Networking–as fitness professionals, we all know what it is and why we need to use it, but so many of us don’t or don’t know how to do so. In our Fitness Professional Online June issue, we’ll be giving you many tips to start using early to increase your business, your standing in the fitness community, and build your brand!
Before we get into the heavy details, we’ll start with the basics of what networking is and why you should be doing it.
Networking is defined as: The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. That being said, how does networking work for you, the fitness professional, and how can it help you increase your business as well as your brand?
Networking 101 – How To Get Started
Do you have your business cards ready?
You’d be surprised at how many fitness professionals (especially personal trainers and group exercise instructors), don’t have business cards, let alone have one ready to hand out at all times.
One of the simplest forms of networking is passing out and or exchanging your business cards with others in the industry, as well as with others whenever you’re at a farmer’s market, street fair, expo or any other place you feel would have a great need of your services.
Business cards are very affordable and many fitness professionals use VistaPrint (www.vistaprint.com). It is very affordable and you can upload your own pictures or use their stock prints. Take advantage of this company if you’re just getting started, short on funds or just a thrifty shopper.
Whether you’re at the store, working out at a park, or training your clients, how are you prepared when someone expresses interest in your services? Would you rather write your info on a piece of paper, or is it more professional to whip out one of your official business cards? I think you know the answer to that.
It’s not always what you know, but who you know.
Networking is best put to use when it comes to job hunting. As an AFAA Primary Examiner, I’ve met and networked with some of the nicest people. One thing I always encourage those who are getting a new certification such as Body Barre or Tabata or taking their very first certification, is to get to know people that are taking the certification/workshop with them, and pass out their business cards.
Often if there is an opening at their facility, club or studio, they may contact you, and if you’re applying for a job, it’s quite alright to attach your business card to your resume to remind them of your professional status.
After you’ve taken and passed your certification, whether it’s to become a personal trainer or a group exercise instructor for Zumba, R.I.P.P.E.D., yoga, Pilates, etc., always make sure you’re on their marketing member roster! IDEA (International Association of Fitness Professionals) also has a member listing where you can upload your personal profile, certification(s) and degrees, as well as where you teach/train for the public and facilities, gyms, or spas where others can find you. Some listings require certification for you to be listed, while others allow listing for a small fee or even for free.
Join a networking group to promote your business.
There are many business-networking groups in your city: BNI (Business Networking International), your local MeetUps (www.meetup.com), Toastmasters, Chamber of Commerce, Referral Business, etc. These networking groups work by referring business to one another. For example if someone comes into a florist shop and mentions that they’re getting married and want to lose some weight–ta-da: “I know of a personal trainer named (insert your name/company)!”, and there is your potential new client and referral.
To find your nearest networking group, Google, Bing or Yahoo for more listings on one or all of those mentioned above. Sign up as a visitor for these networking groups in your city because many of them only allow one person per profession and, of course, bring plenty of business cards to pass around!
Social media is an awesome way to network with others in our profession. Whether you use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr, there is a great world of opportunities to network with all or any of these medias. On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can join other groups in the health, fitness, exercise and nutrition industries as well as certification groups in your area and abroad. Social media allows us to stay connected in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined just 10 years ago!
I hope that I was able to give you some new ideas for networking your business and increasing your brand in a way that gives you the opportunity to live the life you’ve always wanted!
Until next time, cheers to life and keep networking!
Lisa Taylor (TrainerLisa)
Lisa with a B.S. in Holistic Nutrition, and a minor in Nutrition/Optimum Fitness has expanded her business to include being a Beachbody Coach, and a Fitness Consultant in helping others in the Fitness Industry and well as individual Personal Trainers to grow and market their business.
Latest posts by Lisa Lorraine Taylor
- What tools do you think are the best right now in aiding your clients’ success outside of the gym? - March 15, 2016
- How should your pricing differ, per person, for group sessions versus individual training? - January 5, 2016
- What promotions can I offer to drive new clients to me? - December 15, 2015