Sell ’em what they want, give them what they need!




by Ryan Ketchum


The more and more business coaching that I do for IYCA members, mastermind members, and franchisees the more I realize that our training philosophies and mindset sometimes get in the way of us running a great business.   I am prepared to be tarred and feathered, put in the stockades and any other form of medieval punishment that the loyal IYCA readers are going to put me through for delivering the message that I am about to write. 


Before you jump to conclusions and go into a tizzy about long term athletic development and building a training foundation I want you to read the entire message.  That is my challenge to you…


Before I really get into the idea of selling the customer what they want I have to start by saying that I am on your side.


Youth fitness and athletic development should be implemented with the long term development of the athlete in mind.   I am not claiming that you should run your programs any differently than this nor am I urging you to lie, cheat and steal from parents.


Take a deep breath and open up your mind for a bit because I am going to feel you in on a little secret that might change your youth fitness business forever!


The parents of most your athletes don’t understand long term athletic development, and some of them don’t even care about it.  In fact they really don’t understand training at all.   They understand quick fixes, short term programs and vertical jump training protocols that promise to give you 2" in 4 weeks. 


If you ever hope to make an impact in this world with our youth you have to be able to connect the dots with the parents, and the first step in doing that is getting them to allow the athlete or youth to work with you in some capacity. 


Let me present this scenario to you:


  1. A business owner preaches long term athletic development, movement skill training, and having fun.  He has all the characteristics of a great coach, but he doesn’t understand what it takes to help the parents of the kids that come to him understand why this training is important.  The business he runs as 10 kids in it. 

  2. Another business owner BELIEVES in long term athletic development, movement skills training, and having fun, but he markets to the kids and parents interests of being bigger, being faster and jumping higher.  He runs several programs throughout the year that are marketed to specific sports to make the quicker in 6 weeks.   He also has a full schedule of classes that focus on athletic development the way it should be done.  The short term programs run by this coach are really no different than the training he would implement in his regular classes, but he directs them at each sport and athlete’s needs.   This coach has 100 athletes with more on the waiting list. 


Which coach would you rather be?


The programming is the same, the final message is the same, the initial message might be slightly different and more direct, but in the end the coach in the second scenario reaches 10 times as many athletes, parents and coaches as the one in the first scenario.  


Who has the bigger impact?


I urge you to take a look at your marketing message and your coaching philosophy.  Can you direct your marketing message to target specific coaches, sports, and athletes?  Can you do this without disrupting your training philosophy?


I would bet $1,000 that you can!


One of our (IYCA’s) biggest complaints is that programs promise to put 2" on a vertical or reduce your 40yrd time by .2 seconds in just 6 weeks.  As an organization we say that you can give any young athlete a decent program and get that same result.   


My question to you is this:  why can’t we promise those results, direct our marketing and message to hit an emotional trigger that parents, coaches and athletes can understand and then educate them along the way about long term development? 


Can you still not provide solid programing to these athletes when promising a faster forty or higher vertical? 


My money is on the fact that most of our IYCA coaches are fully capable! 


My challenge to all IYCA coaches in the coming year is to work hard to change as many lives as you can, provide the best possible programming that you can, and to deliver a message that might influence a few more athletes to join your programs.    



Ryan Ketchum is the Co Owner of Force Fitness and Performance and Athletic Revolution Bloomington. Not only does Ryan work in the trenches with athletes, but also other coaches helping them build their businesses and achieve great success. Ryan is a proud members of the IYCA and honored to be on the Board of Experts.




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