Why Not the Duck: Breaking the Customer Routine


Think of your favorite restaurant. I’m not talking about the white-napkin chateau with the crazy prices, or the place you proposed or were proposed to. I’m talking about the default setting on your restaurant dial, the place you go when you don’t have an idea for dinner or you just need a change of scenery.

Now think of what you’re going to have to eat when you get there.

If you’re like most people, I’ll bet you order from the same two or three options almost every time. While you’ve probably never really thought about it, three quarters of that menu are uncharted waters where your gustatory cruise will never sail. When you walk through the door, the betting money is always on “the usual.”

That’s just human nature. Once we have our routines, they get locked in a lot more than we realize.

It’s the same with the people who should be working out at your Box right now, but have never set foot in the door. They have great intentions, maybe even some personal goals that should point them your way, but they also have a miserable commute, kids who need help with homework or are still binging Game of Thrones.

In other words, they have a routine and you can forget handstand push-ups or weight-vest sprints. The hardest challenge you face as a Box owner or manager is breaking that routine and getting those people to come through your door and join your program.

And just like becoming fit, the best way to succeed is to break the challenge into simple steps with specific goals. Collectively, these steps are known as “the customer journey,” and there are two in particular that focus on this part of the selling process:

Awareness is About Presence

Nothing happens until you’re part of the prospective customer’s world.

Here you look at all of the ways prospective customers in your area learn you exist. Drive by your location. Is it visible from the road? How clear is the signage? Next Google “CrossFit” for your town or neighborhood without using your business name. Do the same for Facebook and your other favorite social media. If you don’t like what you see, there’s a whole recipe book to help you muscle up in those areas.

Most importantly, check with your members. How are they representing for you? What do they tell their friends, co-workers and family? Often simply asking people to get the word out can make a huge difference. You can help them by providing a specific “ask” they can use in the outreach. Give them a voucher or have a special event they can use as an excuse to raise the subject.

Interest is About Caring

You need to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

This is different for different people. So make a list of the specific groups you want in your Box and why they’d want to come to you. Is there an office park where people are looking to squeeze in a lunch hour routine? Do you have ex-service people in your area who want to work out with other vets? Are the local neighborhoods teeming with new moms trying to get back in pre-mom fighting shape?

The more you can align your offering with someone else’s goals, the more you’re going to up your chances of success. The more you define your targets the easier it is to tailor your outreach, whether it’s calling the HR person at local offices, reaching out to vet groups or running special mid-morning mom programs.

And the next time you’re at your favorite restaurant enjoying your usual meal, ask yourself, “Why not the duck?” The more attentive you become to your own ruts and routines, the better you’ll be able to help people in your community get out of their ruts and find their way to you.

Michael McLinden earns his road rash as a serial entrepreneur, and consultant to health, wellness and fitness related companies in the U.S. and Europe with a focus on market analysis, branding and value creation. He has held executive management and strategic planning responsibilities in a number of regional and global advertising and marketing firms, including Mc|K Healthcare, which he co-founded and ran until 2014. He holds an MS from Purdue University and an MBA from TIAS Nimbas business school in the Netherlands. Email him at mmclinden@miscopeto.com.