Referrals Game Plan
In This Guide… .................................................................................................................3
The 3 Keys to Referrals ........................................................................................................5
1. WIIFM ..........................................................................................................................5
2. Three Step Progression ............................................................................................... 6
3. Help Them Help You.................................................................................................. 10
Referral System #1: Point of Sale ...................................................................................... 12
T-Shirt Referral Program ............................................................................................... 12
Referral System #2: Charity Fundraisers .......................................................................... 15
Referral System #3: Bring a Friend ................................................................................... 19
The most effective approach to personal trainer marketing is, without question,
referrals. Referrals are the most effective and lucrative strategy for creating
steady streams of prospects and clients. Referrals are more valuable than typical
Referral-generated clients are the most cost-efficient, profitable, and the
most loyal source of new business you could ever dream of acquiring.
Referral-generated clients are pre-sold so they commit quicker and for
larger programs, negotiate less, stay longer, and refer more business to
Referrals are generally better clients. People typically surround themselves
with similar people – so if you have great clients referring prospects to
you, you’ll typically end up with more great clients.
They save you time. If your “sales force” is feeding you a steady diet of new
prospects, you can spend less time on lead generation.
You can easily set up referral systems that are foolproof strategies for
dramatically increasing your client base and your income!
Your referral systems leverage all of your marketing tactics by getting others to be
your “sales force.”
We are not suggesting that your business should move to being a 100% referral-
generated enterprise - although many fitness professionals’ businesses have.
What we are suggesting is that you employ 3-5 easy to use referral systems that
will each generate a 20%, 30%, 40% (or more) increase in clients and profits for
In This Guide…
You will learn the three keys to getting referrals: (1) “What’s in it for me,” (2)
Earn/Ask/Reward, and (3) Help Them Help You.
After reviewing the basics, you will be given three proven and done-for-you
referral solutions that you can implement in your business right away: (1) Point
of Sale Referral System, (2) Charity Fundraiser Referral System, and (3) Bring a
Friend Day Referral System.
The 3 Keys to Referrals
The first key to getting referrals is to remember this acronym: WIIFM. Expanded,
“What’s In It For Me”
When you ask your clients for referrals, they are silently asking themselves,
“What’s in it for me?” No benefit to them = No referral for you.
So, you need to specifically tell people what they will get out of helping you.
The First 3 Answers to WIIFM
As long as you clearly communicate these WIIFM’s to your clients, you should
have no trouble convincing them to refer.
1. Deliver an extraordinary service to your clients. When they refer, they will
get an enormous amount of satisfaction for bringing their friends to the
“best trainer in town.” Remind them of the value in helping their friends to
change their lives.
2. With more referrals, you’ll spend less time on marketing and so you’ll have
more time available to focus on your clients and on improving your
3. With more referrals, you’ll spend less money on marketing and so you can
either pass the savings onto your clients or offer an even higher level of
Be honest with your clients. Tell them that by referring people to you, they’ll be
helping you save marketing dollars and time doing marketing. Then tell them
what this means for them. Say, “This means that I’ll be able to keep your rates
from going up, and I’ll be able to put my entire focus on continually getting you
your desired results instead of dividing my attention between your success and
my need to get more clients.”
Of course, a powerful motivator is an instant reward. Setting up an incentive
system to encourage referrals (for example, $50 cash for each referral that
becomes a member) will motivate your clients more than perhaps any other
strategy. While it doesn’t have to be money (gift cards, equipment, and
supplements work, too), cash is the most powerful incentive available, as it
clearly answers WIIFM.
2. Three Step Progression
All successful referral systems follow a simple 3-step progression:
Step 1: Earning the Referral
Keep this in mind when it comes to earning the referral:
Satisfied clients do not refer!
It’s not enough to have satisfied clients. You need to go way beyond that. To
receive a flood of referrals, you must have raving fans.
Your first step is to give outstanding, over-the-top service. You want to make the
process of doing business with you so enjoyable that clients can’t help but tell
Notice we’re not even speaking about your services. We’re talking about the
interaction… the human interaction clients have with you and your staff. We’re
talking about making the act of doing business itself so pleasurable that it leaves a
mark on your client.
Sounds simple, but do you or your staff do it?
How would you treat your clients if you imagined they were family? Would you
treat your clients with a different level of respect?
