Personal Trainer Business Tips
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Are elaborate 7+ step funnels with video re-targeting, trip-wire offers, a complex daily email sequences, and multiple up-sells and down-sells the marketing strategies you're told to use for your fitness business?
Seems pretty complex, right? One of the best long-term methods for both client acquisition and retention is a lot simpler than that $997 webinar offer will lead you to believe.
I’m talking about referrals- and why the world’s most successful Personal Trainers swear by them as the life-blood of their business and it's easy to see why.
Why Use Referrals?
As the renowned Jon Goodman of The Online Training Academy eloquently puts it, your role as a coach? Is to “do a good job and make sure everyone knows about it”
Which is exactly why the most successful online and offline coaches have a solid referral scheme in place, to ensure a consistent influx of leads, and solidifying their position in their current client’s mind as an expert they trust
Here are just a few reasons taking the time to build out your own referral scheme will pay such dividends in your business growth:
Leads generated via referrals are free
Running social media ads, old-school flyering and other methods of bringing in new clients cost money (meaning as the old saying goes- you need to spend it to make it). Leads generated from your current clients quickly offset that cost.
Clients trust referrals
Seriously, people trust the recommendations from their friends more than they trust brands. And that's true for every generation.
They improve your relationship with your current clients
Human psychology tends to dictate that if you make a suggestion to a friend, you then mentally double down on that conviction.
If a client takes the time to refer you out to a family member or colleague, it further solidifies in their mind that they know, like and trust you (therefore increasing your retention rate)- and this works both ways: you’re asking for who they think would be a good fit, showing them that you trust and respect their opinion.
It creates a “referral culture”
We’ll get into this more within strategy number one- however the premise is simple- referrals lead to referrals.
If you set the structure up so that your clients know you value their opinion on who would be a good fit for your coaching- and that you trust their opinion? Then watch as those referred in then begin to refer others, as they see that as the norm within your coaching environment (creating a growth ‘flywheel’).
1. Set The Stage On Signing Up
How you begin your professional coaching interactions with each client sets the stage for how the rest of your relationships will go- creating a solid chance for them to begin referring as soon as they begin their journey with you allows you to capitalise on their enthusiasm, and for them to internally confirm their choice (plus allows you to help one other person within their network).
So, how do we do this?
2. Gifts & Shout Outs To Encourage The Conversation
Some people aren’t super enthused to talk about themselves, so asking a natural introvert to head into their office and start boasting about the new PT they signed up with isn’t going to be the best strategy for bringing in new leads- that’s where this tactic comes in
Gift them with something visual
As covered within Joey Colemans’ excellent book “never lose a client again”, gifts are a fantastic tactic to foster greater retention, but done right? They can also prompt referrals.
Think of conversation starters (remembering this gift is about the client, not you), such a mug that their colleagues would comment upon, with slogans such as “body reconstruction in progress at *insert your business name*”, or even something as corny as a “PB” balloon for when they hit a new record in training (nothing generates conversation like a balloon).
The idea here is to initiate the conversation for them- once someone asks them, if you’re doing a good job? They should be excited to talk all about their accomplishments and your services.
Shout out their accomplishments
Don’t do this without permission- but if they do hit a PB, or a landmark in their fat loss / fitness goals? Don’t stay quiet about it. Post up onto social media, give them the credit, and when their friends and family ask them about it? They’ll be quick to return that credit (and the referrals) to you.
3. The Exit Referral
You’re going to lose clients. Sometimes it’s relocation, sometimes it’s financial, oftentimes it could even be that you’ve done such a great job coaching them they gotten to their goals, and you’ve imparted all the knowledge they need to keep them (good job coach)
And a client leaving can often feel like a blow to your business- however if you approach the situation well? It could be the start of a whole new relationship
This will have to be edited dependant upon why they’re going- but here’s an approach you can modify to make even client’s exits a source of new leads:
“You’ve been a perfect client to work with, and as I’ll now have an extra slot open, I was wondering if you knew anybody as great as you that you think would benefit from training with me?”
It’s entirely possible, if approached well, that every new client can lead to another- and offset the need for traditional “marketing funnels”
In fact many successful Personal Trainers and gyms focus entirely on established SEO practices to bring in warm leads, and a solid referral system to capitalise upon providing exceptional service
because if you are doing a good job? All your clients are waiting for is the chance to spread the word, they just need a little nudge to do so.
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