In this fifth episode of the new series "Replicating the Stars in Your Pilates Instructor Team," hosts David and Claire Gunther and their team celebrate their accomplishment of receiving over 100 5-star Google reviews in just three months. They draw parallels with the importance of focusing on details in achieving success and delve into the nitty-gritty of how they replicated this success with their team.

The discussion covers the importance of having clear processes, preparing instructors, dealing with client objections, and ensuring continuity even when key team members are away.

They also touch upon future-proofing their review processes for other platforms like Facebook. For a visual summary, the episode includes a link to a graph illustrating their journey. The episode wraps up with practical tips for sustaining review processes and managing business operations smoothly.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Celebrating Success: 100 5-Star Google Reviews
  • [00:00:19] The Importance of Details: Lessons from Mark Cavendish
  • [00:00:52] Introduction to the Episode: Replicating 5-Star Reviews
  • [00:01:08] Welcome to The Pilates Business Podcast
  • [00:01:34] Claire's Strategy for Replicating Success
  • [00:02:08] Handling Objections and Client Feedback
  • [00:03:23] The Role of Instructors and Admin in the Process
  • [00:03:51] Tweaking and Improving the Process
  • [00:05:30] Tara's Honeymoon and Process Continuity
  • [00:07:53] Scaling the Process: Tips and Learnings
  • [00:011:47] The Importance of Consistency and Habit
  • [00:013:18] Future-Proofing for Other Review Platforms
  • [00:017:51] Final Thoughts and Celebrating Wins

"Lots of nitty-gritty detail about how to create your wins with 5-star Google reviews. You can celebrate those wins big time when you get to 100, but you should also celebrate each and every 5-star Google review by replying with your own heartfelt response. That's what we've been doing to celebrate our 5-star Google reviews."                                                                  David Gunther – The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra."

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Episode Resources

Episode Transcript

DAVID GUNTHER: We are celebrating at Pilates business and Pilates Can because we've just achieved over 100 5-star Google reviews in a period of only three months from when we started. We're celebrating this win, just like Mark Cavendish recently celebrated his 35th stage win at the Tour de France. 

In his after-race interview, he said what was most important was the nitty-gritty, the details. Not just the bike or the rider, but the team around him, the management, everything that went into that win. That 35th win, and all of his 35 wins, was down to the details. That's what's so very important. So, that's what we're going to talk about in this episode: how to replicate those 5-star Google reviews in your team. 

We're going to talk about the nitty-gritty. Welcome, and let's get into it.

CHRIS: Pilates business owners, welcome to The Pilates business podcast, brought to you by the people who own, operate, and instruct in a successful clinical Pilates studio in Australia. 

Our mission is to help you to discover Pilates business assets to build your clinical Pilates business success. And now, here's your host, David Gunther. 

DAVID: And we start with Claire explaining just how she's gone about replicating the stars with her team. 

CLAIRE GUNTHER: I've got a couple of the other instructors now, one mat and one equipment-based replicating the process. And that's been going well and it's making sure each instructor you've spoken to them. They've got the process. They know what the process is. 

David did say to me in the early stages to make sure they're prepared for any objections or along those line. 

DAVID: Yeah. Objections or concerns, those reasons why it wasn't a good idea to give a Google review. 

CLAIRE: Fortunately, and as Tara said, we haven't had this problem and there hasn't been an issue. It really has only been a very, very small percentage that might be just their work doesn't allow that sort of profile of any sort, or they just didn't, it was just too hard to go there with a Google account, even with some help, or they just didn't want to have another. Maybe they're an iPhone person and didn't have a Google, but it's a very small percentage. 

So, I didn't really have to let the instructors know, well, you might have this happen or this happen. It’s really let's focus on very briefly, so we're not taking up the instructor's time and just as much the client's time, to let them know what was going on. 

Then we follow up briefly, see if they need help, and that's when we find out that, oh, okay, maybe they didn't get the email or for whatever reason, or maybe I missed it in lots of emails all on one day. 

So, we have a process for sorting that out, but it's been great because of the clients, it's been amazing. As I said, they go to tell us, ' Oh, I didn't see it,' or 'Could you send it again? I've been away and this has been happening.' I want it.'

So, it's great. That's how much they really care and want to be involved. The instructors have been well and truly on board. I think because this time it is so much easier with that, I keep saying, with that process behind, absolutely essential, because we’ve tried it other ways, and you can just see the results. 

We know we're supported, and I don't feel like it's another thing we've got to add. Trying to look after all these people and conditions, and it just makes it so much simpler. 

