Probably the most potent, powerful, and profitable leads you can get for your personal training or boot camp business are referrals from your existing clients.
In a recent email, I shared how my personal training locations were all grown on a foundation of referrals. Sure we a couple other fitness marketing strategies in place, but for the most part – it was all about giving our clients the ultimate experience and then systematically asking them for referrals.
Here’s a GREAT example of that. My friend Mark Tregilgas shares in the blog post how he grew his boot camp to over 100 clients using nothing but referral generation tactics.
Hey, It’s your buddy Mark here from 30plusmensfitness.com and I hope you are doing great? Well I read Bedros’ email a few days back about ‘The Most grossly overlooked client getting tactic ever’ and I just had to reply and share my experience.
The tactic he mentioned literally blew up… and I mean blew up my boot camp business overnight. And of course that tactic is the good ole client referral generation. I thought PT Power readers might like to know how just a regular personal trainer like myself here in Cardiff, Wales,UK went from 10 boot campers to over 100 and growing using this kick arse technique.
Arse = Ass for you Americans 😉
As you said though B, you gotta do it right, its not as simple as offering somebody some training in passing for bringing their friends along, you need to be clear, concise and explain exactly how this works and what benefits your campers will receive right from the off.
So ill explain in detail about how it first worked for me and how I continue to implement it today.
Back in November 2010 I was running my boot camp for guys over the age of 30 and I had about 12 members, I was pretty happy as I had a busy personal training client base too but I wanted to take it to the next level after discovering both yours and Steve Hochman’s blogs and realizing there was so much more I could do with my camps.
I hired Steve as a business coach for the year and the first thing he asked me was “Dude do you run a referral competition? When I told him ‘no’ we immediately put it into practice and this is how we did it.
The next time I had all my campers together, I told them I had an announcement to make after the session.
For me its better to talk about the referral comp after the session once the hard work is over and all those feel good endorphins are kicking in, beforehand they are eager to get going and not really in the mood to take in what your going to explain.
I told the lads in detail that I appreciated all their efforts and the business they were giving me (remember people love to be appreciated) and that as I helped them with their fitness goals could they help me grow my business? I told them what a great bunch of lads they all were and that we only wanted to grow the camp by getting the right kind of people in.
So I explained that for every friend, work colleague or family member they qualified and brought along to boot camp for a FREE trial that, if they signed up for the following month that they, the person referring would receive a FREE month of training. If they brought more than one referral sign up, they would receive another month of free training and so on and so forth. Straight away the lad’s eyes lit up at the thought of free training.
However that wasn’t all. Steve also told me to make introduce an even bigger incentive whereby I would run the referral comp for 2 months in the lead up to Christmas. The person who brought me the most referral sign ups would win an awesome £200 cash prize. Now can you imagine how happy the wife would be if you brought home this cash just in time for Xmas right?
So the lads set about referring like crazy and I soon tripled my numbers. Sure I had a few guys in the camp training for free, but you have to look at the bigger picture and the camps were growing. Even better, the guy who won the competition told me not too worry about the cash and asked if he could just have some personal training sessions on the house instead, so I didn’t even have to shell out in the end, how cool was that?
With the referral strategy now working for me I soon set up a ladies only Boot camp http://www.facebook.com/#!/bootycampcardiff and oh boy did this just blow up because you know how ladies like to talk huh?
Well then it was time to step up the game and after a discussion with Steve I unleashed the ‘Everybody wins referral comp!’’ on my female campers. Basically the person who brought me the most referral sign ups over a 2 month period would win 6 months free boot camp, now that’s a lot of free training right? And remember, every referral sign up a client brought me would win a free month of training anyway so it really is a win win situation for everybody.
As you can imagine the girls just went crazy promoting my business! Imagine just having your own workforce selling your business day in and day out for FREE? Well that’s what these girls were doing for me.
The camps literally doubled again, I just couldn’t believe the power of this one frickin ninja tactic if done correctly. At the end of each session during the cool down I would remind all of the girls again about the comp and who was currently in the lead to win the free 6 months and of course I would tell every newcomer in their welcoming email about the comp too.
I penned a blanket email for any camper with access to their email database in their workplace so that they could hit up their entire office, it worked a treat, more and more people flocked to my camps.
In the end the person that won it did so by bringing me 5 referral sign ups across my male and female camps, those people are still with me today and the girl that brought them is still getting FREE training, cool or what?
Another thing that is great for generating excitement and bringing in new business like crazy is the Detox/Transformation competition. A few times in the last year I’ve created 28 day programmes that all of my campers pay an entrance fee to follow. This money then goes to the winner of the contest at the end of 28 days. Well you can just imagine the buzz of having around 70 campers all following your programme and talking about they’re progress, everyday on your business page wall, pretty viral huh?.
And boy once the before and after pictures came rolling in and I posted those bad boys to Facebook it was game over! This was boot camp marketing on steroids! The last detox/transformation comp I ran I posted the winner holding her £150 cash prize money and the next day my phone literally blew up, and it cost me nothing, that’s right a BIG FAT ZERO!
I literally did not spend one dime in advertising in 2011 and went from 12 to over 100 paying boot campers using referral marketing, and transformation comps using my Facebook business pages (Here’s the one for the guys http://www.facebook.com/#!/30plusmensfitness) .
Well you can imagine what that has done for my lifestyle? I’ve been able to take more holidays, invest more into courses that will develop me and can now take my Dad to watch our beloved Manchester United with the best seats in the house staying at the nicest hotels, no expense spared, that’s a real buzz being able to spoil your loved ones. I also work less hours doing 1 – 2 – 1 training and can spend more time focusing on the business rather than be in the business all day every day.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect, because as my business continues to blow up, myself and my wonderful girlfriend Sarah are expecting our first child and I’m so grateful that I will be able to provide for and give them the best.
I did this simply by implementing the referral strategy correctly rather than go chasing after business I didn’t have by placing ads here there and everywhere.
If you simply look after your current bunch of clients by over giving, they will remain super happy and bring you all the business you desire.
Much love as always B, looking forward to a few cold beers again whenever I see you next.
Mark Tregilgas aka Tregs (www.30plusmensfitness.com)