As many as 40 percent of your members should come to the gym because they know a current member. Remember “Curves?” They were able to get 80 percent, or more, of their members to join from referrals.
Hopefully, you are tracking the source of why people choose to join your gym. If you are, you should be able to pull a report and see what percentage is citing “referral.”
Regardless of where you are in business, you can always do better. After studying different methods to get leads, I have concluded that the best way to approach referrals is to keep it simple and be direct.
Know the difference between a referral “program” and a referral “process.” Your program is what you provide in exchange for a new member who joined because of a current member. Your process is how you go about procuring names and numbers, because you have to take the initiative. You cannot sit back and wait for your members to drag their friends and family into your gym. It happens, and when it does, it is awesome. But you need to have the attitude that you change lives. And the first step in helping change a life is to get them in the door.
3 for a T: This is my favorite way to ask for name and telephone numbers. It is simple, fun and effective. You provide a FREE T-shirt in exchange for three names and telephone numbers. It is as simple as that.
Do this for all new sales. After they join, so this right before they leave.
The conversation can go as simple as this: “OK, Mary, you are all set. You have your welcome packet, your membership card and we have your appointment set with our assessor, Mark, for tomorrow at 6 p.m. Now, this is just one more thing before you go: Studies show that people are 6 times to 7 times more likely to reach their fitness goals if they have a workout partner. If you give us the names and telephone numbers of three folks whom you think may be interested in Awesome Blossom Fitness, we will give you this T-shirt, free right now. It works pretty simple, Mary. We will call them and invite them in for a free 14 days. We will wait a couple of days to allow you time to give them a heads up. We will only call them twice and that’s it. AND if any of them join, you get a bottle of wine or a $15.00 gift card to Rojo.”
-The program: If you are currently giving a free month for all referrals, stop. Start offering a bottle of wine or a gift card to a local restaurant. First, it costs you less money than a membership. Second, it is immediate tangible gratification for the members. Third, it is unique and the member is way more likely to talk about their gift with their friends.
There you go. A simple and effective way to get names and numbers that will lead to more tours, more sales and more lives to change. But a couple more things before you implement this program:
-Don’t forget your current membership base. Place a few professional signs around the gym. “Want a FREE T-shirt? Stop by and ask Jason how to get one.” Have an image of a T-shirt on the sheet and if it is a smaller club, list the salespeople’s names.
-Referral contests: Once per year, twice at most. The giveaway could be a bicycle or a big television. Hang it near the front desk and let members put in three names and numbers, get a free T-shirt right away and then draw 30 days from the start of the contest.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free video on referrals. Put “referrals” in the subject line.
Keep changing lives.