Interview With Successful Online Coach And Trainer Benjamin Gustafson
Chris: Hey guys, Chris Lynton here from Tribefit, and today a beautiful sunny day in Sydney. Big blue sky so I thought I'd sit out here on the balcony rather than have the office walls, a bit of a nicer background. But today we've got a very special guest Benjamin. I always pronounce your last name wrong but I tried to listen to a video a second ago. I think it's [inaudible 00:00:22], is that correct?
Benjamin: So close man, so close. I've [inaudible 00:00:26] my whole life, or [inaudible 00:00:28], it's [inaudible 00:00:29]. It just whatever. You sounded it out phonetically, you did ... that's fantastic.
Chris: Fantastic mate. Well, appreciate your time. Thanks for being here on today's interview, and I guess just to give a bit of an introduction to Ben from myself, and then offer to him, and he can probably give a better one than myself. But Ben is a very successful online personal trainer. You've got two business partners. Is that correct?
Benjamin: Just one actually, me and my one. But we've got a couple of trainers underneath us that are helping us out as well too.
Chris: Beautiful. One business partner, truckloads of clients. I think you messaged me the other week and I think you did 20K in the last two week or three week period or ... But anyways Ben, mate all throw over to you, but first and foremost guys anyone listening on this, Ben knows his stuff. He's been in this space for a while, truckloads of clients, good income, good earning, moved town recently, and he's [inaudible 00:01:29] one on one. But anyways mate, I'll throw it to you, give us a bit of a background on yourself. I'm sure you can do a better job than me.
Benjamin: That's awesome. Pretty good though man. Pretty good. We just actually cracked the 150 client mark which is pretty awesome. So yeah man, so basically I'm Ben. I'm from Vancouver, Canada originally. As Chris said I just moved to another city. My [inaudible 00:01:51] business is [inaudible 00:01:52] when we're based out of Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Been a PT for four years now, and I guess I met ... A signed on with you guys a year ago, and typical stuff man just typical. Became a PT, did all these other jobs, I was a chef before. I was a councillor before. Things were super stressful. Loved what I did but it just wasn't helping people in the way that I wanted to. I got fitness was always my thing and of course chef background, nutrition is something that I do and counselling, great motivation for face to face training and al that stuff via clients. Did really well face to face, man.
Started a business with one of my really good friends, and we've been jamming and vibing for a really long time, and for the last four years now. He was doing it on his own, and then him and I branded out and together over the last four years. Doing really, really well there but it's just that typical story right, the reason that I'm here is just that you cap out, and that's what it is. Things were really good. I was making decent money, seven to eight K as a face to face trainer, but 45 hours in the gym, or 40 hours in the gym is one thing. And trainers will get this but not a lot of people do, and I'm haggling with my prices and stuff like that. And this is the part that always killed me about what we were doing, is yeah making decent money but ... And again, trainers will get this but it's like every hour spent in the gym with a client is at least another half an hour to an hour of your time. So you're at an hour and half to two hours of your time, and all of a sudden you're making half the income or your hourly wage is cut in half. And then all the other typical stuff that goes along with it, which is if your sick there's no income. Clients go on vacation your income fluctuates big time. There's nothing really reliable about.
We're beat, and tired, and we were doing actually online before which was pretty crazy. So but we were charging $20.00 a month with the idea of we just get it out there and get 100 clients, that's $2000.00 a month, or it just ... It was stupid. The math was all wrong, the marketing was wrong, we were delivering crap programing, and it just wasn't going anywhere and it wasn't good. It just became a huge time sink, but yeah man did that, and then signed on with you guys and haven't really looked back over the last year. We didn't really take things too seriously in the beginning, but really turned it on over the last six months, and ... I mean, well we took it seriously but we ... it was a slow build for us because we were still dealing with our face to face business, and all of that stuff, and growing that and hiring trainers, and what not. Really in the last six months we've ... we're up over 150, we just hit the 150 client mark in the last six months online, and we're charging good money for it. It's good. It's really, really good.
