KARL GOODMAN

FOUNDER ATHLETES AUTHORITY

BUSINESS STRATEGIST

MARKETER

NEWSLETTER PUBLISHER

  • Founder of Athletes Authority
  • Marketing Maverick
  • Business Strategist
  • Newsletter Publisher

The Subtle Art Of Zigging When The Others Zag

Nicky and I started a new TV series a few days ago called Succession.

We were overdue for another series after steamrolling through the final season of “See” and House of Dragons’ first season. Succession has well and truly filled the void.

We downed the first season last week and started the second last night. Without giving anything away, it follows a family who owns a media conglomerate, and my take is it is basing it off the Murdoch empire.

It has drama, politics, murder… and my favourite- a tonne of business lessons.

Well worth the peruse if you’re feeling stranded right now.

And watching this has got me thinking about learning from industries other than our own.

A strange fact that most don’t know about me is I am utterly blind to what goes on in our industry — I don’t have IG, I don’t go to conferences, and I don’t care what the “competition” is doing. I spend little time concerned with any of that.

Instead, I pay attention to two things:

1. What is going on in entirely unrelated industries and,

2. What went on in entirely unrelated industries.

This is why I have read and learned from far more people in their 70s this year than those in their 30s.

Because learning what used to work, gives you an invaluable insight into what might work for you today.

Take my newsletter, for example.

I didn’t come up with that idea myself.

I stole it from a genius marketer — who’s dead now — called Gary Halbert.

He used to write physical newsletters, and tens of thousands of people would pay to subscribe. 

When I first heard about this, I was surprised that I’d never come across a paid, physical newsletter. It was big in the financial space, but had never made its way to us in health & fitness.

It got me thinking about the viability of a paid newsletter.

First, why would you make a paid newsletter when you can just PDF and email it?

Secondly, would people even want to read it?

Finally, even if they’d want to read it, would they want to pay for it?

But, given I’d never heard of it in our industry before, and especially since everyone else is getting distracted by TikTok and IG reels, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to zig while everyone else zagged.

And as we all know, stealing that idea was like finding gold because it permitted me to do something I love while getting paid to do it.

As Alley-Oop subscriber Alex said, “Let the broken ships become your lighthouse.”

The lesson?

If you’re feeling stuck not knowing how to move the needle forward but overwhelmed by what the industry is doing, perhaps the best thing you can do is look the other way and zig while everyone else zags.

We’ve done that dozens of times, all to the significant effect:

Just look to our 12-month training commitments (even in the face of Fitness First destroying consumer faith in gym contracts) or, the success of our fixed-fee, long-term sports rehab model, or our go-big-or-go-home attitude to coach education for evidence of that.

While everyone is zigging, it’s almost always true to zag.

Food for thought on your Monday.

– Karl Goodman

Why We Obsess Over This Type Of Marketing Asset

What would your answer be if I asked you what the #1 thing you should obsess over in your business?

Most, if you’re smart, would say client results.

And I’d agree, kinda.

Because while there is no question that this needs to remain front and centre, there is a different focus you can have that still gets rockstar client results and also gives you a powerful marketing asset.

Want to know what it is?

Video testimonials.

This is why we obsess over video testimonials in our business and stick to them like a dog to a bone.

Because when you obsess over collecting video testimonials, you have to obsess about the customer experience, too — you don’t get the testimonial before you achieve the transformation.

This is an example of upstream thinking. It’s where you take an idea, problem, or opportunity and look at how you can achieve that goal while also achieving something else.

This is the opposite of downstream thinking — where you solve the problem at the expense of something else.

Anyway, Sean, an alley-oop subscriber, wrote in the discord a while back the following question:

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What kind of questions should I be asking in my video testimonials?

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I answered the following:

“The questions you should be asking are the questions that are already in your prospect’s mind.”

So, you must carry the baby for your prospect like a surrogate mother. And the questions you ask must advance the sale (and the beliefs necessary to make the sale) through the customer’s story.

