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Sales: How to Get More Referrals


shutterstock_163450790Do you have a referral program? I am guessing that you do. Maybe you give away a free month for every member who joins because of an existing member’s encouragement. Or perhaps it is “club bucks,” a gym bag or something else. Most gyms have some sort of system that rewards members for bringing in their friends, family and co-workers. And they should.

Do you have a referral process? This is a system where employees ask for contact information of members’ friends, family and co-workers. This is a necessary process if you want to maximize your referrals. Many gyms do not implement this method effectively, because most of the time they view this process as too intrusive. But it isn’t if you do it correctly, and here are some tips how:

  • Always ask about possible referrals at the point of sale. Every single new member within a few minutes of joining needs to be asked if they know anybody who may be interested in a trial membership at your gym.
  • Incentivize the new member. Give them something in return for some names and numbers. I recommend a t-shirt. It is inexpensive and people love them.
  • The magic number is three. Plus, if your incentive is a free t-shirt, you can call it “Three for a T,” which is fun and catchy.
  • Practice with a script until it becomes second nature. This is a big key as salespeople often struggle with making this a smooth process. For example: “Okay Mary, we’ve got you all set up for your appointment with our director of training for your free workout. One more thing before you go home (grab the ‘Three for a T’ sheet): Studies show that people are much more likely to reach their fitness goals if they have a workout partner. If you give us the names and phone numbers of three people who you think may be interested in a trial membership, we will give you this t-shirt today (have t-shirt handy and give it to them). We are simply going to call them one time and invite them to check out the club. We will wait a few days before calling to allow you time to give them a heads up (slide the sheet in front of them). So, do you know three people who may be interested in trying us out?”

It is that simple. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you ask in the manner I described above, you will procure plenty of names and numbers, allowing you the ability to reach out to these leads and set up some appointments.

You are shooting for a benchmark of one member to one name and number ratio. So, for every 30 memberships sold, you will have 30 names and numbers, or roughly 10 sheets filled out and 10 t-shirts given away.

How to get started: Print out several sheets of paper with your logo and an image of a t-shirt somewhere near the top. The sentence, “Studies show that people are much more likely to reach their fitness goals if they have a workout partner,” should be on the sheet as well. Below that sentence are the numbers one through three with a blank space labeled “Name” and a blank space labeled “Number.”

Please contact me jason@jasonlinse.com for a link to a free short video on this process including role playing.

And finally, if somebody only knows one name and phone number, take it and give them a t-shirt anyways. Tell them that you trust they will bring you two more names and numbers someday in the future.

And yes, you should tell them that for each person who does join, they will receive a free gift, month, etc. However, I recommend a bottle of wine or a gift card versus a free month. People like gifts, and in the long run, it will save you money.

Keep changing lives.


Jason Linse is president and founder of The Business of Fitness, a consulting company.  He also owns a personality assessment company called People Plus+ Fitness. He can be reached at jason@jasonlinse.com or at 612-310-1319. Visit www.jasonlinse.com.

Jason Linse

Jason Linse is president and founder of The Business of Fitness, a consulting company. He also owns a personality assessment company called People Plus+ Fitness. Contact him at jason@jasonlinse.com or 612-310-1319 for resources on scheduling more tours and personality assessments, or visit www.jasonlinse.com.

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  1. bob July 31, 2014

    How are you all getting around the federal no call list?

  2. Jason Linse August 1, 2014

    Bob, Thanks for the comment. In this situation, the no call list wouldn’t apply. And even if it technically would, the probability is insanely low that people who you call have a problem with you calling. These are phone numbers from a friend. “Hi, may I speak with Bob?” “This is Bob.” “Hi Bob, this is Jason with Main Street Fitness. I got your number from Kevin who joined Main Street Fitness a couple of days ago. He thought you may be interested in trying out Main Street on a 30 day trial.”

    “I’m not interested. Don’t call back. I am on the no call list. I am reporting you. And I am no longer friends with Kevin.”

    Is that scenario likely? I doubt it. Phone calling is still the best way to increase club traffic. But please email me Jason@Jasonlinse.com OR call me at 612 310 1319 to discuss. I promise I won’t be bothered by the call. 🙂


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