Coaching is a business that is founded on interpersonal relationships – creating meaningful connections through networking is therefore very important. Most people associate networking with attracting new clients, but expanding one’s business connections is equally vital. This can bring you new opportunities, whether in terms of cross-referrals or joint partnerships, and solidify your brand integrity and reputation.
The possibilities for networking can seem overwhelming, but have no fear! We have come up with 8 simple tips to help you grow your contact list and coaching network in no time at all:
1. Approach Networking With The Right Attitude
The first step to building a coaching network is attitude. At networking events, listen to people who share your passions, think about how you can contribute to growing their business and, most importantly, enjoy yourself! Obviously don’t forget to plan – know where your values lie and the kind of connections you’re looking to make. But think of networking first and foremost as an opportunity to build meaningful and lasting relationships: this approach will produce the best results for your business.
2. Use Social Media As A Way To Connect
Social media is not just another way to keep up with the Kardashians: it’s also the perfect tool for connecting with other professionals. Following other coaches will boost your followers (hello new clients!) and open up possibilities for cross-referral and promotion. Why not direct-message a new contact on Instagram to organize a lunch, or direct message a connection on Facebook to suggest a joint promotional campaign? Whether you learn marketing tips from other coaches’ profiles or use the search engine to identify local journalists, social media networking will help your coaching business go viral in no time.
3. Maximize The Potential Of LinkedIn
The ‘world’s largest social network for working professionals’ has reported that they were responsible for 80% of B2B leads in 2017.1 By joining groups, contributing to discussions, and Inmailing other professionals on LinkedIn, you can access a whole universe of new connections in just a few clicks. As a platform that combines your professional and personal contacts, it also gives you the opportunity to make unusual connections and form niche partnerships. Exchange services with an old friend or get a new perspective on your field from a fellow coach working abroad – you might both learn something along the way! As you see, there are many ways LinkedIn can help you grow your customer base.
4. Discover The Possibilities Offered By Networking Apps
Nowadays you need not only rely on traditional social media platforms to make connections. New apps such as Lets Lunch, Lifograph, and Rapportive, among others, are providing new and innovative ways to grow your coaching network more easily. Lets Lunch, for example, works by using your LinkedIn profile to schedule lunches with possible contacts according to your calendar and location. Voilà, you have a ready-made virtual PA, giving you more time to focus on your clients. Who knew that networking success was tucked away in your app store?!
5. Be Bold And Contact The Big Names
Don’t be afraid to contact the big names in your industry directly. Many people are reluctant to do this in case they say the wrong thing, but as long as you take the right tone in your message, you can request tips, find mentors and even organize meet-ups with some of the most important people in your field. You lose nothing by contacting them and potentially create links that you may not have previously thought possible. All it takes is a little courage.
6. Attend Conferences Related To Your Field
Digital networking is all well and good but don’t forget about the importance of meeting in-person. A recent report by psychologist and professor Richard D. Arvey found that 83% of people believe that developing personal relationships in a face-to-face context is one of the most important elements of doing business.2 Attending conferences not only allows you to learn more about your field, but also to meet others who share the same interests as you. This a surefire way to make real-life connections that have lasting consequences for your enterprise.
7. Organize Your Own Networking Events
Don’t just look for local networking groups to join, be active and organize your own events, using your marketing channels to reach potential participants. This way, you develop more intimate relationships with those attending, increase your business’ visibility and position yourself as a leader in your sector. Pick a venue that is accessible to all, and tailor the event to your local business context. Setting up a networking group with regular meetups might even blossom into a future business venture in itself!
8. Work On Your CSR And Brand Culture
Getting more involved in local community life will bring great publicity and a whole new contact network. Finding causes related to your field brings the best results: if you are a sports coach, give a free class at the local school; or, if business is your speciality, why not help newly-arrived refugees realize their commercial dreams through free workshops. Whether you give one talk, or begin a long-term partnership with a local charity, working on your CSR will boost your brand reputation and integrity, expand your network and create customer loyalty. Get volunteering!
In today’s digital world where business connections can be made not only in-person but also online, we know that expanding your coaching network can seem like a scary task. Luckily, our tips will help you grow your coaching network so that your business can reach its full potential. Making the most of an automated business tool like Shore, with its client and contact database and marketing tools, will also help you manage your time and networking strategy. That way you can concentrate on what you do best: coaching. To find out more about how Shore can help you to take your business to the next level: