Avoid These Personal Training Referral Program Mistakes

by | Sep 5, 2021 | Marketing, Referrals | 0 comments

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)

Nearly every business owner lists word of mouth and/or referrals at the top of their list for lead generation activities.

Would you do the same?

Then the key is to figuring out how successful businesses answer the question: “How do you get referrals?”

The common answers include point of sale referral programs and sometimes referral rewards.  However, even when they have a successful personal training referral program, the business owner is usually taking a very passive approach to promoting the programs and getting referrals. Imagine what you could do with an intentional and active approach to asking for referrals!

A Simple Personal Training Referral Program

If you want to maximize referrals in your business, you need to implement a plan to market your referral program to your members and keep it top of mind at all times.

Your first step is creating the referral reward or incentive that you will give out. Discounts are rarely effective. Instead, aim to hand out $25-50 in cash or gift cards to the client that produced the referral. The impact lies in the act of recognition, not the dollar amount of the reward.

After you’ve got your rewards program in place you must avoid theses common mistakes…

Referral Program Mistake #1

Personal Trainer Referral ProgramThe biggest mistake that personal trainers make with their referral program is a lack of marketing.  They might mention it to their clients when they sign up or drop it into a conversation here and there, but an active marketing plan to get more referrals is not implemented.

Here’s how you should do it:

  • Mention the rewards system and ask for referrals at the “point of sale” – when you sign up a new client
  • Integrate referral requests and reminders of the referral program in your new client follow up or onboarding process
  • Prepare a checklist for when you’ll announce and share images or mentions of referral rewards you are handing out

This allows you to reinforce the referral program early in the client/trainer relationship and also keep it in front of them throughout the year.

Referral Program Mistake #2

Do you teach your clients how to identify someone that would be a good fit for your gym?

Most trainers simply ask for a referral and don’t guide the client or give them any idea of who they should refer.  It’s best to be very specific in who you are asking a client to send your way.

“Hey Jane, I’m looking to help more women that want to lose 15lbs and just can’t seem to get it off or keep it off.  Do you know anyone like that?”

The above example is a great way to let your client know exactly who you are wanting them to refer into your program. It helps them to focus in on one type of person.

Referral Program Mistake #3

The final mistake to avoid is not being crystal clear in how your clients can refer potential members to you.  Most of your clients have no idea how to tell someone to connect with you or how to explain what you do for them.

Make referring their friends and family to you easy by providing your clients a simple way to make the connection.  It may be $100 VIP Gift Cards, marketing material on your Front End Offer or something as simple as letting them know the best way to make the connection. Is it through text? Is it through email? Make sure they know what to do.

You don’t have to get overly creative here but you want to make it easy for clients to refer and keep the process simple.

Give Your Referral Program A Lift

Make sure you avoid these key personal training referral program mistakes if you want to maximize the high quality leads it produces for your business.  By implementing just a few simple steps in your complete referral program and making sure you give it the attention it deserves you’ll be able to see an increase in new clients quickly.

Launch Your Referral Program Now

Get instant access to our guide that will walk you step by step through creating, launching and marketing a referral program that brings you new clients in as little as 5 days.

How to Build a Rock Solid Referral Program


Looking for more information on how to market your fitness business and get more clients? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Gym Business Marketing Plan.


Author: Nick Berry

Nick Berry is an accomplished entrepreneur, CEO, mentor, and author, with a track record which includes founding and leading numerous companies to success since his first venture in 2002. Nick Berry is the Founder and CEO of Fitness Revolution.

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