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Extending Your Referral Circle

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People in your contact sphere

A contact sphere is a group of businesses or professionals that complement, rather than compete with your business. If you were a wedding planner, caterer, florist, printer, or photographer, each has clients that can benefit from the services of the others. Think of all the businesses or professions that could refer to your health club and you could refer to them:
– Chiropractors – Vitamin Stores
– Physical therapists – Sporting Goods: running / apparel
– Doctors – Skin Care / Beauty Products
– Nutritionists – Tennis and golf stores
– Weight loss clinics – Health food stores
– Support groups – Non- profits
– Adult sports leagues

Your best prospective referral sources fall into four categories.

1. People to Whom You Have Given Referrals
You are more likely to get a referral from someone to whom you have given a referral. The more you give, the more you will get. Do you have a real-estate agent, hair stylist, car mechanic, lawn care operator, chiropractor, plastic surgeon, contractor that you trust completely? Ask them for their business cards or for a one page flyer about their business so that when someone inquires you can refer to them. Do not push these on all new members, but only to members who inquire about a specific need. Eventually they will ask for your business cards.

Special tip: the above should be avid exercisers, loyal to both you and your company. If they do not believe in exercise, they will not be referring people to you. Choose wisely.

2. Satisfied Clients

One of your best referral sources is satisfied clients. Having first-hand experience with your services, they are true believers and can communicate convincing testimonials. Keep track of these clients, your best promoters and they can be very effective in helping others decide to do business with you.

3. Anyone Who Has Given You Referrals
People who give you referrals are demonstrating that they think highly of you and what you do. Strengthen and nurture these referral sources, don’t take them for granted. Show your appreciation with personal gestures and when appropriate refer prospects to them.

4. Staff Members
Except for customers, no one understands better than staff how your services perform. Part-time or full time staff in reception, kid’s club, personal training, etc. They talk to friends, neighbors and people they meet on a daily basis. Don’t overlook former co-workers, either. Working for your company will always be part of their history and often part of their conversation with prospects as well.

Shawn Stewart is the Operations Manager at Gainesville Health and Fitness Center. Contact him at shawns@ghfc.com

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