Wellness Biz Networking: Make A Good Impression. Act Like You Care.

We get lots of questions about how wellness businesses can do a better job of networking and word-of-mouth marketing.

Some time back, I talked to some folks with the Dallas chapter of DESA (the non-profit Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association).  This group is all about helping people with diabetes figure out how to balance food, medication, and physical activity.

One of their members belongs to a local gym. At his recommendation, and with the agreement of the gym, they held a recent chapter meeting at his gym.

They provided marketing flyers (complete with the gym’s logo!) ahead of the meeting to the gym, who did a great job of putting them in a visible spot on the counter.

So far so good. In fact, nearly 20 people RSVP’d, all but one from the surrounding area (and thus, nearly all attendees were potential gym members).

What a fabulous opportunity!

The group notified the gym about the number of attendees and confirmed several times that the gym would set up chairs.

And then…things started to go south

When the meeting time rolled around, no one at the gym knew about the meeting and no chairs were set up (and in fact, they never were set up. The group had to assemble places to sit from fitness class steps and risers!).

And there was no sign announcing “DESA Meeting This Way” (or similar) at the gym.   So people who attended wondered if they had the date wrong.

It coulda been a wonderful and subtle marketing opportunity.

Instead, most attendees will remember disorganization and extremely tired sitting bones when they remember this meeting. (Have you ever sat on a hard plastic step for 2 hours?!).

My advice:

When your wellness business stumbles onto a golden opportunity like this, make sure you overdeliver on expectations.

  1. Set up the chairs.
  2. Put up a welcome sign.
  3. Hand out a goodie bag with, say, an energy bar, a bottle of water, a coupon for a free groupX class or complimentary fitness or nutrition assessment, and a membership brochure (yes, with prices).
  4. Have the gym manager drop by, introduce himself, welcome everyone, and thank them for the opportunity to support their cause.
  5. Voice the gym’s solidarity with their cause.
  6. Resist the urge to deliver a full-blown sales pitch.  This is a marketing opportunity, not a sales opportunity.

To sum it all up, when it comes to wellness businesses networking opportunities: Make A Good Impression. Act Like You Care.

‘Nuff said?

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Leslie Nolen, Radial's president, is the nationally-known expert on the art and science of selling health and wellness.


  1. Wayne says

    great advice – had a similar thing happen with the American Heart Association at our club many years ago. Fortunately, I worked at the club AND was a part of the AHA activity – but no one else seemed to know, or care.

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