Many health coaches and exercise professionals find the marketing and promotion side of their businesses to be intimidating and maybe even a bit scary. After all, most people who enter the health and fitness industry are driven by a desire to empower people to reach their wellness goals, not by a yearning to build a website, attend networking events or manage multiple social-media apps.
The key to embracing self-promotion is to shift your focus from “making sales” to “expanding awareness”—and it might be easier than you think.
As a health and exercise professional, there are certain self-promotion strategies that you should consider mandatory as you work to establish and expand your business. These strategies fall into three categories: networking, direct outreach and referral.
Networking often has a negative connotation, as many people cringe at the thought of selling themselves or making small talk at stressful networking events. It’s time to rethink the concept of networking and look at it from a new perspective: It’s really about connecting and sharing with others in a way that builds and then deepens mutually beneficial relationships.
There are five keys to effective networking:
- Share your network: Connect people in your network that you think could be of value to one another.
- Expand your network: Connect with new people, groups and professions.
- Get knowledge, share knowledge: Read five books that have been recommended to you and then provide recommendations to members of your network—and try to match people specifically to each book.
- Identify other sources of knowledge: List at least five topics you know a lot about—you never know what subject might help you make a connection.
- Identify opportunities for networking: List and then pursue opportunities to make connections in both informal and formal settings.
Direct outreach is often mistakenly linked to spam emails or cold calling potential customers. In reality, it’s more about creating awareness of your business and services so that potential clients or participants are able to find you more easily.
If you do reach out to someone you think may be a potential customer, referral source or professional resource, be sure you know something about them first. What motivates them? What are your common interests and goals? How can you become an asset to this person? Answering these types of questions beforehand will help you establish a meaningful connection.
Start by making a list of 20 people you do not yet know but who you think can help your business, and then think of creative ways to make a connection.
Word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers can be the driving force behind a successful business, but you must have a means of taking full advantage of those referrals.
This is a three-step process:
- Analyze referrals to determine better ways to consistently receive more referrals moving forward.
- Log all activity for new referrals.
- Consider the perspective of the person who made the referral to understand why, who, where and how they might refer additional customers.
When it comes to referrals, perhaps the most important tip is to act quickly. Act on the referral right away and let the referrer know you’ve done so. You never want someone who makes a referral to feel unappreciated!
Shannon is a certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach providing information based on the BYS System.