Josh Peacock: Our hero today is Chandler Walker, a former med school student-turned gym owner and growth expert. In this episode, he reveals why gyms should always be using high-ticket, front-end offers. If you think you can’t do that, don’t worry. He also smashes limiting beliefs and tells you exactly how you can sell high-ticket products and services as well. Without further ado, Chandler Walker.
Welcome to the Gym Heroes Podcast. I’ve got here today Chandler Walker. Is that correct?
Chandler Walker: That’s correct. Its Chandler like from Friends and Walker like the Texas Ranger.
Josh Peacock: Not too hard. So, Chandler, please introduce yourself and give your back in business.
Chandler Walker: Yeah, good question. So, my name is Chandler and I started business back in when I was like 26 years old when I first opened up a gym. I actually went to college for biochemistry and I was really going on med school path, because my mother growing up was had bipolar disorder and I wanted to move into a career and a life to where I could help people. But the problem I found was in the industry of medicine, it was really about giving pills and people wanted pills. Doctors have to give pills. It’s not a shot of doctor. It’s just how the system is organized. So, I broke off. We built up and organized our first gym. I was 26. Had no idea what I was doing. That school guy business doesn’t really mesh very well other than you understand the scientific method. That’s kind of how it all got started.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, I think one of the things that you’ve done is you’ve figured out how to Make high-ticket sales. So, I wanted to ask you within the fitness business context. Why should a fitness professional consider selling high-ticket products and services?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, good question. So, one of the reasons that I think both online and in a gym environment because I’ve built businesses in both is if you have a lower ticket product or service and you’re competing with everybody to be like cheapest in town, you’re going to lose unless you have VC backing or you have investors backing you to where you can go negative for years and not have to worry about it. That’s what you’re competing against when you have like the orange theories, when you have all these other businesses that do have this backing and this financial stability to sustain themselves. As a gym owner though with without that kind of backing, what you really need is a sustainable system to where you can achieve profitability. And so, in a gym, you’re lucky if you’re running a good gym to be achieving like 26% profitability.
In order to achieve that or make that easier. It’s a lot easier to have one client pay a gym membership that’s $500 a month, versus trying to get a bunch of clients who are only paying $100 a month. So, it becomes a much easier process but the process to make that work is a process where you have to remove the thinking of your own wallet like what I pay that and push yourself into your prospects and have empathy for them to be able to build a system to where it’s something that they truly want and need. So, high-ticket services and selling is really about building a product and service that makes people say, wow, that’s me. That solves my internal demons. That makes me look in the mirror and finally be happy with who I see on the other side.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, what would you consider a high-ticket product or service? So, I know that coming from, I come from the martial arts and of the whole fitness industry and it’s always a fight to get most of these guys to actually charge enough to sustain a profitable business, much less survive something like a COVID-19 or something like that. So, what would you consider a high-ticket product or service?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, good question and I’ve been doing Brazilian jiujitsu since about 2009 so I get it from the martial arts realm.
Josh Peacock: Awesome.
Chandler Walker: But I think for a gym specifically high ticket is something that’s a package that’s 1500 or more. For example, in our gym one of our first packages people could buy was $1,500. Eventually that package became 2,500. So, I think a good sweet spot to where you can really sell higher end services as a gym is that 1,500 to $3,000 product or price range. If you’re an online fitness professional and you’re doing stuff online, I think you can push it up a little more and so I think the perfect number that I found is somewhere around 2,500 to about 3,200.
Josh Peacock: What should you include in a product or service that is high ticket, so at least so that you first of all you feel psychologically you feel justified in charging for that. I know that personal training is a big deal. I know that nutrition’s a big deal. Do you combine those things? Are there other elements that you add?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, good question. So, I think what you have to think about is two things. You have to think about scalability. So, if I stack myself with personal training, I’m going to my dollar per hour might be high but I’m going to have zero time. That’s really challenging to scale with like coaches and staff. So, then you have to say okay if I’m going to charge $2,000 for an upfront package, maybe what it has is it has an upfront fundamentals program that has like 3 to 5 one-on-one personal training sessions then that moves them into sort of a group training environment. But maybe that group training environment, now we have to think beyond fitness. So, why are people there? They’re not there to sweat in your facility. They’re not there to work out and unfortunately, they’re not there to see your smiling face in the beginning, they’re there to lose weight. But more importantly, they’re there to finally feel confident in their own in and not hate who they are. So, how do you fix that?