DAVID: Yes, and we did do a lot with the preparation, didn't we? We thought about this deeply for quite a long time and came up with pros and cons of how we would do it and why we would do it and all of that. That's really paid off. We gathered a lot of information from the marketplace about how others were doing it and why others were doing it.

That replication and that clarity that you've been able to give to the instructors that you have replicated this with so far, the clarity of the why, in particular, why it's important. And then the clarity of the how, by knowing that we've got all of these processes in place, and that it is supported by the admin and by these automations that we have, has made a lot of difference with the success of replicating the excellent job that you've done already on your own, Claire.

They're starting to come through now, those from the rest of your instructors, and that's so exciting because, of course, the rest of the instructors do a lot more in total in terms of the number of clients that they see compared to the clients that you see. It's that repetition of the exact message and being able to therefore deal with any concerns that might come along about the process.

I saw you had something to add there, perhaps something you were disagreeing with.

CLAIRE: I was just smiling, but I actually just thought of another replication. So from David and Tara behind the scenes, coming up with this excellent process that's worked for us and we've tweaked it a bit when we were testing it with me rolling it out in the face-to-face side of it, but so much so that Tara is just about to go on a honeymoon for a month. 

So, she'll be incognito for a month. But the process that we've been tweaking, just a little bit, it was mostly they'd worked it all out beforehand that Tara is now able to replicate that with admin staff. Is that correct, Tara? 

TARA SMITH: I had, hopefully, my last meeting with another member of the admin team, who's going to be looking after it earlier this week. I went over with her all of how the process works and everything. She's been pretty much handling that. 

I've only added a couple of people this week. She's been pretty much handling adding all the new people to that automation. So, yeah, hopefully I'll be able to go away and enjoy my honeymoon. When I get back, you guys will just be telling me about how you got to a hundred 5-star Google reviews while I was gone.

CLAIRE: We will. 

DAVID: That's exactly right. As Claire mentioned, we're tweaking things and we've had a major change now with one of the key players, Tara, going on honeymoon without any permission whatsoever from us. 

She's not allowed to go on a honeymoon, but it looks like you are anyway,

TARA:  Well, you should blame Claire. She did approve my leave. 

CLAIRE: Actually, I've been telling clients today, who said, 'Oh yeah, can just speak to Tara or contact her?' And I said, 'Well, actually, Tara is not going to be in here.' she said, 'Really, you're letting her go for a month? 

And I said, well, it's a honeymoon. 

What can you say? 

TARA: I haven't gone away for this long in quite some time. But I should only be getting married once in my life. So, it shouldn't be any more honeymoons for me.

DAVID: Excellent. Taking on that constructive feedback about the process from all various parts of the process from instructors, from Claire, from admin, also from Adam Tuttle at the CRM ActiveCampaign, who's contributed, in a big way to these podcasts. 

We've got that whole question about the 'why,' he really pushed that in one of the episodes.

I remember. That was very instructive as to what we're doing and how we're doing it. Our ability to change and tweak what we're doing has been really useful to our mindset to have a successful process, and for it to be continuing to be successful, even with catastrophic things like Tara going on her honeymoon. 

So, well done to us, big pat on our backs.  

CHRIS: Help the team at the Pilates business podcast, keep improving and delivering this important information. Follow the show on your favorite podcast platform and recommend it to other clinical Pilates business owners. 

DAVID: It does take significant time to replicate yourself, Claire. It takes extra effort on top of everything else that you have to do. 

Now, I have to talk to them about 5-star Google reviews! There is the danger of Chief Instructor (getting overwhelmed), how they'll feel, because they're already dealing with this, that and maybe they don't have a Tara to do these other things. That's been very useful, that we’ve been able to see, 'Okay, We might be spending a bit of extra time, but that investment will come back 10 times, in results. and that is exactly what's happened. 

CLAIRE: Yeah, so that brings a point, actually. We wanted to get the process well and truly going for each session. I think we started with two people per session, didn't we, Tara? 

TARA: Yeah, but then some days you have five sessions. So that was 10 people that you were having to talk to, which is quite a few conversations to be having.

CLAIRE: Yeah, that was quite a few conversations and keeping things on a tight (schedule), making sure I was getting the next session going. So, it was quite interesting. But because people's lives get very busy, you need to have a chat about, 'Oh, do you need any help from us?' because it hadn't come through any sort of review. 

So, what we did really learn from that, and this is for those businesses out there, I'd highly recommend starting a bit slower than us, particularly in the replication process. That's something we learned. Really, it's one person per hour per session to speak to.