Always approach every transaction in your business as an act of giving… not
receiving. Extend yourself over and beyond the client’s expectation levels.
However, don’t overextend too far, or you may not be able to sustain that level.
Extend just enough so your client says “Wow, I wish every business treated me
Step 2: Asking for Referrals
The second step is to Ask for referrals.
I know this sounds simplistic – and it is – but it’s amazing how many fitness
professionals simply do not ask for referrals.
Maybe they’re uncomfortable asking for help. Maybe they’re embarrassed. Maybe
they feel as if they don’t deserve them.
If you’re not asking for referrals on a consistent basis, you’re really missing out.
Think about how much you improve the quality of your clients’ lives. You
improve their health, their self-esteem, their relationships, and their energy
levels – not to mention the physical changes that you help them achieve.
You Deserve Referrals!
When is the best time to ask for referrals? The ultimate time to ask for a referral
is at the time when your client praises you for your work, or when you’ve
completed their program and the results are in.
How do you ask for referrals? Here’s a simple example of a way you could ask a
client that just thanked you for your help.
“Thanks for your kind words. Listen, we’re trying to grow our business, and
instead of spending lots of money on advertising, we’ve decided to invest back
into our clients. If you have any friends, family, or co-workers that would enjoy
making the same type of improvements in their body and their health that you
have, you can introduce them to us and we’ll give them a FREE Comprehensive
Assessment and a Complimentary Personal Training Session. They just need to
present this letter discreetly when they come in, as this offer is unavailable to
the general public.”
Can you see how simple this is? People appreciate personal attention and extras.
At this stage, you can ask for the referred friend’s name and address and enter it
into your database, you can give your patient a gift certificate for the services
(with the referred friend’s name on it), or you can hand them a letter that
explains the offer you are giving to the referred friend.
In this second scenario, you’ll want to jog their memory. In the initial stages of
the script you could say:
“Thanks for your kind words. Listen, we’re trying to grow our business, and
instead of spending lots of money on advertising, we’ve decided to invest back
into our clients. When you’re at home, at work, or even at a friend’s home, you
may think of people you care for that could benefit from making the
improvements that you have. When you do please hand them one of these
You need to jog your client’s memory and give them a focus. You can’t just say,
“give this to people who would like to lose weight.” That’s too broad. You need to
say, “Who out of your immediate family would like to make the same
improvements that you have?” “Who in your extended family – cousins, uncles,
or aunts – could benefit from making the improvements that you’ve made?”
“Who do you know at work that would like to make the same improvements that
you have?” “Who in your close circle of friends would like to make the same
improvement that you have?” – and so forth.
Here’s another example that works:
“Thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate it. Listen, I’d like to give you
these [hand over gift certificates]. They are FREE Comprehensive Fitness
Assessments. We normally don’t do any free assessments at all because we’re so
busy, but as a service to you, if you have any friends, family, or coworkers that
would like to make the same improvement that you have, you can give them
these gift certificates and they’re welcome to come and receive a very thorough
Fitness Assessment. This way we can advise them about the best course of
action to take to achieve their fitness goals. These gift certificates expire on the
31st of November, and they must bring it in receive their assessment.
Again, this example is personal and gives the client the idea you are counting on
him or her to help your business grow.
The following example is one of a letter you can send, which has worked wonders
Dear Ms. Jones,
I’m writing to you today to let you know about a new service we’re offering as a
courtesy to our clients. For quite a while, our clients have been asking us to
assist friends, acquaintances, and family members who felt they could benefit
from the services that we provide.
We’ve decided to offer a seminar each week for the next 3 months, where loyal
clients like yourself can refer people they know who would like to improve their
health and fitness. This would be at absolutely no cost to your valued friends
and family members.
We will be offering this seminar to the general public at a cost of $29. However,
if somebody dear to you would like to experience the same dramatic success that
you’ve achieved, we will allow them to attend for free.
During these seminars we will share the information that the billion dollar
weight loss industry doesn’t want the public to know. We will dispel the myths;
address the lies the marketers tell that actually keep people from losing weight;
and teach your friends and family members exactly how they can lose
unwanted weight, gain more energy, and improve their health.
So for the next three months, every Tuesday night at 7pm, we’ll be offering this
life changing seminar at a cost of $29. But if you know of anyone, invite them as
your special guest and they can attend free of charge.
