Monday, May 3, 2010

Trainers: Your Bartering Network

As a fitness professional working with different types of people, it is always wise to create a network for yourself that will benefit you. A network is used for marketing purposes--obviously,  the power of "word of mouth" is substantial when trying to establish a solid client base. But a network is also important to help you out in times that you need some assistance.

If you train small groups of clients--such as bootcamps--it is important to create a "community" atmosphere and really get to know your clients on an individual level. During the screening process,  you should ask investigative questions as to what your clients do for a living. What kind of profession are they involved in? Then, collectively train these groups and create a group social support system that allows you to freely speak to each client and reach out to them if needed. What do I mean? There will be times in your career that you will need help from people that know about things that you don't know much about. There will be times in your career or personal life that you will need the help of others. As a fitness professional, we have the best jobs in the world because we cater to people a service and in return we earn their trust, friendship, and business.

So what type of people should you include in this network?  Here's a list of some that I learned over the years that it is very important to connect with:

1.) Physician (or some medical personnel) - Over the years, I have had several doctors as clients. I always treat them with the utmost respect and make a special effort to create a comfortable rapport with them. Having a doctor as client allows me to ask him for his opinions on health issues, health care, and illness. It pays to be able to have a source to go to for general info. However, it is important to establish a really solid relationship with a physic an before you go quizzing him on issues or personal matters. A solid relationship takes time (months) to establish and a foundation of trust should be created first.

2.) Attorney - Another great person to have in your corner. Anytime you need advice on legal matters, having an attorney as a client is always a good start. There have been many times I need simple advice on legal issues and asked my lawyer client. Sometimes he could help...sometimes he could not. In any case, it was better than searching  the internet for advice. I must stress that it takes time before a professional feels comfortable to discuss issues "outside the office".

3.) CPA/Financial Advisor - Having an accountant as a client can be helpful in answering business inquirers. Someone that can "do the books" for your business is not a bad idea if bartering is something you want to do. I have always found that I like to have my books completed by someone other than a client. Use your CPA client for general questions.

4.) Auto Mechanic - Here is one I wish I still had. Since being married,  I have moved my residence and do not train my auto-mechanic client. Nowadays, auto repairmen have turned into sly and devious money hungry animals that "recommend" you fork over hundreds of dollars into vehicle repairs that may or may not need immediate attention. Truth is, having a auto repairman as a client is very helpful in gathering second opinions and general service questions. 

5.)  Handyman - If you are a homeowner and don't do alot of repairs around the house yourself, chances are you can utilize the help of a handyman. A handyman can be anyone from a carpenter, plumber, or heating tech--basically anyone that is creative and knows the in's and out's of things that need repairing. You can barter with a handyman to help fix repairs around your home or studio.

Honorable Mentions - Here is a list of some other noble professionals to have in your arsenal network:

1.) City Official (mayor or council person)
2.) Police Officer
3.) Towing Serviceman
4.) Travel Agent
5.) CEO/CFO/COO

By no means is this list definitive. We can apply any profession depending on what are needs are. Who would you add to this list?

3 comments:

  1. Hey John great post! and it is so true... I just finished reading "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi and he talk exactly what your talking about if you've never read it its definitely worth your time. I'm excited to read you Cosgrove interview. Keep up the good work.

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  2. Thanks Brendon! I have to check out that book! Alwyn's interview will hopefully be up by the end of this week!

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