You know how important it is to create personal connections with your members. Did you know that personal connections within the fitness industry are just as important for your career and your business?
I had this epiphany again (technically, I'm not sure I can call it an epiphany if I've had it multiple times) last month when I attended the Motionsoft Technology Summit in Baltimore. I work from home, so I am used to connecting with people on the phone and through emails as well as gaining insights by watching videos and webinars online. The modern technology that allows for this type of interaction and education is an undeniable blessing.
However, every time I go to an in-person event, I am amazed at how it changes my world and my perspective. While at dinner one night of the Motionsoft Tech Summit, I reconnected with an old contact and saw that person in a different light, I shared more about myself with others leading to a greater sense of trust and connection, and all of that led to not just a lead for a story but also insights into how we can better serve you with education and information.
One of the best people at relationship building that I know is my boss, Marty McCallen, Club Industry's managing director. Marty seems to know everyone in the fitness industry—and the best part is that he enjoys getting to know people. His memory about who has kids who play hockey, who just lost their job, and who is recovering from surgery is amazing. At the Tech Summit, which he also attended, I watched him connect with many old friends by asking about their lives—and I saw him make new connections by being genuinely interested in new people.
Relationships are built more quickly and become stronger faster when they are made in person where you can see a person's sincerity and judge their competence more easily—as they can do with you.
I bring this up because in today's world more people seem to be relying on online education through videos, webinars, articles and white papers. These are all well and good, but nothing builds the connection you need like sharing conversation with a new friend over a coffee or an after-dinner drink, ruminating over difficult questions in a roundtable with someone who could become a mentor, connecting with expert presenters after their sessions, hearing a great keynote address in person or working a better deal on equipment purchases because you connected with your equipment rep in person.
I invite you to come to next week's Club Industry Show at the Hyatt Regency Chicago to see what I mean. If you have never been to an industry trade show and conference, this is the year to begin a new tradition. It's one that will pay off because online-only relationships can take you only so far in this world. The personal connection takes you several steps further, giving you an advantage over people who don't understand this concept.