June is Gym and Fitness Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for gym owners, trainers, and fitness professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to whip your marketing into shape by getting the most out of these high-ROI techniques. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!
Now that you’ve optimized your business’s online presence to ensure that customers can easily find you, it’s time to work on driving more value from current members or clients. Referrals are the lifeblood of any fitness business, and comprise 65% of all new business, according to the New York Times. With the inherent trust that comes with the recommendation of a friend at a time when consumers are more informed and skeptical of traditional advertising, referrals are invaluable. Stop leaving them to chance, and create a comprehensive plan that will allow you to keep your client pipelines full.
Cultivating a Referrals Mindset
It’s important to create a process around your referral marketing efforts so that you can track, evaluate and continue to refine it in order to drive more business. You can even create outlines or scripts to assist you with this flow, until you get more comfortable and it becomes automatic. When it comes to seeking referrals, preparation is the key to success!
The unspoken first step is always to deliver quality results. For trainers, be transparent about your plan and process, and make sure you articulate it clearly to all clients before you begin training. Clients are looking for a trainer that has a good energy, is positive and keeps them motivated. Find a good balance for each client between pushing them to improve without letting them feel as though they’ve failed.
Next, perhaps the most important and often overlooked step in the process is simply to ask. Despite 83% of customers reporting they’d refer friends and family to a business following a positive experience, only 29% actually do. While there is a myriad of possible reasons for this, it’s important to remember every time you prepare to approach the topic with a current, delighted client. It’s normal to be anxious about it, but helping their friend or family member achieve the same fantastic results that keep them healthy is a win-win for both of you. So, don’t view it as a favor, and don’t forget to ask!
When you’re first getting started with a new client, plant the seeds early. Just as you set expectations by providing them with a fitness plan, so should you discuss where referrals come in. Some trainers like to explain how vital referrals are to their business, and provide more context for the practice. For gyms this can be when they are first signing up. Discuss their goals, timeframe and assess the situation. Explain what they should expect, and ask if he or she is satisfied with the results and your performance that they please refer one or two friends that might be looking to achieve similar fitness goals.
Anytime they express gratitude or excitement over the progress they’re making is a perfect opportunity to remind them to refer your training or gym. Work the topic into discussions like that, because every time you bring it up, you improve the chances of them remembering and following through.
Finally, whenever anyone sends a referral your way, be sure to thank them. Whether it’s with a card, phone call or small gift, be sure to acknowledge the time they took to help you grow your business.
Creative ideas to boost referrals