If the Customer is Always Wrong, How Can You be Right? (4 steps)

Get Daily Tips >

The article yesterday (you should read it) ended with this line,

“There’s an old adage that the customer is always right. This isn’t true.”

So how, then, do you know how to compile valuable customer feedback and decide what actions to take as a result?

It’s a question that I got a lot. Yesterday’s article was probably the most popular I’ve written so far.

I say probably because I don’t actually know how popular it was. There are no analytics or metrics installed into this site of any kind. For me, those things are nothing but a distraction so, in order to focus on the only thing that matters, getting my thoughts written down (almost) daily, I purposefully eliminated every distraction possible.

I have four steps for you today,

and I guess eliminating distractions is the first

By eliminating anything that isn’t important you can refocus your attention on more meaningful ventures.

The second step is to think.

Not all that helpful I realize, but thinking, or better said, quiet reflection, is in short supple and is a hallmark of a Highly Wealthy Online Trainer. I quoted New York Times Ops Ed writer David Leonhart before in my article called ‘People Need to Read Less (227 Words)” but it bears repeating,

 “I have confused the availability of new information with the importance of it. If you spend all your time collecting new information, you won’t leave enough time to make sense of it.”

Third is to become aware of the two systems of the brain*…

…and use them to help control your decision making:

System 1: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereo- typical, subconscious and good enough for most.

System 2: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious and important to recruit at the right time.

In order to make better decisions when it matters (like recognizing what feedback is reliable and important and what is not when asking potential customers what they want) a tool to recruit System 2 is needed.

For the first time ever in the Habits of Highly Wealthy Online Trainers book (you should really buy my books:** I share my tool I call an Objective Filter, that has contributed to a lot of the success that I’ve had. It’s my playbook, or operating system, that guides me.

In total I have 11 objective filters that I share in the Habits book, for our purposes here, I’ll share one. (direct excerpt from the book):

Have I considered what the other person really desires?

Do you know what the other person wants? What people say they want is often quite different from what they really need. Put yourself into the minds of your ideal customers to know what they want and how to present it to them. From there, you become the obvious choice.

Put yourself in the shoes of another. It’s often not how much you do or how amazing you are, but instead what moves the needle is how good you are at saying or doing the single right thing at the single right time.

Fourth is that you need to talk to people

Talk. To. People.

A lot.

We have a Facebook group of 23,338+ online trainers*** and every so often somebody posts in there that they’ve “done everything (lead magnets, ads, funnels, etc.) and can’t get any clients and HELP! what can I do?”

And I always respond the same way,

“How many people have you spoken to today?”

So many unfortunate coaches confuse the gasoline for the fire. It’s sad.

The reason that I know that surveys more often than not steer you wrong is because I’ve been the victim of it.**** After surveying over 5,000 coaches many years back it seemed obvious that the majority wanted to open a gym or had a small gym and wanted better, and more reliable staff.

So I recruited Jodi Rumack*****, one of the best in the world at hiring coaches and growing gyms, and we created a product called Hiring Trainers. It was a fantastic product. Really thorough. Really well put together. Want to know how many it sold?

9 copies.

People said that they wanted to open a gym because they felt like that’s what they should say. What people say that they want and what people take action on are two entirely different things.

After that failure I decided to get out from behind the computer and actually talk to people, so I booked 80 13-minute phone calls with trainers around the world and had a conversation. What I was able to learn was that most didn’t want to start a gym, what they wanted was a way to fight back against the sometimes oppressive fitness industry seemingly designed to break down and burn out trainers. They wanted more freedom and more wealth.

As a direct result of these conversations I created a course called 1K Extra that taught trainers how to build an online training business. 1K Extra evolved into the Online Trainer Academy, and the rest is history.

In April of this year I did another round of calls speaking with 237 different coaches for 9-minute phone calls learning about their businesses and what frustrates them about their jobs. This was my calendar from one morning that month. One week. 56 9-minute called from 9-11am.

In order to best perform these types of research calls, use automation and outsourcing which, by the way, aren’t meant to help you avoid work, but instead amplify your efforts at making personal connections.

  1. Establish the times and days you are doing the calls.
  2. Using meeting booking software (I use Calendly) set up your meeting. I promoted 9-minute calls so that I could book a 10-minute meeting and use the minute to end one call and start the next.
  3. When setting up your meeting in Calendly you can request information. Be sure to request the person’s country and phone number.
  4. Add money to your Skype account. It cost me about $60 for all 237 calls to 17 different countries.
  5. Send out the booking link to your email list and on social media simply saying that you want to connect and learn more about them.
  6. Have an assistant input the data from your calendar into a spreadsheet like this one with the a heading for each major type of question you plan to ask in advance (these might change but it’s good to have an overview).
  7. At the allotted time, call people through Skype (this way they don’t have your phone number). If making international calls, you can enter the country and have Skype prefill their country code so you don’t have to search for it.

Have conversations with people. Listen to their stories. Ask about their struggles. Pay attention to what they’re saying, and dig deeper trying to figure out what they don’t want to say. When done, take time to think and make sense of it.

It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. If it were easy to make six figures with a funnel and Facebook ad, don’t you think that everybody would be doing it?

-Coach Jon

*Nobel prize-winning psychologists Daniel Kahnamen and Amos Tversky’s developed the two-system model of the brain.


***Request to join our free Facebook group, Online Trainers Unite, here:

****Surveys are not always bad, you just have to be really, really careful when performing them and analyzing their data. It’s both an art and a science and not something to haphazardly do.

*****Jodi is rocking it as a coach for hire for trainers looking to grow their in-person studios. She has my highest recommendation. You can learn more about her here: and she has a great free Facebook group here:

Have more freedom. Make more money. Help more people.

Get email tips from the Jonathan Goodman to learn how

Online Fitness Training: Learn the Core Truths


A FREE mini-course guaranteed to provide the
for the next stage in your career

In addition to your course, you'll also get free access to tips from successful online trainers once a week. Your email will never be shared and you can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy and terms at the bottom of this page.