As a PT, you know you should probably network. But as an introvert, you know meeting new people makes you uncomfortable and you’d rather be alone.
Naturally, you’re thinking about the best way to spread the word about your practice without getting crippling anxiety. You may also be wondering if networking is actually necessary for your success.
In this article, I’ll be showing you why networking can make or break your practice. Once we get that down, I’ll then share great tips that you can use to grow your network as an introvert.
Why being an introvert isn’t a bad thing
Introverts are people who naturally enjoy their own company more than others. They get rejuvenated from being alone with their thoughts and just staying in.
Being an introvert isn’t inherently bad, and neither does it put you at a disadvantage. It just seems that way because outgoing people are more likely to draw attention and announce themselves.
But the truth is that some of the most interesting people I know are introverts. They usually have interesting stories to tell and see the world from a perspective that extroverts don’t.
And you might have thought that being an introvert makes you less noticeable. But your personality actually gives you an amazing edge when trying to form new networks.
I’ve spoken to PTs like Jenny Morelock who are as introverted as they come but have a sizable network. I’ll be sharing some of the strategies they use shortly. But first, let’s look at why you need to network.
Why do you need to network as a PT?
You may look at yourself and think, “maybe networking isn’t for me.” But it actually is. Referrals are your bread and butter as a fitness coach, and networking may be the only marketing you ever have to do.
Still not convinced? Here are 3 reasons why networking is core to your practice.
It will get you passive clients for a long time
Referrals will make up to 90% of your client base. Some of those will come from previous clients, but a large chunk will be from chiropractors, yoga instructors, and other trainers who know what you do and have clients that need your services. But how can they refer you if you don’t network?Networking puts you in a position where you can help and receive help from other #personaltrainers in your field. Click To Tweet
It makes the job less stressful
Ranting about the challenges of being a fitness trainer is more comforting than you realize. When you chat with other PTs, you can talk about everything from handling difficult clients to growing your practice. And who doesn’t feel better after a good rant?
You can give and receive help
As a personal trainer, you know just how tough the business can be. Cash flow isn’t always regular, you may struggle to find time to workout, and sometimes, you even feel guilty about taking a break.
Other PTs feel that way, but more importantly, they’ve developed strategies to tackle the problem. You can learn from them and share your own strategies.Networking puts you in a position where you can help and receive help from other #personaltrainers in your field. Click To Tweet
How exactly do you network as an introverted fitness coach?
Now, do you realize that networking isn’t an option if you want to run a successful practice? Good! Let’s get into why you’re really here. These are five tips you can use to network more effectively.
Use your ice breakers
The discomfort around meeting new people is partly because you have very little to talk about. The awkward silence seems to last forever and sometimes, you just want to run for the hills.
But you have a powerful tool to fight that because you’re networking with people who are either in your industry or work closely. Once you get the regular questions – what’s your name and what do you do – out of the way, you can ask relatable and specific questions.
For example, you could ask a yoga instructor if she does weight training and how it improves her yoga poses. You could also ask a physical therapist about their approach for handling days where you have one too many appointments.
There are also casual icebreakers like the weather and what the other person is wearing. They are classics and they do work.
Let people talk about themselves
People love to talk about themselves, and it’s not even about being self-centered. You know yourself so well so it’s only natural to talk about what you know.
As an introvert, listening will come naturally and people will love chatting with you. The trick is to listen actively so you can ask follow-up questions.Networking for introverted PTs: Listen more than you talk and ask follow-up questions. People love talking about themselves, and they’ll remember you for being such an excellent conversationalist. Click To Tweet
Understand that ‘networking’ makes people nervous
You’re in a room full of mostly strangers and you’d really like to leave. Guess what? It’s not just you. The word ‘networking’ makes a lot of people anxious, which is why there are a ton of resources dedicated to making the experience a little easier.
Keep this in mind the next time you attend an event and you’ll feel better. It’s a little like imagining everyone in their underwear; it makes you less embarrassed or self-conscious.
Don’t shrink into the background
The whole point of networking is to get your name out there and tell people what you do. All that goes out the window if you linger in the background. Even though it’s a great idea to let other people talk about themselves, you also have to get a few words in.
Talk a little about who you are and what sets your practice apart. It could be a large gym space that you rent out or a special functional mobility program that you designed. Be sure to share anything that can make it easier for people to remember you.
Tweet: Networking hack for #personaltrainers: Talk about who you are and what sets your practice apart. It could be your large gym space or a special functional mobility program that you designed
Recharge your batteries
Introverts draw strength from spending time alone. The longer you spend in the midst of people, the more tired you may feel. It helps to compensate for all this outgoing energy by taking time to recharge.
I love to watch Netflix in bed alone. You could prefer a good book and some background music or a nice long run. Whatever you enjoy, do more of it.