What’s Working Now!: Effective Networking Strategies for Gym Owners

by | Jul 3, 2023 | Marketing, Podcast, What's Working Now! | 0 comments

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)

In What’s Working Now!, fitness business owners share the specific strategies and practices that are driving success for their businesses — right now!


Episode Highlights:
4:53 – Pamela goes back in time 10 years to talk about how she used to approach networking
6:02 – Pamela describes what inspired the shift in her approach to networking
6:58 – This is Pamela’s new networking strategy
8:00 – Networking as an extension of your branding
9:40 – Using the question “How Can I” to find a way to network even when you’re busy
13:40 – How Pamela, an introvert, motivates herself to have conversations and develop relationships with strangers
17:44 – Positive outcomes for the business when networking is a part of the strategy
20:55 – Using social media to network and build awareness in the community

In this article, we’ll uncover insights shared by Pamela MacElree, the owner of a highly successful fitness business, Urban Athlete, and one of our esteemed Success Coaches here at Fitness Revolution. In our conversation we explore the power of networking and its role in building powerful opportunities for fitness business growth.


Networking for Your Fitness Business: A Fresh Perspective

Networking has the potential to transform businesses, yet it is often misunderstood or approached with apprehension.  Many fitness business owners perceive networking as limited to attending events, exchanging business cards, and making forced connections. However, Pamela MacElree brings a fresh perspective to networking, emphasizing the importance of genuine conversations and building authentic relationships.

Pamela’s networking journey has evolved over the years, adapting to changing circumstances while staying true to the essence of her philosophy of simply connecting with others. Initially, she relied on introductions from her clients and engaged in traditional networking activities like business association meetings and events. These interactions focused on mutual benefits, showcasing businesses, and helping each business to expand their reach. And while this traditional approach can be very effective when done well, it’s not the only way.

In Pamela’s case, life’s demands, particularly the responsibilities of being a mother, compelled Pamela to put her networking efforts on hold for a while. Motivated by the desire to reconnect with the community and cultivate strategic partnerships, she embarked on a fresh networking journey.


The Power of Genuine Conversations in Networking

Pamela’s approach to networking is refreshingly simple: just have conversations. By stepping out of her comfort zone, she engages in meaningful dialogues with fellow business owners, prospects, and community members. These conversations are driven by a genuine interest in getting to know people, understanding their businesses, and exploring potential collaborations.

According to Pamela, “I look at networking as just talking. It’s about being personable and genuinely connecting with others. I believe that strategic partnerships and cross-promotions can only happen when there is a connection and mutual understanding.”

The organic nature of Pamela’s networking strategy allows her to establish connections based on shared values, interests, and goals. It’s not about pushing an agenda or having a specific ask, but rather about building rapport and exploring common ground. By taking the time to listen, empathize, and show a sincere interest in others, Pamela creates a solid foundation for future partnerships and referrals.


Using Networking to Increase Brand Awareness for Your Fitness Business

Pamela understands that networking goes hand in hand with branding. It provides an opportunity to share her business’s story, reinforce brand visibility, and expand its reach within her community. Collaborations with other businesses, co-hosting events, or even having a simple presence in a local establishment all contribute to fostering brand recognition and generating interest.

As Pamela explains, “When I engage in networking activities, it’s not just about promoting my business. It’s about building relationships and supporting other businesses in the community. By doing so, we create a sense of unity and strengthen our brands collectively, which contributes to a better community for everyone.”


Overcoming Hesitations and Making Connections

Despite being an introvert by nature, Pamela has found ways to overcome hesitations and embrace networking wholeheartedly. She acknowledges that every conversation is an opportunity, and that the stakes are low when the focus is on building relationships rather than achieving specific outcomes.

According to Pamela, “There’s no harm in having a conversation and being personable. Networking is about connecting with others, and that’s something I genuinely care about because my fitness business aims to improve lives. Stepping out and engaging with others is an essential aspect of fulfilling my business’s purpose.”


Finding New Business Opportunities with Networking

Pamela’s networking strategy revolves around organic growth, but she also recognizes the need for some level of planning and follow-up. While she doesn’t commit to rigid schedules or networking groups, she stays intentional about nurturing connections. A friendly follow-up message, a shared social media post, or even scheduling future collaborations keeps the momentum alive and strengthens relationships.

She advises those hesitant about networking to start small and be intentional about their conversations. Reconnecting with acquaintances and gradually expanding the network creates a foundation for reaching out to new individuals and businesses. By embracing networking as an extension of branding, entrepreneurs can tap into the power of genuine connections and unlock doors to new opportunities.


Key Takeaways: Networking for Gym Business Growth

  • Networking is about genuine conversations and building authentic relationships.
  • Focus on being personable and connecting with others on a meaningful level.
  • Networking serves as an extension of branding, reinforcing brand visibility and expanding reach.
  • Overcome hesitations by realizing the low stakes and the potential for positive outcomes.
  • Nurturing connections through intentional follow-up ensures the growth of relationships and partnerships.

If you’re looking to add Networking into your Marketing channel mix, or are wondering what to do about lead channels that aren’t performing as well as they once were, read more advice directly from our Success Coaches in What Do You Tell Gym Owners To Do When Their Typically Reliable Lead Channels Stop Producing?

Author: Kelly Berry

Kelly Berry is a strategic business leader and business coach known for her operational excellence, ability to drive growth and results across multiple industries. Kelly is the VP of Operations for Fitness Revolution. She is also a podcaster and host of her Life Intended podcast.

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