“Because that's where the money is…” was famous American bank robber Willie Sutton's reported answer to the question; “Willie why do you rob banks?”
I can imagine a similar conversation with an upscale restaurant owner; “so why do you cater to business people?” “Because they regularly entertain important clients and pay with expense accounts!”
Now that business people (and their prospective clients) are moving away from the two-martini lunch and adopting a more healthful lifestyle, expense accounts are paying for fitness classes.
Wall Street’s salesmen and dealmakers, whose expense accounts help fill downtown chophouses and box seats at ballparks, are now treating clients to a different kind of entertainment: high-end workouts.
Pre-dawn and afternoon classes at Manhattan fitness studios SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel Sports are growing popular with bankers who want to bond without loading up on liquor and fatty foods, according to traders and salesmen. John Abularrage, head of Tullett Prebon Plc’s Americas unit, takes clients to 5 a.m. sessions at Barry’s Bootcamp in Tribeca, where they run on treadmills and lift weights to thumping dance music.
Bankers who sell stocks or bonds have long plied mutual-fund traders and hedge-fund managers with tickets, meals and drinks in the hopes that friendship — or at least familiarity – – will lead to more trades. Health-conscious clients increasingly view steak dinners as “three-hour ordeals,” said Chelsea Kocis, a 26-year-old former equity saleswoman.
“‘Let’s meet at 5 for a workout,’” she said, describing the way she’d invite out traders. “‘You can be home before your kids go to bed.’ That’s an enticing thing for a lot of people.”
They're calling it sweat-working
New Yorkers have been wooing clients and forging business relationships in yoga classes and locker rooms for more than a minute, but after the New York Times introduced the term “sweatworking” to the public at the end of last year, the concept entered the serious spotlight.
And at the center of it all was Sarah Siciliano, an advertising production executive who has turned sweat-working into a branded business. Siciliano now has a website and a group of clients who work out with her two or more times a week. They spin, stretch, and make business deals.
CREATING BUSINESS CONNECTIONS OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE HAVE BECOME TOO MUCH ABOUT EATING AND DRINKING, OFTEN TO EXCESS. THE CONCEPT OF SWEAT-WORKING IS THAT EVEN BETTER, MORE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS CAN BE FORGED WHEN A GROUP OF LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE WORK TOGETHER TO IMPROVE THEIR MINDS AND BODIES. IMAGINE IF ALL THE TIME WE INVESTED IN NOISY, CALORIE-LADEN, ALCOHOL-SOAKED NETWORKING EVENTS WERE PUT TOWARDS INVIGORATING, CLARIFYING, ENERGIZING ATHLETIC CLASSES AND EXCURSIONS.
Now you don't have to wait for someone like Sarah to organize a group of like minded people and have them meet regularly at your club. You could do it yourself by using a free service like www.meetup.com.
I encourage you to visit meetup.com, search by your studio's Zip Code and scroll through all of the results. I did a quick check for groups located within 5 miles of ICI/PRO member Joe Ducosin's CycleQuest studio and found these groups…
- http://www.meetup.com/Southwest-Metro-BNI/ with 227 business owners and profressionals
- http://www.meetup.com/mothersconnection/ has 154 moms as members
- http://www.meetup.com/Geeks-n-Nerds/ this group of 600+ self-professed nerds meet regularly for Sushi, Karaoke and role playing
Would any of these groups be interested in holding a meeting at your studio? I have no idea, but the group leaders are easy to contact.
Another option would be for you to form your own networking group that meets after your class for coffee. What types of business are prominent nearby? Who's already in your class that would benefit from meeting more people?
Joe has a huge (6,000 employees) new health care provider moving in just up the road. I'll bet there will be a steady stream of sales people visiting who may appreciate a sweat-working opportunity at his studio – and will pay for the privilege with an expense account 🙂
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.