Say What We Say . . . They
Hear What They Hear
The diet conscious
say, “lose weight.”
You say, “lose
believe you’re saying the same thing. You know better. You know that if you were to amputate a body
part they’d weigh less, but clearly it wouldn’t be in line with
their goals. That’s why dieters
are willing to sacrifice lean body mass and slow metabolism in quest
of their goals. Their perceptions of “weight loss” are flawed.
diet conscious believe “calorie” refers to an evil monster.
say “calorie” and you’re referring to a consumable unit of energy.
dieters consume brownies on Monday, they perceive an obligation
on Tuesday morning to watch that little space on the treadmill screen
where it says, “calories burned,” until they obliterate the brownie.
you were to tell a dieter to consume enough calories to meet metabolic
demand, enough to provide material from which to build new healthy
cells, and to make certain she ingests
enough protein-sparing nutrients to prevent muscle catabolism you
might as well tell her to walk on the ceiling.
She’d perceive your “eat” suggestion to be detrimental to
her weight loss goal.
first step, therefore, toward changing the mindset of a diet conscious
marketplace is to identify the gap between what you say and what
they hear, and if we’re going to explore the possibility of tapping
into the market that has proven repeatedly ripe for diet centers,
we have to not only identify that gap but bridge it.
to Terms with Reality
step away from what we know to be right, from what we know to be
true, and from what we’ve learned to be optimal in regard to helping
people improve their bodies and lives and let’s take a careful look
at reality, or at least reality centered around our population,
their wants, their beliefs, and their obsessions with weight reduction.
believe they want diets.
can argue the impotence of diets until you’re twelve shades of purple,
but until those you seek to influence understand your language all
they’ll see is a purple faced trainer failing to make any sense
at all. They believe they
want “a diet.”
dose of reality:
population is fatter than ever.
you are in business solely to make money, and you have something
people believe they want, and you can promote this “something” as
a solution to a growing problem (pun intended), you’d make millions
. . . and if you were the only game in town you’d make billions.
this point in time selling diets is profitable
go one step further. If the
solution you were selling created a short term illusion indicating
it was working, when in reality it amplified the problem, you’d
have disappointed customers blaming themselves for their failure
and returning to the offering that failed them in the first place. In other words, the diet industry succeeds financially
primarily because it fails people.
more reality injection, and this one’s going to hurt:
make lots of money, trainers, for the most part, struggle to make
it fair that an industry that fails people rakes in money while
you work 10-hour days to keep yourself housed and fed? Probably not, but I don’t know that anyone honest
ever said that business was fair.
We can operate our businesses ethically, and we should, but
let’s not fall into a disillusioned belief that businesses succeed
or fail based on ethics. They succeed or fail based in great part upon
a marketplace’s belief systems.
Ethical Prosperity Plan
as most trainers, you regularly express frustration with purveyors
of diets, and you aggressively wish that some supreme being would
smite purveyors of diets with the curse of the scorpion, your frustration
will gnaw at your gut, diet sellers will buy nice homes and nice
cars with money they’ve earned by deceiving people, and what’s fair
will have little to do with what’s real.
you seek growth and prosperity, if you love training people, and
if you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that if you could get through
to the diet conscious you could change their lives for the better,
forget about acceptance. Initiate
not suggesting any single personal trainer can change the American
mindset, but if enough dedicated trainers launch a focused mission
to change individual mindsets, a little at a time the ground army
facilitates a national or even global change.
you believe I’m about to suggest you “sell diets,” you don’t know
me. I’ve just learned to
frame things so they serve us and then act in line with the reframing
so I can rescue and empower people.
On my desk sit the words “Growth With
Integrity” and I never venture far from those words.
That doesn’t mean I’m not willing to get into the arena with
those who might live by other guidelines.
There’s lots of room in the weight loss arena and with a
fresh perspective the doors can be burst wide open for trainers
looking to capture and rescue those who mistakenly pursue diet after
learned to view the state of dietary affairs as an immense opportunity.
I am personally thrilled that diets attract so many and fail
so many of those they attract, as those diet sellers have created
a very deep market for me to penetrate. I believe competing with the diet centers is
the #1 opportunity for personal trainers to throw a net around a
massive field of “hungry” clients.
