- Many of us rely on a word-of-mouth business
- Our successful clients speak about their transformations, etc
- Too often we only look at it through our eyes
- Bring-a-friend is great – it shouldn’t be your only tactic – but its successful
- You can nudge clients to reach out – clients’ friends are easier to sell to
- It’s more effective to ask in a 1-on-1 setting with client
- You can “coach” clients on how to do this as well, but don’t put all the selling on them
- As a bonus – make BaF focus on a local charity
- This is a good look for all involved
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Hey, Pat Rigsby here and today I want to talk with you about how to get clients to bring their friends into your business. Let’s get started.
Welcome to the fitness business school podcast. The show for fitness business owners who want to grow their income, increase their end impact and improve their lifestyle. Be sure to listen to the end of this episode, because we have a brand new special offer exclusive for listeners. So stay tuned.
Most of us would love to have a referral driven or referral focused business, but what really happens is we kind of rely on a word of mouth business. We hope that our clients talk about us. We hope that they’re spreading the word, inviting people, introducing us. And actually so many people in our industry, they just expect a client to walk somebody by the hand into the gym and basically swipe their credit card for them.
And that’s not the way that this actually works. What, what actually is happening in most cases when it comes to referrals, is a client is having a really positive experience. It’s something that they’re excited about, and it’s something that now they’re comfortable sharing with the other people in their lives. So
when they notice conversations, when they think of people who might be a good fit, then they are often prompted to basically invite that person or recommend your business or something of the sort. I mean, think about the way that you might refer other people to different types of businesses. So if somebody
asks you, Hey, wouldn’t be a good restaurant to go to if I wanted seafood. You, if you had a positive experience you would, you know, with a restaurant of that sort, you would be able to rattle that off and say, Hey, you should go here.
This is awesome. Here’s what I got. And, and notice it’s not thinking, oh, this restaurant’s gonna gimme a free appetizer the next time I go in. It’s first and foremost creating a kind of a relationship deposit between those two people, the referring party and the person getting the referral. And I think that is the part that we often overlook because we only think of it from our viewpoint. We only look at it through our lens where, well, hey, what can I do to, to get more referrals, all kind of bribe my clients to, to bring people in the door? I’ll give them money, I’ll give them a free month, I’ll give them a discount off this or that. And it’s not that those things don’t work, it’s just that that’s kind of the only tool in most gym owners toolbox.
And some people are very motivated by that thinking, Hey, if I bring somebody, I’ll get a free month. And I think of that the same way that I think that some people are really motivated by coupons and that sort of thing when they’re shopping, that helps steer their decision making. But not everybody is. So one
of the easy things that we can do is create, bring a friend opportunities that are easy to spread the word about an easy for people to invite, you know, the other people in their lives into experience. Now, should this be our only kind of go-to tactic or tool to, to help people introduce our business to everybody else in their life? Not even close. But what’s great is if you say, Hey, this Saturday we’re gonna have a bring a friend workout, or next week is bring a friend week, and you’re doing that once a quarter, you’re giving somebody a nudge, right?
You’re saying, Hey, here’s a little bit of a deadline. Here’s a you know, here’s a kind of a in incentive or motivation to go ahead and invite that person. I was thinking about inviting in that I’ve just not got around to it, right? It never, you know, it never made sense, or maybe the timing never felt right. Well,
now all we have to do is to say to, to each client when we see them, or maybe via text message, we just say, Hey, is there anybody you’d like to bring to our bring a friend day Saturday? Or is there anybody you’d like to bring next week to our bring a friend week? And you know that it, it’s just a one-on-one
conversation with a reason why now sure. Can you send this in a broadcast format? Yes. And in fact, you may want to create some signage in the gym.
You may want to post it yourself on social media and send it out via broadcast. But the most effective way that you’re gonna spread the word about this is by going one-on-one and having conversations with people and saying, Hey, is there anybody you would like to bring? And then if we have the opportunity
to have more of a conversation there, and it’s not just, you know, a one sentence text message, which is perfectly fine. I mean, if they say no, say, Hey, no sweat, I’ll see you on Monday. But if the door is open, you can give them some examples of how to notice conversations or notice opportunities. And, you
know, you can even kind of flip it around and say, Hey, you know what? It’s gonna be a, you know, that time of year coming up in January where a lot of people are gonna be talking about health and fitness and willing to start a new program or join a gym, we’re gonna have a bring a friend day or bring a friend
week that second week of January, is there anybody you’d like to bring?