Because what happens starts to add up when you've got a new person, let's say it's on Wednesday, the next Wednesday you've got a new person to speak to, you've got to follow up one, you've got to thank somebody (else). I was really busy there for a while. So, we did learn to like, whoa, we better just make that a little bit less for the instructors when we replicate it. Just thought I'd give you that tip. I just remembered that one.

DAVID: And that worked well when we took our foot off the accelerator. I like to use the analogy of the electric car. We have an electric car, a Nissan Leaf, and that's got regenerative braking. So, it's one-pedal driving. When you take your foot off the accelerator, it means that the car actually starts braking.

So often you don't need to use a brake. And that's what happened when we took our foot off the accelerator completely for three or four weeks. Or maybe three weeks, two weeks, Claire's saying two weeks, two and a half, but do I hear three? Okay. it's...

CLAIRE: Do you think it was a long time? 

DAVID: It seemed like a long time. We took our foot off the accelerator because we changed scheduling management platforms. That's a big deal if you're a listener, you're probably in the industry, you are aware of how important the scheduling management platform is, particularly when it also involved with the payments that come through, how important that is to the running of the business and the continuity there. 

So, a lot of Tara's time has been going on that, hasn't it Tara? 

TARA: Yeah, first setting up that, and then again, waterfalling that to the rest of the team because, I don't know, I had the audacity to be going away for a month. after we've made this change. Making sure that everyone on the team is confident to be able to do those things while I'm gone as well.

DAVID: We took our foot purposefully off the accelerator for the Google reviews because that is extra work and it is an additional  focus for clients as well as staff. That worked well, but it meant that the process for Google reviews was less efficient.  We've got a graph actually that you'll be able to see or will be linked in the show notes, showing a flat spot in early May when the foot was off the accelerator, causing it to slow down. 

Then we put our foot back on the accelerator, and with that, it's just taken off again and it's working well. The success of our other project is also working very well with the new scheduling management, but that's a different episode.

CHRIS: Checking out the show notes in this episode for more details about how you can create these assets for your Pilates business.

CLAIRE: That's another tip for small businesses out there is even though we had to take the foot off the accelerator for those couple of weeks, I was on quite a momentum, we had created too much momentum for me. But it's also gets you a little bit out of the habit because I was focused on helping clients with the transition of the scheduling system. 

So, I'd highly recommend again small amounts, say like even if you're not even one client per session, after you just get things happening maybe it's one client per shift but keep a little bit going regularly. The fortunate thing is we just tested on myself, put the brakes on before I rolled it out to any other instructors. I found for myself, it's like, 'Oh, I've got to start doing that again.' 

It seemed almost a bit foreign but It's good to have that I guess. Really it becomes a standard part of your business. I've forgotten the term for that. 

DAVID: Standard operating procedure. 

CLAIRE: No. 

TARA: Business as usual? 

CLAIRE: Tara had it. Business as usual. That's what it is, BAU, is that right? 

DAVID: Yeah. That's a really good point. Business as usual, that's the way it should be. It should be a habit and not all-encompassing. It shouldn't be too much pressure. It should be something that you do as part of the session as an instructor and with the admin also just trickling that in.

As we say, eventually we'll get to the whole of the clientele and roll this out. But trying to do too much at once could also break the system, not regenerative braking, but "breaking" the system. Of course, we don't want that. 

TARA: There was just one other thing that I wanted to add, but I didn't find a place to quite put it in yet. So, we have this great process set up now for Google reviews specifically, but there are obviously different kinds of reviews that we might want to get. We might want to get reviews on Facebook, we might want to get reviews on Bing, we might want to get reviews on Yelp, all kinds of different places where clients could be leaving reviews.

One of the things that I tried to think about when setting up this process was future-proofing it to be able to be used for other platforms as well. We don't have that quite all set up, but there's ideas in the works for this automation to be replicated across different platforms. 

That may solve some of the objections that people have to, if they don't particularly want to have a Google account, they might already have a Facebook account. There might be another avenue where they can leave that review if Google is not the one for them. 

DAVID: Now, you're really scaring Claire, because I can see what she's thinking. She's thinking, this process never ends. Hang on!

CLAIRE: Well, that's true. I'm like, no, I've got to run away now! Sometimes when I was talking to people, they'd say, 'Oh, and do you want a Facebook one as well?' Going forwards is probably having that choice of platforms, as Tara just said. We had a few clients that didn't have a Google account, so maybe they're more comfortable on one of the other platforms (leaving it).

