Your network (who you know) can attract clients that would not have come to you otherwise. Networking is a deliberate effort to nurture these important and mutually beneficial relationships.
Research shows that word of mouth recommendations influence the decision for 83% of the purchases we make. This is the case both online and offline.
A sincere recommendation from a client on your Facebook page does more for you than anything you can say for yourself. These recommendations have to be genuine.
Whenever a client mentions something specific that they like about you, ask them if they would consider adding that to your Facebook page. If you already have a few happy clients, consider putting in place a referral system to incentivize referrals.
Start with the People You Already Know
Chances are that there are people already in your network that you need to connect with better. Think of how you can add value to the people who you already know. Think of a couple you already know that you can help. Introduce them to someone who might help them. Ask them if they need advice in any matter. Tell them if there is an area where you need their help.
Think of people you have worked with in the past and find ways to reconnect. Think of people who have already proved themselves to be valuable to you and make yourself valuable to them.
One of the best ways to add value is to help them make connections. Think of two people who can be helpful to one another and make the connection happen.
Let Everyone Know What You are Doing
All your connections should know about your work. Let people know about your accomplishments without being arrogant. The more your connections understand your work, the better they will be able to help you access opportunities.
This applies both online and offline. Don’t waste your social media profiles. Let your Social media Profile bios, taglines, and email signatures state exactly what it is that you do (and for who). Avoid too many irrelevant posts. They make it difficult for customers to find you. People will direct opportunities to you when they see that you are valuable and helpful.
This does not mean boring your friends and connections by pushing your services endlessly. It just means that they should know about what you do and your significant accomplishments.
Quality relationships and connections don’t happen by accident. Have a system in place for keeping in touch with people. Use a spreadsheet and calendar to keep up if you like. You might want to talk to some people once a week and others once a month. Putting all your valuable connections in a spreadsheet will help you to remember to get in touch with them at least on a quarterly basis.
It is impossible to connect with everyone at the same level and in the same way. There are people you will meet in person on a weekly basis. Others you will talk to on the phone. For some people, an occasional email will suffice.
This might mean once a month or once a week, depending on how close you are with them. If you are not close friends or family, it does not have to be a lengthy conversation or a lunch date. An occasional email or phone call will be good enough. Ask people for advice.
Your online activities like blogging and participating in Social Media should compliment your offline networking. Don’t do anything that can hurt your personal brand. Build meaningful connections. Stick to your message. Guest post on other coaches blogs. Feature on other trainers YouTube videos. Interview them on your own blog. Do joint lives on Facebook. You might even participate in each other’s Facebook groups.
Quality Connections are not made overnight. Be content to see slow progress sometimes. The goal should not be to make a connection in order to close a deal. It should be much bigger than that. Aim for strong, mutually helpful relationships with people that actually challenge you. Building trust takes time.
Don’t approach people with ulterior motives. Be happy to give value upfront without getting anything in return. Making friends with someone because you need a favor from them next week will not work.
Work on becoming more valuable to the people who are already in your network before trying to add more people to it.
Go for Quality Over Quantity
If you are thinking about getting involved in organizations for the sake of building relationships, avoid spreading your efforts widely. Choose one or two that you can be heavily involved in. This will help you to build a better network.
Look for people you can have quality relationships with. People who can give honest feedback, and receive it. People who can challenge you and be challenged by you. Openly appreciate them for their work.
Build relationships with other coaches whose work you admire. Networking with competition has numerous benefits. You can share valuable information with each other and maybe even find ways to collaborate.
Believe it or not, a lot of coaches and trainers get clients who are referred to them from other coaches and trainers. But don’t limit yourself to your industry entirely. You still need people in your circle who are not necessarily coaches or trainers.
Don’t be Self Conscious
One thing that makes social interactions infinitely easier is when we focus more on making the other person comfortable than on our own selves. Don’t worry about whether people will like you. Instead, focus on doing what you can to make them comfortable.
Your Training/Coaching Career
Check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.