Today, we're chatting with Sam Pogue about building relationships—without being uncomfortable, being weird, or making people feel pressured.

Sam's great at sharing how to build relationships with potential clients without pushing too hard (and losing authenticity). Sam got started in membership sales at a big box gym and eventually became a personal trainer—and began to understand the importance of networking in building a fitness clientele base.

Here, he shares his best tips with us.


Decide who you communicate with best

When you can find commonalities with your target market, it's far easier to forge a bond (especially when compared to a falsified interaction). Figure out exactly what it is that you have to offer when it comes to conversation and values, and leverage that to form a bond with people before you start talking shop. You're more than a trainer, and you want to talk with people about what you have in common. In most cases, that's not exercise knowledge.

Remember—fitness is a big part of your life, but it isn't your whole life.

When you're working to connect with people in hopes that they will eventually sign up as a client, it's important that you remember you have so much more to offer than fitness. While your technical knowledge is important, people love you as a coach because of who you are as a person—not just the fact that you understand the technical aspects of fitness. You need to know your clients on a personal level so that you're able to communicate with them in a way that can help create long-term behavior change.


Don't talk down to potential clients

Finding connections allows you to understand how to talk with your clients in a way that makes sense to them. When you deal with the ins and outs of training every day, it's easy to forget that technical terms aren't a part of everyone's vernacular. The last thing you want is to make a client feel stupid. When you get to know the ins and outs of your client's daily lives, you're able to better understand how to talk with them about nutrition and fitness in a way that makes sense to them.


Think before you reach out to potential clients (or coaches who you want to gain knowledge from)

Social media has taken down many of the barriers between people, and it's easier than ever to reach out to anyone. There are two sides to the social media sword—while it's easier to reach out to people, it's harder to get a reply. Think before you send out questions or messages, and remember, you're working to make a genuine connection with potential clients. Introduce yourself, show real interest in what another person is doing (and don't just copy and paste messages from one person to another), and you'll up the chances of getting a message back.


Offer solutions to both clients and coaches you want to work with

When you reach out to someone and tell them you'd like to help them with a problem, you need to let them know exactly what it is you do. Tell someone how you can help them, whether that's with a fitness solution that solves a problem they've publicly shared or with offering organizational help to a trainer who has recently blown up after offering clients an incredible program. Be specific when you reach out to people—let them know that you get who they are as a person and that you want to add value to their lives.


Remember, no one wants to feel like they're being sold to

You don't like selling—and clients don't like being sold to. No one wants to feel like they're being pulled in to make a purchase. When you connect with your clients, it's important that they know you can solve pain points and that you're able to connect with them about things other than fitness. When you've already connected with people in an area of interest that you both share (outside of fitness), you've opened the door to trust and comfort. That's how to build relationships with potential clients.


The bottom line

  • Decide who you mesh with best, and make a point to reach out to them.
  • Fitness is a part of your life—but it's not your whole life. Talk to your clients about interests outside of working out and eating well.
  • Be careful that you don't talk down to potential clients when sharing info.
  • Think carefully before sending messages (to both potential clients and coaches with whom you'd like to network). Be genuine and authentic. Offer solutions, and make your value obvious.
  • Focus on connections, not sales.
  • And don't forget: A smile and a friendly hello can go a long way.

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