Your Perpetual Referral Plan: Get Your Clients To Refer More

It’d be great if you could build your business off referrals alone, right? There are a few businesses out there who are able to do this, but they are outliers. Most of us mortals have to expand our marketing to other channels to grow our business and hit our goals.

That doesn’t mean you should neglect your internal marketing channel of referrals. Too many fitness business owners sit back and hope to get more referrals or word of mouth leads instead of taking control from the start.

Let’s breakdown what goes into a referral plan that can perpetuate itself, essentially allowing for a constant stream of referral leads into your business.  

How Should Your Clients Refer?

Don’t take for granted that you know exactly who you want as a client in your business and how to communicate with them about what you offer. Your clients only know their story and are not well versed in talking about your business. Outside of a great experience or the results they are getting you will be lucky if they can explain what you do to other in a way that matters.

Take charge of your referral experience by laying out:

  1. Who your clients should refer
  2. How they should refer them
  3. Why it’s important to them and their friends/family

Package all that up into a simple and easy way for them to refer and you’ll have a winning referral program on your hands.  

First, tell your clients exactly who you are looking to bring into your business, this would be the demographics of your Ideal Client profile. Something like “I’m looking for a busy professional who wants to lose at least 20 lbs but can’t find the time”. This paints a clear picture inside the head of your client and allows them to easily connect that to the people they know.

Next, lay out a simple and clear plan for them to refer the client. It could be VIP Referral Passes they can give out with their name on it for tracking or simply having them make an email introduction to the person they want to refer. The easier you can make this the more effective it will be.  

Finally, let them know what’s in it for them. Tell them what they get and why it’s important for them to refer. That can include things like referral rewards, improved experiences for them, improved results, or maintaining the culture of the gym.

Plant The Seeds Early

You want to inform your clients that you love, almost expect referrals from the very start of your relationship with them. Acknowledge that you need to earn the referral but if your client loves their results and the experience you provide the biggest thank you they can give you is to refer others like them who could use a little help.  

Immediately after a new client sign ups you should be requesting referrals. These are called Point of Sale referrals. Right after a new client has completed all of their paperwork to start training inform them of your referral program and let them know how to refer their friends. Leverage statistics for success rates of those who workout with a friend vs those who work out alone. It’s also key to let them know that this provides a support system out of the gym as well.  

Follow Up With Requests

Over the first 30 days of your new client’s experience I recommend that you have a pre-scheduled and systemized follow up process to ensure they are having a great experience. This includes text, email, calls and in person meetings. During this 30 day follow up I also recommend that make 3 referral requests, most of them through written communication to the client via email or letters.  

This reminds them of the referral program during their initial experience with you and takes advantage of getting referrals during one of the times they are most excited about being in your program.

Opportunity Referral Requests

Many fitness pros miss key referral request opportunities because they fail to listen. This is especially true when you build a team in your fitness business. Train yourself to request referrals when a client hits a milestone or tells you something positive about your program.  

Another key opportunity to get more referrals is to listen for your clients talking about their friends or family asking about what they do for their workouts, nutrition, or complimenting them on their results. You’ll hear things like “oh, my sister was asking about Fitness Revolution the other day…”  

Often times that goes unnoticed or the fitness pro will simply tell the client to have that person call them. Instead, take control and get the individual’s information or invite the client to bring that individual in for their next workout as a guest.

These opportunities will pop up frequently once you train yourself to recognize them.

Reward Referrals

When you get a referral it’s important that you reward the referring client. Avoid discounts and other intangible rewards for something that you can physically hand the client. It’s important to note that the client isn’t referring to earn money or get a reward, but the reward is important so that you can acknowledge them for their referral.  

The standard referral reward is a $25-50 gift card or cash. This is enough to show that you truly appreciate the referral and gives you the chance to recognize the referring client in front of your other clients.

Make a big deal about getting referrals by handing the client their reward at the end of their sessions, hopefully around other clients, and taking photos to share via your newsletter, social media and other marketing channels.

This act of recognition and then marketing of the photos will keep referrals top of mind for your clients.

Putting it all together

Any one of these referral programs would help you get more referrals, but when you put them all together you can create a steady flow of new referral leads for your business. It won’t take long for you to see an increase in referrals for your fitness business. This is also one of the highest return marketing activities you can do for your business because we both know that referrals are pre-qualified and pre-sold.

Need Help Putting Together A Referral Plan or Marketing Plan to Grow Your Business?

Take 60 minutes to talk with a member of the Fitness Revolution team to dig in to your business and help you discover the path you need to take to reach your biggest goals. The call is completely FREE! If you think working with us at the end of the call can help you reach your goals we’ll discuss what may be the best fit for you.

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