Simon chats to Justin 'JT' Tamsett, Fitness Business Coach and Speaker at Active Management.

Show Notes

Active Management is a consulting business working closely with Fitness Club Owners to show them how they can operate more efficiently and more productively.

You can contact Justin here:


Simon Dell: So, welcome to the show, Justin Tamsett. How are you?

JT Tamsett: Mate, I am terrific, Simon. Thanks for having me on board.

Simon Dell: We actually call you JT instead of Justin, don’t we?

JT Tamsett: Well, everybody except my mom does, yes.

Simon Dell: Right. We’ve had this conversation with other people on this podcast in the past. Was JT a nickname that you created or was that just a kind of something someone else created?

JT Tamsett: It was my rugby coach in 1993, started calling me JT. I’d already lived many years of my life and never been called that, and then all of a sudden, it came, and it stuck. It’s really become my brand since 1993.

Simon Dell: There always seems to be a JT in a rugby team. I don’t know why that is. I think it’s maybe a Welsh thing as well as it’s a Kiwi thing. There always seems to be a JT somewhere. I’ve played with JTs before.

JT Tamsett: We could say there’s lots of John Thomasses running around on a rugby field. I rang a radio station and I said, “Yep, it’s JT here and I’m calling from Beecroft.” They went, “Are you the JT?” and I went, “Well, yes, I am, but not the one that you’re probably thinking of.”

Simon Dell: Give us your 60-second pitch, who you are, what you do, all those kind of things.

JT Tamsett: I am the Beecroft Under-11s netball coach.

Simon Dell: That’s it. That’s just stop there and talk about that for 45 minutes.

JT Tamsett: My history is 30 years in the fitness industry, from being a gym owner to now a consultant in the industry. I also work with lots of businesses outside of the industry, real estate businesses, physio practices, and other allied health professionals around their marketing, and their positioning.

I have a real passion around getting the right people working for us. So, I like thinking about the culture that our organizations have, the core values, and I do a lot of work just one-on-one with clients about getting their shit together in business. Because in small business, it’s hard to do that, and that’s kind of what my job is, is to come in and say, “Alright, let’s start to put this jigsaw puzzle together. Let’s see what the picture looks like, and then let’s go to Simon who can help us with SEO. Let’s go over here and that person can help us with our HR. Let’s go over here and they can help us with our finance.” I don’t do the inner trench stuff. My job is try to help get a clearer picture for business owners, managers, and leaders of teams.

Simon Dell: You’re the conductor?

JT Tamsett: I like that. I might use that. 

Simon Dell: In 30 years, you must’ve used that before.

JT Tamsett: No, what I’ve used is I’m the hub. Like, people come to me and they go, “Well, you’re going to know someone.” I’m like, “Yeah, I probably do know someone.” Or I know someone who knows someone.

Simon Dell: But it’s that kind of approach, isn’t it? Most people try building a business, and they need a symphony of people. They need everybody playing different sorts of instruments. And when they start a business, they always think, “Well, you know what? I do a bit of violin. I can play the French horn as well. I can bang a drum. I can do it all.” But as the business gets bigger and bigger, they suddenly realize that there’s no substitute for people with those specialist skills.

JT Tamsett: 100%. We all don’t have the ability that Prince had of being able to play multiple instruments. I mean, he was just a freak. And there are business owners that are just freaks that can do everything. But an interesting thing is in the world that we now live in, businesses are outsourcing so much. But even if we outsource our marketing, or our SEO, or whatever it may be, we still need to have the key performance indicators that the outsourcing department needs to hit in order for us to justify the cost or whatever.

I think in business, we’ve always been scared of that kind of outsourcing. But in the world that we now live in, it’s becoming more available and a lot more easier for people to do and manage that outsourcing.

Simon Dell: I’m going to digress completely on your Prince comment there. I’ll never forget there was an interview that Eric Clapton did once. And one guy said to him, “How’s it feel to be the greatest living guitarist in the world?” and Eric Clapton said, “I don’t know. Ask Prince.” Which is brilliant, from someone like Eric Clapton, to be so humble and say, “It’s definitely not me.” Talk to me about your rugby career. So, you started playing rugby where and for who?

JT Tamsett: I started playing rugby in Australia at Eastwood. I played in Newcastle, which is just north of Sydney. I played up there.

Simon Dell: Are you Newcastle born and bred?

JT Tamsett: I’d love to say I am because I think I’m one of the few Newcastle Knights supporters left on the planet. But no, I was born in Sydney and then moved to Newcastle for uni and played rugby up there. Came back, played rugby here, and then coached and ended up coaching first grade in the Shute Shield competition. And now, I’m on the board of directors for Northern Suburbs Rugby Club. So, we basically feed players into the Shute Shield competition and we compete with every other club in Sydney for players, sponsors, and members.