That brings me to an important point.

Broad and generic testimonials don’t work. Unless the story can resonate with your prospect, it will land on deaf ears. This is why you must be laser targeted, know exactly what story you want to tell, and curate the conversation around that.

When it comes to video testimonials, the devil is in the details.

Oh, and if you’re in a regulated industry where specific testimonials aren’t allowed, then I’d get creative with the medium and how you ask your questions — as far as I’m aware, nothing is stopping you from filming a client do their rehab and talking about what you’re doing in the process with dialogue.

Here’s an example of one to get your juices flowing:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Ck-aN9_LKTq/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

 So if you want this exclusive access to me like Sean has and get my exact script for curating a perfect video testimonial, then make sure you join the Alley-Oop so you can submit your questions in the discord. The beauty of discord is you can have an idea snap into your head, pull out your phone and ask the question straight away — there is no risk of ever forgetting it this way.

You can get full access here. It’s $3.23 a day:

– Karl Goodman

11 Reasons Why I Actively Implement A Blacklist Policy

Chris, an alley-oop subscriber, asked a fascinating question the other day:

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KG, I’d love to better understand why you don’t allow anyone back after they cancel the Alley-Oop? Not trying to say I’d ever cancel but I had a client come back after taking a year break from training and thought about your policy. Don’t you miss out on opportunities like this where clients may want to come back later?

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I’ll admit, the idea of ‘blocking’ someone from resubscribing to the Alley-Oop is a strange play. You might even think I’m downright evil for implementing it.

And while I mentioned my reasons why in the podcast I did with Jordi when I first floated the ‘blacklist’, I thought I might revisit the topic since I’ve been asked again.

Here is why the policy exists:

1. Whenever I’ve processed a cancellation in any of my businesses, that cancellation is consistently and reliably replaced with clients who value what we/I do even more. If you need a reminder — look back on your net growth over the last year — as long as you’re growing, you’re clearly replacing those you lose, and then some. The lesson? Never be afraid to “trim the fat”, even if it feels like a waste at the time.

2. Outside of a few exceptions, very rarely is “money” the actual reason why someone is cancelling. For the vast majority, they just aren’t being truthful to you or themselves — and I don’t have a lot of bandwidth for fibbers because even a homeless man sitting outside a 7/11 rattling coins in a coffee cup makes more than $3.23 a day. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us.

3. It acts as a barrier to the people who think success in business is an event, not a process. I very rarely, if ever, can help them anyway because they’re looking for a magic bullet I can’t give them.

4. It adds exclusivity — because you only get one shot at staying a part of the club. This weeds out the flakey types.

5. There is a legitimate cost to leaving — which makes people think twice before they have a bad month and impulsively want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

6. I’d prefer to work with less gym and clinic owners, not more, so choosing the committed ones makes my life way more enjoyable.

7. There is an alarming trend where business owners jump from novel solution to novel solution like crack addicts looking for their next hit. I’m not a junkie-enabler so it’s my way of helping stem the spread.

8. If I can shift a business owner’s mindset so that they understand the importance of investing in themselves all year around, I’ll give them a skill that will return them millions over the long haul.

9. It makes for more serious customers who actually consume the content and this creates a positive feedback loop because they get great results then, too.

10. I’m the type of guy that prefers my products to demonstrate my values — and commitment is one of them. I’m not a stop-start kinda guy.

11. And, it clearly separates the players in the arena from the spectators watching on. 

Now just to be clear: I’ve got no issue with anyone cancelling. They know what’s right for them and their business and the Alley-Oop newsletter is certainly not for everyone.

The blacklist is just for those who want to weasel their way back.

Because the way I see it:

Anyone who doesn’t like the policy only needs to look in a mirror to see why it exists — they truly are their own worst enemies and ironically, they don’t even realise it. 

And, as the low-attention, low-commitment phenomena sinks its claws even deeper into the collective social psyche as a result of social media and TikTok, I think more business owners will realise how important and profitable it is to create and enforce standards that filter out time-wasters…

And once they start to experience the upside of not having to deal with time-wasters and the uncommitted types, I think you’ll start seeing policies like this become the norm, not the exception.

