Erik Rokeach: Hey, I’m Erik Rokeach and I’m here with the funny man himself, Mr. Steve Krebs. Steve and I have been talking a little bit and I know one of the things that he is absolutely awesome at is networking.
I mean we’re here talking, chatting. Everybody knows who he is. It’s one of the big things that he just crushes on to help keep clients and bring them to the door and make them happy and deliver results. So Steve, what I want you to do before we dive into some of the cool things that you’re doing for networking, I want you to just kind of give me a real quick brief background of who you are, what you’re doing and how business is going.
Steve Krebs: Yeah. I mean business is great. My background is I started running an elite athlete facility maybe 10 years ago, decided that I wasn’t making the money I wanted to make because obviously I wasn’t the business owner. I decided to open my own business. That was around 2007 that I opened my business up and things were going great, man. We run boot camp, athlete performance and semiprivate personal training out of my facility and things were going really well.
Erik Rokeach: Cool. Now, you mentioned in the intro that just networking is one of your things. All right. So why don’t you dive in like right now kind of what’s the biggest thing for you to kind of get the networking going and make sure that it’s effective and that it’s working?
Steve Krebs: Sure. I mean for me, the first thing that I did for networking was – I know it sounds corny but I joined my Chamber of Commerce and I tried to hit up as many events as I can with those guys. If you go to those things, you’re going to meet a lot of power players in the area. They’re all business owners for the most part and it’s an easy transition to get in there and meet people.
Now, the advice to persona trainers is please don’t show up there in like an underarm or cutoff shirt because you’re going to be looked at like a clown. So you have to look the part. If you’re a fitness business owner, then you have to look like a business owner, not a fitness business owner.
So I would at least shirt and tie it up. Nothing crazy. I’m not wearing like a three-piece suit or anything but I always got dressed up when I went and just made sure that I didn’t do the norm, right? So when I meet people, I wasn’t like trying to stick my card in their face. Basically what I did is I went with a given hand. I would say, “Hey, is there anything I can do to help your business out? Is there anything I can put up in my business to help you out with your business?”
And that kind of stuff goes a long way, man. The other thing that I’ve done is I’ve gone door to door back in the day when I started. Everywhere around my facility I just went door to door handing out flyers, handing out cards, same thing. Ask them if there’s anything that I could put up in my facility for them and then things started happening from that stuff. Then I got a client from a local business who also was friends with the local radio owner who then started training with me and then I got free advertising through the radio and one of my buddies is a TV cameraman and that’s how I made it on TV. So yeah, I mean it all steamrolled.
Erik Rokeach: There’s two things there I want to touch on because there’s two good points you talked about, the Chamber of Commerce and how you dealt with people and the other thing is you were talking about how you went door to door. So I want to kind of break those down real quick.
Steve Krebs: OK.
Erik Rokeach: The Chamber of Commerce, you dressed up. You had shirt and tie. Sometimes I know a lot of people – I know this is me early on too. I would walk in there and then some of those events are very cliquey. Everybody knows each other and you want to really get in and kind of talk to them. So, any advice on how you can get in there and kind of like break into that circle and just get to know some people?
Steve Krebs: Oh, yeah. Well I mean for me, like it’s kind of funny dude but I use like the same techniques that I used to like talk to chicks with. I really did because it worked.
Erik Rokeach: Let’s hear it.
Steve Krebs: You know what I mean? It’s almost like that book The Game. I don’t know if you’ve read that.
Steve Krebs: Yes. I mean I was doing that before. I read that book but it works, man. So you’re going into a clique of businesspeople. The thing is, let’s be honest, most fitness professionals were going to look the part. So you’re in shape and you probably take care of yourself really well so you’re walking in there and you’re – if it’s other old dudes there, they’re kind of like – they don’t want to be around you because they’re kind of inferior-looking and built and all that stuff.