Simon Dell: I grew up playing rugby. I’ve been playing since I was 11 years old and kind of retired in my late 20s. What’s it about rugby to you that makes it so different from all the other games that you could’ve — with balls that you could’ve picked up?

JT Tamsett: I’ve always wondered why rugby sort of stood out. I mean, I was a typical Aussie kid that played rugby and played cricket. I just loved team sports. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than walking off the pitch with a victory and looking at your mates that you’ve done it with.

I think something about Rugby is: You might be bleeding. You might be sore. You might be busted, but there’s always a bloke next to you who is just as sore, just as busted, who pats you on the back and says, “You know what? You did your best” or “We won today. That’s great.” And you can celebrate together as much as you like. But it’s still that feeling when you come off the pitch in a team that I think I loved the most. I couldn’t play tennis. I don’t think I’m bloody smart enough or emotionally strong enough to play tennis, but I couldn’t do those individual sports. I very much like being a part of the team.

Simon Dell: Do you know what it was for me? When I finished playing rugby union, I went and played football. I kind of saw both sides of it. They’re very, very different team games, and there’s very, very different approach. But I always thought that rugby union — and whilst it has a high skill bar… It took a lot for you to be really good. I always felt rugby union was kind of a low entry point. If you tried hard enough, you were a welcome member of the team. With football, t’s like you can try as hard as you like, but if you can’t kick the thing in a straight line, nobody wants you on this side.

JT Tamsett: You’re the guy who has the carry the oranges.

Simon Dell: Yeah, exactly. Anyway, I always felt rugby union was a more welcoming game. It was like, “Do you want to get covered in mud? Do you want to get punched in the face? Do you want to get stamped on the head? Look, we don’t care whether you can pick up a ball drop or whatever, just come on your way onto this park. As long as you’re welcome.”

JT Tamsett: I agree with that. I think one of the interesting things about sport in general, particularly in Australia, is we now have the aspirational sport and we have the inspirational sport. I got to the point in my rugby career where I was just inspiration. I just wanted to play for the fun of it.

The idea of aspiring to greats kind of went out because I was in the period where we’re flipping from amateur to professional. I loved my job too much so I wasn’t going to quit what I was doing to play rugby because I knew I wasn’t that good. And I just love the camaraderie of it. And the fact rugby is one of those true, international sports. I mean, we’ve got players from our club that are all over the world playing rugby, and I just think, “What a great opportunity for kids these days.”

Simon Dell: We’ll move on in a second, but it seems to eliminate egos, to a degree, certainly the lower level. Because when you’re covered in mud and someone’s stamping on your head, it doesn’t matter who you are. You’re one of the rest of the team. Whereas I think football still has that kind of elitist, people walk into it, thinking how good they are and so on and so forth.

JT Tamsett: In a football perspective, you’ve got your striker, and he’s the rock star.  But in rugby, while the #10 probably thinks he’s the rock star, everybody plays as a team. There’s so many analogies that we can pull from sport into business. And particularly in Australia, because sport is so mainstream, it’s a great way to explain how to run a business by flipping it back to our sporting analogy. Because people go, “Oh, yeah. I get that on the soccer pitch or I see that on a basketball court. I know what you mean now from a business. Oh, I get it.”

Simon Dell: Your early career from a working perspective, you’ve obviously done the time within clubs, fitness clubs, and things like that. It’s something like 20-odd years in Active Health Club or something like that?

JT Tamsett: I have my gyms for 15 years, and then I’ve been a consultant for 15. So, 30 years in the fitness industry.

Simon Dell: Those 15 years running clubs, how did you get into it? You got into it in a time before that kind of big brand fitness club was out and about. How did that happen that you sort of found your way into that?

JT Tamsett: My great grandfather, my grandfather, and my mother were and are all business owners. I think I was kind of destined to run my own business based on my genes. I really tried hard to be a personal trainer, but I just couldn’t put up with the shit that clients would give me. And so, I decided, “If I can’t put up with the shit that one client would give me, why don’t I open a gym and have 1,200 of them give me shit?” It makes perfect sense.

So, we opened the first gym, and it was just a matter of… We were probably four years ahead of Healthland coming to Australia, which then obviously became Fitness First. So, we’re a few years ahead of the chains coming in. It was such a beautiful time because the member expectation was almost like a small country town for a gym, and people came in, and you’d go to conferences, and people would talk about, “Alright, you got to have the cheers approach. Everybody has to know your name” and that was customer service.

That was a pretty cool time to run a fitness business, because you didn’t have to be, like me, particularly intelligent. You could almost open the door. People would come, you’d get enough, you’d make enough. You wouldn’t make a fortune, but there wasn’t excessive competition so you didn’t need to have a highly-refined product or facility for that matter. We were in a warehouse and we had crap falling from the tin roof every single day before we’d open up; we’d be vacuuming.

