Networking By Walking Around (NBWA)

Stealing the concept of MBWA (Management By Walking Around), NBWA supports the idea that getting face-to-face with those in your community creates opportunities to establish new relationships, reconnect/reestablish others, and bring them closer to being a potential customer.

I was having a conversation with professionals in one of my mastermind groups about the importance (particularly for brick and mortar businesses) of getting out into your community and meeting your potential clients/customers in person. As it happened, I went to the local farmer’s market on Saturday and bumped into someone I hadn’t really had a conversation with since pre-covid days. It turns out, I had been on her mind and she said that she wanted to start working with me. (*1 new client).

Later on Saturday I went to an art show opening and, through the course of the evening, I had similar conversations with three additional people that also said that they needed my help. (*3 more clients) As if to emphasize the point of NBWA, by getting out into my community, in one day, I picked up 4 new clients.

Now, I do want to say that it wasn’t out of the blue. I have established myself in the community as someone that is known, liked, and trusted, but that wasn’t from advertising. It was from previous things I had done in the community, such as volunteering to help local organizations, donating time and services to local charity events, and attending community events over the years. Every person you meet is an opportunity, not to sell overtly, but plant the seed of what you do and the type of person you are. These planted seeds may blossom immediately or it may take years of ongoing interactions. The key is that face-to-face interactions are the fastest way to get known, liked and trusted. And that is who people want to do business with.

So, if you are looking for local customers/clients, it is time to get out of your space and into your community. Volunteer to help non-profits, charity events, and community events, go to local networking events, and just get out and attend other local events where you can meet and talk with others.

When You Refer, Your Brand is at Stake

It’s very important to have a network of professionals that you can refer your people to. All of those things that they need that you do not do. This could be a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a registered dietician, or even a good car mechanic.

Being able to help your members/clients solve a problem that they have is a great way to build social currency (being held in higher esteem). Which equals greater loyalty. So, yea! However, be careful who you refer people to. Every referral that you make is a reflection on you and your brand. As said, a successful referral increases the positive feelings that people have for you, but, a negative experience can have the opposite effect. You lose respect and loyalty.

Build your referral network by getting to know the people you intend on referring people to. Chiropractor? Go talk with them and get an adjustment. Massage therapist? Get a massage. Don’t refer unless you know what they can do. Sure, it will take longer to build that network, but your clients, the people you referring your clients to, and your brand will thank you.

Note: What got me going on this was that I was talked into joining this online referral group. As I made connections to other businesses, I kept getting asked to refer them when I really didn’t know anything about them. Referrals are precious. Use them only when you know that they will serve your people well.

What’s Getting One More Client Worth?

I’ve known many personal trainers through the years who “couldn’t afford” to pay for further education, mentorships, networking groups, and/or services that could help them build their business. It’s interesting that the inability for those trainers to see the value is not so different from how some individuals looking for health and fitness results balk at paying for personal training. It’s about finding the value.

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Now, not all programs or products are worth it and that’s why you want to rate each offering individually for its value.

As personal trainers, one of the basic questions is, “Will this get me more clients, and, if so, how many?” When you look at the value of a new client, you are also not simply looking at one session, or a week’s worth of sessions, but what the lifetime value of gaining this client.

To figure out the lifetime value of a client, look at how much you receive for the average personal training session (your income, not the fee they pay), multiply by the average number of times per week that you meet with clients, times the number of weeks you train clients each year (hint: it’s never 52), and finally multiply that by the average number of years that clients stay with you.

In example:

  • Average income/client session = $35
  • Average sessions/week = 2
  • Typical weeks/year = 46
  • Lifetime of client = 7 years

$35 x 2 = $70, x 46 = $3220, x 7 years = $22,540

Yeah… that’s right. The lifetime value of one new client could easily be $22,540!

So, back to the question. Is spending $500 (or more or less) on a program, conference, or… whatever, worth it? If it will get you one or more clients that you wouldn’t get otherwise, the answer really is easy. Yes. How can you afford not to?

Invest in the future of your business.

Create a Business Referral Network

A huge part of building your business is getting referrals from your existing clients and/or members. Referrals don’t stop there, though. You should be creating a network of other professionals that you can refer your clients to.

referral boardThe reasons for this are twofold. First, when you refer a client to another professional that can further enhance your client’s health and/or wellness, they get even better results and will appreciate you all the more.

Second, when another professional receives a referral from you, they will feel compelled to reciprocate (as long as you are good at what you do). These professional referrals are a low-cost way to get qualified (someone that’s already interested) leads.

Start by finding other professionals that don’t offer what you do, but complement it. Look for them in the areas of health (medical doctors, physical therapists), fitness (maybe yoga or a swim coach), nutrition (RDs, personal chefs), bodywork (chiropractors, massage therapists), beauty (hair, nails), etc. Meet with them and explain what you do and that you are looking for other professionals that you can refer your clients to. Ask about their qualifications, philosophies, and references to make sure you feel confident in referring to them.

Refer your clients when appropriate and review their experience afterward. Their experience will either support your use of this professional or let you know to look for someone else. The right professional referral network will benefit everyone involved.