Networking is the process of developing contacts and relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community.
You’ve heard that there are six degrees of separation between you and anybody else on Earth. Well, that’s a myth. In fact, only 29 percent of people are separated by six degrees. So how do you put yourself into that 29 percent? Ivan Misner’s book, “The 29% Solution,” examines this myth and shows that with reading, training and coaching, people can develop their networking skills, increase their connections and become part of the roughly 29 percent of people who are, in fact, separated from the rest of the world by just six degrees. Here are 12 ways to improve your networking skills and elevate yourself into the 29 percent.
1. Profile your client: Their demographics and why they joined your club or non-dues revenue program. Their gender, family structure, marital status, income, location, children, etc. Set a plan to network with like individuals.
2. Identify 3 to 12 W.O.M. team members: W.O.M. is “Word of Mouth.” These are individuals that can and will help you build your business.
- They know you.
- They like you.
- They trust you.
- They use your service and they are in front of your preferred client on a regular basis.
- They talk to and influence a lot of people — they are influential enough that others will listen.
3. Help your WOM team by referring to them:
- Ask for their business cards so you can send people to them; doctors, dentists, financial advisors, bankers, etc.
- Stay in contact and ask what’s new with them and their business.
4. Create a network database: Identify the 100 people who have had the greatest impact on the growth of your business. Celebrate their birthdays, anniversaries, special interests, fitness achievements and major purchases.
5. Expand your network: Remember the currency in social networking is trust.
- Blog and find other interesting content for your blog.
- Participate and attend outside functions.
- Reconnect to people in the past; old members, classmates, neighbors, work colleagues.
- Talk to your family. Do they know what you do, how your business is built?
- Join a web-based networking group.
6. Pair up with an accountability partner: Have regular meetings to discuss each other’s progress.
7. Send a thank-you letter: Always hand written.
- For PT and other major purchases.
- For every referral.
- For achieving goals and events.
- For suggestions that make your club better.
8. Find out what your top WOM team members support in charities: Offer a donation from you club.
9. Host an event at your club: Special seminars or events for your members or guests.
10. Become an expert on a fitness and health topic:
- Leverage current staff.
- Once a month ‘newsletter’ to your network.
11. Create one presentation/power point that you can deliver: Change the audience — mix and match with your co-workers.
12. Capture testimonials about your club and YOU!
Shawn Stewart is the Operations Manager at Gainesville Health and Fitness Center. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org