A “3 Step Referral Blueprint”For The New Year

68266_1720365458471_1518342032_31734045_3684724_nSince the New Year is fast approaching I’m sure you are getting pretty excited about January finally getting here.

Since I own a fitness business myself, I know exactly how you feel.

I was sitting back the other day and thinking about my membership numbers. Things like how many clients I currently have in my bootcamps, how many deals I missed, things like that.

Since I own a bootcamp business and my membership rates are roughly $200/month, when I miss one client, it is painful.

Luckily, I have a “3 Step Referral Blueprint” that I have been using close to 20 years to multiply 1 new membership into 2 or 3 each and every time I take on a new client.

This “3 Step Referral Blueprint” is so powerful that if used correctly can help you add 15-20% to your membership base in the next 30 days. However, if you don’t use it, you will never see the true potential that your club or p.t. business has to offer.

Unlike some other programs and systems out there, I’m going to give you this one for free…as my gift to you for Christmas. My email list has tripled in 2010 and with 38,000+ gym owners in the U.S. alone looking for ways to maximize their efforts & PROFITS, this gift alone should be a great help.

So let’s get to it already.

fitness sales referral program

Step 1 – Who and What are Referrals?

The first thing you need to do is understand that there are 2 types of referrals…hot and cold. Some examples of hot referrals are your current member referrals, friend and family referrals, strategic partner referrals, business of the week referrals, etc. Cold referrals come from sources that don’t really care about your business, or your success, and more times than not are a waste of your time and energy.

So in this step I want you to focus on collecting hot referrals.

How do you go about doing that?

The best idea is to start with your current membership base. You can email them the following:


Subject: I’m sorry…but I’m not going to charge you for next month


I wasn’t able to sleep all night last night….

I have been thinking about how important you and the other members are to XYZ gym.

I’m positive that the other gyms around town don’t care as much about their members as I do my members.

And that’s the problem.

You see, I couldn’t sleep last night because I realized that I haven’t done anything lately to really show my members that I care about them. I mean, I can show my appreciation in more powerful ways than just saying thanks, can’t I?

I think I can.

So this is what I’m going to do. For the next 30 days, I’m going to do something that the other gyms in town would probably call crazy. I’m not going to charge my members for their membership.

This is how it will work.

Since I know you are a person of influence in the community and have a ton of friends that would probably love to be part of such an awesome gym, all you have to do is pick up some 7 day guest passes at the front desk and hand them out. When your friend comes in for  their 7 day trial, they will tell us that they were referred by you. And if your buddy joins up…guess what? You get next month FREE.

But that’s not the best part.:-)

If you have 6 friends that join up in a 30 day period, I will give you the next year…that’s right, the next 12 months FREE.

By doing this, I hope that you can see I’m really serious about showing my love and appreciation for your business and I hope that you’re really enjoying everything that we have to offer here at XYZ gym.

To your health and fitness,

Joe Gym Owner

P.S. If you want to give your friends the gym phone number so they can call in themselves and get more information our number here is ________. Some people may rather call in versus coming in. Also, here is our website address www.xyzgym.com


Before you send this email you are going to need to do 2 things.

1. Put signs up around your club (mirrors in bathroom, few pieces of cardio equipment, door exits, things of that nature) with a goofy picture of a dog, baby or something like that with this simple phrase and call to action: “Memberships are now FREE…ask management how you can workout for FREE.”

2. The next thing you need are 7 day guest passes. We design and sell these guest passes and have been using them for a long time. The guest pass needs to have a few things: logo, the word  7 Day Guest Pass, the lowest membership rate you offer, name, email, phone number, referred by, etc. It’s also good to have these small guest passes made up in carbon copy form that way your sales staff can keep one copy and you can give the other copy to the trial member to show at the front desk when they come in for their workouts.

Step 2: Become the Puppy and Milk the Cow

What?referral fitness program

Now that you got this very valuable referral in your club, using your club for 7 days, it’s time to turn up the heat…so to speak. It’s time to show that member exactly why they should join your club versus the other clubs in town. Why are you different? If your answer is becuase we have the latest and greatest equipment…you’re on the right track, but your details are wrong. But you probably already knew that.

That valuable referral is more concerned with the atmosphere and how they are treated by your staff. So here are 2 key tasks of your staff when it comes to dealing with referrals working out in the club on their 7 day trial membership.

Become the Puppy – When you get home from a long day of work and are frustrated about the boss, traffic, and your pants fitting too tight, all you need to put a smile on your face is a cute little puppy wagging it’s tail and is so excited to see you that it almost pees on itself. Somehow this simple act of appreciation and enthusiasm will pull us out of our funk and get us into a different state of mind.

Well, that’s the same thing that happens at your club each and every day. People come through the door upset about life ups and downs and your staff has the power to inspire, motivate, and set at ease each and every member they come in contact with. Now I don’t mean your staff should lick the member on their face and pee on paper, I mean they need to show them real appreciation for that member making it into the club that day, and here are a few examples of what to say and do.