Simply have them contact me directly at (123) 555-1234 or at
email@example.com and mention your name.
P.S. Remember, this is only for a limited time.
The most important factor in this letter is the offer. What you offer your client
and/or their friend is going to determine the amount of referrals you receive
(outside of your excellent service, of course). Experiment and test many, many
ways of asking for referrals.
Step 3: Reward the Referrals
The third step is to Reward referrals.
Let me ask you: how do you feel when you do a favor for a friend and you DON’T
receive a thank you in return?
You feel resentful, don’t you? Sort of like you wasted your time and regret putting
Well, the same applies with referrals. If any of your clients give you a referral,
you must reward them!
Remember, anything you reinforce, you get more of. When you reward the
behavior of referrals, you get more in turn!
So how do you reward referrals?
Oh, I don’t know, can you pick up a phone and say…
Can you drop a letter in the mail and say you appreciate their kind assistance and
that you’ll do your best to help their friend out with their problem? Can you send
What you give is a decision for you. Remember, you need to first GIVE in order to
Remember that you’re rewarding the behavior of referring – not the act of the
referred prospect purchasing your services. Reward the behavior if you want your
client to repeat it.
3. Help Them Help You
Many times when you ask people for referrals, you will receive a quick response
such as “I don’t know anybody who really wants to use a trainer right now.” Most
of the time this isn’t a maneuver to avoid your question. They honestly may not
know of anyone when you ask such a generalized question.
To help them remember, you should quickly educate them. Give them reasons
why someone would want to do business with you. Here are three examples:
First: Give them your “elevator pitch” – a short description of your business and
your Unique Selling Proposition, why someone would need to work with you, and
a profile of your “ideal client.”
Second: Remind them of people who may fit in the following categories:
Employees and colleagues
Family, friends, and neighbors
Others they may do business with
Members of associations, churches, and special interest groups
Third: Remind them of people they may know because of specific events. For
Those who have had a child
Those who have recently married
Those who have recently had a baby
Those who have recently moved to the area
Those who came to their office
Those who are their colleagues
Remind them of who you’re looking for, and you’ll begin enjoying many more
referrals in no time!
One final thing before we move on to the done-for-you referral
You need to allow enough time to test each referral system and the amount that
you’re willing to invest. Like anything else in business, to decide the value of a
new strategy, you must test it. I would pilot each system or incentive 4-8 weeks to
get significant information on whether it’s worth keeping as part of your
business. And the best thing about a system is that, once in place, you can always
tweak the process to achieve better results. The hard part is developing the
system, which is where we turn our attention to next.
Referral System #1: Point of Sale
The point-of-sale referral is among the easiest – and most effective – of all
referral strategies. It can generate a constant influx of new referrals into your
business and capitalizes on the excitement of new members. Lastly, it is very easy
to integrate into your sales process.
You can use any point-of-sale referral system for your own business. However,
two tried-and-true methods include giving away a free t-shirt and offering a
discounted membership in exchange for referrals.
We provide you with the basics for the T-shirt Referral Program, including a
done-for-you script and handout, that you can implement in your business today.
T-Shirt Referral Program
When you are filling out your profile questionnaire with the client, ask them if
they know of anyone who they think might be interested in training with them or
at the facility. Give them the T-shirt Referral Program sheet (found on the
following page) and let them know that they will get a free t-shirt for giving you
four names, phone numbers, and/or email addresses. Many people will simply
get out their phones and start giving you names.
After they give you the names and information, give them a t-shirt. In addition,
you can give them 4 free two-week trial gift cards and instruct them to give these
out to anyone they might have forgotten to write down.
Following this protocol, you will essentially create 8 new leads with every one
prospect. You will call the leads from the T-shirt sheet and offer them the two
week trial because they were recommended by the client. Make this a permanent
part of your sales system, and you will be essentially guaranteed a steady stream
End of Sale Referral Request Script:
I truly appreciate you choosing [Business Name] to help you reach your goals.
Now that you are a member of the [Business Name] family, we’d like to offer
you the opportunity to share this with your friends and get your first piece of
So here’s how it works. If you have any family members or friends that you
think would also benefit from our programs, list them here and we’ll call them
and offer them a 14-Day Trial Membership as a gift from you.
And if you provide us with four referrals that we can invite in, you will receive a
free [Business Name] T-Shirt as a gift from us.