Well, you have to bring in some mindset support. So, how do you support their ability to feel better? Well, you support their mindset, the mental health side of things. What else do they need? Nutrition. Do gyms usually do anything with nutrition? Kind of maybe. So, maybe you can adopt personalized nutrition plans. What else do people need? Well, they need their social environment to be better. Okay. Well, now you create a social environment to where people this becomes their third home and so you have to break down. What do people need and then you package in all these needs into a high-ticket solution to where you’re not charging quite a bit of money for it but people are receiving exactly what they want and you’re changing their lives.
So, when we look at our packages, it was personal training sessions upfront. We called it Fundamentals in The Gym. It was three, three to 5 sessions. Then, they would move into a group training environment. They would get 100% custom meal plans that I actually have a team of VAs that I taught trained to create and build. They would get the mindset support. I built a 12 to 16-week curriculum surround based on cognitive behavior therapy to where we could deliver mindset and social health training. And ultimately, what we did was we integrated the gym into a cohesive educational environment to where they got the whole package and that eventually moved all online so we’re able to deliver the entire experience via an app and coaches as well.
Josh Peacock: Awesome. So, you do, I mean if you’re going to get into fitness business whether that is a gym trainer, personal trainer, or an instructor of some sort. You do need to obviously have your skills down path. But it sounds like that it is really useful if you want to put together something that you can charge for a high ticket that you have more than just being really good at programming for strength or programming for weight loss. But you need to know nutrition. You need to know even have meal plans and you mentioned cognitive behavior therapy. I mean, that’s awesome. It’s just wild and probably really effective. So, do you have any tips on how to acquire those or maybe not even master all those skills yourself because that’s going to be maybe impossible to master all of them but to network with people so you can pull these things in together.
Chandler Walker: Yeah, good question. What I like to do and what I did a lot in the gym was I network to my local community. There’s psychologists and psychiatrists who will sit down with you and do a mastermind about how to make client experience better. There’re other fitness professionals who will sit with you. There’re masterminds you can purchase and pay to join. So, I think what you have to do is number one, self-education is huge like you spend hours and hours. I see gym owners who spend three hours a day on their own fitness but they won’t read a book. So, sit down, read a book. Once a day, you can read a chapter. Read for 15 minutes. Your 3-hour workout can be cut down to two hours and 45 minutes. I promise you and you won’t lose your gains. So, you can move into that. Read some books. Pick up some books. Figure out, okay, what is cognitive behavior therapy? What does it do? Well, it solves triggers and problems in people’s minds and helps them move past and recognize the issue.
So, okay. Well, maybe I should just Google that cognitive behavior therapy books and then something like the Feeling Good Handbook pops up. Which is like the Bible for cognitive behavior therapy. So, then you read that, you learn that, you understand that, and then you start to, you’re not providing therapy but you’re able to start to learn how to deal with and how to coach the mindset of a particular individual because I think as fitness professionals, people want to be taken seriously. They want to be taken at the same seriously as the same level like a doctor, lawyer, and all these other professionals. If you want to be taken seriously in that environment, it can’t just be about slanging weights and teaching people how to live. It needs to be about understanding the human being holistically and being able to fix problems when they present themselves.
So, you sort of have to be able to say, okay, they want to lose weight but there’s some significant mindset issues going on here or they want to lose weight, but they’re decrepit and can’t move. Okay, what do I do now? It’s an if, this, then, that scenario so you have to be at a high enough level to where you can understand and recognize how to spot fix, create, and adjust that.
