I believe that all trainers have a secret – and likely untapped – super power.
This super power will add significant value to your service, increase client retention, and has the potential to sky rocket your word-of-mouth referrals.
The super power I’m talking about is networking.
And when I say networking I don’t mean going to “networking events,” and handing out 150 flimsy business cards. Or aimlessly trying to connect with “influencers,” on social media.
I’m talking about a subtle change in approach to SESSIONS YOU ALREADY HAVE. As a trainer, you can implement this immediately.
First, I want to describe the nature of the training industry. I’ll show why this is relevant in a minute.
Industry Pattern #1 – Long Days
If you are involved in the training industry at all, you know that your hours are brutal. It’s safe to assume that if nobody else is working, you probably are. And if other people are working, you are probably not.
You are likely training before normal 9-5 working hours, and also training after those hours. You’ll eventually build a client base with people that prefer to wake up and train before they go to work, and then there will be those that hate mornings and love knowing that they have a hard training session waiting for them in the evening.
Most trainers have a busy morning, a slow mid-day, and a busy afternoon/evenings. Separate groups of people book-end your day.
*Note – I have built a system and a list of ways to consistently find clients that fill “Unicorn” training times such as 10:30am and 2:00pm. This is on the list for future blog articles.
The brutal Split Schedule is a common complaint among trainers. The schedule demands a very early morning, long periods on your feet, and enough caffeine to send a baby rhino into shock. At one point, I myself searched for effective solutions to long days. If you are looking for ideas to block-schedule your clients, I would recommend starting here.
While searching for ways to eliminate your Split Schedule may be necessary at times, I want to offer a new view.
I say embrace the Split. Learn to use the Split to maximize your super power.
As the trainer, YOU are the common denominator among your clients’ days, interests, and lives. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but in all reality, it’s an overlooked Pocket Ace for trainers.
Which leads us to..
Industry Pattern #2 – Consistent Clients are Interesting
Consistent clients are a different breed of person. They have traits that make them interesting.
At this moment, I’ve got over 30 clients that have trained with me longer than a year. These clients are all unique, just like any group of 30 individuals would be. However, they are consistent. Which is a significant characteristic.
Consistency in the gym directly correlates to consistency outside training.
Consistent clients are not lazy. They are not complacent. They are dedicated and driven.
That isn’t always inversely accurate. For example, I’m not saying that a flaky training partner will be a flaky friend or business partner, or that a consistent colleague will automatically train consistently. But, I can tell you that if someone regularly plans time in the gym I know they are prioritizing similar commitments in other areas of their life. It takes real sacrifice to stay consistent in the gym.
My clients are involved in a variety of industries, projects, committees, organizations, etc. They consistently subject themselves to my punishment, and I know that they love to buckle down and get to work in other respective fields.
All my clients are uniquely motivated. They also have unique skill sets, circles of friends, hobbies, sports teams, charity preferences, and more. It’s my job to identify these motivating factors and bring them to the forefront of their training sessions.
Bridge the Gap!
If you are training a Split Schedule, with different groups of morning clients and afternoon clients, you are in a unique position to unleash the ultimate networking super power!
Your consistent clients are interesting people. And YOU have uninterrupted time with them.
Consistent clients aren’t boring people.
Get to know them.
And then introduce them to your other clients.
It may seem odd to you that they don’t know each other, because you see them every day. However, if they are training at different times of the day, it’s unlikely they’ve ever met. And, if they have met, they may be unaware that they both enjoy mountain biking.
Yes, your first job is to train them. And you’d better take that seriously. But as you’re training, learn their industry. Find out problems they’re having at work, or about trips they’ve taken with their families. Ask them about their favorite sports team. Learn their hobbies and their educational background.
Many of my 1-on-1 clients are high performers. In some cases, I’m spending 2-3 hours of UNINTERRUPTED time with them a week. Some of them are extremely protective of their time and actually charge other people serious money when they do dedicate time to them.
Here I am, getting to know these great people in a 1-on-1 environment, on a regular basis.
As I’ve built my clientele, I’ve leveraged it into a functioning community. I know my clients’ passions, unsolved problems, and goals.
There are a handful of scenarios when I’ve introduced my clients and sparked great friendships by connecting similar interests. I’ve helped one client’s daughter find a good softball coach. There’s even been one case that two of my clients linked up on a business deal that generated tens of thousands of dollars.
By bridging the gap between clients that would otherwise not know one another, you are adding a massive unseen value.
This is the networking super power that trainers have. It requires nothing more than getting to know your clients, and subtly listening for ways that they may be able to interact with each another.
Additionally, it requires zero work. Your daily schedule and clientele naturally create this networking environment. Your “networking” comes to you.
A bonus benefit to your networking super power?
If your clients collaborate on a personal or a professional level, your word-of-mouth impact will carry more weight.
All of a sudden, you become the catalyst for growth. Individuals will tell their friends that they were introduced to a good fishing spot because their trainer (that’s you) introduced them to an expert.
You gain social credibility immediately. Sometimes, before people (think: more potential clients) even meet you.
Books that have sharpened my social skills.
You may have seen this title before, but this book is a classic for a reason. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth the $8 on Amazon.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
A new age approach to leveraging a network.
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
As always, this can truly be applied to any industry. Introducing people for a formal or recreational purpose is a circumstance when everyone wins.
To sum this whole post up, I recently listened to a podcast with Derek Sivers. In this podcast, he said that the key to happiness, fulfillment, and wealth is to “Be useful to other people.” That’s exactly what this is about.