Networking is one of the most useful tools that a personal trainer can have in their kit. It is the great way to reach out to new customers, distinguish yourself from the crowd and show off your expertise. Whether you’ve already established yourself in the fitness industry, or you are just starting out, networking is the key to success.
Let’s be honest, when you imagine a networking event your mind is probably filled with images of cheap wine and stuffy suits. While it’s true the business world does hold the heavy weight title in cheesy networking events, we aren’t suggesting you don a suit and start schmoozing local entrepreneurs just yet.
As a personal trainer, the key point is getting this message across in your own unique and personal way. Utilising your interpersonal skills is a powerful and cost effective way to promote your services and connect with people. If you are really looking to grow your business, here is a simple guide for every PT to network effectively.
Seek out valuable connections
Many PTs adopt a broad approach to networking, which consists of contacting as many people as possible, regardless of how relevant they are to them. This jeopardises the amount of time you can spend getting to know each person and will achieve a list of acquaintances at best, rather than long-lasting relationships.
Do your homework and find out exactly who is in your niche and spend more time trying to build a connection with them. While this will take a little longer, it should provide you with more high quality leads.
Partnering up with another trainer is a great way to promote yourself to customers you wouldn’t normally have access to. A study by researchers Katz and Lazarsfeld, found that positive word of mouth was seven times more effective on buyer behaviour than advertising, and four times more effective than personal selling.
As a self-employed trainer, it may seem strange to praise the service of others, but a referral from a trusted source can be incredibly beneficial if you are trained in a specific niche. For example, if you specialise in injury rehabilitation then your partner may recommend you to clients that have struggled with injuries in the past. If you recommend them, they will return the favour for you.
Carry business cards
Soon you’ll be a professional networker, which means you’ll know how to charm people without even trying. With opportunities all around, you’ll want to have your business cards on you at all times so you never miss a chance to sell your services.
Professional business cards are a must and ensure that you include your social media links and website address on so that potential clients can look you up. If you’ve followed our advice on how to market yourself online, you’ll be proud to show off your online self.
Be present at local events
Look out for fitness events and clubs in your local area that you would be interested in attending. This will allow you to meet with likeminded people and establish a genuine connection without it appearing like you are simply there to sell.
Sites like MeetUp are great for discovering a variety of community events and gatherings. Be sure to bring your business cards and hand them out to people you have made a connection with. Show good business practise by returning the favour and accepting the business cards of others too.
It’s crucial to follow up with new contacts after your first meeting. This cements the new relationship in both party’s minds, whilst highlighting your proactivity.
Keep a list, or spreadsheet, of all of your contacts and write a positive and personal note beside their details. This will provide you with something to lead with on your next conversation if you get stuck for conversation.
Give it your all
There is no point taking a half-hearted approach to networking, after all you are selling yourself and building relationships with strangers. Although being shy and retiring isn’t a common trait of a PT, remember to stay charming, approachable and genuine at all times. Listen to people when they are talking, try and understand their needs and provide them with value so they will want to continue with their relationship with you.