Josh Peacock: Absolutely. I found that you don’t necessarily need to be in the weeds of all the new studies coming out in a particular field or read all the books. If you find three of the top books in that discipline and you reorganize the product, the service, the program along the lines of the most important principles of that, that’s really going to drive most of the benefit. You can get, you can eek more out of it by becoming more and more knowledgeable in a deep sense in those disciplines but you’re 80/20 as it were is really going to be in those broad principles. That’s what’s going to create the biggest sense of success and change.
Chandler Walker: Yeah, exactly. It’s like you don’t need to get the PHD in it. You just need to understand it well enough to recognize problems when they present themselves with clients which are usually common problems and then to be able to say, okay, what do I do in this situation and then ultimately recognize that there’s no right or wrong answer. Nobody really knows what to do but you can make inferences based on the human condition to fix whatever’s happening or solve it and if that doesn’t solve it, make another inference. Solve it the next time but ultimately, it’s a scientific process. Test hypothesize break. Test hypothesize it works. Okay, now try to break it. Okay, test hypothesize fix.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, switching gears now, how do fitness professionals misunderstand sales? I mean, I think a lot of them try to avoid it at all cost but how do they misconceive of it?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, I think one of the biggest misconceptions for sales is you have to be this like sleazy salesman. You have to attack people for the sale. You have to go over the clothes. Like common objection handling techniques are like sticking with the knife and twist it. If they cry, they buy. But you don’t have to be that way. If you want to sell, you have to be able to be what I call a Cognitive Listener. So, you have to be able to achieve level 5 listening and level 5 listening really in sales is think about it this way. Level 1, straight up ignoring someone like you’re talking and I’m back here like painting the wall, not responding to you or paying attention to you at all.
Level 2 is pretend listening. So, you’re talking but I pick up my phone and I’m like, huh, yup, yeah, okay and I’m not really listening I’m just responding. Level 3 is where I’m sort of like I’m sort of active but I’m only responding in a way to where I can’t wait till, I get a response. So, I’m not listening to you. I’m only responding so I can talk. Level 4 is where I’m listening. I’m active. I’m going back and forth but I’m still in my frame of reference like my model of the world. And then once we step into level 5, that’s when you can become masterful at sales. Level 5 is where I’ve stepped out of my own model of the world. I’ve stepped of my own right or wrong. I’ve stepped out of my own bias and I’m stepping into your head.
I’m trying to understand your situation. I’m asking you specific questions to get strategic answers to develop your history. What are the triggers that manifest along the way? How did they happen? When did they present themselves and why did they keep coming up again and again and again? I’m a detective to create this timeline. So that way, for example, say you say, okay, I’ve tried 75 different diets and I can’t lose weight. Well, it’s probably not the diets. The maybe I uncover in your past that you were forced to eat your whole plate every night as a kid and now, in the future, you have a problem with overeating. So, it’s not diets that are the problem. It’s the fact that you’ve created a trigger that’s followed you your whole life and that’s sort of the aspect of introducing cognitive behavior therapy into sales. It’s recognizing triggers and recognizing where the real problem exists. You can show someone that. If you can help them recognize that, number one, it’s going to blow their mind and number two, they’re going to want to work with you because likely you’re the only who’s ever introduced that concept to them.
Josh Peacock: So how when fitness professionals, well actually let’s just talk about sales people. How are they usually trained to sell? You mentioned the different levels of attention which is really important and you mentioned not necessarily have to try and drive the pain point and make them so panicky about that pain point that they decide to buy. How are they usually trained to sell and how does your own sales approach contrast with that?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, that’s a good question. So, the typical sales person is trained to basically be level 3. So, that’s you’re talking and I’m basically listening enough to where I can respond and give you a rebuttal. So, you say, oh, it’s too expensive. Well, I mean, are you sure it’s too expensive because what I found is, that’s fuel felt found. That’s an objection handling technique. I literally don’t care about what you said or you? I’m just responding to give you, my rebuttal. What we do and that makes it radically different is if you say, okay, I can’t, that’s too expensive, it’s not, okay, well, it’s, can you tell me a little bit more about that? What makes that too expensive? We also work to uncover finances early in the call and so our goal isn’t necessarily to tell you why you should purchase it, it’s to ask you questions to uncover why you are not able to purchase it. Because chances are it’s because you don’t feel comfortable with what I’m doing. And if I can uncover that and I can remove that fear, uncertainty, and doubt and you begin to feel comfortable with me. Well, now, you’re gonna buy anything from me because you trust me.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, how do you handle objections? I know there’s different approaches to it. There’re even people that say, you shouldn’t handle objections. So, how do you approach that?