I went on my first vacation this year in six months, or sorry six years, sorry. That we talked about that before. Six years which was pretty cool, [inaudible 00:04:36] and stuff like that. Actually made money online doing that while I was on that trip which was pretty fun, and then bought my first house with my wife, and moved to a different city. Just stuff that I couldn't do before. It just wasn't going to happen doing what I was doing, because there was no income if I wasn't working or [inaudible 00:04:53]. I got to be here for this whole crazy process. I just went for this ... a lockdown by the lake where I live now with my dog so before this interview just to chill out after the day. That's good man, and that's where we're at. That's why we're here today so [crosstalk 00:05:08]
Chris: Beautiful. Beautiful, and I remember probably a couple months ago you reached out and you were like, "Hey man, I'm going to be moving town and I've got the face to face business is going all right, but I'm freaking out that I'm going to move town. I'm going to leave all my physical business, my physical clients behind, and I'm going to this new world. What the hell am I going to do?"
Benjamin: Yeah, oh absolutely. Yeah man, it was pretty crazy and obviously I mean, what the techniques that you guys teach and the system that you guys teach is low and behold universal for one on one. I've got a waiting list of people, I haven't started actually. I promised myself when I moved, I made the decision to not do anything for six months face to face, and that's working out. I might not even do it. I think I'm going to pick and choose the people that I have a wait list with right now that want to work with me. I'm just setting up some nutrition plans for some people here.
But the clients that are in Vancouver, they're all online with me now, and they still work with my business partner, and my other trainer. So we've transferred them to online and hybrid training which is where they do our online for the most part. Then they see once a week, or once every couple of weeks, and he's like ... my partner's like, "Dude, we just killed it on this, and we didn't lose any of that income. In fact, we gained more time." Because I'm only seeing these people once every week, or once every two weeks, and then we're answering questions for maybe half an hour out of the week. So it's pretty cool man, and they get to stay connected with us, which is awesome so.
Chris: Yeah, which is awesome, and that's ... you got awesome clients that want to train with you, but if you move you got to leave behind, other than going online, which is obviously mate, you've settled into a new town, and online's really going well for you guys. So, 150 active clients, that's phenomenal. What's been your, I guess your biggest week, and your biggest month so far?
Benjamin: Biggest week, biggest month ... We just cracked ... Last month would've been our biggest month, we did $10, 000.00 last month, which was pretty amazing. So we cracked right at the end. I didn't think it was actually going to happen. I was ... We were right on the $9000.00 mark, so we just went over 10K last month. So we've been doing seven to $8000.00 for the last four months and then before that we were doing six consistently, and like I said, we were doing a slow build. Then we really turned it on for the last six months, and we've been above without any paid advertising, we've been above $7000.00 above for the last four or five months. So it's been really good.
Benjamin: Yeah, biggest month was last month. We cracked 10K. We did 10, almost 11. So it was ... And that really got me too, that rhythm is stuck in my [inaudible 00:07:44] a little bit that one, but it was [crosstalk 00:07:46]
Chris: [crosstalk 00:07:45] next time you'll get it.
Benjamin: It was funny man, but it just keeps progressing, which is pretty cool to see. And I think the funniest thing for me is to see ... This is the first time ever, I've always known that I wanted to do this, but this is the first time ever that my business partner and I have ever seen the path, really see the path, and see how it's made out, and how you can scale it. And if you ... You can just be content and you can see where you can jump off, and just let it be. If you want to make it bigger, you can make it bigger, or you can make it smaller, or you can ... whatever you want to do. It's on and off, right.
Chris: Total control, yeah.
Benjamin: It just takes, as much work as you put in, is what you're going to get out. I remember the Jeff [inaudible 00:08:25] interview that you did. Didn't make any sense to me at the time, and now it does. It's ... I just thought it was inspiring and he was hilarious. But it was ... Yeah man, he talks about the leads and the lags. It's what you put in is what you're going to get out, and the leads are the things that you put in behind the scenes, and the lags are the things that you get out. I think I got that correctly.
Chris: Yeah [crosstalk 00:08:41] lead measures, lag measures, exactly right mate. Lead measures are the activities, and lag is the result that comes as a result.
Benjamin: Yeah man, and yeah so it's been cool man. As much effort as we've put in, and again without paid advertising we beat ten grand. So I'm pretty pumped [crosstalk 00:08:58]
Chris: [crosstalk 00:08:58] Mate that's phenomenal and obviously now we're going to jump into, be taking you guys through the advertising, getting that going, and then that's really going to blow up. But I guess, moving into some areas that you've ... 150 clients, to get 150 high paying clients you've obviously had a handful of sales conversations, you've obviously had a handful of closes. So, if someone's sitting there watching this interview and they're ... they've got nothing online yet, but they're trying to get online leads to try and get conversions, or alternatively there's someone here that's had an online business like yourself in the early days, and trying to grow it. What would you give ... Do you have one or two tips that you'd give them in regards to, once they get a lead what are the secrets, or one or two best tips from going from a lead to actually turning into a high paying client?
