The other day, I got an e-mail from a coach I met about a year ago. When we met, I was presenting on acceleration mechanics at an IYCA event, and I talked about using your expertise to show area coaches that you’re an expert. The e-mail I got explained that this coach had recently opened a training center and was having a difficult time developing relationships with sport coaches in his area. As many of us have experienced, they were not responding to any of his attempts to reach out, and he was a little frustrated. He asked me if I had any advice on how to get these coaches to respond.
I’ve had the same experience many times, so I know that it can be frustrating. It can make you question who you are and what you’re doing. It can even cause you to to change business directions if you take it to heart. Fortunately, I have also experienced success in this area, so I had some advice. The following is part of my response, and I hope that it helps you with your business as well.
“Reaching out to coaches is tough. They really don’t want to be bothered and they certainly don’t want to be “sold” anything. You have to accept the fact that they look at you as a salesperson, not just a coach. They think they are coaches, and you just want to make some money off their athletes.
Your challenge is to become an expert. A leader in the field that they look to for advice, help and support. You have to learn how to become a resource. You need to slowly build a relationship with them based on your ability to help them.
At the IYCA conference in CT, I taught you how to teach acceleration mechanics and suggested that you refine your skills so you can offer them for free to area coaches. This is a great start if you feel confident and comfortable with it. If not, find an area of sports performance that you consider yourself an expert in, and start spreading your knowledge.
Two great ways to spread your knowledge and become the expert in your area are to start a newsletter and host a coaches clinic.
You might want to host a free clinic and invite every coach in the area. I recommend including at least one other speaker besides yourself. You could probably contact some of the local universities and ask if an assistant strength coach or G.A. would be interested in getting his/her feet wet in the speaking business and present at your clinic for free. You may only get a few coaches to attend, but that will begin to develop relationships. Also, all of the coaches who didn’t show up but saw the announcements are still impacted. They will start to look at you as a resource, not just a salesman.
You could also hold a much larger clinic, bring in paid speakers and change people to attend. This is a much bigger undertaking and much riskier, but it can pay off depending on the connections and marketing skills you have.
I would definitely recommend doing a free newsletter, and I would actually print it the first few times. Start out small with just a couple of pages of information, not sales copy for your facility, and take it out to every high school athletic department around you. You can mail them out to save time or drive around if you have extra time (hopefully that changes soon). Commit to doing this every month or two for at least 6 issues, and make the content compelling enough that high school coaches would actually want to share it with their athletes. I recommend also including at least one success story of an athlete you work with in each issue.
Microsoft Word has newsletter templates you can use to make this easier and there are plenty of other free templates available online from different sources.
At the same time, you should start building your e-mail list of local coaches and send out a PDF version as well. Many e-mail addresses can be found online. Eventually, you can save a lot of time and money by e-mailing it out.
Any athlete you train can also be used as a conversation starter with a coach. Call him/her just to tell them you are working with the kid and ask them their opinion of what you think the kid needs. Coaches love to be asked their opinion because it makes them feel more involved rather than you freelancing without their input. If the conversation goes well, the coach may recommend other athletes to you or you can offer to come in for a free session or two just to help them out. Always make it about helping them, asking nothing in return. Eventually, you’ll establish a relationship and they will help you in many ways, but not yet.
I hope this helps and I hope you become a huge success and grow your business to the point you’ve always dreamed about. Let me know what else I can do to help you. ”
I hope this gives you some action steps to take toward expanding your sports training business. If you haven’t picked up a copy of my free e-book The Sports Training Business: 10 Factors That Will Make or Break Your Success, please go to the top of this page and grab it right now.