Chandler Walker: That good question. So, what we do in our process is we take objections and we establish the level 5 listening concept and we become what I call a challenging leader. And what that means is you don’t wait till the end of the call. You don’t wait till the end of the conversation, the end of the meeting to go through objections. You move all of that to the beginning. You may everything open and clear with the client. You help them understand where you’re at so they’ve begin to feel comfortable with you. You uncover all of their finances early. ‘Hey, what do you make? What is your credit situation look like? What does it look like after taxes?’ So that way and you put it in the client’s best interest as well. So, it’s like, ‘Hey, just so I know what I could actually put together as a package for you. Are you open to discussing your finances with me?’
So, that way, I don’t throw something out that’s just completely off the wall and you can’t really get into it. So, we move that to discover. We move anything about spouse to discovery. All objections go to the beginning of the call and if someone listening doesn’t know what discovery is, that’s the first phase of the call, the first 15 minutes. We have already gotten through every objection. This is the why we’re challenging leaders, because we’re challenging them early on. We’re challenging their coachability. We’re challenging whether or not they really need what we’re doing so that way at the end, it doesn’t present as a problem.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, people sometimes they put too much pressure on themselves to close sale quickly or they feel like they have to close a given prospect at a given time. And this can, I feel like this manifest itself in like desperation or aggressive tactics. So, how would you coach a sales person not to fall into this trap and actually have an energy that helps them close the sales?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, good question. So, we have a concept we call detaching from the need to sell and what that basically means is don’t be a needy human being. Think about dating. So, say you meet someone new and you’re like, wow, this person’s really cool and you just pick up your phone and you won’t stop texting them. What are they going to do?
Josh Peacock: Pull away.
Chandler Walker: Pull away as fast as they can, right.
Josh Peacock: Pull away.
Chandler Walker: This is what a needy sales person looks like. If I show up on the call and I’m like, ‘What can I get you to do to buy today? Are you ready to purchase? Credit card, Visa, or Mastercard.’ They’re going to run away. It’s the game of push and pull. It’s the game of chase. The human condition says that if I chase you, you’re going to run away. You’re, if I want it more than you, you’re not want it as much as I am and you’re going to let me chase you. So, I come into the call and I stay neutral. Like, ‘Hey, if I can possibly help you? Would you be open to talking about it? Hey if this even makes sense are you sure you’re even open to this? Are you sure this even makes sense for you?’
So, I want to pull myself into a place to where it seems like I’m not that interested in the sale so it puts them in a place to where they say wait a second why does this idiot not want to sell me? And then they want it more because I’ve completely detached.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, how do you employ the use of questions throughout your sales process? Are there any tips you have on how to formula them and when to use them?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, keep it simple. So, if someone says, if you say, ‘Hey, what brings you in today? Oh, I want to lose weight. Okay, gotcha. Great. A lot of people want to lose weight.’ So, I stroke their ego. Okay, great. A lot of people want to lose weight. I validate their concern. A lot of people want it and then I reverse with the question. ‘So, what makes weight loss important to you? Oh, well, I a wedding coming up. Gotcha. Everybody wants to look banging at their wedding. I want to look good in a wedding dress. But tell me a little bit about why it’s even worth it for you to go through all this work to look good in a wedding dress?’
