How to revolutionize any industry

I can’t count the number of industries that are ripe for revolution. They’re just sitting there waiting to be transformed and nobody is doing it, or at least not enough people are doing it.

Take gyms for example. It used to be enough to pay a monthly fee to access the gym. Now that monthly fee is like a cover charge, gyms are more interested in selling you overpriced personal training packages with increasing discounts based on volume of sessions purchased.

Sales people don’t care about what people want out of the gym. They’re only interested in signing the person up for a membership and then pushing a training package on them. Sales people almost always fail to ask prospective members about what they want out of the gym, short of having them check some boxes on a predefined list of objectives that the gym thinks are the only possible things that people could want out of a gym. Ironically, check boxes that relate almost one to one with the various personal training packages they offer.

As if every person that walks into a gym wants one of a few possible outcomes and we don’t need to listen to what they have to say, we don’t need to ask questions, we simply need them to check some boxes and spit out a punch card of training sessions.

Once you’re in the door and they’ve figured out what they can get out of you, you’re no longer on anyone’s radar.

I’ve moved a lot and I’ve seen this in way too many gyms. I have been to one gym where it wasn’t the case, but even in that gym they didn’t go as far as they could to create an awesome experience for members.

The problem with gyms, and every other industry, is that organizations don’t think at all about results and outcomes for customers. They obsess over revenue.

If gyms cared about member outcomes, they’d tailor a membership and training to the outcomes each member articulates, personally. Not outcomes on a checklist of what someone thinks are the typical outcomes people want.

This would mean sales people would have to know how to ask the right questions, not just take people for a tour and explain discounts on training packages. And they’d have to learn how to ask questions in a way that doesn’t come across as I want to sell you something. They’d have to learn to be at peace if there’s nothing they can offer someone other than a membership and a smile. You can’t help everyone. So don’t try. Focus on those you can help.

And in addition to tailoring a plan to a desired member outcome, trainers would have to make a commitment to helping the member achieve the desired outcome. Not just that they show up for 10 hourly long training sessions. But that the member actually loses 10 pounds, if that’s what they want. Or the member boosts their max bench-press by 50%, if that’s what they want. Or the member gains 5 pounds of muscle, if that’s what they want. Whatever it is that the member articulates, if the gym feels they can help them accomplish that outcome, then everyone should commit to that outcome.

The same is true in any industry. If you focus on what makes your customer successful, you will revolutionize the work you do. If you simply focus on sales, in the best case you’ll get more sales, but eventually you’ll go out of business if those sales don’t lead to results.