If you aren't networking as a personal trainer, you're missing out on opportunities to grow your business. It could be how you find your next new client, meet business associates or even your future business partner. Either way, networking will open up countless opportunities and improve your career immeasurably.
We spoke to successful personal trainers within the UNTIL community (you can join us, too!) to help us put together this guide below. Check it out and see which tips you can start implementing today, this week or this month to expand your network.
What We'll Cover:
Networking is important in any industry, but arguably even more so in the fitness world. This is because many PT’s (especially those who are freelance or self employed) operate alone, so growing your business and delivering the best service for your clients relies on you having a solid network.
Here are 3 ways networking can help you as a personal trainer:
Acquire More Clients
Forming relationships with other personal trainers and health professionals such as dieticians, physiotherapists, and massage therapists can offer a holistic approach to client wellbeing and open up referral opportunities. This relationship works both ways, with you referring your clients to other professionals in the hope they will do the same back to you.
As a personal trainer, you know how hard it can be to keep up a fully-booked schedule. No matter how great your service is, clients will come in and go for a variety of reasons. That's why you always need to be networking to make sure you can fill any gaps in your schedule with new clients quickly.
To learn more about the different ways to acquire new clients, check out our guide: 10 Proven Ways to Get Clients as a Personal Trainer
Learn From Others
Exchanging knowledge with peers will help you to keep on top of industry trends and learn new techniques - both in training and in business. Being around entrepreneurs and fitness professionals will naturally help you up your game and get you thinking bigger.
You're a product of who you surround yourself with, so surround yourself with other successful fitness professionals and learn everything you can from them!
A support network
A network of fellow trainers can be a valuable resource for advice and encouragement. They are working in the same field with similar experiences but may be one step ahead of you, so a conversation within your network could help you solve issues you’re having with specific clients and alleviate a lot of stress.
Having other personal trainers nearby is also essential for freelancers who struggle with working alone and can drastically improve their own mental well-being.
For all of these reasons, integrating networking into your personal trainer business plan is essential.
Now you know why it's so important, let's explore some actionable ways that you can start networking as a personal trainer.
This is one that you can get started with straightaway. Tap into those you already know and trust and begin expanding your network from there. It may sound simple, but often people forget about the power of their current contact list.
If you take your current network (clients, colleagues, friends and family) and multiply this by all of their networks, you suddenly have a potentially huge pool of people to get in front of.
To get started, we suggest speaking to:
- Current and ex-clients: They can be your best advocates, recommending your services to their friends and family. Imagine if you encouraged 5 clients to tell 10 of their contacts about what you do. That's 50 potential new conversations. If you follow any of your current clients on social media and know them well enough, interact with their posts to get in front of their network too.
- Friends and family: Try asking your friends and family to reshare your posts across their social media channels, most of them will gladly do so!
- Industry peers: If you work at a gym, fellow trainers and gym staff can be a gold mine for insights and opportunities. While they might not necessarily be able to give you new clients – as they will want more themselves – they can help to you understand how they are growing their brand and business.
- Mentors: Finally, reconnect with those who've guided you – their endorsements can be pivotal.
If you want to meet new faces and learn new valuable skills at the same time, search online for relevant events and workshops that you might be able to attend. You could start by looking looking at what's coming up on event platforms such as Eventbrite, but as you get to know more people in the industry you'll start to hear about more of these taking place as well.
Here are some events to look out for:
- Local workshops and courses: Find ones that focus on fitness, nutrition or business development for personal trainers. You’ll learn something new and you might make valuable new connections.
- Fitness expos and conferences: These large scale events can feature demonstrations, networking sessions and are an excellent opportunity to learn and meet some incredible partners in the fitness world.
- Industry meetups and networking events: Keep an eye out for these events tailored for fitness professionals. If you really want to push your comfort zone, go to meet ups with your target audience.
Digital networks are an extension of your professional presence. Connecting with someone online can be just as valuable as connecting with somebody in real life. It’s often easier too, since you can do all the below from the comfort of your own home!
Here are some ideas for growing your personal training network online:
Begin searching for UK-based personal training communities for support and advice. Answer people’s questions where you can and ask some of your own too. This might result in meet-ups and building new partnerships!
Instagram and TikTok
These are both visual platforms so you can get more creative with your content here. Document your client’s fitness journeys (or your own!) and connect with a wider audience through compelling video and photo content.
This may feel daunting, but you don’t have to jump into the deep end straight away. Start small with one post a month, then move to once a week when you get into the swing of things. Don't worry about producing perfect content to start with, just start getting yourself out there.
Make sure you follow others who are doing something similar, too. Learn from fitness professionals who are getting great engagement.
Establish a professional presence, post insightful content and engage with thought leaders. Great content acts as a magnet for like-minded professionals and clients! While you can post photos and videos on Linkedin, you’ll want to couple this with great written content too. Unlike Instagram and TikTok which are primarily more visual.
Reddit forums are a great way for speaking to your target audience because they are really specific. For example, let's say there's a niche training methodology you’ve adopted, on Reddit there will no doubt be a forum there that has equally passionate professionals debating the topic. If it doesn't exist already, start one!
Finally, online conferences and webinars also offer additional platforms for engagement and learning.
Form alliances with other wellness professionals to create combined service offerings, seminars, and more comprehensive client programs. If you have a shared outcome of optimising results for your clients, you will have common ground with other health and wellness professionals.
UNTIL’s premium gym spaces, designed specifically to be used by personal trainers and health and wellness professionals, is great for building these connections. But there are lots of other opportunities out there as well. Think about connecting with a private hospital or physiotherapy clinic where you can support each other's clients.
Networking is not a one-off task but a continuous process. Check in with your contacts regularly, celebrate their successes, and offer support when needed.
If you’ve met a fellow professional and each other on social media, reach out to them a few days or weeks later. Interact with their content when they post publicly to start conversations, or just show them some appreciation with a like. A little effort can go a long way when it comes to networking.
This all sounds great, but is there anything you need to be wary of? There’s a fine balance between coming across as too pushy, while also ensuring that you are being proactive and pursuing opportunities to grow your network.
Here are some things you should be careful of:
We all know what it feels like when someone is selling to us - it’s off-putting. So when you are communicating with other professionals who you want to form a relationship with, don’t make it all about you.
While you don’t want to be too pushy, make sure you don’t miss out on genuine opportunities either. If someone shows interest, always reach out post-meeting to solidify your connections.
Networking is a two way street: you should provide as much value to them as you’d like them to provide value to you. Always be prepared to offer up advice of your own and take interest in their work as well.
Join the UNTIL Community
To take your networking to the next level, consider joining the UNTIL community, where personal trainers thrive on connection, growth, and shared success. Apply Now to join UNTIL