Fill in the blanks from these popular CrossFit T-shirt slogans:
- "Your workout is our _______________."
- "Train to not suck at ____________."
- "Like my clean? You should see my _________."
Your brain recognizes patterns. It tries to predict what will happen next based on the information it has. In other words, it will try to close the information Gap using clues.
This is a useful trait, because inference helps us to survive:
I see bear tracks; I smell something menacing; I'll go thataway.
Whenever our brain receives data, forms inferences, and is proved correct, you get a tiny little 'reward' sensation; a chemical high-five.
Wonder why that Nickelback song gets stuck in your head? It's full of familiar patterns that are easy to recall and predict. Since most of their songs sound similar, it's easy for your brain to predict the flow of a new song even as you're hearing it for the first time. Subconsciously, your brain recognizes a familiar pattern, predicts what will come next, and gets a piece of mango when it's right. Since your brain LOVES mangoes, it repeats the song again and again to relive the positive experience.
Don't bore us. Get to the chorus! How does this apply to your CrossFit Box?
1. Be predictable. If your members can regurgitate gym rules, policies, and prices on demand, they'll feel happy doing so. When they can answer the questions of their friends using the same language YOU would use, they feel good doing so.
2. Don't be UNpredictable. The flipside of predictability is that a brain becomes stressed when it CAN'T predict what will happen. "If I have a problem, and I tell Chris....well, he might react badly. He might even get annoyed with me." That feeling costs clients, because it creates fear of unpredictability.
3. Stick to common themes in your business operations. A client should know, for instance, that the business always runs the same way; that a 30-minute personal training session always lasts 30 minutes, instead of 20 or 40. That a CrossFit class starts with a warmup at 12:03, progresses through skills, and finishes the WOD with stretching around 12:45. When one coach starts class late, and another starts right on time, the unpredictability will keep clients away ("I can't afford to be late back from lunch. What if Sam's coaching? Can't risk it today.")
4. Stick to repeatable messages. How many Affiliates use the slogan, "Your workout is our warmup!" on their shirts? We did, years ago, and then I realized that I wasn't even sure what it meant. Our workouts are longer? Harder? We do biceps curls for warmups? It was just stuck in my head.
5. Keep things simple. Break your message up into small, shareable chunks. Deliver information in single points that are easier to digest.
6. Deliver your philosophy in bumper-sticker format. On the walls of your gym, post short messages that are easy to recall and regurgitate. "Routine Is The Enemy" is a message that a member can share with their friends; a 30-minute lecture on novelty and variance is not.
We thrive on being different. We love being creative. That's good. Building business practices on predictability, though, satisfies the need for structure in the brains of your members.