So when it comes down to it, it’s like animalistic stuff, right? So they’re going to keep away from you. So what I did man is I just had the biggest smile on ever and just broke into the “sets”, right? I was breaking in by just introducing myself and if somebody gives you the cold shoulder, let’s be honest, you’re not going to want to do business with them anyway. They’re probably an asshole.
So the hell with them but I went to a speed networking event. It was like speed dating but networking. It was ridiculous but that’s like I got so many contacts out of that one thing. So yeah, I mean just look the part and unfortunately, I think in our industry, there are still a lot of people that don’t carry themselves professionally around situations like that.
You got to turn it on and off. Like if somebody meets me at an event, like a fitness event, I’m a goofball man. I’m having fun because that’s where all my friends are and I’m going crazy but when I’m out training or meeting people, it’s a totally different person, right? You got to be professional.
Erik Rokeach: OK. Now let’s go into the door to door side of things. All right. I would see it all the time hanging out with some friends or business owners. Some person would walk in and be like, “Here’s my flyer. Can you put it up on the window or do something?” Not going to work.
Steve Krebs: Yeah. I never did that.
Erik Rokeach: What did you do?
Steve Krebs: I walk in and say, “Hey, I train.” My boot camp is mostly women so what I would do is go to local salons and places like that and say, “Hey, do you have any information that I can put up in my business because I have a hundred women that come into my facility? They all go to a hair salon. They all get their nails done.” The people will be so happy to be like – because I’m giving them business for nothing. I didn’t ask for anything in return. Then I would go back after and then give them one of mine or most of the time, they’re going to be like, “Oh, that’s so great. Do you have anything that we can put up here?” Win-win situation. So that’s how I always did it.
Erik Rokeach: How long do you think you should wait, like if you were going to go back? I mean should you go back the next day, a week, two weeks?
Steve Krebs: You know what? What I always did is I waited until I usually set somebody over there. Like one of my clients may have ended up going over there. Just like I said, it’s like there’s a hot chick in the club. Like, you don’t want to be too pushy so same thing with people. People are always on the defensive. I mean if you walk in somewhere and just be like, “Here’s my flyer,” they’re going to throw it in the garbage. We’ve all done it, I’m sure, at this point.
Erik Rokeach: Absolutely, yeah.
Steve Krebs: That was 2007 when I first opened up. I mean do I go handing out flyers now? No. I built a business up and I’m on TV and I write for the news now. So it’s easier to get people on the door but when I was getting started, man, hey you got to be on your hustle for sure.
Erik Rokeach: OK. Now let’s wrap up the second half of this interview. Obviously you talked about getting in the door. You spent years now establishing these relationships and networking with them. What are you doing to keep these relationships so that everybody is happy? You’re happy. They’re happy. They’re giving you clients and you’re helping them.
Steve Krebs: I mean I’m a referral machine. If I go to somebody and their service is outstanding, a lot of times I will just tell them my members without getting anything back and what happens is now is that these people will contact me and be like, “Oh my god, you sent me 20 people,” and they will do anything for you.
So I mean for me, I’m not going to refer any of my people to anybody that sucks. You got to be good at what you do. I have a buddy that’s a chiropractor that does ART and grafting and all the soft tissue work and he’s awesome. I’ve sent him like 50 people. It’s awesome, dude. I mean it’s a great way to set up the barter system too and I get to go for free.
Erik Rokeach: Yeah. Works well for you, right? You make money. You get stuff for free. It’s not a bad deal. All right. Any really key important things that we’re missing here on networking, getting in the door, keeping those relationships?
Steve Krebs: I don’t think so, man. I think that it’s being consistent just like anything else, just like most of us are telling our clients or whoever, man. You got to be consistent but you can’t just go one day and expect that you’re going to get all these leads and blow your business up. I think on top of that, trainers that are just getting into the business, like you got to be good at what you do, right? Yo can’t just take like a one-day certification and open a business and expect to be super successful. I mean you got to put the time in like we all had. So …
Erik Rokeach: Very cool. Steve, I appreciate the time in sharing some of your killer tips there in networking.
Steve Krebs: No problem, dude.