Do Diet Centers Sell?
the works of Sun Tzu, the Chinese philosopher behind The Art of
War, the words, “know your enemy” are prevalent. In our case the more we know about the specifics
of the diets being offered the more powerful we are in designing
our competitive strategy.
start by recognizing their all-powerful, albeit flawed, marketing
It’s quick, it’s easy, you follow
a plan, and you wind up feeling great.
are spins on this positioning paradigm, as medical diet centers
will play up the “doctor supervised” element, packaged food sellers
will put the convenience element out front, and supplement sellers
will capitalize on the power of the dietary support pill, but the
underlying premise is precisely that which I just laid out.
in the Presence of Competition
I share two ideas I’ve successfully used to infiltrate the diet-wanting
marketplace, let me share my perspective on competition.
my business seminars I tell of Bob and Billy, adventurers who had
come down a mountain after a vigorous hike. Bob turned around and saw an agitated, hungry,
salivating bear ambling down the mountain toward them. Bob sat, removed his knapsack, and began taking
off his hiking boots to swap them for running shoes. The bear picked up speed. Billy instinctively started running, and confused,
he yelled back, “Bob, who cares if you have running shoes, you can’t
outrun a bear?” Bob calmly
tied his shoe and answered, “I don’t have to outrun the bear.
I just have to outrun you.”
how most people view competition. Kill or be killed. I view it differently. I see competition as healthy. It drives me to strategize, it motivates me
to continue to grow, and most importantly it helps to create awareness
either by sharing a common message and putting it out into the marketplace
or by attracting people who I could help and disappointing them.
the recognition of competition’s value, it’s allowed me to virtually
eliminate competitors as we conventionally perceive them by assessing
their impact and approaching them in one of two ways:
and reinforce a “position” that clearly separates you from them
so you are not perceived as competitors but as radically different
offerings where your benefit to customers is crystal clear.
a synergistic relationship where you can both tap into the same
pool and find mutual benefit in unified marketing.
illustrate example #1, by being on the radio weekly building upon
a position of “the fitness truth,” I openly share the specifics
of how I handle clients, answering questions with thousands listening. By contrast, any health club that tells prospects
they “can’t discuss prices on the phone” or uses vague advertising
to draw unsuspecting consumers into a sales trap, appears to have
something to hide. I clearly sell a “program” that helps people
find fitness, the questionable health clubs are perceived by my
trusting audience as being sneaky in luring people in, slamming
them with pressure, and failing to deliver. I never actually accuse anyone of doing that,
but by positioning myself as open and willing to share the truth, the perception
takes care of itself. To
further reinforce “the difference,” I offer an unconditional money
back guarantee. This “repositioning”
strategy has not only allowed me to build a thriving personal training
business, but it’s ultimately allowed me to operate a health club
that is perceived as the polar opposite of those clubs that bait
over twenty years of doing business in this field, I’ve also found
ethical health clubs who might have initially appeared to compete
with my personal training offerings, and I’ve managed to eliminate
them as competition by joining forces as suggested in example #2,
integrating my programs into their “profit center” offerings. Anytime
they sign up a member, I have a prospect, and vice-versa.
can see how, in both cases, although different strategies are applied,
clubs that might have been viewed as “enemies” are no longer competition
it to The Diet Centers
a line of thinking in accordance with example #1, you can conduct
a seminar at the public library titled, “why diets fail people,”
or “why your last diet failed.” You
share “the truth” and build an arsenal of evidence using not only
research information, but excerpts from texts on the endocrine system
and metabolism to provide those who “failed with diets” clarity
as to why they failed. The perception you create in the mind of someone
in the audience who might have been a repeat customer at a diet
center is, “I didn’t fail. The
diet center failed me.” That’s
powerful. That opens a door for you to now share “the approach that
seminar can be conducted not only at public libraries, but at large
and small corporations, at schools, at community group assemblies,
at police and fire departments, and at limitless venues capped only
by the limits of your own creativity.
second approach can be applied if you connect with a diet center
that is comfortable with the words “eat right and exercise” but
doesn’t provide a specific exercise prescription. The questions you have to ask are, are you comfortable
enough with the diet being offered for you to avoid criticizing
the approach, and secondly, is there an
“end date” for the diet where you’d be free to share your ideas
building upon the foundation of what diet clients have learned.
In other words, if you can connect with a diet center where
their intentions are good, their knowledge is just limited, you
can fill in the gaps. Who cares whether people connect with you by
first pursuing a diet. The
key is that they connect with you and that you have the ability
to share your knowledge with those who need it.
While many diets are extremely restrictive, there are those
that recommend whole foods, natural choices, and a balance of nutrient
rich meals providing both macro and micronutrition.
a future article I’ll address some of the specific diets that are
being released as “new,” and I’ll also share specific strategies
to reinforce the two approaches shared herein.
In summary, three simple steps can allow you and any neighborhood
diet center to co-exist as non-competitors, a scenario where you
benefit by infiltrating the diet market.
what’s being said, what’s being offered
if there’s potential to be an ally or if it’s best to position
yourself as something separate, different, and far more powerful
using “truth” to expose diet flaws
to your course of action, and without publicly condemning any
specific diet or diet center, share the vital facts people need
to know and communicate in language they understand.
may appear simplistic, but it’s powerful, and following Steps 1
– 3 will lead to your ability to circumvent the circular path so
many plod along in the never-ending search for “The Diet That Works.”