How to Profit from Referrals
By Jim Labadie
September 10, 2006
Jim Labadie is a fitness entrepreneur, sales expert and speaker. You can download a free copy of his new e-book 63 Must-Have Sales Tips for Personal Trainers at: http://www.ptsalestips.com
There's no such thing as a slam dunk when it comes to selling your fitness services. However, if there's any type of prospective client who is close to being a slam dunk, it is a referral.
You may have noticed when people seem like they want nothing more than to hand over their checkbook, they suddenly have a few questions they'd like answered first. While I strongly suggest you go through the formal sales process, it should not take much more than you staying out of your own way and letting them sell themselves to close the deal. If the person who referred them to you held up their end of the bargain, then they are, for the most part, pre-sold.
As a fitness professional, you've probably already discovered your best form of marketing--the walking billboards you create. What else can possibly compare? So, what steps are you taking to make sure these living testimonials are spreading the word about you? Are you being proactive and making sure your clients know the types of referrals you are seeking? Are you educating your clients and constantly reminding them of the benefits they have received from your services?
Too often trainers take a reactive approach to their business. They wait for good things to happen instead of making them happen. I often hear of fitness professionals who don't like the idea of bothering their clients by asking for referrals. If that sounds like you, then I've got a simple cure. Sit down with your clients at the end of each session and ask them how you have helped them. What was their health and fitness level like before they joined the club and how do they feel now? If you've done your job, they should be going on and on about you and how you've changed their life for the better.
Don't you think they want their friends and family to experience the same joy and well being? To get even more referrals, ask your satisfied members to think of others who can benefit from exercise. Allow their minds to wander as they search for the perfect referral for you.
If you don't teach your clients exactly what you are looking for in a referral, they may not be able to help you. Remember to not let yourself fall back into a reactive mode. If they know someone who would make a terrific client, then be sure to get the prospect's contact information. Instead of waiting for them to call you, you should call them. If you think that's too pushy, then look at it a different way. You are a fitness professional. You have a moral obligation to reach your hand out and try and help this person. They may or may not become a client, but it will not be because of a lack of effort on your part.