Here are 9 simple things you can do to open the referral floodgates for your PT business.
Make sure people are really clear about what you do and who you do it for
Whilst more people do understand what personal training is and what a PT does, there are still many who don’t and many more who have many misconceptions about it. It is much easier for someone to refer to you if they know exactly the kind of person you work with and what you help them to do. E.g. People won’t refer clients to a personal trainer but they will refer someone with a teenage son who’s overweight to a weight loss trainer for teenagers.
Maybe you feel uncomfortable asking for business or maybe you believe that you don’t have to because people will do it automatically. If your existing clients are happy with your service they will be happy to refer but they won’t do it automatically. And just because other people know you’re in business doesn’t mean they will refer to you. You have to get used to asking because, whilst you have it at the forefront of your mind, the people around you do not. They are busy with their own priorities and simply won’t think to do it unless you make a clear request.
Make it Easy
Not only must you ask for referrals but you must make it as easy as possible for people to refer. This means telling people how they can refer people to you. Tell them what to do. Perhaps you want them to send you a person’s contact details with their permission. Perhaps you want them to point them to your website so they can sign up for your free newsletter. Maybe you create a referral form online that they can fill in. Whatever you choose to do just make it easy, clear and simple. Otherwise people just won’t do it.
Create an Incentive
It helps to reward the people who send you quality referrals. You could create an affiliate system with financial rewards for people who refer clients who successfully sign up to your programmes or products. You can keep it simpler by just giving a gift or voucher to someone if they send you referrals which convert into clients and business. Just make sure that the incentive you offer is relevant and appealing to those who are referring.
Develop a Referral System
Build referrals into your business by creating systems for referrals. An example could be adding Facebook and Twitter share buttons to your blog so that people can share your articles easily. You could ask people who receive your newsletter to send your latest article to a friend. If you want referrals to be a significant strategy for introducing clients to your business, then you have to build it into your marketing plan and be more deliberate about your actions.
Refer people yourself
Referrals should be a two-way street. Look out for opportunities to refer people to your clients or to the people in your professional network. Dare I say you should even be able to refer business to your personal training colleagues! “Are you mad?” I hear you say, “Give clients to my competitors?” Yes because if you’ve defined your business properly and have a clear target market, then it will be perfectly possible to refer clients to other trainers you know. So, get to know your fellow PTs, find trainers who work with very different clients to you and agree to cross refer. Now that’s an idea you don’t often hear and a challenge I throw your way.
Create an introductory offer worth sharing
A strategy that makes referrals easier for people to do but also makes it easier for a referral to get on board is to create a valuable introductory offer. If you create a free report or a newsletter that is packed with valuable tips and information, people will be happy and proud to pass it on, share it or refer the people they know to it. Remember that their reputation is on the line so it’s important that they feel completely confident in referring to you.
Throw yourself into referral activities
To increase the number of referrals coming your way you need to make yourself visible. You need to get out there and build your personal and professional networks. And it’s not just about connecting but about staying connected. Finding ways to regularly engage with your community and offer valuable content, information and comment will keep you in people’s minds and on the list for receiving referrals.
Remember to say Thank You
The very first thing to do when somebody does refer a potential client your way is to say thank you, regardless of whether the referral is a success or not. If the referral turns into a paying client say thank you again. I’ve already talked about incentives and rewards for referrals so use them here. Don’t ever take referrals for granted.
So there you are – 9 things you can start doing in your PT business right away to crank up your referrals and make them a significant contribution to your business growth.
Yvette Nevrkla is an author, speaker, founder of The PT Business Gym and one of the top business coaches for personal trainers in the UK.