Not Just Another Sports Metaphor

    Naked service providers and consultants will give away their best ideas and start consulting to the prospective client during a sales call. In fact, they’ll do no real selling at all, forgoing that activity in order to find a way to help a client even if they never actually become one.

    –Patrick Lencioni, “Getting Naked”

    It seems in recent years whenever you read an anecdote about business, examples are given in terms of sports, e.g., Vince Lombardi’s thoughts on the“Will to Win,” The Red Sox inspiring comeback in 2004, or how an athlete overcame extreme obstacles and hardship to become extraordinary.

    This blog post is not about any of that.  This is a true story about a couple of personal trainers who care about healthy lifestyles and introducing everyone to the world of triathlons one person at a time. In the process, they create so much value, they do not need to ask for the sale.

    One-and-a-half years ago in an effort to get our company healthy, LexJet hired two personal trainers (Eric Kahl and Jackie Miller of etricoach) to start a two-month Boot Camp (one of those one-hour, early morning workout sessions where they take you to the edge of exhaustion twice a week). The plan was to run the Boot Camp for two months, and the company would pick up the cost for anyone who signed up and completed the course.  If you did not complete the course you would be charged $150.  A year-and-a-half later many members of the LexJet team have completed the course seven times over.

    After the last go-round Eric invited me to another group he was working with on a 20-mile bike ride followed by a 1 mile run.  The group was a triathlon camp he was running.  What a blast!  The people were great, the exercising was fun and Eric and Jackie were continually sending me emails about how to work out safer, how to eat right, and how to recover from heavy workouts faster.

    Another few weeks went by and Jackie encouraged me to check out their “eight2tri” camp (a camp for beginner tri-athletes wanting to do their first triathlon).  I went, received all the information, met more people, received more great emails about how to live healthier, and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the pain I was enduring.   I ended up joining the camp and on July 31, I completed my first triathlon.

    So what does this have to do with a great customer experience?  Some time ago Patrick Lencioni published a book titled “Getting Naked” (it sounds much sexier than it is).  If you’re not familiar with Lencioni’s writing, he writes very short, easy-to-read business books in the form of fables.  One theory he introduces in “Getting Naked” is to “give away the business for free.” Lencioni argues that if you show your value on the front side and stop selling, nine times out of ten times price becomes a non-issue and a stronger, more honest relationship is built between supplier and customer.  That is exactly what happened to me with the two greatest personal trainers on the planet.  It was never about collecting a fee with Etricoach (Eric and Jackie) for their services.  It was about helping me get better and healthier.

    Etricoach has a true passion for what they do and open themselves up to whomever wants their help— all by word of mouth.  I have since continued to train with them and LexJet continues to contract programs with them.  I have started my second triathlon training (this time a half Ironman) and continue to write them checks on a regular basis.  To this day they have never asked me or LexJet for the sale.


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