Time will tell I guess.

In the meantime, this entire email is a ‘demonstration’ of how to sell in a way that gives you elasticity with your pricing, and allows you to sell at, and for, a premium. 

And for the good graces of God, please don’t think it’s by implementing a blacklist. That would be an amateur interpretation.

No, what I’m talking about is everything that is ‘between the lines’ of this email. The eleven reasons gives you a sneak peak.

But if you want the full breakdown, including how to systematically increase pricing so you can command what you’re worth, then you’ll want to subscribe to the Alley-Oop.

You can do that here:

– Karl Goodman

Most Of Us Get This Wrong When Launching Products

I spoke to a new mentee about launching a new product on the phone yesterday during an impromptu call while I waited for the kettle to boil.

And it got me thinking about something we could all be reminded of.

But before I do that, I need to give you some context.

Way back in 2009, a young Taylor Swift announced she was coming to Australia.

While her early stuff wasn’t my jam (I got into her about three years later with that Trouble song… that is still catchy as hell, and I’m listening to it on repeat as I write this), the tickets sold out in 3 minutes. Teeny girls went mad for it, which is fair enough. She was like Avril Lavigne but less Skater boy, which worked perfectly for the era.

Selling out the Australian tour in minutes was no surprise to her publicist because she’d already sold 15 events in the US in the same fashion. Her success in Australia was guaranteed, and it grossed her a tonne of moola. 

So what does this have to do with launching a new product?

Well, all these teeny boppers bought tickets for an event well into the future. And they paid a premium for it. Every single one was paid up, in full, in advance.

These tickets were pre-sold.

The movies do it this way, and so do sports events.

Yet when we launch something new, most of us cower away in darkness deep in the basement, building a product that hasn’t even proved itself to be valuable to the market yet.

We invest hundreds of hours not even knowing if it’ll work.

It sounds crazy, yet it’s almost always done this way.

I reckon it’s for two reasons:

One, because (almost) everyone does it this way, we think it’s the only option.

But as I’ve spoken about before, conventional wisdom is often wrong.

And the second? (And probably the more important one)

Is fear.

What if you launch and sell something you can’t finish on time?

What if you miss your deadline?

What if the customer gets mad and reports you to FairTrading for frawrrdd?

These ‘what ifs’ spin harder than your clothes dryer on full pelt and suck out any of the juice of pre-selling leaving a withered product in its wake that is lucky to even break even for your time.

So what’s the juice? What are you missing out on?

There are three big things.

1) Preselling makes you do the goddamn thing.

How often have you had a great idea for something new but never actioned it because you don’t have a gun to your head? Exactly. It happens all the time.

You have skin in the game when you sell the product before it’s built. It wasn’t until we actually started selling our ACL Mentorship did we actually get our ducks in a row to build the damned thing.

2) Preselling funds the effort.

Perhaps one of the best advantages of pre-selling is the capital raising part. You get to make money, which justifies all your hard work and effort. This way, you know it’s worth building a product that will blow people away. We did this with the CIP and got all the market confirmation we’d ever need — 48 tickets at 2.5k a ticket were sold before a single slide was made.

3) Preselling tells you what to make the product about.

When you sell something, you find out what people want, need and desire because if you follow my advice, you sell prescriptively anyway. You then take that and put that in your course. I pumped up the launch of the Alley-Oop for months and got 50 people to join an early-bird before I’d even written my first word…

But for all the sceptics… you might be thinking that this is risky. Well, you’re dead right; it isn’t all butterflies and rainbows.

Because yes, there is a chance you will ship your product late. The solution? You can let your customers know you’re delayed by a week or two. I did this just last week with my beta group for a new product I’m testing — and no surprise, no one is coming for me. We’re all still mates.

Your customers/clients are not monsters.

