WATCH: elitefts Fitness Professional Summit — Authenticity Is Your Key to Success

TAGS: podcast engagement, Enzo Amore, authenticity, stronger business, elitefts fitness professional summit, client results, success in business, Arnold Schwarzenegger, wwe, Joe Defranco

Through four videos, Joe DeFranco has explained how he built a career in the fitness industry, told the story of gaining WWE star Triple H as a client, discussed the importance of humanizing your business, and outlined how to build trust in your business through transparency. Now in this final video, closing out his presentation from the Strong(er) Business: elitefts Fitness Professional Summit, DeFranco gives advice on authenticity and how staying true to yourself while running your business will bring both you and your clients more success. 

DeFranco begins discussing the topic of authenticity by telling the story of a high school football player by the name of Eric who he trained. During this time, DeFranco's training relationship with Triple H had already developed, and the WWE star informed DeFranco that the WWE was having an open tryout event. He requested of DeFranco that if he knew of any wild characters, to send them his way. DeFranco knew immediately who to recommend.


WATCH: elitefts Fitness Professional Summit — How Triple H Became DeFranco's Client


Eric attended the tryout and got signed on with the WWE's development program, but six months later was near being cut. With over 70 up-and-coming wrestlers trying to make it in the WWE, Eric was on the chopping block. When he was down to his last chance, Triple H pulled him aside and warned him he was one round away from getting cut. Then Dusty Rhodes pulled him aside and taught him a lesson about life in the wrestling industry. He told him that there are only three options for people in their business: you can be good, you can be bad, or you can be different.

Knowing he wasn't ever going to simply be a good wrestler—and that if he continued to be bad he would be fired—Eric decided he was going to embrace his eccentricities and be different. He became Enzo Amore and has now made his name as a star in the WWE. His wrestling, even now, is some of the worst among top-level wrestlers, but his recognition is second to none. He embraced who he was.

DeFranco then goes on to share additional advice on the role of authenticity. Specifically, when it comes to sharing the success of your clients, you need to do so in an honest way. If you don't exaggerate or lie about the results, social proof does work. If you share the stories of real people who you have trained and the results they have experienced—not bullshit before and after pictures—you will gain more trust. This is one aspect of the fitness industry that you cannot fake. You can pretend to be smart and post studies on the internet, but at the end of the day what matters is who you have trained and what results they've experienced.

Furthermore, if you are going to sell things, DeFranco advises you to speak like you actually speak instead of trying to hammer people with pretentious lines and paragraphs of sales copy. There is no reason to do this, and only detracts from your authenticity and thus your trust. In a similar vein he advises, with social media, to make your posts focused on the people reading them and not focused on you and your accomplishments. Your posts shouldn't be about your great physique or the prestigious clinic you're speaking at; they should focus on what information you have that can help your followers. For this, DeFranco has something he calls the 90/10 Rule: 90% of the time he'll give free information and post things that will help his audience, and 10% of the time he'll ask something of them or advertise his services.


WATCH: elitefts Fitness Professional Summit — That's It?


DeFranco then discusses the value of loyal, engaged followers. He emphasizes that if you have a million followers but none of them remember your name or the things you post, every single one of them is worthless. As an example of how this has been present in his own career, DeFranco tells the story of when the platform hosting his podcast came to him and informed him that he had the fewest number of downloads of any of their hosts. What DeFranco did have, however, was engagement. He averaged 25,000 downloads but had the engagement numbers of podcasts that averaged 100,000 downloads. The lesson is that you can have fewer followers but get much more out of them if they know, like, and trust you.

DeFranco ends his presentation by paying homage to Arnold Schwarzenegger. When Arnold first tried to get into acting, he was turned away. His accent was too thick, his physique was too large, and his last name was too long and confusing. Arnold didn't stop or try to change these things about himself, and as a result, he is one of the most famous and successful people in the world. Every single one of the things he was told he needed to change ended up playing an integral role in his success. His voice is one of the most imitated, his physique one of the most hailed of all time, and his last name one of the most recognizable.

By the minute:

  • (0:10) How Eric's strangeness helped him become WWE star Enzo Amore
  • (4:15) Social proof as evidence of your ability as a trainer
  • (5:17) DeFranco's 90/10 Rule for social media
  • (7:20) The importance of engagement over impressions
  • (8:30) The worst thing you can be is just like anyone else

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