Brand Experience

3 Simple Referral Tools For Your Gym

11 October, 2022

Attracting new gym members is one of the biggest issues that the majority of business owners and fitness professionals deal with. Opening a gym is not enough; you also need to reel in the ideal customers. A gym referral program could be exactly what your business needs to get more feet through your door. 

How so? 

It’s only normal for people to tell their friends about a cool experience they had and a fitness business cannot deny the influence of referrals. The steps you must take to be successful are covered in this article’s explanation of how to develop an efficient referral strategy for your fitness business – in just 3 easy ways. 

But first, here are a few reasons why taking the time to create your own gym referral program will benefit the growth of your gym:

  • Referral-based leads are free
  • Customers trust referrals
  • They strengthen your bond with your current clients
  • It fosters a “referral culture” where your customers feel valued


Infographic example: 

gym referral program


Now, on to the good stuff: 3 effective referral tools you can use for your gym.


1. Make Your Sign-Ups Count

The way you approach each client during your professional coaching interactions with them sets the tone for how the rest of your relationships will develop. 

By giving them a good reason to start referring you as soon as they start working with you, you can capitalise on their enthusiasm and help them internally confirm their decision (plus allows you to help one other person within their network).


  • In your sales presentation, design referrals in the following way: Start the conversation by saying something like, “Our objective is to get you to your goal- our coaching model actually runs upon the concept of bringing our customers fantastic outcomes so that they can tell their friends and we can do the same for them, making it a win-win for everyone.”


  • Allow customers to bring a friend: It will cost you nothing to have numerous “bring a buddy” or “trial session” vouchers produced, but your new customers will value them highly. Include one or more in your welcome packets and take the time to ask each participant who they would like to bring along for a session (don’t be general; attempt to get specific names).


  • Follow up in your welcome e-mail: After you’ve signed up a new customer, planted the seed of referrals, and given them gift cards for their friends and family, ask directly in your welcome e-mail if they’ve determined who they want to send their gift cards to.


2. Kickstart The Conversation With Gifts And Shout-Outs

Asking a naturally introverted person to come into their office and start bragging about the new physical therapist they joined up with isn’t going to be the best plan for generating new leads, which is where this tactic comes in.


  • Gifting done right: Consider conversation starters (keeping in mind that this gift is for the customer, not for you), such as mugs with slogans like “body reconstruction in progress at *insert your business name*,” or even something as cheesy as a “PB” balloon for when they break a new record in training (nothing generates conversation like a balloon).
    The goal is to start the dialogue for them when someone asks, “Is this from the gym you are training at?” They’ll most probably be excited about sharing their achievements and your offerings.


  • Highlight accomplishments: Don’t do this without permission, but what if a customer achieves a personal best or a milestone in their fitness or weight loss goals? Don’t keep it a secret.
    When their friends and relatives enquire about it, post it on social media and give them credit. They’ll quickly give you back that credit (along with the recommendations).


3. Rely On The Exit Referral

Let’s keep it real – you will lose gym members. That’s a given in this industry, but how can you use this situation to your advantage, you may ask? 

Sometimes it’s a relocation, sometimes it’s money, and other times it might even be that you did such an excellent job coaching them that they reached their goals and you provided them with all the information they needed to maintain them. 

And losing a client might often feel like a blow to your business, but what if you handle the issue well? It might represent the beginning of a brand-new relationship.

This will need to be modified depending on the reason for their departure, but here is a strategy you can use to turn even customer departures into a source of fresh leads:

“You’ve been a dream customer to work with, and now that I’ll have a free slot, I was wondering whether you knew somebody as awesome as you who you believe might benefit from training with me.”

Every new client might potentially lead to another if handled properly, reducing the need for typical “marketing funnels.”

In reality, many prosperous gyms and personal trainers place their complete attention on tried-and-true SEO techniques to attract warm leads and a reliable referral network to profit from offering top-notch service.

If you are performing well, all your customers spreading the news is an opportunity; all they need is a little push.

Stay tuned for part 2 on How To Start A Gym Referral Program and how to ensure it’s a success.