And if they say, well, I’m not sure, say, well, you know what? If you notice anybody who’s talking about that or saying they should join a gym or whatever else, here’s what we can do. And you just tell them to make an introduction via text, and then that person can come as your guest or, you know, I mean, yes,
they can just bring somebody. And, and if you are doing this in advance where things are planned out and you’re saying, okay, we have a structured bring a friend day or bring a friend week, then obviously you’ve created a situation where your pro programming can accommodate guests who don’t have a
whole lot of training experience with you, maybe deconditioned. So you’ve got regressions, you’ve got things that, you know, the the person who may have been away from the gym can step into and do.
So, bring a friend days, bring a friend weeks. I think, are wonderful opportunities to just help people, invite guests into the gym. But they take your nudging, they take you asking personally. And a lot of people don’t do that. A lot of people send out one broadcast email or something and they wonder why they don’t get the same type of, of response. Now, let me tell you another twist that you can do with this that we kind of pioneered probably a decade or or more ago. There, you know, when I had a franchise organization, we had a really like there was a, an annual charity component that was really effective and really strong. We helped people raise a lot of money for causes that were good for their local community, not just one kind of uniform cause. And the, the idea of bringing a friend events but making them charity focused was so, so powerful because you could take a, a, a client who might have been passionate about a local charity and it always works a little bit better if it is not some national brand that has, has a bunch of restrictions on how you can use their name or whatever else.
And you know, you’ve got somebody who’s kind of serving as the, the quarterback or the assistant coach and helping you get the word out. But you create a situation where you say, well, hey, for every guest that shows up at our Bring a Friend day, me the gym owner, you know, I will donate $10 to said charity. Now obviously, anybody who would like to make a donation, we would welcome it, but you’re not expected to. And the guest certainly isn’t expected to. But for every guest that comes, I will make this donation. So now you’ve got this cool kind of charity workout where there’s a really positive first impression. I mean, you’re doing all the Bring a Friend stuff, but now they have an incentive to bring a friend, a good cause supporting a fellow gym member that hopefully they have a good relationship with that fellow gym member is helping to get the word out and helping to nudge people along cuz it’s an important cause for them.
The first impression that the person coming as a guest gets is, wait a minute. They’re supporting their gym members. They’re not just taking fees from them. They’re doing a charity thing where the gym’s actually contributing, not just expecting other people to pay or donate. Man, this is you know, this is a
pretty good first impression. So another twist on a bring a Friend day, but basically the thing to remember with Bring a Friend events like this or whatever else, is if you have a deadline to market to, you’ve got this opportunity to send reminders. You’ve got this opportunity to kind of nudge people. And then there is that kind of fear of missing out. There’s that, hey, once it’s gone, it’s gone. But we also can have a lot of one-on-one conversations and nudge people and say, Hey, if you’ve noticed this or you’ve talked to this, or like, we don’t have to expect people to always know off the top of their head, who’s the perfect guest to bring, who’s the perfect friend to bring?
We can help them kind of sort through that and figure that out based on conversations they’ve had, based on things that the other people have expressed whenever they’ve just been around. But maybe that client didn’t know exactly what to say or maybe they just overlooked that conversation, or maybe
they just did what a lot of people do and they said, yeah, hey, you should check out this gym. This is where I go. You’d love it, but they never connected you with that person. So this is a cool way to make that happen. So, to, to wrap it all up, if you’ve not scheduled, bring a for an event at least every quarter,
if not every couple of months, my recommendation is that you do, it’s a great way to introduce new people to your business. You can stagger traditional, bring a friend stuff, whether it’s a day or a week with charity focused stuff. And man, you’re gonna get different people to respond in different ways. Some people are gonna be really motivated by the charity stuff. Some people, you know, the normal bring a friend days will be plenty. And you know, before you know it, you’re gonna have everybody in your gym introducing you and what you can do to the other people in their lives.
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