5 Great Pieces of Advice from Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington – and How to Apply Them to Starting a Fitness Business

In just a matter of days, Craig Ballantyne and I will be leading the Online Info Blueprint event in Costa Mesa. The event will be covering topics of interest to people who are starting a fitness business online or who want to develop a second stream of income in addition to their fitness business revenue.

We’re going to have several great speakers, including fitness info product maniac Jason Feruggia, but the keynote speaker will be Kevin Harrington of the TV show Shark Tank. The only person more excited about that than me is Craig Ballantyne. In fact, he was so excited when he finished reading Kevin’s book Act Now: How I Turn Ideas into Million Dollar Products that he sent out an email sharing five of his favorite pieces of business advice from Harrington.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 10.42.38 AMNow I want to share them with you and show you how to apply them to starting a fitness business or even to the way you run your existing business.

Tip #1 – If you plan to build a big business with another person, spend the time – and the legal fees – to work out every detail of the agreement. And never enter an important deal without spelling out an exit strategy that lets either of you terminate the arrangement and lays out the terms of the split.

This piece of advice can be applied to starting a new fitness boot camp or to entering a joint venture on a fitness info product or taking a partner to help you open a new location for your fitness business.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that since they’re partnering with a friend or relative, they can skip this step. I’ll tell you that under those circumstances, you need to make doubly sure that you don’t. You don’t want misunderstandings or false expectations or anything else that might come up to ruin a relationship that’s important to you.

Take the time and spend the money to make sure that you have a legal contract that both of you understand and agree with and that it spells out what is expected of each of you and how you can legally and amicably get out of the partnership if you need to.

Tip #2 – When you have a deal that’s not just good for you but good for the other person as well – never let the door close on it.

A big part of this is to believe in what you’re selling, whether it’s a personal training package, a case for reduced rent, an online information product or anything else you’re trying to negotiate or sell. If you believe in what you have to offer and you know it will benefit the other person as much as or more than it will you, keep the lines of communication open.

Tip #3 – “No” doesn’t necessarily mean “never”. Sometimes it means, “You haven’t offered me something irresistible. You haven’t offered me something I can’t afford to turn down.”Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 10.51.40 AM

When you’re first starting a fitness business, the whole process of selling and, more specifically, closing can be nerve-wracking. If you read much about closing sales, you’ll see the term “overcoming objections” very often. All it means is that if someone says “no,’ you need to come up with another reason or another way for them to say “yes.”

All of the most successful entrepreneurs heard a lot of “no’s” before they got a “yes.”

Tip #4 – Don’t sell the product – sell the story.

This is very much in line with something I say over and over again: don’t sell the product, sell the results. If you’re simply selling a product, you’re competing with everyone else who is selling a similar product. But if you can promise and then deliver incredible results, you need to be selling those results, not the package that gets someone there.

People buy something like a personal training package because they want to feel a certain way, whether that’s healthy, strong, sexy, big or what have you. Your selling needs to focus not on your product, but how your product will make the prospect feel.

Tip #5 – Nothing compares to getting enthusiastic real people praising the product for you.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.25.35 AMYou will never buy advertising or employ fitness marketing strategies that can outdo referrals in ROI. The best thing you can do to increase sales is to train your clients early to give you referrals as you help them get results and to ask for those referrals on a regular basis.

The same is true of posting transformation pics and congratulatory comments on your clients’ Facebook pages. These posts work much the same way as a referral because you get the client’s seal of approval automatically and you show their friends the kind of results you’re able to deliver.

Those are Craig’s five favorite pieces of business advice from Kevin Harrington, but there were many, many more. Do yourself a favor and pick up his book. In the meantime, here’s one more bonus piece of advice from Kevin:

“You have to commit to doing it right.”

This applies to every single decision you make in your fitness business, whether it’s your first year or your second decade. Commit to doing it right. The way you treat your clients. The way you treat your staff. The way you interact with the community. The way you market to prospects. The added value you’re willing to give.

Do that last one consistently, and everything else will follow.

Committed to Your Success,