Networking is a key element of any successful self-promotion strategy. It can take place at formal events, but it can also be an informal chat at the coffee shop, at a school function or in line at the store. You’re always networking! It should not be about schmoozing—or even about telling your own story. It’s about learning the stories of other people, to begin to find ways you can serve them.
Follow the 50-50 rule. Half of your networking should focus on potential clients, while the second half should be with other professionals. When you connect with other professionals, you can share resources, ideas and information. Remember to track interactions in your CRM, and be specific. That way, future interactions can build on previous ones as your relationships with potential clients and pros grow.
For successful networking:
Share who you know. Look for opportunities to make connections among people you know—even those you’ve just met. Aim to make at least two introductions each day with no expectations. For example, if you meet someone new in town who enjoys hiking and you know someone else who does a group hike every Saturday, an introduction would be perfect! You may not directly receive anything for the connection, but you’ll be relevant to both parties, and because of this positive interaction you’ll have something meaningful to follow up on at a later date (KIT).
Share what you know. Read books, save links and PDFs of great articles, bookmark websites and acquire resources. Then, when the information is relevant to someone you meet, share it. For example, reach out to the potential client you see on Facebook who is asking for advice on flexibility for cyclists. Send a message, and attach an article or a link to your favorite YouTube channel or your personal suggestions. No need to solicit at this point; simply add value. This begins the process of building trust and credibility,
which you can capitalize on in the future.
Share how you feel. Be in the moment, and listen intently. Find opportunities to genuinely express compassion for events in people’s lives. Examples include a well-thought-out “happy birthday” note (instead of a Facebook wall post), a handwritten note after a special event or
a quick text message of encouragement before a big meeting.
To read more about how to successfully promote yourself and boost your business, please see “Strategic Self-Promotion for Fitness Pros” in the online IDEA Library or in the September 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.