Grow Your Fitness Business With Networking

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Networking is the most valuable resource you have at your disposal as a business owner and a fitness professional.

By managing your network effectively and getting into a habit of network cultivation, your network should work for you and serve as your primary lead source, connecting you to a stream of new clients.

Let’s start by establishing a network that you can use to help grow your business and move forward with.

To begin, make a list of everyone you know… this is known as a NETWORK DUMP.

Stage 1:

List everybody you know, not making any pre-judgement about whether you think that they would make a good client or not.

• Start with the contacts in your mobile phone.

Gather all the contact Information you have for them and anything else you know about them. If you are missing anything, such as their email or address, make it your business to obtain it.

    • Next, open up your e-mail address book and do the same thing.
    • Now search your Facebook friends and list those that live in close proximity to you.
    • Finally, think about all the people you have a passing contact with and have formed some sort of relationship with, but maybe on not such a regular basis (eg your hairdresser, doctor, dentist etc.)
      We are aiming to come up with a list of 250 names. Its been documented that everybody knows at least 250 other people.
      You will begin by introducing your business to this 250 person network. These people in turn will have their own “250” network, so that you can potentially reach 62,500 people who you can go on to introduce our business to and potentially build some sort of business with.

Stage 2:

Organise your list into A/B/C Categories.

The “A”s:

Are the top 10-15% of your 250.

They are your clients who really advocate what you do, your close friends and people that really know you.

The “B”s:

Are people you would consider as friends and clients that you don’t have such a strong a relationship with.

The “C”s:

Are acquaintances.

Let’s now take a look at the strategies we use to deal with each category –

“A”s : Ask for Advice!

We have found that the best way of obtaining a referral from this group is to sit down over a coffee when they’re not rushed and ask them for advice….

Sure, you can ask them straight out to refer a friend, but basically you’re asking them to do your job for you and we like to be a little more tactile than this.

When you ask somebody for advice, you’re basically giving them a pat on the back… you're telling them that you really value your opinion. That’s such a powerful compliment to pay somebody, as well as a boost to their ego.

So, if they are a client that you really enjoy training, you want to tell them that you really enjoy training them and give them the reasons, for example – because of their great motivation and attitude. You then ask them for their advice about connecting with like- minded people.

Now this person is going to take this as a compliment; and who wouldn’t?… It’s going to lead them into taking ownership towards helping you to grow your business.

They’ll either come up with people or groups of people that they can introduce you to; or possibly… if they’re not going to be as involved initially, they might advise on who or what groups of people you should speak to.

You will the respond by telling them that you don’t know anyone in these groups and ask for them to connect you. I guarantee they will help you … after you have complimented them and told them how much you value their opinion. They’re unlikely to want to contradict your opinion of them, so they’re going to take ownership of this. They’re going to help you.

If they’re not a client, but a successful business owner, then you can ask them for professional advice on how they think you should reach more of the people that you’re trying to reach.

“B”s: Open the up the Communication Channels

Contact needs to be personal, so communicate via an e-mail, a phone call or a text message. Obviously, if you can do this with a phone call or a face to face meeting, then you will be able to put more depth in the conversation and you’re going to get better results.

You need to let them know what it is you do; and that you want to be their fitness advocate.

Offer your services free for a couple of weeks/ sessions & if they’re not interested…then you’d love for them to gift that to somebody else.

If they’re already a client, then we want to spend some dedicated time getting to know them better.

This communication has to be a win/win; so you have to sit down and think how you can make each interaction a win. For example, by giving somebody 2 weeks free service
or offering a current client some advise on how they can improve their nutrition etc.

The purpose of starting this dialogue is to begin talking about your business and invite people in and get them to share your business with other people, connecting you to people that they are close to. This is the ideal scenario and a wonderful way to get some momentum going.

“C”s: Cultivate the relationship

We need to send a personal email to each of them, or the next time you see them, make sure that we tell them what we do. Invite them for a couple of weeks/ sessions free
to try our service.

Our goal is to turn those Cs into Bs; then turn some of those Bs into As, therefore improving the calibre of your network.

It is important that we keep adding people to our network and keep refreshing it. Both through the people introduced to us by our current network and by proactive network strategies that I will deal with in my next blog.

Once you have established somebody into your network, it is important to follow up and keep in touch with them regularly. We need to be checking in with our “A”s once/ month; the Bs & Cs, ideally once a month; or at least once every 60-90 days.