Plus, for products that extend for weeks or months, you only need to be 1-2 weeks ahead of the delivery date. You can build and deliver at the same time.

So if you’re thinking about launching something new, I’d market the thing before I make the thing.

Counter-intuitive? Yes.

Profitable? Absolutely.

Contrary? No doubt.

But if you are thinking of a new product that’s been stewing for months (or years), but you’ve never got around to launching it, this might be the kick up the pants you need.

And while we’re at it, if you want to join the Alley-Oop and subscribe to a newsletter that won’t ship until December 1 and I haven’t even started writing yet, you can do that here:

Stay outta Trouble.

– Karl Goodman

A Cautionary Tale Of Two Business Owners

Once upon a time, two friends each started their own business.

Both of them, in the early days, did it all.

They were the practitioner, the marketer, the administrator, the director, the cleaner, the coordinator, the salesperson and the bookkeeper.

One of them — a fiercely independent fellow, was determined to grow his business by himself, even as he began running out of time and his skillset and capacity were stretched.

He made sure to do everything himself, rely on no one but himself and learn from nothing but his own mistakes.

The other friend took a different approach.

As things started to get more complex and as time ran out, he collaborated with other business owners doing the same thing as him. Each day, they shared their challenges, triumphs and everything in between.

While he still learned from his own mistakes, he also learned from the mistakes of others. And he also learned from their wins, which he implement immediately.

Like this:

One person in the mastermind lands on a system for marketing that increases client acquisition. Another has a strategy for optimising the client experience that works like gangbusters. At the same time, someone else again comes up with an excellent solution for content creation that can be done almost on autopilot.

While they only had one winning idea, they got to benefit from three winning ideas.

He realised there was power in collaboration — and it wasn’t long before the idea of the Master Mind was born. The collective he collaborated with had created a supercharged operating system that functioned far more optimally than just one mind alone. Hence, the ‘master’ part of the mind.

At the start, both business owners stumbled forward at approximately the same speed.

But over time, the second friend’s progress became impossible to ignore.

While the first business owner continued to fumble, the second business owner found his stride.

He made better decisions, made them faster, and knew what moved the needle. 

He saw things that others missed.

Case in point:

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In a 30-minute call a few weeks ago, I found ~$20,000 for someone in their business because of an accounting oversight. While it was staring at them in the face and had been for at least a year, they had never actioned it… and their accountants had never mentioned it, either.

And all they would need to do is send a simple email to get the ball rolling.

When you know what to look for, you can see opportunities everywhere.

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That point aside, despite his fierce independence, the first friend felt stuck, confused and alone.

Overwhelmed and with no time, independence didn’t look so virtuous.

So while it’s true that you start your business alone, it’s not true that it needs to stay that way.

Just last week, Lachy was peppered at the ASCA conference with questions like:

“It seems like you guys are always doing something new. How do you move so fast?”

The answer is simple:

I participate in masterminds, and I lead them. As the old saying goes, you don’t truly understand something until you pay it forward.

So I benefit on both sides of the equation.

Not only do I get to learn from others, but I also get to teach them, too. Hence, ‘Mastery’.

IMO, one of the best decisions you can make is to invest in a mastermind — I’m yet to see a single committed person who did not get an insane ROI. I wish I could share some of the stories, but they are honestly too personal, and I want to protect my relationship with the guys who share them with me.

Yet, most of you will probably look at your situation and, despite reading this, act like the first business owner. And I’d understand because I speak to gym/studio and clinic owners who talk themselves out of a collaborative mastermind even when the proof is staring at them in the face. 

It’s human nature to talk yourself out of stuff like that. I get it.

It’s normal to say it’s not worth the money since you don’t have much of it right now, and you can’t see how things could change.

But the first step forward is awareness, so take from that what you will.

– Karl Goodman

Why A Sale Saved Is Better Than A Sale Won

Yesterday, Jordi and I were in our marketing meeting talking about the obsession with the ‘new’ & ‘novel’ on social media.

Love it or hate it; if it isn’t sexy, it isn’t going to sell.