So let’s go ahead and fill in this card, and then we will call the people you
recommend and invite them in as your guest.
T-SHIRT REFERRAL PROGRAM
As a member of the [Business name] family, we’d like to offer you the
opportunity to share your experience with your friends!
Please take a few minutes and list 4 friends or family members who
would enjoy a 14-Day Free Trial at [Business Name]. If you refer 4
people, you will receive a [Business name] T-Shirt!
Member Name: _________________________
NAME PHONE NUMBER EMAIL ADDRESS
1. _______________________ ___________________ _______________________________
2. _______________________ ___________________ _______________________________
3. _______________________ ___________________ _______________________________
4. _______________________ ___________________ _______________________________
THANK YOU VERY MUCH! AS AN ADDED BONUS, IF ANY
OF YOUR REFERRED GUESTS DECIDE TO JOIN
[BUSINESS NAME], YOU’LL RECEIVE A $25 GIFT CARD!
Referral System #2: Charity Fundraisers
The second referral system is the charity bootcamp fundraiser. This is an
interactive and fun way to both impress your current clients and get an influx of
new prospects into your business.
1. Go to your current campers/clients and network to find a charity they care
about that you can support.
2. Schedule a one-time bootcamp/workout to raise money for the charity.
3. Begin marketing the bootcamp/workout. Your goal is to get as many new
leads as possible in to the event.
a. Have the person that offered the charity, as well as the organization
itself, market to their friends, family, and contacts.
b. Announce that you will donate $5-10 for each new person that
comes to the workout.
c. Talk with your clients and send emails to your clients and network
to promote the event and encourage them to bring friends.
4. Hold the event, donate the money to charity, and put on a fun and high-
a. Collect contact information of all participants.
b. Consider providing refreshments for after the workout as a way to
meet the new people and build value.
5. Send a press release to all local media outlets. See below for a done-for-
6. After the event, follow up with all new leads and make them a low-risk
front-end offer (such as a free 14-day trial, 21 days for $21, a
transformation contest, etc.).
Sample Script to Find a Charity
Announce to bootcamp or modify for individual client
Hey guys, gather around, I have an announcement to make.
I’m planning something really special, and I need your help!
I’m trying to do more to give back to the community, so in the coming weeks, I
want to host a charity workout in support of a special cause.
I need your help in picking a charity to support. If any of you have a charity in
mind, just stick around and let me know. I want this to be worthwhile and fun for
ALSO, for every friend that you bring to the charity workout, I will donate [$5-10]
to the cause. I’m looking forward to dishing out some big bucks that day!
I’ll send you all the information as soon as I finalize everything. Thanks for your
Sample Email to Promote Workout
Modify as needed
Subject: Special Invite: First Ever Charity Workout!
We’ve got something really special in the works at [Business Name], and I’m
excited to share it with you...
Starting at [time] on [date], we’ll be hosting our first ever [Business Name
To give back to the community – and have some fun while we’re at it – we put
together a special workout to benefit a great cause at [Charity].
And I expect to be donating more than $100 out of my own pocket!
For every non-member that participates in the workout, I will donate [$5-10]! So
make me pay more by bringing your friends and family for an event that’s
guaranteed to be a blast!
There’s no cost to take part. Refreshments will be provided, and donations are
You’ll be sorry if you miss our first ever [Business Name Charity Workout]! There
will be good food, great fun, and hard work, and it’s all for a great cause…
What more could you ask for?
P.S. If you’ve wondered how it all works at [Business name], this is the perfect
time to come. Plus, we’ll have a bonus special deal for you…
Sample Press Release
Send to all local media outlets (do a Google search if you do not already have a
list handy), especially those you are connected to, immediately following the
charity workout. Modify as needed.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact – NAME/EMAIL ADDRESS/PHONE NUMBER
Local Personal Trainer Makes Cutting the Fat Charitable
[Business Name/Your Name] Raises Money for [charity] and Awareness for
[DATE, LOCATION] – With the epidemic of obesity worsening each passing year,
public health officials are baffled at how to fight the problem.
Local fitness and health expert [name], owner of [Business Name], has the
answer: connect fitness to charity.
[Name] introduced a novel way to get people moving by motivating them with
donations to [charity] from [his/her] own pocket.
