Dontre possesses a unique set of experiences and talent in the fitness business. Over the past 15+ years, he has built, owned or managed his facilities and coached other gym owners from the ground up and has been assisting other companies to grow their base and create wealth. Through his company Fitness and Marketing, Dontre teaches the art of client attraction and persuasive sales techniques.
Kivo: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
In 2007, my partners and I raised a quarter of a million dollars and opened our first gym. I’ll cut to the chase – we were young and stupid. We knew nothing about fitness business beyond training clients. We gave ourselves extravagant salaries and hired a platoon of employees. We were making money and blowing it just as fast. Miraculously, we stumbled along in this manner until the market crashed around 2009. Clients disappeared, revenues plummeted overnight and we were left with no alternative but to actually learn sales and marketing at the street level. Truly bootstrapping our survival with old-school guerrilla tactics and door knocking. I didn’t realize it then, but this was the best thing that could have happened to me. You see, Facebook was not the ad giant it is now; we really didn’t know what it was or how to use it for profit. We actually had to leave our domain and go knock on doors, build partnerships and do a lot of favors. Those were tough days but we survived. Now I’m considered a grizzled veteran; teaching SEO, email marketing and copywriting but I’ve never strayed far from the idea that old school ground pounding and guerilla campaigns will save your ass in a pinch. My upcoming book “Fitness Money Mastery” is a mishmash of digital marketing strategies and salty old school advice. The new stuff is great but you MUST learn how to write attractive copy and how to close clients face to face!
Kivo: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Well, working out of Nashville Tennessee I’ve had a chance to meet some highly recognizable and famous pop stars. I don’t want to name drop in this article but you never know who you’re going to meet in The Music City.
Kivo: So what exactly does your company do?
Fitness and Marketing consults and coaches fitness professionals, assisting with lead generation, prospect acquisition and sales scripts. We’re putting an end to “hope and wish” marketing for small businesses.
Kivo: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Everyone is talking about Facebook and social media like it’s a silver bullet. I admit they’re incredible tools but plenty of marketing agencies are mystifying the Facebook ad engine and overselling the ability to drive quality traffic. Ask most marketers how they can help you and they’ll undoubtedly tell you they’ve discovered a “trick” for Facebook ads. Our company is focused on multiple traffic sources and positioning our clients to demand more money from a select few clients, not pennies from the masses. I tell every client that traffic is half the battle; if you can’t close the deal face to face, none of the tech matters. We get in the weeds with our clients and teach them how to sell themselves with confidence and overcome petty objections.
Kivo: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My grandmother. Period. I miss that woman. I bounced ideas off her, right up until she passed away. I’m not sure if there was ever an idea she didn’t like; if so, she never told me.
Kivo: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
(This might be used as your “hero statement” under the heading of the article.) There’s an obesity pandemic and a health crisis happening in our country. Every time a fitness business is forced to close doors, that’s one less outlet the community has to get healthy. Where do we fit in this puzzle? It’s simple. We keep the doors open. We’re in the business of keeping the doors open to the public.