That’s how I ended up there. It’s just something I always wanted to do. I set myself a goal of having a gym opened before I was 25. I missed by a couple of months, but I really look back on those times and just loved the community feel that we had.

Simon Dell: What made you then do the switch? Was it something that was coming over a long time, or was there one day that was a particular trigger where you went, “You know what? I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be in the business anymore, and I think I’d be better off coaching people.”

JT Tamsett: There were two triggers. The first trigger was, we’d got the business to a point where it really couldn’t grow any further because we had no more car parking. Members would be coming in every day complaining about car parking. I’m like, “Ugh, I can’t cope with this anymore.” It’s something I can’t deal with.

We can’t put our price up. We want to make more money, we want to be more successful. Well then, we’ve got to relocate, which I’m not sure I want to have that expense. So, that was on one side of the coin. And then on the other side of the contain, I suffered a stress-induced illness. It was a health issue where I just went, “Do you know what? I don’t need this stress in my life anymore.”

We had 60-70 staff working for us and a couple of thousand members. It just created a lot of angst for me. And so, I just decided, “You know what? I’m going to be a business coach because I think I’ve done my time as an owner to be able to now work and help business owners run their business better.” And for the first few years, I definitely helped business owners around the operational side of things. And then as I was more removed from the industry, I started to work and understand more about strategy and started to work more on the strategic side of business rather than just the basic operations and how to operationally run your gym better.

Simon Dell: I’ve spoken about gyms with a couple of people on this because we’ve had a couple of people that have backgrounds in gyms. One of the things I always say is that they seem to me to be a really hard thing to do. And I went, that’s a complete generalization because that’s me looking at it from an objective point of view. But you’ve obviously met business owners in different channels. Are gyms one of the harder businesses to run, or they’re just as hard? What’s your opinion there?

JT Tamsett: I think any business where you’re selling a service is challenging, but when that service is optional, it’s even more challenging. Whether that’s hospitality, fitness, a massage therapist, where someone’s choosing to spend their money on a service, that makes it really hard. And I guess from the evolution of the fitness industry, it’s really now gyms are a commodity. You kind of pay now, in a lot of different gyms around the world, you just pay to rent the equipment three days a week. There’s no service. There are brands in Australia and in the world that 100%, despite what everybody says, match what the consumer’s expectations is totally, because they promised no service and they deliver no service.

So, you’ve got a happy consumer. The consumer is going, “Well, you weren’t going to be there at the front desk to say ‘G’day, Justin’. You weren’t going to be on the gym floor. And so, I didn’t have that expectation and you’re meeting it.”

Simon Dell: I think most people would understand there’s two major ones that I can think of straight away that would fit into that service where they’re 24-hour, there’s nobody there, you can just come and go as you want. And I guess that kind of model retention is very, very hard. 

JT Tamsett: There’s no stickiness. You got no stickiness. And I think this becomes the other issue in a service industry, is the people. Because if I can go to Gym A or Gym B, and they’re both as convenient, and they’re both priced exactly the same, then I’m going to go where I feel more comfortable with the people there. If I’m going to go to Restaurant A or Restaurant B, I’m going to go where the waitresses are better looking, services me better, or whatever it may be.

As soon as we get into service, we then have got to look at people. I kind of feel as in that service space, we’ve almost… I’m sure lots of your guests and lots of your blogs have been around the inability of people to communicate and connect with this new generation that’s coming through the workforce. That is a true differentiating factor.

Simon Dell: One of the fitness brands that comes to the front of my mind that’s obviously positioned themselves something different, and has achieved and is still achieving massive growth, is the F45 brand. I guess that kind of turned it on its head because I guess that is all about service, really.

JT Tamsett: It is and it isn’t. It’s fascinating to look at that model because they have had incredible growth. And I think particularly one of the reasons why they’ve had incredible growth has been their social media marketing and they’ve got their message out. They also have a very cool brand. It’s very preppy. It is an amazing juggernaut that’s taken off. But because of that growth and because they’ve understood that the quality of coach is difficult to replicate across multiple models, they put a majority of their coaching is now on TV. 

As the punter, you can go in there, you look at the TV, and you follow the exercises on the TV, the buzzer goes, you move, and so on. And so, they’ve got rid of the really hard bit of duplicating the model by putting it on TV, which is really clever. And then if they’ve got someone who is good, they’re working around the floor and creating the atmosphere and the ambience.

Simon Dell: I’ve actually met a yoga company doing the same thing or taking the same approach a couple of weeks back. They decided that all of the yoga instruction was going to be on video on TV. The club owner or the club manager would be there to kind of offer individual support and help, it removed that ambiguity between different levels of education, different levels of teaching within the club.

JT Tamsett: We’ll come back to this whole service model, and we talk a lot about this in our industry. But it’s the whole experience, from their car park, all the way through to the front desk, in through the workout, on the way out, back to their car. That complete experience will determine whether you have a successful business or not.

