Stages of Change and the Empowerment of New Members

Stages of Change and the Empowerment of New Members

I would contend that, more often than not, it is most often personal experience. So often in my career Ive met fitness pros with a powerful personal narrative around their own vitality and the fight...

As fitness professionals, coaches, and healers what is at the heart of our makeup? What makes us want to put it all on the line to help others?

I would contend that, more often than not, it is most often personal experience. So often in my career Ive met fitness pros with a powerful personal narrative around their own vitality and the fight they took on in order to find it. This fight so often builds passion which in turn, motivates others. I think all of us know that feeling of frustration around those individuals who come to us, in a state of sliding health, but just cant see what we see. So often, they are blind to their own potential. And far too often, as quickly as they have that “Aha!” moment, they fall back on old habits. This blog post is specific to that moment: that “Aha!” moment when the individual is passionate about change and how incredibly vital it is to reach that person during that very specific and far too often, very fleeting moment.

Any of us who’ve been through training certification or have studied a bit of psychology are well aware of the “Stages of Change” model. This is at the core of not only building a practice in the Wellness fields, but far more importantly it is at the core of leading others to the change needed in order for them (ie: not us) to change their lives for the better. For those of you reading who aren’t familiar with these concepts, a summary follows.

  • Precontemplation (Not Ready)-"People are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future, and can be unaware that their behavior is problematic"
  • Contemplation (Getting Ready)-"People are beginning to recognize that their behavior is problematic, and start to look at the pros and cons of their continued actions"
  • Preparation (Ready)-"People are intending to take action in the immediate future, and may begin taking small steps toward behavior change"
  • Action – "People have made specific overt modifications in modifying their problem behavior or in acquiring new healthy behaviors"
  • Maintenance – "People have been able to sustain action for a while and are working to prevent relapse"
  • Termination – "Individuals have zero temptation and they are sure they will not return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping"

Each and every human being is profoundly unique. No theory or scale can capture the complexity of a human being but for those of us who make it our mission to heal, there is a catharsis therein. Virtually any demotivational event whether it be an injury, a bad experience at your box or studio, a poor turnaround on prospective member contact, or an overly aggressive sales culture can knock an individual back a notch or more down this scale. Likewise, any motivational event can lift them aloft and set them on fire with zeal and empowerment to push further along.

The vision behind PPL Labs is the empowerment of Box and Studio owners to focus every drop of their energy on the building of community around their box. In addition to this, we have made it our mission to build a system of best practices to help people in the wellness fields avoid those demotivational events in their practice, for this post lets focus on new "potential" members. This is at the heart of what we do. A few tips follow..

  • Phone/Email Response Time - Typically when a person is in need of help, you have, at best 24 hours to get back in touch. After this time has passed they’ve likely slipped back into “contemplation” from “preparation” (worst case) or found someone else to help them get there who made getting in touch a priority (best case). Phone is ideal, Email will do when no phone number is available. Anecdotally, In my pursuit of finding a box to fit my needs I found that only about 20% of CF boxes responded within this 24 hour window. Those were the only boxes I considered joining.
  • Call to Action (CTA) - Every fitness business should have a basic webform embedded on its website. This is especially true if the above issues with phone response time are an issue. A surprisingly large percentage of people will be too shy or apprehensive to call directly or to pen a direct email. This “CTA” is the first step in building a conversion funnel through which to build ones practice and make a difference in as many lives as possible. The time invested in filling out a webform creates an engaged participant and by steering the vast majority of potential members towards it, lead flow is simplified and response time reduced.
  • Testimonials - Customers find validation in the experiences of others like themselves. Testimonials should be everywhere! This builds credibility, sense of community, and galvanizes the reputation of your business. When a potential new member fills out your webform and the response includes a warm intro and a couple of testimonials to the life-changes that others have achieved, they will be beyond pumped to get after the same kind of transformation. This can nudge someone from “preparation” to “action”.
  • Post-Trial Follow Up - They did it! They made it through their intro WOD and were met with high fives from coaches and members alike, and all that they can think about at this point is simply “I CAN do this! I can look like that guy! I can get there!”. At this point this person is ready for change - They have truly reached the “action” stage. They are empowered. If you’re anything like me, this is why you do what you do. At this point, the same 24 hour rule should apply as during initial response time. If you cant make the time to sit down with this person immediately thereafter, it becomes vital that you do so again ASAP. This person feels accomplished, failure to validate that will take them down a peg. Making validating their success that day a priority will lift them up and the result will be not just a new member, but a new star member, a new advocate, and best of all one more life changed.

We will be delving more into this kind of procedural stuff in future posts. Please feel free to leave comments and/or to share this post. The whole concept behind "Best Practices" is that we all reach them together iteratively as a community - So, please feel free to reach out to us directly with questions or the like at Dan@PPL Until next time, In WOD we trust.


Director of Business Development

PPL Labs

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