“If you aren’t networking than you’re not working”.
This old saying is a tongue twister and kind of cheesy, but it’s true. Personal training is a people business and requires you to connect with others. Networking means being involved in your community, making connections and building relationships. Every time you meet someone new it’s like a seed planted in your business garden.
Why is making business connections easier for some than others? Maybe it’s because we’ve all been approached by an overly aggressive sales pitch at an otherwise friendly event. Some of us like meeting new people while others prefer to socialize with those that we already know and like. You can network in a way that fits your personality style by perusing the various ideas below.
Strengthen your networking foundations:
- Stay in touch with people who you admire. You can expand your network by strengthening the relationships you already have. Call or email those admirable people to say hello regularly. Invite them to coffee or lunch every so often. Ask them how you can support them, be of service.
- Attend events that interest you with friends. They don’t have to be networking events by definition. The more comfortable you feel in a social situation, the easier it will be to meet new people. Even if you’re at an art event, people will inevitably ask what you do. This doesn’t mean you go into a long-winded sales pitch, just raise awareness about who you are and make new friends. Being in public works, being comfortable makes it more enjoyable.
- Have business cards or better yet, free consult coupons with you at all times. Give them to people, but also get their information in return. Don’t expect them to follow up with you. Most times, you need to make the first move. Build a relationship the same way you would with a friend. Call them to check in, invite them to get together. That’s what networking is all about.
- Follow leaders you respect and like on the internet. Get involved with their virtual communities. Comment on their posts and engage with other fans. Being around other like-minded people creates opportunities for support, sharing ideas and collaboration. It should also be genuinely enjoyable if it’s the right fit. The internet has a group for everyone, start searching now and get connected!
- Have an “elevator pitch” ready for on and offline. Practice saying what you do in less than three sentences. Keep it short, to the point and intriguing, but authentic. Having something to say about yourself that feels natural makes it more comfortable to share what you do with others and lowers anxiety around talking about yourself.
- Hire a mentor. Influential people are busy, but well connected. They can often connect you with valuable opportunities and people. It’s not generally recommended to spend money on networking, but this is an option.
- Have Fun! Having a business you love is the key foundation for all of these ideas. Your enthusiasm will radiate more naturally when you’re doing something you enjoy every day. People will be attracted to your attitude.