Simon Dell: We’ve been working with another company, an FMCG company, that we started to work with in the last couple of weeks. We were doing some profiling of their customer base. And we were looking at their 25 to 32-year-old female market. One of their members of staff, one of the managers, sits squarely slap bang in the middle of that marketplace. They highlighted that, for them, that experience is the key thing for them to want to continue spending money.

But interestingly, they also pointed out that it was an experience that they didn’t want any surprises. They wanted a high level of experience but they also didn’t want anybody to be surprising them. It was almost an expected experience.

JT Tamsett: Yeah, that’s interesting, isn’t it?

Simon Dell: Whereas when we profiled another older demographic, they were perhaps looking for something that was a little more unexpected. It’s that expected experience, I think, was the thing that we got from that female demographic, which I guess is what F45 delivers. I think that’s why they’re so successful and Mark Wahlberg is chucking money into them as well at the moment.

JT Tamsett: I did see that as a press release recently.

Simon Dell: He gets up at 3:00 AM. I hope he’s not expecting everyone else to start doing that.

JT Tamsett: Look, I’ve got a client who’s got an F45, and she’s in North-western Australia. Their most popular time slot for their class is 4:30 AM. I’m like, who the hell exercises at 4:30 AM?

Simon Dell: Pardon my French, but fuck that.

JT Tamsett: The only thing you should be doing when there’s a 4 in the number is sleeping.

Simon Dell: Absolutely. I want to talk a little bit about sales and marketing. We’re supposed to be talking about marketing here because that’s the entire point of this podcast. One of the things I want to understand is how important you think sales… Because obviously, sales and marketing get bundled in together. They often get bundled in together, but I just want to treat them separately for the minute. Sales, to me, is a vital part of a business owner, or a startup, or anybody’s skill set. Number one, do you agree with that? And number two, how do you teach people who can’t sell to sell?

JT Tamsett: The first thing I believe around sales is that if you’re trying to sell your product, then there’s a problem with your process. My expectations is that the consumer buys your product. So, they’ve done their research through your marketing, zero moment of truth marketing, and they’ve come in and they’re like —  they’re hot, they want to buy. And if they’ve rung you, or if they’ve walked into your store, or walked into your gym, they’ve done their research. The only reason they’re not going to buy from you is because you’re going to fuck it up. 

You’re going to talk too much, or you’re not going to listen to what they want, or you’re going to show them something that they don’t need. It’s a lady who’s coming in to buy a car with their husband, and you, as the salesperson, talk directly to the husband and forget the wife. And she walks out and goes, “Well, I’m not buying off that dickhead.” I get really passionate about this because I really believe that as salespeople, if we connect with the prospects when they come in, that’s the first step of having them buy from us.

We don’t need to always be focusing on selling. So, connection is the first step, and then listening to what they want and showing them the solution is the second step. And if you’ve done that well, there’s no selling. They just buy from you. And so, I spent a lot of time with people in that sales area of just trying to get them to understand and role-play of just asking questions and listening. It’s a life skill. It’s almost how I preframe any training. I just say, “I’m not going to teach you to sell. I’m going to teach you to be a better human being.”

Simon Dell: I’ve always said that, certainly, with startups, one of the skills that they ought to have is the ability to sell. But I guess, really, it’s the ability to communicate your brand beliefs, what you’re actually offering. I think that’s probably the… I think we remove the word ‘sale’ and put the word ‘communicate’ in there, I think that’s probably closer to what you’re suggesting there.

JT Tamsett: Yeah, I totally agree. I think sales is like a dirty word for so many people. “Oh, I don’t want to sell.” I’m like, “I’m not asking you to sell. I’m asking you to solve the problem of the person in front of you and then have them buy the product.”

Simon Dell: If they can’t solve that problem, what you’re saying is there’s a problem with the product or there’s a problem with the brand.

JT Tamsett: Exactly. What I’m saying is if I can’t solve your problem with my widget, then that either means that the marketing that I’ve done to get you in front of me doesn’t match my widget, or I genuinely, the widget is not the right thing for the person.

Or they send them somewhere else, and then they come back and they go, “Wow, that person didn’t try and sell me a widget that wasn’t going to help me fix my problem.”  They leave on a good note rather than being sold the wrong thing that they don’t use.

Simon Dell: On that note then, when you walk into these businesses, and whether it’s a fitness or whether it’s one of the other channels that you work with, what are some of the common things that you see people, business owners, that are just doing wrong — that people potentially listening to this could go, “Right. Well, here’s two or three things that I should look at tomorrow and start making some change.”

JT Tamsett: The number one thing that I see in the majority of small businesses, is from their advertising or their marketing approach, they go from the consumer knowing who they are, they then just ask them to buy straight away. And for me, there’s two steps in between. They go from knowing the product or knowing the brand. They then have to like the brand. They then have to trust the brand, then they buy from the brand.

