasn’t done an A-B split or test for their marketing before. Can you just briefly explain to us what that means?

David:                   Yeah. So you’re taking an audience and let’s say you’re randomly cutting in half. So some people are going to see one ad and another person is going to see another ad and whatever is performing better is going to start being served up more and then you start seeing like this worked better. It could be so simple as just changing the colour of the image or the button that they’re pressing or the landing page. Because A-B split testing is on the ad, it’s on the pages they go to, it’s on everything they do. I always try to really get a good understanding from a client’s perspective as when you create your website, what testing did you do? How did you decide where the button goes or what’s going to be sad and what colour are you going to have and all those other things. And most people say is, “Well, I just wanted to get something that looked good.”

I believe that these small differences can have a huge impact to your bottom line and so we don’t take anything for chance. Now we don’t do websites and things like that, but we do a lot of landing pages and we test everything to nausea. So we often say is when was the last time you changed your website? And people say, “Well I’ve had the same website for years?” And that’s your front door. They might’ve had all new equipment, new trainers, new exercise classes, but the website stays kind of stagnant a lot of times. Or they get a new WordPress site and it says that looks nice, but that’s not who we really are today. You’ve got to really use that to your advantage. This is your opportunity to have another location. We always say it’s the other store. So if you have a club, you have 10 clubs this year, your 11th club is your website, is just as important and you should test everything on it.

Chantal:               Great suggestion. And I love what you were saying about website, about how important it is to make sure that we’re constantly looking to evolve and test the whole way. In regards to Facebook advertising, if we set up an A-B test on a particular ad and we had two slight variations of it, is the Facebook ad manager automated and intelligent enough that when it sees that one ad is performing particularly well, will it automatically switch off the other one or is that have to be a manual process by the person that’s managing the account?

David:                   So it’s a lot smarter than even that. Because an ad might be performing really well at a certain time of the day while another ad is performing better at a different time of the day with a different audience. So Facebook employs a lot of AI to make sure whatever as being served is most likely going to convert at that time and to that person. So just because an ad is not converting really well, and this goes back to the original statement of getting the best leads. And ad that doesn’t convert really well and the cost per lead acquisition is very high, might actually be a better membership conversion than just the one that’s getting a low lead conversion. So it’s very important to understand what all these numbers mean. And the AI is getting even better. And so what we do is we have this saying, “Often pleased but never satisfied.” So we’re always looking at cost per lead, cost per member and it’s always like in our conversation internally.

And so if we see an ad doing well and what not, we might turn that ad off and just create a variation of that particular ad to see if it would do better. So we’re always having something else in the background testing to see if we can always get better. And I think that’s important is you just can’t set it and forget it. It’s not like an easy bake oven where you’re going to have the chicken come out perfect because you set it, forget it. This requires work and somebody would work at it all the time. Because it’s not just like Facebook and Instagram, but is do I put my money in Facebook or Instagram or do I put it in Google today? Where do I even put it even on a bigger scale and that’s important. So it gets very specific and I really feel artificial intelligence, we talk about it a lot in our industry is on the forefront of making huge breakthroughs when it comes to this. Both on the platforms themselves like Facebook ad manager, but also in external programmes that cost an arm and a leg but work really well.

Chantal:               I must admit David, ever since attending the Motionsoft Technology Summit, it’s really heightened my awareness around AI and just how important it is that we do keep up to date with what’s happening in our industry because it is moving so rapidly. And I want to take this opportunity to just remind everyone that off the back of that summit we actually have had the great opportunity to interview a number of the speakers that are very much immersed in this space, David being one of them. So make sure that you do listen out because we will be touching on this topic quite a lot more over the next couple of months. And David, I appreciate your insights into it because it’s really interesting to start to get our head around exactly what’s happening and how it affects us in the fitness industry as owners, managers and fitness professionals.

David:                   If I could just add one more thing is oftentimes I say this and I feel this way and listeners are also going to feel this way. It’s okay to feel like you’re the dumbest person in the room because I feel like it a lot of times. There is such great talent in this market, in this industry, it’s really an opportunity that if you get a chance to go to a Motionsoft Tech Summit or any of these kind of higher learning events that talk about artificial intelligence or lead generation and marketing, even if you’re not in marketing and you’re in fitness sales or you’re in operations, take advantage of it. And podcasts like yours because it’s amazing what you learn and what you can take home with you.

