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A personal trainer showing a client an app on an iPad tablet.

Business Referrals for Personal Trainers

4 minute read

Whether you’re new to the fitness industry or have been around for a while, you’ll know how competitive and crowded this market can be at times. When you decided to take your personal training course, you chose to join a tough industry and one which will initially require some hard work, initiative and resilience.

However, no doubt you made that decision because you’re truly passionate about helping people reach their goals, educating them in health and fitness, and seeing positive changes in your clients. So how can you create business referral opportunities in such a fast-moving and busy industry? Here are some great ideas you can put into action.

Networking Groups

There are lots of networking groups out there to choose from: official national and international ones with local chapters, and independent or ad-hoc groups. Networking is a great way to drum up business, spread the word about what you do and generate referrals.

Put together a short introductory speech (most groups give members 60 seconds): your name, business name, what you do, why people should book you or refer to you, and what kind of business you’re looking for. Trust, visibility and credibility go a long way in face-to-face networking, so build up your circle of supporters by being reliable and providing a great service.

Network Online

You can also network online, of course. Using social media like Facebook, Twitter and a blog enable you to create a sense of community, talk to customers and prospects and build a real name for yourself.

Be consistent with your approach to online networking, and remember that you must be professional at all times. Social networking and online platforms can lull you into a false sense of security, but everything you write is permanent, and someone is always reading!

Treat online networking with the same gravitas as you would face-to-face networking and remember: your next client might be reading whatever you’ve just typed.

Use Social Media

Whenever you use social media, remember to include a call to action (why should customers contact you?) and contact details. This is easy when it comes to websites and blogs, but bear it in mind for Facebook and Twitter, too.

Social media for business marketing is quite different to the way you use social media as a private individual. Make sure the time and effort you spend on your business-related social media networking is put to good use by giving a consistent message and making it easy for people to get in touch with you.

Seek Testimonials

Every single satisfied client is a testimonial waiting to be written up. Get into the habit of asking clients and customers for positive testimonials that you can use in your marketing.

You could do this informally, by asking them verbally, or you could build it into the sign-off or catch-up process. Consider putting a short section asking for a testimonial on one of the forms or letters you send out to clients once they’ve been working for you for a while.

A great time to ask for a testimonial is when the client has reached an important goal. Harness the high they’ll be on! Always remember to ask them for permission to use their quote, name and picture (if relevant) in your marketing and promotional literature.

Client Referrals

Your satisfied clients – and their friends and family – are your most powerful sales force. Ask them to champion you wherever they go, whether it’s simple steps like telling their friends about you, or more formal and structure referrals.

Make sure your clients carry some of your business cards and have your phone number in their mobile phone. Tell them your website URL, Facebook and Twitter name, and blog address. Ask them to invite their friends to “like” and “follow” you on social media.

You could even consider incentivising the referral process by giving clients free sessions, a sports massage or some branded kit whenever they pass a referral which leads to a new paying customer.

People who know, like and trust you and your business are your most powerful weapons when it comes to generating new business referrals. There is still a place for advertising and cold calling, but don’t neglect the untapped potential of business referrals.

You do a great job: make sure everyone knows it!

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