Gary Vaynerchuk talks about it as jab, jab, jab, right, hook. I talk about it as know, like, trust, buy. And what happens is in the majority of businesses, we’re skipping that ‘like’ and most importantly that ‘trust’ bit and we’re going straight to having the customer buy from us.

As a result, they’re not buying, so therefore, we have to sell to them. And when we sell to them, we don’t get buybacks. We don’t get retention, and we don’t get good word of mouth advertising to generate more leads because we’ve sold them something that they may or may not be happy with. So, we go back. And so, for me, it’s just telling the story of the brand. It’s like, “Okay, so you may know who we are. Here’s why you should like us. Here’s why you now need to trust us. Now, you can buy from us.” And taking our customer through that journey. Does that make sense?

Simon Dell: Oh, absolutely. Then I guess the challenge becomes, for most business owners, the story of the brand. Because they struggle to come up with a narrative that they think is appealing to people. Especially, for example, sometimes when you meet accountants… I always pick on accountants in this podcast. It’s just that you very rarely meet exciting accountants with a great story behind it.

JT Tamsett: There probably is a story, it’s just that they don’t understand what a story is. 

Simon Dell: They don’t understand why it’s important to people.

JT Tamsett: No, because they’re number crunchers. They’re not marketers.

Simon Dell: My question is, and you spoke about Gary Vaynerchuk there as well. You either love and hate Gary Vaynerchuk. 

JT Tamsett: He’s a good one where people didn’t know who he was, and then people started to know him, and then there’s a whole bunch of people that liked him. They moved from liking him to trusting him, and then they started to buy what he needed to say.

He’s a good example of that story that’s progressed through. Many consumers, they’ve got to the point where, they go I don’t like, Gary.” “Okay, well, I’m not going to trust him. I’m not going to buy from him.” Well, that’s okay, but there’s plenty of people that do.

Simon Dell: I like him. I know of him. I trust him. Anyway, I’m going to go off on a tangent there. Let’s go back to the accountants. I guess the question was, how do these people create a narrative? I think that, to me, is the crux of the matter with a lot of these, is that they go, “Why am I different? Where’s my story? I’m an accountant. I’ve been an accountant for 20 years. How do I differ myself from other accountants?”

JT Tamsett: The number one differentiating factor for every single business is why you originally got into the business. Why did you choose this? And Simon Sinek’s books start with why. It should be a must-read for any entrepreneur. If you can’t read, then just watch his TED Talk. It goes for 18 minutes, and I watch it every year just to make sure that I’m still back on track with why I do what I do.

When you understand why you do what you do and what gets you out of bed in the morning to go off and do stuff, it just makes it a lot easier to get up and do stuff. And what he talks about in that book was a really interesting point. When you’re clear and you start to talk to people about that, what happens then is it becomes a beacon. It becomes a magnet, and you attract other people with similar whys. 

So, for the accountant, when the accountant’s super clear on why they decided to do what they do, and then they articulate that, that will attract other customers who have a similar why. Which is often in business, we go, “Oh, I’m doing this because I always have done it.” Well, there’s a reason why you’ve always done it. Let’s analyse what that is.

I met a guy the other day, a financial planner. He’s earning a lot of money, six figures, and one of those figures has a 3 in front of it. But you talk to him about financial planning and he’s like, he was going, shrugging his shoulders. He’s not particularly interested in it. He does it becomes it makes him money, lifestyle, et cetera. You talk to the guy about fishing, completely different story.

You can see the passion and the desire. He said, “I’d go fishing 365 days of the year if I could. That’s where I want to be.” I guess my question is, you’re an accountant for 20 years and you say to people, “Why do you do it?” And they don’t have that fishing passion inside them. Is it because they’re doing the wrong thing or just because they’ve never really sat down and thought about it, or they should be doing something else?

JT Tamsett: I think it’s a bit of both. I do believe that they’ve probably never thought about it. I think there’s a lot of people who are probably 40 to 45 years plus who are doing jobs because their parents told them to, and they’ve been in that same job for 25 years, and they look back, and they go, “I wonder why I chose this as a career.” They don’t actually know why. And so, deep down, they may, in fact, not be happy, but at that age, they’re too scared to change.

Simon Dell: And they got two kids in school and that kind of thing.

JT Tamsett: Yeah, so it makes perfect sense. That makes it really difficult, but I think you then got to go back and say, “Alright, well, we could still have a story.” And our story will then focus on the clients that they’ve helped. And you’ve talked about it with the FMCG client that you’ve got where they’re very clear on one of their customers. And again, I think at the top end of town, the accountants are very clear on who their customer is.

But the accountant that’s in a suburb goes, “Well, I’ll be the accountant to everybody.” Really? I can’t tell you how many people come to me and say, “Do you know an accountant who can really help me in the fitness industry to help minimize my tax and what I can do?” and I’m like, “Nope, there isn’t one.” and they’re like, “Seriously?” 