Chantal:               That brings up a really important question David, when you are seeking information and learning, are there any online resources that you use as kind of your go to on this topic or is it primarily getting out to those conferences where you think we can learn the most about this topic?

David:                   Anybody who knows me knows I am a big nerd. I am about as big as Geek as you can get. And I don’t think I am, but they’ll tell me I am all the time and that’s okay because I think that’s kind of cool right now in this market.

Chantal:               That is very cool, embrace that.

David:                   Yeah, I’ve been embracing my nerdness. I think we’re going to have like revenge of the nerds seven coming out soon. I go through about, and not just on fitness and gyms and sales and procedures and process, but I go through maybe anywhere from two to four books a month. There’s articles that come by my desk. I’m very lucky that I get asked to Beta test things and see things that are coming out. I even get copies of books before they come out to read them and talk to the authors about it. I mean, I’m just in awe and full of gratitude that I get to be brought to the table to actually have these conversations. So there’s really not one place, and at the end of the day is you got to be very careful not to listen to something and take it as fact, to really kind of make sure you do your due diligence.

Because at the end of day there’s a lot of great information and there’s a lot of bleeding edge work that’s happening. Is that it might not work two days from now and nobody ever republishes another book. This is, “Hey, this didn’t work today, so now try this.” And we’re seeing that people are getting their Facebook pages closed down and a whole bunch of other things because the technology they use are not proven. Just start small, learn, do your due diligence, talk to people, talk to people who are using it and that’s how you’re going to learn. Again, I can sit up listen to podcasts like yours and just go out and be part of the industry that you’re part of and put yourself out there.

Chantal:               That’s a great recommendation. I must admit David, just from since we met a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been reading your LinkedIn blog posts and there I’m finding there’s heaps of information so I’ll also include that detail in the show notes so people can jump on and follow you on there as well because you really do keep up to date with everything around the subject and marketing and tech and so we’ll add that to the show notes as well. Now, let’s continue on because kind of talking about tech, we spoke about how important it is to nurture that customer experience when they walk into your facility. Perhaps that come in with a free pass and they’re having an experience and walking through the front desk and going and doing a class. But what if we wind it back a little? Are there any apps or systems that you would recommend for actually nurturing our leads before they even come into our facility?

David:                   So I want to be very careful here because I would say, and this is a few companies ago we were putting in a new CRM system and I was so excited. And CRM is customer relationship management, but now you can get something on the web. Back when I was doing it, these were six figure systems that were installed on big servers. And I was so excited, we were putting this new one into a company I owned and I was playing golf with a buddy of mine who was a head of a CRM training for a large organisation and said, I can’t wait, we’re putting this software that is going to change, and he said to me, he goes, “I’ve got news for you. CRM is not software, it’s the people. And if you think technology is going to change your people, you’re very wrong.” Again on the system, nobody uses. It’s people first, technology second.

So that’s where I think maybe best to start this, is that there’s a lot of great technology and they all work, whether it be the Clable S’s or inTouch or VFP, and they’re all have their pluses and minuses, we haven’t found yet the perfect system and in anything. But bottom line is that if you don’t really treat it like it’s a people first technology, then I think you can get lost in the weeds and you’re going to create a system that people think is working, but just checking off a box is just not good enough. So nurture is nurturing. If somebody is interested in spinning, I know that you’re a spin instructor. I’m a spin instructor. We can talk about indoor cycling all day long.

They don’t care about Suba. And so telling them that all the great classes is really not going to go anywhere but really promoting that you have the most amazing playlists for your indoor cycle and you’ve got the greatest instructors and the best times is going to resonate with them. And then telling them that you’re going to be at the club on Tuesday and you know this is a great instructor and using that as part of your nurturing. And you can automate this by the way, it doesn’t need to be like I’m going to push a button now and sent this one up email every time, but you can do it a way that becomes highly successful and works. And do you mind, I kind of tell you an unrelated story about a trip to California that I think will kind of put this into perspective?

Chantal:               Go for it.

David:                   So I was on the plane and you don’t talk to somebody on the plane probably till about half an hour until it lands. And so I was sleeping and the guy next to you was kind of sleeping and it was kind of annoying because his elbow was bumping me and I was bumping him and I’m sure it was just not comfortable. It was a packed flight. We were both kind of up at the last half hour before the flight landed. We’re chit chatting and I said, “Yeah, I’m going out.” And I go “I really like yoga and I want to make sure I want to take a yoga class.” He says, well, I’m a yoga instructor. And I go, “No way, how coincidental that we’re sitting here talking about this and we weren’t talking for the first three hours of the flight.”