And while this might make your blood boil, it’s how the game is being played right now, so you can either work with it or fight against it.

Thinking about this made me reflect on something afterwards:

Some of the best business advice that is never acted upon is the advice that isn’t sexy.

But it’s advice that moves the needle, nonetheless.

Take customer service, for instance.

When you first open your business, customer service stars front and centre. It’s the main act and the area which you emphasise and market.

But once your business starts to grow, many companies starve it right out of their budgets.

Case in point — Telco companies. Everyone knows that the major telcos ship their customer service offshore to somewhere in South East Asia where English is not the first language.

And they do it because labour is cheap.

But when the person introduces themselves as ‘Brad’ but they have an accent that doesn’t sound like a Brad, it gets a lot of people frustrated because essential communication is a hard ask.

Just yesterday, the tiler we used for our Melbourne facility didn’t understand what I meant when I said:

“Do you understand where I’m coming from?”

Context: He wanted to be paid before he gave us a certificate for the waterproofing, which I was definitely not going to do.

His reply, defensively, was this:

“I don’t know where you come from. I don’t care where you come from. You shouldn’t care where I’m from either. Are you racist?”

Like, f*ck me, this guy thought I was having a crack at his heritage… which turned me massively offside.

Anyway, back to Telco’s.

So iiNet, after hearing the feedback from thousands of frustrated customers, made the strategetic decision to hire only English-speaking South Africans who learn English before they learn Afrikaans, and they were catapulted to success because they got the basics right. 

Customer service is iiNet’s asset, and people love it.

They followed the ‘unsexy’ advice and reaped the rewards.

So here’s a basic rule of thumb that most of us will eventually ignore:

A sale saved is better than a sale made.

Or, as the poker players say, “folding a great hand, when you would have lost, is like winning a small pot”.

This isn’t the easiest thing to wrap your head around — because when we think of money, we think about new money generated, not old money lost.

But it’s exactly what we should be thinking.

Because the first sale is the hardest to make and every sale after that is infinitely easier.

Mind you, take this advice with a pinch of salt — because a small dose of dissatisfied customers is a good reflection that you’re not playing it too safe or only working within your current capabilities and not stretching yourself.

Just remember that marketing too aggressively has caused far fewer bankruptcies than not marketing enough.

But if your rate is too high?

It probably means that your customer service sucks.

While it sounds like common sense…

It’s not common practice because the #1 complaint of ‘big’ companies is that their customer service is garbage.

Apple is an exception to the rule, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Just something to think about for your Tuesday morning/Monday evening.

– Karl Goodman

Karl Goodman

  • Founder of Athletes Authority
  • Marketing Maverick
  • Business Strategist
  • Newsletter Publisher
“I knew that Karl was good… but I didn’t realise he was this good. He is changing the game... and you know I don’t say that lightly!”
Christian Woodford
Woodford Sports Science Consulting
"Karl's advice packs a serious punch if you want your gym to rock... we've 10x'd revenue, 5x'd our facility size... and learnt how to build our own little empire... and all of that was during a worldwide pandemic when most gyms were on their knees!"
David Hasell
Lift3 Gym & Physiotherapy
"Karl's business acumen has far exceeded even my wildest expectations. His unique insights and willingness to push the boundaries of conventional wisdom, told through captivating stories makes his words literally worth their weight in gold."
Zenia Wood
Swift Movement Academy
"Karl has helped me put together the puzzle that running a business can be, while helping me find all the missing pieces along the way."
Tal Marom
Trademark Performance
"Karl is a gamechanger, his ability to problem solve with unique solutions is second to none."
Tom Nelson
TNT Ignite
"I first started listening to Karl's advice while working out of my shed at the back of my house. As I write this now, I'm the owner of RadCentre, one of Victoria's Elite High Performance Training facilities. His advice along the way has been crucial in every element of business... especially how he's helped my financial success. We wouldn't be where we are now without Karl."
Chris Radford
Rad Centre

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