There’s one lawyer in the whole of Australia who focuses on the fitness industry. He clings up. He’s brilliant. He’s out of Melbourne. He’s doing so well, he’s about to open a practice in Sydney. There’s an advantage to niching down. 

And we talk about that a lot in business. But I think if we can niche, that becomes your story and that’s how people can like and they can trust you, because you are the expert in that particular area, that particular field.

Simon Dell: What do you think is the better option: niching from a particular vertical like that, or niching with a particular product? Do you think there’s any difference between the two?

JT Tamsett: I don’t think there is, but I do think niching is an extremely powerful marketing tool. Because I believe when you niche, you can then use authority marketing where you can go out and say, “Look, I am the expert in this area of these reasons.” 

You’ve got a blog on your site about the muscle foods, and you read that and you go, “Right. This bloke knows how to do SEO. He’s the authority in this space.” All of a sudden, now, reading that, I’ve moved from knowing you.

I’ve gotten your website. I kind of like what you’re doing, and I read that blog. I now trust that you can deliver. You must be able to help me because I also have an e-commerce product, or I also have a restaurant that’s similar, or I also have a sporting goods business or a real estate business.

Simon Dell: Do you know what? It’s actually funny, and I’ll put us on the psychiatric chair for you to examine for five minutes. When you look at our website, we get a lot of traffic. I mean, we smash the SEO rankings. We’re top 10 for about 20 really key search terms: marketing consultant, digital consultant, all those kind of things, but we don’t convert as much as I think we should.

We have a lot of people going to the website but we don’t necessarily get people actually then contacting us. And we know what search terms they’re looking for because we track all these kind of things.

And if I was saying to you, “What do you think the problem is there?” Do you think that’s because we’re not presenting our skill set properly or we’re not presenting how we can help people properly, or the trust elements aren’t there? I know that’s putting you right on the spot there, but what would you see as a problem there?

JT Tamsett: The first thing that I see is that on your website, there’s very few calls to action. The call to action on your website is purely about building a database, which is what we’ve always talked about in marketing. Let’s build a database. Let’s put them into the funnel, move them through the funnel, and eventually get them as a customer.

I think as businesses, we need to be more open to that word, eventually. More often than not, a business gives up on the customer. The customer doesn’t give up on the business. We got to be consistent in that delivery. I think your website is very much, as most are, is about building that database.

But for me, there’s three types of customers. It’s based on the decisions to make changes in our lives. For me, when I read a lot of your site, it’s about collecting information. So, it’s the person that is in the contemplation phase where they’re thinking, “Oh, I should be doing something about my marketing.” But there’s nothing on your website if I’m in the action page which is, “I want to do something about my marketing. Where do I go? Oh, I’ve got to contact you.”

Potentially, on all of our websites, we need to cater for the person that’s saying, “I should do something.” Then there’s the gonna, “I will do something.” And then there’s the person that is ready to do something, which is: “Click here. Press this bloody button and we’ll get the angels into your practice or into your business within 48 hours.”

Simon Dell: It’s funny you should say that, because we’re actually in the process of rebranding and rebuilding a new website. We’ve taken a few cues from online software companies. Online software companies have generally got one chance to convert you. 

If you’re on a website and you’re thinking about signing up for a $99 piece of software once a month, they don’t have many opportunities to muck around with building trust. They need to get you in there straight away. Those calls-to-action, they’re normally very strong.

But the other person we learned stuff from, and again, polarizing character, was Tony Robbins’ website. When you look at Tony Robbins’ website, there’s a lot of calls to action. It’s go and have a look at our events, start here, transform your life. It’s saying if you’re ready to start or you’re ready to talk to somebody, you’re ready to do something right now, we want you to come on in.

And it’s interesting that all the things that you’ve just said there are things that, when I built the website three years ago, I sit there and go, “Well, I’m in marketing. I should know these things.” It’s funny how you don’t even consider them back then yourself. It’s plumbers and their pipes and all those kind of things.

JT Tamsett: One of the most looked out pages on a website is the About Us page. The About Us page very rarely has any call to action on it. You rely on them to read about you and then go, “Oh, I’d like to now do the next step. Shit, what button do I press now to do the next step?” as opposed to “Click here to book a time to have a chat with Simon” or “Click here to download my ebook that I wrote specifically for accountants.”

Simon Dell: I had a conversation the other week with someone else who said About Us page is about how poorly presented and poorly written they are. And you must see this all the time, or even company websites that just don’t have any visibility about who’s behind the company, of who the people are, who started it.

JT Tamsett: And no personality. It’s like, “Are you serious? You want me to do business with you guys? You’re like one-dimensional.”