Benjamin: Oh that's pretty simple man for me in my mind. What I think, I think that was the hardest part for me, because I never wanted to be salesy, and I never wanted to be that guy, and you certainly don't learn that stuff when you're training to be a PT. And so I think that some people have a natural ability to talk to people, and I was a counsellor for a long time so I was always able to talk to people, and I think that skill, there's one skill that I learned in counselling, in counselling it's not about a vice, it's not about talking, it's about you listening, and really hearing what is going on for that person, and being able to understand them. That's really it. If you can hear them, and understand what's happening for them, and know that you can help them, that's huge. That's a big deal.
So I think for me it's really listening, really, really listening to what's going on. Listening to the pain that they're in. Listening to what they're struggling with, and understanding what your skillset is able to do, and creating a message that's like that. Being able to ... Because you're listening to what's going on, I think being able to roll with the moment, and go, "Hey, we do that. This is what we can do for you. We can get that accountability. We can get that motivation for you. We can help you do that. This is a custom programme. We can help you lose that stubborn belly fat, or that bummy tummy, or whatever you want [inaudible 00:11:15]."
But I think for the biggest one, the absolute biggest one, and we close ... between my partner and myself, in my business I know I close about 60 to 75% of people, depending, and that comes from just listening. Then the second piece is having a script. It sounds silly. It sounds robotic. It sounds whatever, and I know that in the beginning I was like, "I like being organic man," but a bunch of ums and ahs, and all that stuff going through it doesn't say that you're listening, it doesn't say that you give a shit. It doesn't sound professional. Excuse my language, I can't [inaudible 00:11:48].
Chris: That's all right. All good.
Benjamin: I think that's acceptable in Australia. I don't know but [crosstalk 00:11:54]
Chris: Common word here in Australia.
Benjamin: Yeah, so it doesn't you really, you're a pro at what you're doing, and there's so many PTs that are. We're really good at what we're doing, and being organised is just pro, and having a script that you can tweak. You have your pitch around what it is that you do. Just having it boiled down to what it is that you do, and what you offer, and then adapting it to what that person's pain is, is the thing. That comes from listening. [crosstalk 00:12:22]
Chris: Yeah man. That's awesome, and I guess just to amplify on the two things that've been mentioned there is first and foremost listening. I know when I first started doing sales calls, a lot of people, and you're thinking I'm in sales mode. I'm selling, I'm selling, I'm selling. You're thinking about what you're selling more than what the person is saying, and I know for myself. There was a period wherever ... a two month period I did over 500 sales calls. It was ridiculous, and after you do enough you think back to yourself at that start, and you're like, God. I just listen so much more because in actual fact, if you go into the call thinking I'm going to sell. You're thinking about yourself and what you need to say, and as a result you're not actually listening, it is un-open. And you're whole goal of jumping on a call is to help someone, but if you're ... if you don't know what they're saying, if you don't hear what they're saying, you don't know what they need help with. So your job is not to sell, your job is to listen, hear what they need help with, and then just help them. And if you can help them, and you listen to their actual problem, then they're going to become a client. There is no sales to it.
And the other aspect, the script side, and probably the best analogy, a book I actually sent you mate-
Benjamin: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chris: [crosstalk 00:13:47] analogy I got from reading a really good book about this. People think scripts are robotic, you're going to sound like a robot, you need to make it up on the fly or whatever, and the best analogy example that I like saying is, Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Awesome movie, phenomenal movie, and this-
Benjamin: One of my favourites.
Chris: Plenty of tear-jerking moments in the movie, and the example is that Mel Gibson, multimillion dollar movie picture when he ... And he's on the horse, and he's going back and forth, and the real big speech that just pumps everyone up, and there's a thousand actors waiting there. Do you reckon the director set all of that up? Had all that money on that day, and just said, "Mel jump on that horse, and just be organic and make it up?" No he had a script. He had a script, but listening to it millions and millions of people cried at that moment on ... felt the emotion, felt the passion, but Mel Gibson was reading from a script. So scripts do not mean they're robotic. Yes you need to have a flow to it, you need to be listening, but scripts are what allow you to ensure that you're on the right track, and you're actually doing the right thing. So, my two very, very powerful aspects you've noted there. So that's really good. Cool.
