Are your paid social ads not working as well anymore? There's a reason for that. Customers trust marketing and advertising less than ever. Today, more than half of customers prefer referrals and testimonials as a trusted way to research their buying decisions.More than ever, collecting and promoting your customer's success stories is important if you'd like to maximize your gym's reach (in a cost effective manner).To get you started, read our best practices for asking for a customer referral at your gym. At the end of this you'll find a couple tried-and-true email templates you can use to get referrals from your customers.I even throw in one ninja-move in here to take the member review process to almost 100% success rate.
The Process of Asking For A Member Referral
- Timing is Everything
- Manual Requests Win
- The Hook
- Setting Up The Ask With a 1 Minute Survey
- Make The Ask
- Bonus: Ninja Move
How To Fail At Asking For Referrals
Asking for referrals, like anything in your business, is a process. The better you have it defined and locked down, the better your results will be.You can not just ask for referrals without a game plan. If you try, you'll look awkward and have little success. You might even alienate some people in the process.Do not attempt to ask for referrals without building a system for it, like the one I'm about to go over.
Timing: When To Ask For The Referral
After a happy moment, people are more likely to want to share their success they've found at your gym or studio.Thus, you should only ask for a referral from your members at a happy moment. You need to define when the right happy moments are at your gym. Here's some examples:
- After a certain belt promotion if you own a martial arts studio.
- After they record a personal best on a lift at a strength and conditioning or CrossFit gym.
- After someone graduates from an introductory class you're offering.
- Once you've worked with someone to hit a goal they've set.
if you don't have one in mind, here's a simple one you can use from your PushPress Check-In Report. Filter the list by the last calendar month and your short list of people to talk to are the people who have checked in the most. They are clearly getting the most out of your gym!
Manual Referral Requests Win
Remember, this is going to be a high value proposition for your gym. Unless you're running a gym with more than 1,000 members, we highly recommend you communicate with members manually. No automated messaging.We have included some email / message templates below to help you get this started. You can save these as a draft or a semi-canned email somewhere, but you should do all reach out personally. The more personal, the better (it might even be an in person ask for maximal results)We will be using a 1 minute survey to setup the referral ask - so at some point you will need to send them a link. If you ask them in person, you will be asking them to keep an eye out for the survey link that you'll text to email shortly.
Building The Offer
Nobody will straight up go to their friends and ask them to join your gym. It's awkward, and no one wants to feel like a sales person.So you need to build an offer to give them this opportunity to bring people into the gym. For this article we're going to base it on a "Bring A Friend Day".I've seen a lot of gyms run this with marginal success. Mainly because they've done this without the rest of these steps. You need to run things like "Bring a Friend Day" alongside a process to actually make people excited to bring their friends!This will allow your members to approach their friends with a non-intimidating ask. Changing the conversation from "Hey do you want to join my gym, it's great" to "Hey, do you want to join me for a free workout at my gym" is key to getting these referrals to work.Build the "Bring a Friend Day" to be fun, inclusive, and as non-intimidating as possible. Showcase your strengths and use it as an opportunity to let these new faces know that they are welcome in your gym and can see the same results and fun as their friends!
Setting Up The Ask.
For this you'll need to build a super simple google form. It's basically two questions:
- Considering your complete experience with us, how likely are you to refer XYZ Gym to a friend or colleague?
- Thank you for your reply. Do you care to tell us more?
This is the form you will be sending to people (via text preferably, but it could be via email)The purpose of this form is to set your client into a thoughtful mindset of referring a friend to you. It asks them to consider their experience with you.To be completely honest, you should be presenting this survey to all clients at random times. This is just an NPS Survey, which is meant to measure a customer's long term appreciation and satisfaction of your business.For the sake of this article, we're using it strictly to warm up a referral. In a future article I'll talk about using NPS as an ongoing tool in your business (it's impact is much bigger than simply asking for referrals).Save that form with only those two questions. It'll look like this.When you identify people with happy moment you would like to ask for a referral from, send them a link to that form.When they fill it out, it'll notify you. After they fill it out move on to the next step.
Make The Referral Ask
If the person responded to that survey with a 9 or a 10, move on to make the ask.