Want More Business? Take Off Your Headphones At The Gym!
I’m almost always thinking about business, so it’s no surprise that when I’m working out at the gym, business is on my mind. Recently, I had a revelation at the gym. I often work out with headphones. I listen to power music and that helps me stay focused and I can endure more than if I don’t have them on. But with those headphones on, I never, ever meet people.
My gym is a social place. And although each gym probably has its own dynamic and subculture, I suspect most gyms are just as friendly. But so many of us are wearing our headphones, it’s hard to find out how friendly things actually are.
Since I had my revelation, I’m committed to spending at least a half hour of my time at the gym without my headphones on, just getting to know the people around me. I’ve met some really great people. And a few of them have become clients.
Now, here’s the thing I’ve figured out about networking and why it isn’t working. People are spending a lot of time “qualifying” their leads and not nearly enough time getting to know people. These aren’t leads, they’re people. Your clients are people. And even if the guy you’re talking to doesn’t need your services right now, not only might he know someone who does, but if you expand your network of friends and acquaintances instead of “qualifying leads,” you’ll be first on that same guy’s mind when he does need your help.
So I’m not going around my gym, actually talking to people about my business, but I am getting to know people as I work out. It’s simple things- helping someone with their weights, asking someone to spot you, striking up a conversation on the track so you don’t have to walk or run alone. And as you get to know people, you learn what they do and they learn what you do, and that’s how it eventually leads to business.
It takes a little patience. Talk to people. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. If you make it about getting to know people and expanding your personal network, you’ll succeed far more and far faster than if you make it “networking” and all about your business and what you can “get.”