Last question I've got for you buddy is some awesome real gold nuggets from me. It's the last question I've got for you is ... All right, you've talked about where you've gotten to without paid advertising. Paid advertising is very powerful and if we were doing a video interview in another two months time, then I'll tell you all about that. But where you are right now, you've gotten to where you are with limited to minimal paid advertising. So what have I guess one or two of your biggest secrets, or your biggest 80/20s in regards to lead generation so far?
Benjamin: Right. I knew this question was coming and there's so many things. It's funny man, because it's-
Chris: [crosstalk 00:15:42] Limit it to two.
Benjamin: Yeah, yeah, yeah. One things not better than the other, and that's the hard part about it. There's so many strategies that you guys have put out there. That's one thing, I'll say this, is you guys have so many little Easter eggs like at the end of a movie where you're waiting for something to happen. So many Easter eggs that of little things to get clients, all the way through, which I think is so cool, because there's so many little wins. But I think for me, my day to day, I have my whiteboard set up in my office. And there's one whiteboard that's devoted to my ... It's split in half, and it's my to do list for the week, all my big rocks that I got to move, and I've got my daily tasks. I set my calendar for my calls, I block it off so that I know that this time in morning ... And first thing in the morning, I literally I get up, I read five pages of the book that you sent me actually right now, that one I'm working through. So I'm rereading that one, but I read five pages of that one, get myself in the mindset of what I'm doing, what it is that I'm going to do.
And then realistically I'd go through my group. I do my posts in my group, and all the people that I welcome some of closed group, and some of my freer platforms I go through and welcome individually. I say, "Hey, what's up? I hope you're having a good day. I'm so and so, this is what I do. Welcome to the group." And I make a point of that. I touch base with about 10 people a day, around that, and then I do my group and growth stuff every single day, every single day. But I really make sure that I ... And people in my group and outside of my group, on my Instagram and stuff like that as well too, I go and I introduce myself. So I spend probably the first hour and half of my day introducing myself, what I do, who I am to these people, and starting a conversation.
Something that's really stuck with me throughout this process is you've go to be a friend to gain a friend, and I've watched that stuff grow instrumentally. If they don't ... If they're not interested in taking me up on a call, if they're not interested in whatever, they've still touched base with me. You know what? I've seen people come in four or five months later to my free group that I talked to ages ago that weren't interested in nothing. So it was they weren't interested in talking to us, but now they're in my free group, and they're there for me to talk to, and influence, and be a part of. So that one's been really huge for me is just talking to people, and reaching out, and making sure that I introduce myself to people because that's what you do on a gym floor, and that's it. So that's what I do, daily, and I don't miss that.
And then for I'd say lead generation I make sure that I am posting to all of my places every day, and it's not just, "Hey, we've got this tremendous offer," it's like, "Hey this is a little piece of content." Again, be a friend to get a friend. "This is a little piece of content that can you help you along your way." And I make sure that I post all that stuff to my thing two or three times a day to everything that I'm doing. You can set that up automatically, and do that stuff, and then do that, and make sure that I get my live videos in there was well too, so that people get a lot of value out of what we're doing. I think that those two things, those two value giving things have gone a long way for us. People build ... It builds trust, people like what we do, and if they don't want to be a part of it, they don't have to, and that's totally cool. But eventually I've noticed that they have been, and it's been pretty great.
There's this lady that I talked to today that said, "I didn't really know what you guys were doing, and I didn't know what online was," but she ... we signed her up today. So it was actually pretty cool man, and that was-
Chris: [crosstalk 00:19:11] She was an Aussie.
Benjamin: Yeah, it was. She was. She was the lady from Melbourne actually, and she funny enough, I talked to her doing one of those reach outs just like I was taught to do, doing one of those little reach outs, outreach, and talking to them, and introducing myself. I talked to her like six months ago, and she was like, "No I got this fitness under control," and low and behold something happened in her life and she needed a plan. We were the guys with the plan because we made contact, and introduced ourselves, and said what we were going to do. So I think introducing ourselves, and then growing your group from the outside in as well too. Growing everything. It's really about making connection, and I think one of my friends said that to me the other day, and I haven't talked to her in a very long time. She was just like, ... "You know what," I'm like, "Yeah, I got all caught up in money, being successful." She's like, "No, success is connection."
