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3 Solutions to Strengthen Your Referral Program


Everyone agrees referrals are the most effective and cost-efficient way to get new sales, yet many clubs struggle to generate them consistently. This happens for several reasons: for some, it feels awkward to ask, while others don’t want to come across as desperate or pushy.

The best part is referrals are far easier to close than leads coming from traditional advertising. According to Nielsen, people are four times more likely to buy when recommended by a friend.

Here are three solutions for strengthening your referral program: 

1. Create Awareness 

For your referral program to be effective, you need to get the word out. Post about it on social media platforms. Hang posters around the gym. After you sell a membership, tell them personally about your referral program. For it to work, the most important thing is to create an environment where members can rave about your club. Happy members are likely to share their experience.

2. Make it Easy to Refer Your Services

First, ask yourself how you communicate with your members. Is it by email, text, push notifications, social media, phone or in person? Whatever the answers are, they’re likely the same methods your members use to refer friends and family. 

If your club is using a mobile app, look into its referral features. The app may be able to use a member’s contact list to send an invite or guest pass by text, email or social media message.

Send reminders in email newsletters and social media bios, encouraging members to refer friends and family. Include guest passes, QRC codes or promo codes.

Hand out referral cards with a membership join or at the end of each class, and make them accessible throughout the gym. On your website, allow members to fill out a form to invite a friend.

3. Incentivize Your Member

Offer a reward to pair with your referral program. Some incentive ideas include:

  • For every two members they refer, they get one month free.
  • One week of complimentary personal training sessions.
  • Free or discounted pro shop items.
  • Free gym swag.

Whatever you decide to do, make it attractive enough for them to want it.

Having a structured process in place will strengthen any referral program. It’s an effective strategy that does not require much investment to launch. Keep your members excited and happy, and you will earn the right to your next prospect.

Joanna Truong

Joanna Truong is a sales consultant at Twin Oaks Software and former health club manager at various fitness centers. She may be contacted at 860.829.6000.

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