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.
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.
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:
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.
IF YOU CAN DO THIS, I ASSURE YOU THERE’S NOTHING MORE POWERFUL THAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS THAN REALLY CULTIVATING YOUR NETWORK & WORKING IT EACH AND EVERY DAY 365 A YEAR.
In terms of being able to qualify and set up as a personal trainer, find work in a gym and get public liability insurance – you must study on an accredited training course. That is to say, if you are in the UK or are based in Europe, a course that is approved by REPS or eREPS and qualifies you to register at level 3.
However, fitness certifications on their own do NOT help you earn money as a PT – results with your clients do!
This is a results business, so if you’re overly shy, don’t get on well with people then all of the certifications and offers of guaranteed interviews in the world won’t make you a successful PT. The fitness industry is a PERSONALITY industry.
Knowledgeable and experienced fitness professionals tutoring you in small groups
Who are your tutors?….
What level of industry experience do they have to teach YOU to become a personal trainer?
At the very least, you should be able to chat with one of your potential tutors on the telephone as part of your decision making process . This is a great chance for you to ascertain their expertise and how it that qualifies them to teach YOU to become the best possible PT that you can be and get a great start in your new chosen career.
Remember, a sports scientist degree on its own doesn’t necessarily mean the person knows PT.
How many people have your potential tutors trained this week?
A successful PT will not just be knowledgeable and passionate about exercise and nutrition but will also have a vibrant results-driven business and business acumen and continue to educate themselves by further reading.
If you are doing a blended learning course, find out the level of support and guidance that you can expect from your tutor, and how much access you have to them? Research past students’ testimonies to see how regular and effective their assistance is.
Finally, for your learning to be effective, the student group on the face to face part of the course should be small, say no greater than about 12 students, or otherwise have a low student/ tutor ratio (1:5)
Diverse Practical Delivery Training
Just because you’re “certified”, dont assume that you are “qualified”. Not all qualifications are created equally… passing an exam simply means that you’ve satisfied the minimum requirements to become a PT.
Make sure that the course you choose gets you to deliver practically via a number of different training environments out of the gym to give a more diverse experience of fitness instruction reflecting different PT situations that occur in the real world.
Group training experience and qualification is a must if you want to be able to go away from the course with the tools to earn a good monetary return for your hourly work.
You want to be able to engage your future clients in outdoor training sessions as well as in the gym using Tabatas, padwork and kettlebells to mix things up and make training interesting and at the right high intensity.
I would recommend to you to check out what facilities the training provider is able to offer you in terms of being able to provide diverse training environments for you to gain experience instructing with..
PT Business Start Up Course as part of the PT certification
A Fitness qualification will NOT help you earn more money on its own – Obviously, the more qualifications that you obtain, then the greater the chance of achieving a bigger income in the future. However, how you use these qualifications are of far greater importance.
Therefore you must:
- Apply the knowledge gained from obtaining these qualifications to get results for your clients… remember, its results that earn you more £££. People are more concerned about what you know and what you can do with what you know than a specific certification.
- Need to know how to market yourself as a fitness professional in today’s age of internet and social media marketing etc in order to grow your PT business.
Early on in my personal training career I learnt a very important lesson.
Here it is…
You are not just a personal trainer, you are a marketer first and a personal trainer second.
You are in the business of marketing your personal training business.
For every hour you spend reading and learning about new training techniques, you should be spending the equivalent amount of time reading about business, sales and marketing.
You can be the best trainer in the world, have all the qualifications and letters after your name – but if you can't market and sell… then you're going to have a tough time.
For the first two years of my PT career I read every book I could get my hands on, from nutrition, to fitness programming, to mindset – you name it, i read it.
Then something very important happened…
The sales guy from the gym I worked at soon figured there was more money in personal training, than there was in selling gym memberships.
So he became a personal trainer, a very bad one… he had no interest in fitness, barely trained himself, and every client he trained did exactly the same workout – no matter what their fitness goals were.
But… the interesting thing is within two months he was the busiest trainer in the gym.
Because first he knew how to market himself, and second he knew how to sell.
That's when I figured out that if I'm going to be successful in the fitness industry, I need to devote more time on being a better marketer and seller of fitness, and not just being a better personal trainer.
Don't get me wrong you still need to become a great trainer, learn everything you can about exercise, diet and get your clients killer results – but you also need to become a great business person too.
Business courses should have now moved on from the days of being taught how to prepare a fitness CV and to seek to put yourself on the cover list for classes at the local gym .
Are the training providers that you are looking at tech-savvy themselves? where is their business listed in terms of Google and how do they interact and connect with their marketplace on social media?
If the course providers are not up to speed with the marketing of their own business, how can they hope to give you the best strategies towards the best methods of online marketing.
1. Always be professional. Be there when you said you would be there, make sure your appearance and hygiene are impeccable. Make sure the client is the focus of your attention the whole time you are with them. Always give 100% !!
2. Make sure that everyone knows that you do a great job…
3. When you start with a new client….always get as many baseline “before” measurements as possible. Take circumference measurements, weight, skinfold measurements, and PHOTOS!
4. Then, track and record your client’s progress as they make their journey towards achieving their goals. Make regular re-appraisals, take progress measurements and continue to take lots of photos.
5. With attention to detail and effective measurement, the quantifiable results will speak for themselves. Now its time for you to shout about YOUR client’s success. Use social media for this purpose and make sure you publicly congratulate your client for all their hard work and achievement.
6. Go that extra mile for your clients. Keep in touch with them when you are not training them, send them information that they might be interested in and engage them via social media. Show them that you care!
7. Identify socially influential people in your area/ health club. Encourage them to try a free or discounted training session(s) with you. You will reap the return in referrals and word-of-mouth commendations that they will go on to give.
8. Fire negative clients. If the time spent with them is draining you of the will to live, cut your losses and let them know that the dynamic is not working. Its best for both parties..the client is not going to get the best out of you and you owe it to yourself and your reputation to train only the people who want to do what it takes to get results. Remember, your clients’ progress and results reflect on YOU.
9. Surround yourself with a good network of people that you have confidence in, should you need to refer your client .. Masseurs, physios, nutritionists etc. Again, this “team” will reflect on your own professional image.
10. Never stop learning!… Continue to educate yourself and constantly grow and evolve yourself as a fitness professional to take in all of the new trends and research.
1. Obtain a group fitness qualification, such as circuits or spinning and instruct classes for the experience of working with larger groups of people.
2. Train clients outdoors as well as within a gym/ studio environment. This will get you thinking more imaginatively and enable you to create fun and original sessions.
3. Don’t overlook the importance of nutrition. Creating goals in this area is an important step towards your client achieving long term results and overall health.
4. Sign up with a good accountant, they will save you their fee by giving you advice on what you can claim against for tax.
5. Have a clear cancellation policy for your clients and be assertive when applying the no-show fee to those bailing out within your required notice period.
6. Make sure that both you and your client agree on their goals and that you set them together. They must have ownership so that they can be held accountable for them. Get them to record food and training diaries for you to check over.
7. Offer a bulk set of personal training sessions at a discounted rate to encourage people to train with you more and also to stick with you for the long term.
8. Look the part – You don’t have to look like Adonis, but you should be able to do what you ask your clients to do.
9. Be a role model – Live your life the way you tell your clients to.
10. Gain a holistic knowledge of exercise and fitness and know your stuff about the human anatomy to gain respect from your clients.