I am working on adding additional clients to my business. I am going to approach some fitness equipment stores to see if we can get an agreement. My proposal to the fitness stores would be this: They sell a piece of cardio equipment, free weights, home gyms, etc. They notify their customer that with their purchase they get a free consulting and workout with a personal trainer (me). I see this as beneficial to both parties as they can give their customers something different than other stores are currently doing and I get potential leads. Is there something I might be missing in this effort? And is there a certain way you would approach the stores on this?
Always give something before asking. It’s a smart idea to go into any store or business with the mindset of how can I help this business get more customers. Approach the owner or manager of the location with a proposition of how you feel a professional affiliation can help them grow as a business. It is far better to come into a referral business relationship with a first referral than to come in empty handed. For example if you are approaching a nutrition store take a client in with you. Suggest a supplement or product to help them reach their goal. When you go to purchase make sure you let the person who helps you know that you are a trainer and are looking for a place to send your customers for their needs. Ask to meet the store manager or owner, give them your card and let them know you are planning on bringing more customers to them for their nutritional needs.
Of course honesty and following through is the only way to build a person’s trust, especially in business, so if you are unable to deliver don’t promise. If you promise, follow through.
You never know what will work out for this type of thing. As in any “sales” type of interaction, be prepared to negotiate. Their first response may be “no”. But taking “no” as the final answer isn’t going to get you far. Think of questions aimed at getting around the “no”. Rehearse them and be ready to modify the questions to fit the situation. And try not to leave the matter closed if you feel that your position isn’t strong. Ask to check back with them. Ask if they have a community events notice board to post things on. You may want to go in with an offer of a free consultation to the store manager to “experience” your way of doing things.
And if you get a “no”, come around the other side of the situation. Ask the store manager to give you some tips on being a salesperson. Start the request off as a compliment, like “I always feel like your sales staff is very helpful. could you give me some tips on approaching new customers?” Or “I am new at approaching businesses like this, could you give me one piece of advice on how to improve my pitch?”