Colleagues will give you great advice regarding the power and usefulness of technology in our field.
I, however, will not. And, I love technology. The efficiency and multitasking it allows makes me swoon as a small-business owner. Learning from tech experts is a joy for me as an entrepreneur. But I have also seen how technology can be used to over-promise and under-deliver. Let’s take a step back, analyze and fix this together.
Technology can easily become a tool to avoid whatever scares us.
We sit hiding behind the charm of social media and the much talked-about importance of an online presence. A concise, accurate website is important. A professional, consistent social media schedule can be very useful. But are some of us spending time online for fear of putting ourselves out there in person? I think so, and I understand why. The fear of standing in front of another person and actually saying that we have expertise and can help them with their struggles is initially daunting. And let’s be honest, bravery is required to ask another individual for their business or contact information or commitment to enlist our services. With that in mind, it’s understandable that some of us have our heads buried in our smartphones, riding the instant gratification of a like, share or count update. Or getting lost in perfecting our web page or photos.
Here’s the rub, though.
Those miniscule online boosts are nothing when compared to a full book of business, a client achieving their goal or a happy customer writing a phenomenal review. If your social media is not delivering those things, it’s time to limit device time and get in front of some actual people.
“How do I do that?”
Try this exercise. Imagine all your tech suddenly fails and you have to obtain customers and be discovered as an expert another way. (My state director would love this — it’s essentially one of the secrets of his success. Our fearless leader still sports a flip phone and paper documents.) Without social media, email, phone calls and paid online advertising, what would you do to drum up new business? What would you do to reward current clients? What would you do to spread the word that you are a fitness expert, knowledgeable, professional and eager to take on the right kinds of clients? What about an open house? What about a lunch-and-learn? What about volunteering at a community wellness event? What about personally introducing yourself to every new member at your club with a handshake, smile and sincere offer to learn their fitness needs over a ten-minute conversation? What about asking your manager for opportunities to get involved in the company’s community efforts?
Yes, this takes a little courage.
This will feel uncomfortable at first. But that will pass. I have seen these exercises work, bringing clients to trainers and making professional connections with staying power. I encourage you to keep what is good about tech in your business without letting it distract you from your ultimate goals. Complement it with real, in-person connections that will establish you as an expert and invite potential clients to benefit from your services.