Wisdom From The Gym: Connectors

TAGS: wisdom from the gym, target population, owning a gym, Amy Wattles, advice, gym owner


Connectors, are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles. They are people who "link us up with the world ... people with a special gift for bringing the world together." They are "a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [... for] making friends and acquaintances". Gladwell characterizes these individuals as having social networks of over one hundred people. To illustrate, he cites the following examples: the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Milgram's experiments in the small world problem, the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" trivia game, Dallas businessman Roger Horchow, and Chicagoan Lois Weisberg, a person who understands the concept of the weak tie. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to the fact that "their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy."
-- Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point)


A private training facility is not a gym. It is not a health club. It isn't any of those things regardless of the description you choose to use. By structure, it's entirely different. Generally speaking, depending on the individual structure of your facility, the target population for marketing is a very specific population or group of people.

Specific Target Population

By design, we don't want the average person off the street. We do not engage in the on-going membership pursuit. Most private facilities target high performing, higher income athletes, or those with resources who will fund their specialized training. Typical marketing avenues are difficult to penetrate into this very specific target population to support a private facility. When you're contemplating marketing and how you plan to reach your target audience, what you know and how fat your wallet is to fund marketing doesn’t matter.

There's a Conector...or two...or three in your local community. The Connectors are the ones who these athletes and parents trust, are well connected within the local sports culture and seem to have an endless supply of clients/connections. The Connector is someone you MUST have in your corner. One Connector is great, but having multiple Connectors is even better. The Connectors are the best marketing and relationship building you can do.

Identify the Connectors

Once you identify the Connectors, begin the process of relationship building. These are the relationships that will make or break what you're trying to accomplish. The Connectors need to fully understand who you are, what sets you apart and why they should trust your own reputation against yet another “personal trainer.”

Mutual Benefits

The relationship with The Connector must be mutual. Bring something to the table in the relationship. Become an asset to the Connector, solve his/her problems – whatever you have to do to make it a MUTUALLY beneficial relationship. Everyone is out for something for free, a quick fix or sale. Don’t screw up your relationship, trust or potential access to an endless stream of clients because you can’t bring anything to the table or help the Connector solve a problem.

Figure out who the Connector are, how to access them and what YOU can bring to the table to ensure this is a mutually beneficial relationship. This is the best marketing strategy you will find and relationship building is critical for your success.

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