Simon Dell: Yeah. I had a video, an agency that I coach, and they’d come to me and said… They do a lot of video and they said to me, “We’ve got this idea about creating small packages that would allow us to go into companies and say, “Look, we can transform your About Us page from a static picture and some crappy text to a 30 second to 90-second video about the people behind the company.” And I’m going, “What a fucking great idea.” If you can go on an About Us page and you can find out all about the people behind the company in 60 seconds, it’s a great idea.

I think, again, when you talk about the fitness industry, you kind of want to see who is going to be training you, who is going to be teaching you. A black and white photo and two paragraphs of text doesn’t really do it, does it?

JT Tamsett: Generally, Simon, that text does exactly the same as every other personal trainer or gym. It’s the same. And probably, respectfully, it’s the same as every other accountant. Every accountant has the black and white photo with, “I’ve got these qualifications. I went to this university.”

But if I want to stay out of jail and get a tax refund at the same time, I’ll want to know. And video is just such a great way to know and then determine if I like and even trust that person. Because I can see them. I can hear them. I’m like, “Oh, I actually like the way they talk, and I like the way they dress, and I like the way his passion is around accounting, or his passion is around selling houses.” It kind of makes sense. I don’t understand why there’s not more video that people can use.

Simon Dell: We better wind this up otherwise we’re going to talk all day. My last three questions for you. You’ve obviously met some businesses and some brands in your past. What’s a brand out there that you admire, that you like what they’re doing, that you kind of look at, and aside from the Gary Vaynerchuk brand.

Some of those brands or people that you look up to and aspire to be and say, “You know what? That’s where my focus is, trying to be as good as that brand or as good as that person.”

JT Tamsett: The brand in the fitness industry that I think does it better than anybody else is SoulCycle, which is a cycle studio based in the US. Forget about the product and the exercise modality. It’s the way they build community. It’s the way they communicate with people.

For me, if you can have a feature movie that’s made and focuses solely around your brand, you must be doing something right. I love what they do. I love how quirky they are with their brand. I love how they just make it pop. As I say, I don’t think it matters what industry you’re in. To look at SoulCycle, I just think is pretty darn cool.

Simon Dell: One of the things that I’d… I can’t remember whether I heard one of the founders interviewed or I’d read something, but I do know about SoulCycle. I’d read that they empower those people who are taking their classes to really tailor them for the group of people that are going to be in the class and tailor them to their own personalities and things like that.

It’s not just a spin class. It’s a spin class by… it’s so-and-so’s spin class. It’s JT’s spin class. You know if you’re going to do that one, you’re going to get blasted with 45 minutes of heavy metal or whatever. They’re very, very personalized. But as you’ve alluded to several times in this podcast, that builds a sense of community and that creates retainment. That retains customers.

JT Tamsett: I love that. I love the culture of the All Blacks Rugby team. James Kerr talks about it in his book Legacy. I just admire what they’ve developed, but that then flows through into their support base and how loyal their supporter base is. They stick with you. Win or lose, you buy it. It’s still the most sold rugby jersey on the planet, is the All Black jersey, because it’s cool, and you want to be part of that tribe which is really hard when you’re a really sad Wallaby fan. You just can’t buy that jersey because you wouldn’t do it.

But everybody else in the world does, and they do such a great as a brand in their community and the way that the culture of that organization.

Simon Dell: There’s a book that I recommended a couple of times on this podcast called The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle. They mentioned all blacks, and that’s one of the groups of teams or team cultures that they mentioned. We don’t have enough time to go into all the benefits of it, but I think the All Blacks is a fantastic example of how to build culture within your business.

JT Tamsett: And then my third one, which is a big left field, and it’s interesting to watch from afar, and that’s the Royal Family.

Simon Dell: Okay. I’m interested to find out why on this one.

JT Tamsett: You just kind of see them reinventing themselves to be relevant to the new generation. I mean, my mum is a royalist. I’m not saying I’m a royalist, or a public, or anything like that, but my mom is a royalist. She loves Lizzy. She just admires what she’s done, and the way she holds herself, and the way she does things. I think there’s these group of people around the world that are kind of north of 60 or 65 who just admire Elizabeth. And then we had the charisma bypass of Charles, but then you’ve got William and Harry that are really stepping up and making themselves accessible, acknowledging the parts and different communities around the world.

I just think whoever’s helped them redefine themselves, reimagine themselves, whatever the word is, it’s fascinating to watch from a marketing perspective. Because in all honesty, the US didn’t really accept the Royal Family, and then William comes along, and Harry comes along, and now, they’re an international brand. I like watching that from afar because I think that reading the community or… I don’t know if it’s manipulating, but it seems very natural to me what they’re doing. I find it fascinating.

Simon Dell: Interesting choice. Penultimate question: What are your plans for the rest of 2019? We’re a quarter of the way into the year. What have you got that’s big things lined up for you this year?