And he says, “What are you doing tomorrow?” I said, “Well, I got a couple of b’s in the morning, I should be done by mid afternoon.” He goes, “Well, there’s a place I go to that I love doing yoga, I’m going to take the class, would you like to come with me?” And I said, “Sure.” I didn’t know anybody out in California. I didn’t know where I was going to go. So we met up and did yoga at 4:00 at this great studio. I went back to the studio four times while I was there because I enjoyed it so much and that’s what it took. He nurtured me into that studio and that’s what it’s all about. So if you can do that with automation, you’re going to be successful. If you’re going to say, somebody come in, you got $10 off today and I’m going to give you a special price and do this.

Yeah, you might get some people in. But if you get people to really feel you and really understand your organisation and take the time to do that, and it’d be half the time, not every club works this way. But if you have the time and you have your price points right, make it right. Make that really nurturing and get those people to really, even before they walk that door to know that this experience is going to be amazing. And we use the word remarkable. I’m telling the story about this yoga studio, but I’m in marketing about it. I’m telling you, and that’s what the word remarkable, is remarking about it to somebody else and that’s where you want to have happen. So every tour is remarkable, every email should be remarkable. Everything you do should call somebody to say, that was absolutely amazing, that was great. Take the time to do that.

Chantal:               David, I love that example you just shared with us and it reminds me we actually have done this year a couple of different shows on the importance of having brand advocates and ambassadors as part of our business. And for anyone that wants to understand that concept more and you’re thinking about bringing in an ambassador or getting together a group of your people that support your gym and love your gym and talk about your gym outside of the times that they’re actually in there, then I’ll be posting in today’s show notes links to those episodes. I’ve done a Facebook live on it and we’ve had two of our guests this year, Deb Heisler and Amanda Stevens talk about that. So for those of you that want more information around that area, I will post the links in today’s show notes. David, I’ve got just one question left for you. This is the big one, this is our inspiration and perhaps today you can leave us with three quick tips for converting leads into customers.

David:                   Okay. Can I give you my biggest one first and the other one’s going to be like, ah, that’s okay. But the first one is most important. Speed to the call. Somebody has a lead, you want to call them as quickly as humanly possible. Because after six minutes it’s about a 50% drop off of the likelihood of getting in touch with them. And so whatever system you’re using and what we do for a lot of our clubs as well, actually not just email the lead and put it into their CRM system, but we will text their salespeople, that a lead just came in, drop everything and make that phone call because that’s going to save you so much money and all the other calls that you’d have to make to get them back on the phone. Next is focusing what’s unimportant quickly. Get to the point. If you’re interested … And here’s what’s really has to be delicate is everybody wants to lose weight, everybody was getting shaped. Everybody wants to look better.

Everybody wants to be more desirable to the partner, everybody wants all that. But just get a little deeper like why are you looking for that? What happened in your life that changed? So ask them the questions that get them talking. Questions are the most important thing, and listen and really kind of … And which takes me to last point is don’t be a robot, the world doesn’t need robots. We’ve got enough of them that just walked through their day and just kind of do their thing and don’t even look up and spend their day in front of their phone. But sometimes we have the ability to touch people, take that opportunity and touch them. And not physically obviously, but touch them emotionally to really understand what is there they’re for and you have a chance to really make a difference in people’s lives. And at the end of the day isn’t that why we all got into this business is to help people and change people’s lives and make this a better place? So this is your opportunity to add one person at a time.

Chantal:               What a beautiful note to finish on. Well David, I have loved talking to you today. I think there is so much gold in there for people to take away. I feel like we’re going to have a very detailed show notes section for today’s episode. And guys, please make sure that you do head over to All of the links that we have spoken about during today’s episode I’ll make sure I put those in, including the article that David’s going to share with us in regards to that Google stuff that we talked about. So David, I want to thank you so much. This was just excellent chatting to you. I’m so glad that we’re able to meet her at the Motionsoft Technology Summit. Thank you for joining us on the show today.

David:                   Well thank you for having me. It was absolutely my pleasure.

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



With nearly 1 million downloads, The Fitness Business Podcast is the most practical podcast in the world.  Subscribe to the show notes now for all the resources guests share delivered to your inbox.