~ Make physical contact by shaking a hand, patting a shoulder, giving a high five…anything will do. (Just don’t get a sexually harassment charge in the process)

~ They should smile and understand that smiles are contagious and the most hardened, difficult member to deal with can be softened with a simple smile.

~ You should say and mean such things like, “It’s so great to see you today!”, “I’m so happy you made it into the club for a quick workout!”, “I was hoping you would come today, can I get you anything?”

You should have at least one staff member that is responsible for walking the floor every 15 minutes that is the “puppy’ doing the before mentioned tasks. This task will pay for itself with new memberships and referrals out the ears.

Milk the Cow – did you know that if a cow isn’t milked regularly, it starts to get grumpy because it’s utters start to hurt? No, this isnt a National Geographic blog, it’s just an analogy. You see when a new member or referral gets to you gym, 9x out of 10, they don’t really know anyone. The longer they are in a club during their trial or membership, they longer they go without being communicated with, the thought of going to the gym can become painful and uncomfortable.

Pay close attention to what I’m about to say. After their 1st workout, you must schedule the day and time they are going to come back for the next workout. Let them know you just want to make sure you’re going to be there when they come again. This does more than I feel like writing about today, but it’s very important. Each time after they workout, before they leave, you are going to ask when their next workout will be. This is so important because it ties into the next step and shows the referral that you care. It also gets them to show up for the next workout and start the habit of a healthy lifestyle.

New referrals using their 7 day trail membership, should be spoken to a minimum of 3 times during each and every workout. When they get to the club, during their workout and before they leave. Don’t do this step and your closing percentage will drop by 25-35%.

Step 3: Closing the Deal and Brainwashing Your Members to Refer their Friends

So by this point you’ve gotten the referral, they’ve came into your club to see what you have to offer (personality, atmosphere, and features). You’ve bonded with them by “becoming the puppy” and you’ve helped them feel comfortable by helping them develop a habit of ahealthy lifestyle by helping them “milk the cow.” And since you have been aksing them when they will be coming in for their next workout, you know that today is the last day of their 7 day trial so you can begin to close the deal.

Closing the deal – “Always be Closing” or “ABC Selling” should make this step really simple. They should already understand the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and choosing your club over other health clubs in the market. However, if you or your sales team have only talked to the prospective client once or twie and haent done the above steps, you’re going to have your work cut out for you.

fitness referralsBrainwashing for Referrals – Maybe brainwashing isn’t the right word here, programming is what I’m trying to say. When I say brainwashing it  is a little to “Scientology” for my taste.

In this part of step 3 you have to build up the fact that Joe member is going to get a month or a year for free just by referring them to the club, you can say something like, “Man I was looking at you working out there, looks like you had a great workout today and I didnt know if you knew it or not, but today is the last day on your 7 day pass, come right over here so we can go ahead and get you started and make sure to remind me to put Tom’s name down for the referral source, that way he can get next month free.”

That statement does 2 things.

1. It assumes the sale (remember ABC selling)
2. It’s programming the referral to continue the chain of referring new clients to the club and get free membership time.

You should have somewhere in your paperwork in bold red writing: referred by or “This member receives 1 free month on their membership by referring _____.” And your sales staff really need to play up the fact that referrals are not only appreciated, but the best, most popular members of the club refer clients.

Now that you’ve just signed up a new member to the club, it’s time to get him or her to refer friends and family. You’re going to do this in 3 simple steps.

1. You are going to have a master referral sheet for him to feel out. If you don’t have one already, please give us a call at 888-434-8360 and we can tell you more about our done for you “Fit Friend Referral System.”

2. You need to give new client  7 day guest passes to hand out to their friends and family.

3. You should send a pre-printed thank you card with guest passes printed into the card. These cards are a part of our done for you system, but if you don’t have anything a simple handwritten thank you card with a few 7 day passes would do.

So there you go.

I didn’t hold anything out. This is exactly what we have done, are doing, and will continue to do to grow our fitness business and help gym owners all over the U.S to grow their fitness business.

Last thing to think about here, if your club is running a 1,000 members right now & if in the next 12 months you can get 1/2 your members to refer 1 person, using this system, you would have at least 500 extra members and if 1/2 of those referred at least 1 person, that would give you a total of 750 new members by the end of the year.

Let’s do the math: 750 new members x $____/month x 12 months = $___________ in new sales for the year.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how much money you can make if your referral program is running like it should be.

If you want to Sign up for our monthly Newsletter Click HERE and if you want to get more information about our “Fit Friend Referral System” simply call 888-434-8360.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Joshua Fleming
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Joshua Fleming

Coaching Gym Owners at www.HelpMeGetMembers.com
He is a Dad of 3, Marine & Serial Entrepreneur. He has 25+ years of extensive experience in the industry.

He's spearheaded the opening of 100+ gyms and is responsible for selling over 100,000 gym memberships and collecting over 300,000 buddy referrals in his career.

Learn more @ www.JoshuaTFleming.com
Joshua Fleming
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