Benjamin: 100% and that's it. So I think that boils down to two things that I do every day, but it's really one big thing, and it comes down to being connected. I think that, that's the big thing that I do every day is try to connect with as many people as possible, and just get I out there.
Chris: Beautiful man.
Benjamin: [crosstalk 00:20:12] that's good. I hope that's helpful.
Chris: No that's gold, and very much so, like I said, if we were to have an interview in two months time ... Facebook and Instagram advertising very, very powerful, but all it is, is just automating your connection. It's automating-
Benjamin: Yeah, 100%.
Chris: The manual task of connecting and that's all it does. So if you know how to do it right, it really allows you to pour fuel on the fire, because it does it for you in an automated format. That's awesome. Well look, I guess to finish up today buddy, there's some loads of information, loads of good stuff from that, so I appreciate that. If you at all ... I guess to sign off today, if you are ... If someone's listening to this that's a trainer, they're thinking about online, or they're online a little bit, and they're packages are terrible, they're not [crosstalk 00:21:01], whatever it might be. Do you have I guess any advice for them on next steps to moving forward in the direction that you have?
Benjamin: Get a plan man. Get a freaking plan. It's unbelievable. People come to us as PTs because they don't have plan. They're the people that hang out on the cardio, sip some water, go pick up a dumbbell, maybe pump it a couple times, and then go back to that cardio. The people that have a plan are the people that move from exercise, to exercise, to exercise, to exercise. Get a plan, get some guidance. I mean, if you ... you needed surgery you're not going to go do it yourself, you're going to go to a doctor and get them to help you out with that kind of stuff, right. So meet up with the pros, and have a real conversation, and come up with a game plan, because when I have a game play ... Oh there's Andy in the background. That was awesome.
Chris: Yeah, Andy just did a walk by.
Benjamin: Yeah, sweet fly by. So, yeah get a plan. Go see it. It's called business plan for a reason. You have a series of steps to follow and it's laid out for you, and then you have people to bounce those ideas off of. I have a business partner and that wasn't good enough, we need to somebody that's ... that can help us out with that stuff. We came up with a plan, and we diverted ... divvied it up. In the beginning it was just me, and I did a lot of it, but I had a plan and I knew where to go.
It's just like having the script and doing that stuff, right. It's not robotic, but it becomes a bit of a no brainer that way, but get a plan. Get a plan. I can't say enough about it. Get a plan, it really helps. It puts you ... I talk to so many people who are completely like, "I don't know where to start." I'm like, "Well, that's just because you need a plan. Your goals are attainable. They're all super attainable." I didn't think that I could do the things that I was doing. Got a plan, found out that my goals were attainable, here I am. I just bought a house, I went on vacation for the first time in six months, or six year ... I keep saying six months, but six years, and I don't know. Sky's the limit. I'm excited to see what ads are going to do for our business, and stuff like that as well too. [crosstalk 00:23:00]
Chris: Beautiful man, Beautiful. Mate, appreciate your time. If anyone is listening to this and they want to check out your stuff, because they want to have you as an online coach, they want to see what you're doing, where would they go?
Benjamin: Oh awesome. Where would they go? Www.turnfit.ca, that's the name of our company so check that out, and ask us ... drop us a little message on our site, and ask us about our online programming. We do programming for men and for women, 12 week programmes, and we're just launching our elite programme, which is pretty cool. It's a year long programme, just got our first client into it, which is ... We're giving them away for half price, that's $1000.00 ... it's $500.00 a month right now, but it'll be $1000.00 a month in a little bit. So, we just had somebody sign up for $250.00 a week which is pretty cool. So, yeah pretty awesome man. So that's it, yeah.
Chris: Rock n' Roll mate. Appreciate your time, thanks so much. I know it's the back end of the day in Canada, it's the start end of the day here in Australia, but mate appreciate your time. No doubt we'll be speaking more soon mate, and looking forward to making the ads really skyrocket, and [crosstalk 00:24:10] everything to the next level buddy.
Benjamin: Yeah that's right. Perfect. [crosstalk 00:24:14]
Chris: But thanks again for your time, and hopefully everyone appreciated the tips you gave mate. Heaps of gold there, and-
Benjamin: Yeah, hopefully.
Chris: If you got any questions guys, reach out to Ben, he's a legend.
Chris: And mate that's it.
Benjamin: Anytime everybody. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.