One thing that stands out the most about starting a personal training business is that it is a people business. What it means is that the whole idea of becoming a personal trainer is working with people. The more people that know about your business and what you do, the more clients you are likely to have and the better your business grows.
It is not enough to decide to become a personal trainer, get certified, and complete the required certifications and funding, only to get stuck at getting an inflow of clients. The fitness industry has a market size of over 630 million British pounds in the UK with the number of personal trainers increasing exponentially yearly.
According to Statista, there will be over 25,000 personal trainers in the UK in 2023, as compared to only barely above 15,000 back in 2011, which shows that there is a high interest in the personal training sector and more people are getting into the business.
The best way to stand out from the crowd is by making meaningful connections and getting to meet new people because after all, the basic premise of becoming a personal trainer is to work with people to achieve their fitness goals. So how do you do that if you do not have any connections or if no one knows about your business? This is why personal trainer networking is so essential to a successful personal training business.
Networking can prove to be a bit of a challenge for most personal trainers because it can be tricky sometimes and requires intentional and conscious efforts to make meaningful connections with people. In this article, we will be delving into important skills to help you stand out while networking as a personal trainer.
What is Networking?
Networking is one of the most effective tools businesses use to acquire new clients, get contacts, increase their client base, and register their brands in the minds of potential clients and target audiences. According to the definition by Investopedia, networking is the process of exchanging information and ideas among people within similar professions or services, and it is usually done in social settings.
Networking is an effective and low-cost marketing strategy for businesses that is both effective and efficient and has proven results over time. Networking helps business owners meet new people, introduce their businesses or services, and get the chance to create a lasting impression in the minds of potential clients or prospects.
Although it is important to note that networking is not a sales process, nor is it a sales pitch, and therefore during networking, it is not expected to appear sales or pushy about business, else it would rather create a bad impression which is the opposite of the desired result.
Importance of Networking as a Personal Trainer
The essence of the personal training profession is working with people to achieve their fitness goals more effectively and efficiently. Understandably, most personal trainers start up their business as a hobby or out of a passion for fitness and exercise.
However, it doesn’t change the fact that once you decide to start a personal training business, it becomes a business, and the personal trainer becomes an entrepreneur. Therefore, certain responsibilities and criteria are required to be met for the business to thrive and remain successful while also yielding profits, as any business should.
One of the most important factors to keep any business running smoothly and profitably is the availability and inflow of clients and customers to the business. A personal training business also requires an inflow of clients, which is why marketing efforts are put in place to ensure that clients are aware of the business and patronize it.
Networking, on the other hand, is an important and effective technique for promoting any business, particularly a personal training business that requires a steady stream of clients, both new and long-term retainers. Networking efforts help to ensure that the business or service is known to the people who need it and also to their friends, colleagues, business associates, etc.
A few reasons why networking is important in a personal training business include
1. It is a low-cost means of spreading the word about the business or service
2. When done effectively, it puts the business in the minds of the prospects
3. Word-of-mouth referrals and marketing can come from just networking with the right people and creating a great impression
4. It can be used as a tool to create strategic partnerships
5. It can be used to create new relationships and strengthen existing ones
6. It helps to create a brand image for the business or service
7. It is used as a tool for lead generation
Dos and don’ts of Effective Networking
As easy as it might sound, networking is more complex than it sounds, but when done effectively, it can yield amazing results for the business owner. That being said, when networking, there are a few guidelines that contribute to yielding effective networking results. Some of them, which every personal trainer ought to be aware of while putting out networking efforts, include:
1. Be friendly
2. Always wear a smile
3. Pay attention and show care
4. Offer help to the prospects in cases where help can be offered
5. Be confident and professional
6. Always carry your business card
7. Prepare a short but detailed elevator pitch
8. Offer free consulting coupons
9. Have fun
10. Exchange contacts and keep in touch
1. Sounding too salesy
2. Being distracted when in a conversation with a potential client
3. Stirring up conversations around hot and controversial topics such as religion, politics, etc
4. Not meeting several other times
5. Being boring
3 Important Skills Needed for Effective Networking as a Personal Trainer
Networking is a way of creating meaningful relationships with people and therefore requires conscious efforts to achieve that goal. The most challenging aspect of networking would be creating relationships since it involves people, and getting the best from people requires some essential skills.
Some of the most important skills that can be applied to make the most of your networking efforts as a personal trainer include:
1. Active listening
This involves consciously and intentionally listening and paying attention to what people are saying during a conversation. Active listening goes beyond just listening to actually being present in the moment and actively contributing to what the person is saying.
The truth is that people love being listened to, and if that can be done, it is already a first step towards creating a strong relationship that can yield results in the long run. Other ways to show the person you’re actively listening during a conversation include asking open-ended questions and reiterating what the person has said.
2. Communication skills
Communication goes beyond simply talking to effectively passing the intended messages while also picking up cues from the other person. Effective communication entails everything that goes into creating and maintaining the intent of the conversation.
Things that should be taken into consideration when communicating also include body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, hand gestures, etc. Also, speak in clear and concise language so that the other person can fully understand what you’re saying.
This is because all of these verbal and non-verbal cues also play an important role in ensuring a smooth communication process as well as passing the right impressions and creating a solid relationship.
Being friendly is one of the most effective ways of striking up a conversation and maintaining a good vibe while conversing with someone. No one likes a grouchy person, and that sort of expression creates a hostile environment where no meaningful conversation can thrive, let alone create a solid relationship, which is the ultimate goal of networking efforts.
Maintaining a friendly personality while networking attracts more people towards you and also creates great and relatable conversations and experiences. It is said that people do not remember exactly the words you say to them, but they remember how you make them feel.
A friendly approach helps to create a lasting impression and establish a solid foundation for a relationship to thrive. Putting these in place, some people whenever they remember you, remember how you made them feel and automatically replay the moment in their heads, keeping you and your business number one in their memory.
Aside from being friendly, a little sense of humor here and there will also add that extra spice to creating a memorable experience for both you and the client while also registering your brand in the back of their minds.
Meeting new people and creating lasting impressions is considered one of the most efficient methods of getting loyal clients for any business enterprise. Effective networking creates a chance for personal trainers to meet new people and also generate new leads for their business or service. Networking with the right target audience, especially during a social event, can be very effective as it isn’t a sales approach but more in the form of creating new relationships in a casual and less tense environment.