How To Use Traditional Networking To Grow Your Health Coaching Business
When I was a new health coach, I spent a significant amount of time doing “traditional networking” — networking in organized networking groups.
Personally, I went into these meetings with the goal of forming relationships with other health and wellness practitioners who might make good referral partners or want to host me for a speaking gig.
One of my big wins was meeting the owners of a busy acupuncture clinic who hosted me for multiple talks and referred clients to me. I also met chiropractors, a massage therapist, and personal trainers.
This strategy can be very effective – if you’re attending the right groups/meeting. But it can also end up being draining and a waste of time.
How to Find Networking Groups
Though you may not be aware of the groups in your area, there are likely many to choose from!
Start by doing a google search to find groups. Type in “networking groups [insert your town/city]” and then do the same search for surrounding towns. You may also find groups on meetup.com and eventbrite.com. (I can also promise that when you attend one group you’ll meet people who can tell you about the other groups in the area.)
Put the meetings you find on your calendar, so you keep the times available.
Then shop around. Attend the groups and figure out which ones are a good fit for you. Each group will have a different size, format, personality, and attract different types of business owners.
When I was a health coach, I attended a large networking group that I never felt comfortable in, but then loved a smaller women’s networking group that was more focused on support.
If you’re more of an introvert (like me), you’ll probably avoid big networking groups and stick to smaller ones.
Do a Little Prep
1. Set a Goal
Just like with everything you do in your business, with networking you’ll want to have a goal in mind.
What do you want to get out of networking?
Here are some possible goals: to get clients, connect with potential referral or promotional partners, or connect with people/groups who could host you to speak.
When I did networking as a health coach I used it to connect with others in the health and wellness field who could refer clients to me or host me for a talk … vs. networking to get clients directly.
While I recommend going in with a goal, also be open to what will come out of it.
Networking is about expanding the number of people you know and providing value by connecting people in your network. Often this in ways that aren’t business related… but lead to you becoming known and trusted in your community.
2. Identify Who You Want to Meet
Before attending groups, if possible look at who’s in the group and identify people you want to meet. Often groups will have a list of members or an RSVP list that’s published. If not, don’t stress – I have a tip below that will help you meet the ‘right” people.
3. Be Ready to Introduce Yourself
I know this can be a bit anxiety producing, but I have an easy fix.
Write a short one sentence description of what you do ahead of time and practice it. This will allow you to feel more at ease when meeting people.
Don’t be surprised if you even get EXCITED about introducing yourself! And keeping it to one sentence means you won’t have a long speech to memorize.
What to Say & Do When You Get There
If you’re new to a group start by introducing yourself to the host or the person checking people in. Tell them you’re new and and ask if there’s anyone they think you should meet. (Now you don’t have to worry about roaming the room aimlessly.)
Bring business cards and be sure to get contact info from anyone you want to get to know further. Ask the best way to connect with them – email, text, social media, etc. This way, they’ll be more likely to respond when you reach out.
What happens DURING a networking group is just the beginning. Follow-up with people you made a connection with and meet for tea or lunch.
When it comes to networking, focus on building relationships first and ask “how can I support you”?
When you focus on giving, it comes back ten fold. Most of the time people will follow-up answering your question by asking how they can support YOU.
And as I suggested earlier, be open to what comes out of your networking efforts! The more people you develop a TRUE connection with, who are familiar with what you do, and who they come to know, like, and trust… the more referrals or clients will come.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What positive or negative experiences have you had networking? What is your favorite group to attend? If you haven’t yet started networking, what’s one group you’d like to attend first? Post your questions and comments below so I can support you.