JT Tamsett: I’ve got a couple. First one is I’m going to Lebanon. I’m a bit nervous about that, but I’m speaking at a conference in Lebanon. So, it’s an out there place, but yeah, I’m going there. We are running the first ever fitness industry technology summit. So, I’m running that in July in Sydney. As an industry, we have always focused on sales and marketing, and when we talk technology, the industry tends to think that just means Facebook ads or Google ads. They don’t understand the breadth, the width, the depth of what technology is. I’m hoping that we will motivate and stimulate gym owners around Australia to come along to this event.

Simon Dell: What’s the website for that?

JT Tamsett: Fitness Industry Tech Summit. Someone said to me, “Why don’t you come up with a groovy name?” I said, “Well, isn’t Fitness Industry Tech Summit groovy? Like, it says what it is.”

Simon Dell: Is that a

JT Tamsett: Yeah, As an industry, we are data rich and knowledge poor about our customer, which I think is the case for a lot of businesses. But I also think as an industry as well as lots of industries, is the consumer probably is more tech-savvy than a lot of the owners. So, for us to catch up, we need an event where we can just focus on tech. We’re doing that in the middle of the year. I got a couple more trips booked to the States to speak at conferences over there and do some work with some couple of chains over there.

Simon Dell: Okay, interesting. The last question then: If someone’s interested in getting a hold of you, they want to ask you some questions or they’re interested in you coming to their business and helping them out, what’s the best way of reaching out to you?

JT Tamsett: The easiest way is, if you Google Justin Tamsett, there’ll probably be all those really cool videos that I filmed when I was at university that I don’t want them to see. But if you go to LinkedIn, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Love to connect there. Or you go to and shoot me an email from there. Hit me up on Facebook. I do a Facebook Live show every Friday at 8:00 called JT in the Raw so you’re most welcome to join that as well.

Simon Dell: That’s not you nude, is it?

JT Tamsett: Originally, I thought I might do that and then my wife said, “Facebook might shut you down.” I’m generally clothed from the waist up.

Simon Dell: They are cracking down on horror content on Facebook.

JT Tamsett: That’s right. Well, I’m waiting them just to look at my face and go, “You know what? You shouldn’t be on. It’s interesting how powerful video is and the reach that you can get with Facebook Live these days is phenomenal if you consistently do it. A one-off will not help you. People go along and they said, “Oh, I did a Facebook Live.” They did one, and where are my 10-year clients? No, this is part of the process of liking, knowing, trusting process.

Simon Dell: It’s a fantastic point. I would probably say that is applicable to all marketing, not just Facebook Live. There’s so many people you go, “Right. We have this issue. We’ve been working with you for a month now. Why are we not millionaires?” And you sort of go, “Well, this is going to take a little bit longer than that.” There’s some people you get good results with. And I think the other thing I would add to that, and I’d be interested to hear your viewpoint on this, is that marketing isn’t just one channel. You have to be operating and doing lots of different things, even if some of them may not appear to be giving you a direct return on investment straight away. Marketing to me is a cake, and you need a lot of different ingredients for it.

JT Tamsett: That is a great analogy. Marketing is a cake and every little bit of advertising you do is one of those ingredients to make the full cake.

Simon Dell: After using the analogy then, that social media tends to be the icing on it. You wouldn’t serve a cake that was just icing. That social media is a really important part and it’s going to finish off what you’re doing, but there’s a lot of other stuff that you need to have right within the recipe for the cake for it to actually achieve what you want it to achieve. I’m going off way down the metaphor route here, but to actually make it taste good.

JT Tamsett: Totally agree. I mean, how many businesses would be screwed, Simon, if Facebook changed the way that… Let’s imagine that tomorrow, they go, “There’s no more Facebook advertising.” How many small businesses, gyms, accountants, would now go, “Oh, shit. How do I get leads now?”

Simon Dell: It’s funny. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who built software companies and attained some fairly big success in that 2010-2014 space where Facebook, Twitter, all those platforms were a bit of a wild west. You could pretty much produce some half-decent content and all of a sudden you’ve got 10,000 fans. Yes, they were making an effort, but compared to what they need to… I often think about some of those businesses that were actually born out of success of those early days of Facebook, whether they would even stand a chance today.

JT Tamsett: I totally agree.

Simon Dell: It’s weird to think about. Some of the tools that we’re used to using today, some of them just got their success out of that fact that Facebook was an easy to access platform.

JT Tamsett: And now, it’s hard and it’s hard, consistent work that people aren’t prepared to do. Just as a consumer wants instant gratification, I think that there’s a lot of business owners and marketers that want instant gratification.

Simon Dell: Absolutely. Anyway, mate, we could end up talking for hours here. Maybe we’ll organize to do this again sometime, because it was a great chat. Thank you very, very much for coming on the show. Obviously, if anybody wants to reach out to JT, I highly recommend it. Once again, thank you for being here.

JT Tamsett: Thanks, Simon. Appreciate the opportunity.

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