When Madlab School of Fitness first started in 2004—then known as CrossFit Vancouver—owner Craig 'Patty' Patterson put all new clients through personal training sessions, as he had been told to do by his mentor Greg Glassman.

Eventually, when Patty had enough clients, he started pooling them together into small groups, just like Glassman did, but before they joined a group, they always started off by doing ten personal training sessions.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and pretty soon, he started doing it just like everyone else in the industry was: rushing people to group classes before they were properly trained up in an individualized environment.

The result was devastating on both Patty and his clients: He went from bringing in $8,000 to $9,000 a month from his book of 35 clients to watching 100 clients come and go over the course of half a year, and ultimately finding himself in serious debt in the process.

Confused at the time as to why this was happening, as to why clients were leaving so quickly, Patty introduced what has now become a staple in the Madlab community: the exit interview.

The Exit Interview: Basically, Patty started sitting down, sometimes over a coffee, other times over a beer or going for a walk in the park, and asking the person the same three questions:

How did I fail you?
Where can I improve?
Is there anything else you would like to share with me, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it might be?

After doing about fifty (yes 50) of those "gut-wrenching interviews," as he called them, a clear picture emerged.

The feedback was: People weren't getting enough individual coaching.

"Why don't we do more one-on-one stuff?" they asked. 
"People in group classes don't know what they're doing," they said. 
"The more new people in a class, the more attention they get, while the older, experienced clients get no energy or attention from the coach at all," they insisted.

Ultimately, the clients' feedback helped shape Madlab into what it is today: A coaching service, where each client receives both individualized coaching that considers their unique needs and goals, and group classes (Today, all new clients go through 12-18 personal training sessions at the outset before doing a hybrid membership, meaning a combination of group classes and one-on-one training).

The Exit Interview Lives On: The Madlab system has grown considerably since 2007 when Patty began the exit interviews, but people will still leave for one reason or another and the exit interview continues to provide insights into how we can make things better for our clients in the future.

As the saying goes, if you're not open and willing to evolve, if you're stagnant and unwilling to change as the market changes (which it has considerably in the last 15 years), you're inevitably going to fall behind.

And the exit interview is a perfect opportunity to expose what you need to do to continually improve your service.

Give it a try: When someone quits, ask them for five minutes of their time, on the phone, via Zoom or in-person:

How did I fail you?
Where can I improve?
Is there anything else you would like to share with me, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it might be?

You'd be surprised how much you can learn from them.

If you found this article helpful and would like to see exactly how these types of strategies could improve your sales and dramatically increase your revenue on a consistent basis,

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