Help First: Sell Less, Profit More

I read this as a follow-up to Cooper’s book Two-Brain Business 2.0. In Help First, he continues to detail principles and specific tactics to run a profitable business while delivering value to an immense number of people. His writing style gets me fired up, and I leave every reading session with a dozen of ideas to implement. This book isn’t just for gym owners – it’s for any business owner that wants to transform their business and help customers. Highly highly recommend.

Here are all of my highlights which may not make sense out of the context of the book:

Explaining how your service provides help at each level of the Hierarchy is marketing. Selling means being a tour guide.

We extend our belief system and values onto the people we meet; it’s a natural phenomenon.

The first way you can help your clients is to tell them what they need instead of what you think they can afford.

If you own a gym (like I do,) people come in the door to be coached, not sold. So coach them: tell them what to do based on what’s best for them, not what’s cheapest for them.

Harvard marketing Professor Theodore Levitt: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

The optimal question is, “What will BEST help this person?” instead of “What’s the cheapest / fastest / newest way to help this person?”

Don’t pay for ads; pay attention. As you’ll read, relationships—not transactions—are the foundation of success.

Stop: before you go any further, remember that your client’s sense of value is not the same as your own. A huge mistake made by many service professionals is to project their own sense of “value” onto their clients.

Asking, “How will we know we’re being successful?” invites the client to try on success like a pair of pants.

When you want to belong to a circle of friends, whether it’s your first day in elementary school or first day in prison, what do you do? You help one of them. You want to fit in, so you’re desperate to do the leader a favor. Right? Why not approach every person you meet this way, even if there’s no obvious way for them to return the favor?

Unfortunately, attracting a high number of discounted clients creates a downward spiral. A discount-seeker has prequalified himself as price-sensitive instead of value-sensitive.

When a client experiences your product at 50% off on her first visit, she’ll be forced to ask herself, “Is this worth double the price I’m currently paying?”

“Don’t try to diagnose someone’s wallet. If they don’t want the service, they’ll say no. But if they want it and you don’t tell them it’s available, they’ll find it elsewhere.”

The key to helping someone is to sit on the same bench. Approach a problem on the same team, and make yourself part of the solution.

We don’t sell access; we sell coaching.

Our gym’s “sales process,” is a blank sheet of paper. In the first ten minutes, Charity will ask about Tiffany: why does she want to exercise? Why now? What’s she already doing right in life? What does she like? What does she dislike? Who does she like to exercise with?

Direct referrals require only three things: – They must benefit everyone involved; – They must bridge the gap between the two services; – They must have a deadline or “call to action.” A good cobranding relationship also has three stages:

Seth Godin calls these folks “sneezers,” because they spread the idea virus to many others.

Social proof shows a potential client a person who seems just like them; it allows the candidate to imagine benefitting from your service. For this strategy, we’ll lean heavily on stories. Testimonials, on the other hand, are those canned pitches you see on most websites.

If a client wants to look professional for a job interview, he needs you to say, “You need a more conservative haircut and a shave.” The alternative—telling a client, “I sell haircuts, trims, waxes, styles, perms, shaving and coloring”—leaves him alone to make the connection between what he wants and what you can sell him.

So the first question necessary for behavior modification is: “What will success look like?”…The second question in the behavioral modification process: “Where are we starting from?”

It’s critical for owners of smallbox gyms to know the goal of each client BEFORE prescribing a solution, and to reinforce the “wins” regularly.

“The community is awesome!” is both an understatement of truth and irrelevant to non-members.

Service professionals ARE experts. When asked a direction question by a client, they can speak passionately and with authority. If all else fails, have a client or coworker ask you a question while recording you on their phone. Examples: “Show me how to deadlift.”