It’s called, there’s a technique called the downward arrow technique that we use quite a bit and that comes from cognitive behavior therapy as well, but it’s asking question after question after question. You’re diving deep 7 times, 7 layers deep sometimes to figure out what the real reason is. This person doesn’t want look good in a wedding dress. This person wants to look good in front of everybody else so they don’t feel disgusting. That’s what it comes down to and that’s what I need them to tell me. If I tell them, they’ll doubt it. If they tell me, they’ll believe it.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. Cool. So, this one’s just a just for fun question I thought of. You mentioned that you’ve done jiujitsu for a long time since 2009 you said.
Chandler Walker: Yeah, off and on. Brown belted.
Josh Peacock: I’ve done it. I’ve done it off and on too since like 2015 and I’m still a blue belt. I’m just a very committed hobbyist, I guess. So, I was wondering like how would you put together a high-ticket service or program track for a jiujitsu gym to sell?
Chandler Walker: Yeah, good question. So, the things I see in jiujitsu often are the competitors for whatever reason get a lot of attention. But they end up being the ones who don’t pay a lot of money. They end up being super entitled and they leave the gym after a few years. So, I think number one like your competitors, cool. They can be there but don’t give them so much unless they’re willing to pay for it. So, move into who are the general population that comes in. They’re people who are going in because they enjoy the self-defense aspect. They enjoy the fitness. They enjoy the camaraderie and they just enjoy being there. That’s going to be what makes up the bulk of your clientele.
So, how do you make it easier for the normal human being to join? Well, you hone in on it and you say, okay, well, people don’t join because it seems a little scary because we’re rolling around on the mats like wrestling with each other. So, what do I do? Introduce a fundamentals program. So, now you have the fundamentals of jiujitsu. Someone goes through five one-on-one training sessions then after the one-on-ones, they go through a curriculum that’s like three months long that’s beginners jiujitsu that is a listed out specific curriculum. What else do people want when they join? Well, they probably want to lose weight, right. So, what do you do? Well, you give them a custom meal plan and nutrition program for their fundamentals experience.
Now, what have you done? Now, you’ve created a jiujitsu fundamentals platform and program. So, in addition to What do you do? Well, mindset, okay. They’re probably not very confident in themselves. They’re probably there because they want to build that confidence and finally feel good if something ever happens or just feel good about themselves. Okay. Well, now we can introduce a mindset curriculum. Like look at the Gracie’s. They’ve introduced a great mindset curriculum in their online program in their schools and everything. They have like juicing and stuff like that but they have good packages.
So, you can take that, put that into a three-month beginner’s package and price it at like $1,500 and people will pay it because they want that. They want to feel comfortable. They want to feel safe and they want to feel like what they’re doing and getting into is something that they can keep doing but that isn’t going to be super scary and get them hurt.
Josh Peacock: Awesome. Excellent. I think a lot of school martial arts school owners, they just don’t think about their programs, their introductions like that. So that’s really useful for them to recast how they see, especially their on ramping or onboarding experience as a way to actually sell a high ticket program that will that will help them stabilize the financial life of their school. That’s excellent. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. This has been awesome. Where can people find you?
Chandler Walker: Yeah. If you want to connect with me personally, you can jump on Instagram. So, “Instagram.com/ChandlerSAF”. If you want to catch me on YouTube, I put a bunch of videos up there pretty much every week. You can go to “YouTube.com/ChandlerWalkerSAF”. If you want to connect me professionally for us to help you with your sales or for us to help run your ads for your facility, you can just go to “EliteAds.co” and watch the video and you can book a call with me.
Josh Peacock: Awesome. Thanks again for coming on and I hope we can do this again sometime.
Chandler Walker: Yeah, thanks for having me. Hopefully, we gave everyone some value and they’re excited and ready to build some high-ticket programs in their gym. Just remember, don’t think with your own wallet. Think about the needs. Solve problems, solve issues, change someone’s life forever and they’ll pay happily a high-ticket price.
Josh Peacock: Absolutely.