The first ever [Name of event] was held on [date] and attracted fitness
enthusiasts and soccer moms alike.
[Name] explains, “I motivated my members to bring along friends and challenge
their fitness, and I personally contributed to [charity] for each newcomer in the
Over [number] participated in the one-day event, which raised over [$].
“I think the high numbers show that people care not only about their own fitness
but also about the greater good. Linking the two is a great way for people to get
over any inhibitions they might have for working out and being active.”
Inactivity has been linked with a panoply of health concerns, including obesity
and cardiovascular disease. [Business Name] uses “bootcamps,” coached group
sessions using high intensity circuit training, to get people active and burn fat.
Current bootcamp member [name, make sure you get permission] remarked, “My
friend and I had a great time. And it was really wonderful to know that our fun
was for a good cause.”
[Business Name] is located at [address]. For a 14-day free trial, visit [website] or
contact [Your name] at [email].
Referral System #3: Bring a Friend
The final referral system is the Bring a Friend Day. This strategy is highly
effective because people intrinsically want to share a good thing with their friends
and family. If you provide a quality service, your clients should be excited to bring
their friends to a workout.
Here’s how to implement the Bring a Friend referral system:
1. Schedule a Bring a Friend Day at least 3 weeks in the future (to allow for
ample time to market).
2. Make announcements after every session to get your clients excited.
a. Ask your clients individually if they know who they will bring and
wait for an answer. This will make your clients much more likely to
3. Send emails the week of the Bring a Friend Day reminding everyone of the
4. Collect contact information on the day of the event, and give
everyone there a free 2-week trial (see sample handout below).
5. Follow up with leads individually and schedule everyone for an assessment
The Bring a Friend Day can be repeated every 2-3 months.
If you are looking to take this referral system to the next level, consider involving
local businesses and making the bring a friend day one where members and their
friends can win prizes or receive other giveaways for taking part. This should
increase participation and provide you with an even greater number of leads.
Sample Script Announcing Bring a Friend Day
Announce repeatedly after training sessions once you have scheduled the event.
Hey guys, could you gather around? I have an announcement.
In [3 weeks], we’ll be having a special workout that will be lots of fun.
It’s our first ever Bring a Friend Day!
For no charge at all, you’ll be able to bring a friend, coworker, family member, or
anyone you know in to participate in a special workout with us.
I’m trying to make this more interactive and exciting, and I think this is a great
place to start.
Bring a Friend Day will be held on [date]. All you have to do is make sure your
friends can come that day, so please start asking now.
Do you have any questions?
Sample Email Script Announcing Bring a Friend Day
Send to Members. Modify as needed.
Subject: RE: Bring a Friend Day!
There is something exciting in the works here at [Business Name], and I want to
share with you all the details.
On [date], we’ll be having our first ever Bring a Friend Day!
All you have to do is bring a friend to your bootcamp – for no charge – and we’ll
have a fun partner workout.
This is your chance to showcase all the hard work you put in here and share with
your friend this special and fun event!
I only have one question for you:
Do you know who you’re bringing?
Sample Individual Script Regarding Bring a Friend Day
Hey [name], good job today!
I’ve got a question for you. As you know, our Bring a Friend Day is on [date] and I
was wondering if you knew who you’d be bringing.
Have you asked them already?
Have they agreed?
Do they know how to get to the workout?
You’ve been doing awesome in our workouts! I know your friend will be
Bring a Friend Attendee Special Offer
Check all that apply:
□ Yes! I want to claim my 2 week gift membership at [Business Name]! I
understand that there is no obligation for me to sign up for any membership
program or pay any fees whatsoever by checking this box. I understand that by
checking this box, I will be contacted by a [Business Name] employee by [Date]
to begin my free trial.
□ Yes!!! I want to claim an additional 2 weeks free for a total of 4 free weeks of boot
camp AND [list the offer here, e.g. receive $100 off my first month of a 3 month
boot camp membership training 3x per week.] I understand that this offer expires
on [Today’s Date], and I may not receive this offer ever again if I do not check
By entering my credit card information and signing below, I agree to allow
[Business Name] to charge me $89 for my first month and then $189 for the next
two months beginning on [5 weeks from today’s date].
I also understand that a [Business Name] representative will contact me by
[Date] to get me scheduled for my first appointment but that it is ultimately my
responsibility to schedule and attend all training sessions.