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Leadership Series, Part Four: Giving as a Powerful Business Idea

We all know about go-getters: people who see what they want and set out to acquire it no matter what. Authors Bob Burg and John David Mann provide a twist on that notion in The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea (Portfolio 2007). They argue that giving is the key to receiving.

The Go-Giver is a quick, easy read that follows a young, ambitious sales associate trying to succeed in his career. He’s working hard but getting nowhere, until a colleague points him to a consultant who provides the insights he needs to excel.

In this parable, Burg and Mann introduce the “5 Laws of Stratospheric Success.” As the fourth part of my series on leadership books that can inspire fitness managers and owners, I’ll explain how these five laws relate to fitness facility owners and managers.

1. The Law of Value

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

In the fitness industry you change people’s lives every day, and you can’t put a price on that. But most people are paying you for their workout. If you can figure out how to exceed their expectations, then you can stand out from your competitors.

What extras can you offer? It can be as simple as really getting to know your clients, their interests and their families—and asking them about these aspects of their lives. You might research health and fitness topics of interest and forward the results to your clients. Or you might try these ideas: Offer a free birthday session. Foster the development of friendships, and host parties and group events so clients and staff get to know each other. Create a culture through social media. Take care of your team, so that they take care of your clients. If you create an experience that people can’t get anywhere else, they won’t go anywhere else.

2. The Law of Compensation

Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

Ask yourself how you can impact more people in the same amount of time. Maybe you can offer group training classes; health clinics; or a club for runners, hikers or triathletes. Can you teach a free monthly workshop for your community or conduct “lunch ’n’ learns” at local businesses? How about writing a health and fitness blog or a column for a local newspaper or magazine?

3. The Law of Influence

Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

During any interaction with current, past or prospective clients, ask yourself, “How can I help?” and “What are their needs?” Even if you don’t believe they will ever train with you, help them anyway. The thinking behind this is, “What goes around comes around,” and people will become your sales force as word gets out that you are genuinely interested in helping people.

4. The Law of Authenticity

The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

Whether you are an employee in a fitness facility or training studio or a sole proprietor, you are running your own business, even if it’s within another business. You need to be able to sell yourself. People must be willing to pay money to spend a couple of hours per week with you, so it’s important to be likable. Work on having good communication and people skills. Be positive and energetic, and have a magnetic personality. Genuinely care, and be true to who you are and what you believe in.

You are selling fitness, a healthy lifestyle and a happy outlook on life, but you are also selling you.

5. The Law of Receptivity

The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

In our industry, we’ve embraced the misguided concept that to really love what you do and make a difference, you have to settle for making a lower income.

Teachers, firefighters, police officers and other people who love what they do should not have to forgo an income that enables them to pay a mortgage, take vacations, send their kids to college and so on. Why should fitness professionals be any different?

My attorney charges $350 per hour, and I know he doesn’t feel guilty about it. He believes in his worth and value. In the fitness industry, we need to shift our belief system to one that values our role in the world. We are capable of directly improving people’s lives—and that’s worth a good income.

So believe in your success, believe in your worth, believe in what you have to offer and be open to being wildly successful.

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