Some people were happy to do it on several platforms, but I really think for longevity and for everybody, it really needs to be a business as usual. To do that, it needs to be very small amounts. So, we're always in the habit, but it's not, 'Whoa, I've got all this to do.' This is my big list. Oh, I forgot to speak to that person.'

That's where it's probably speaking to one person a shift, or you'd have to work it out for each business. I haven't pulled back because I got that goal (100x 5stars), and we're going to get there. 

CHRIS: As a Pilates business owner, you know that the right business assets and processes are the defining factors in your business success and the quality of your life.

In each episode, successful Pilates business owner David Gunther will unpack proven, practical, world-class assets and processes that you can use to survive and thrive in your own Pilates business. If you're ready to take your business to the next level, then stay tuned. And if you'd like to get there quicker and with less experimentation, go to www.pilatesbusiness.com.com.au. 

CLAIRE: That was mentioned in the very early stages, and I'm guessing that was from people that didn't have Google accounts, like me being one of them. 

Someone just asked me today about, 'Can I put a review on your website? And I explained how the Google reviews can be linked onto our website. To be honest, the Facebook one, I can't remember exactly what I said, because that was at the beginning process. I might've said, 'Oh, just at the moment,we'd like to do the Google. I also thought it'd be distracting if people was trying to do it here, there and everywhere.

We had a process, as Tara said. We knew we had this process that was working for the Google side. That was where our focus was. 

TARA: Google has other advantages as well in terms of our digital footprint that Facebook doesn't have so much. Facebook doesn't own the search console that people are using to find our business, which is why our focus is on Google at the moment. I think it would be more of an option for if (say) people were not willing to create a Google account. Then it might be a good point too. maybe, if they already have that Facebook account.

But at the moment the focus is on Google because it has other advantages to our SEO, both our local and other SEO for new clients to be able to find us in a way that Facebook doesn't quite, just because of the sort of demographics that are on Facebook.

CLAIRE: Yeah. Thanks, Tara. 

TARA: 'Why' is important. 

CLAIRE: I knew there was a 'why.' And just like in each session we provide; clients want to know why. We haven't just randomly picked an exercise for them. It's why is this one useful for them? And why is this process? And we, yeah, exactly....the why is so important. I like to know the why. So, thank you. 

And I have to say this because David is just truly amazed. I think he's really thrilled. I had not thought of it. Wasn't until we were doing this whole podcast, then I was like, 'Oh, how do I help other studios?' And that's where that BAU, the business as usual, I thought, "that's what needs to happen"

 It can happen if you do it on a slower time frame. He's just so thrilled. I think Tara might be too.  Wow! It's so good, the process, that's how we can go forwards with it. Well, thank you so much for inviting me, and it's great to catch up with both David and Tara on this platform. 

TARA: Yeah. Thanks a lot, David. It's been great to be back. 

CLAIRE: Things came out that I didn't even think of it. I didn't know they would. So, there you go.

DAVID: So, there you have it, lots of nitty-gritty detail about how to create your wins with 5-star Google reviews. 

You can celebrate those wins big time when you get to 100, but you should also celebrate each and every 5-star Google review by replying with your own heartfelt response.  That's what we've been doing to celebrate our 5-star Google reviews. 

We've had some beautiful reviews, and it's been our pleasure to reply to them and celebrate that win with the client. 

Imagine how you will feel when you're getting more inquiry, like we've been getting. More online attention and more inquiry from the right (prospective) clients, as a result of the 5-star reviews. We've also had feedback from a client who only recently posted their review, and Google informed her that her review has already been read by over 50 prospective clients. 

How good is that? 

What are you waiting for? 

Join us on the podium. Perhaps not with Sir Cavendish in the Tour de France but join us on that podium of Pilates businesses that have achieved over 100 5-star Google reviews in just three months. 

Check out all those details in our show notes, where you can see our whole 5-star journey in a special graph. 

Then go ahead and activate the path for your own Pilates business success with Pilates business assets and processes to help you get there... quicker!

Make sure you get notification about our next episode in this series 6: 'Replicating the Stars in Your Team,' where we will discuss "Converting Prospects to clients". 

And until then, stay awesome

CHRIS: You have been listening to The Pilates Business Podcast with David Gunther. If you are enjoying the show, let us know by subscribing and leaving a review. 

For more information or if you have any Pilates business questions, visit www.pilatesbusiness.com.au   

"We are celebrating at Pilates business and Pilates Can because we've just achieved over 100 5-star Google reviews in a period of just three months from when we started. We're celebrating this win, just like Mark Cavendish has just celebrated his 35th stage win at the Tour de France."                 David Gunther – The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra

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