Home Personal Training Marketing Foundations How To Set Up A Personal Training Referral Program.

How To Set Up A Personal Training Referral Program.

how clients love a personal training referral program

My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s
-Oscar Wilde

This post is about setting up a personal training referral program in your personal training business, the easy way.

One of the fundamentals of your PT business efforts is knowing how to get referrals.  It costs you nothing and best of all… you don’t have to sell or overcome any objections.

Your Personal Training clients are your fence.  Your business protection.  And the more you treat them well, send them gifts and help them change their lives – the thicker your fence becomes.

Not only thicker… higher too.

And the thicker and stronger your fence, the longer lasting security it has.

It keeps intruders out and the natives in.  And that’s the key for an effective personal training referral plan that lasts forever.

It’s funny how the withering fitness businesses don’t bother establishing their foundations.  They have weak foundations which simply don’t hold.

They build on the sand.  And it doesn’t matter how well they’ve crafted their sand castle, how much time they’ve spent on it or how long it took them to build it… there’s always gonna be that jealous kid coming over and kickin’ it down.

But with a high, thick gate crasher proof fence – no invader dare comes your way.

The best form of personal training referral is when you don’t have to do any work or pay for promotions.  Just good ol’ fashioned hard work and being excellent at what you do will have people flocking to you.

Some ‘gurus’ who teach referral marketing preach this concept:  DO what you do so well that people can’t stop talking about you.

Yes.  There’s some truth in that method.

But that method alone has a problem…

You can’t rely on your client’s good will to go out of their way and recommend people to you.

Even though your clients will at times recommend you, you’re still relying on the mindset of ‘hoping.

And hope is risky.

You want a way that’s solid and you can measure.

So, in your personal training referral efforts, you gotta first – be good at what you do.

And that’s not determined by your ego.  If a client of yours has been with you for more than 15 weeks, and has achieved measurable results – then you’re a good trainer for that client.

And if you have 9 or 10 clients like that – you’ve pretty much established some referral power.

Remember, clients don’t want to refer someone to a trainer they’re not sure of and hasn’t got any reputation.

Your clients have to be certain you won’t be an embarrassment to their friend/relative or whoever.

That’s where testimonials, client satisfaction and a web presence could help your credibility a lot.

Even if you don’t have the above achievements, the easy method I’m about to show you still works.  It just takes a little more grunt.

And by grunt – I mean confidence in your tone and the way you express yourself.

Here’s a Simple Personal Training Referral Program:

Make referrals part of your training package:

You can have your basic training package and you have your referrals rewards package.

AFTER the time of signing – you simply ask your new signed client if they know of anyone who will also be interested in Personal Training.

If they do – you explain your referrals reward program – where they get $10 off per week discount / or an extra 20 minute consultation per month – or something of REAL value they can TRULY benefit from.

And please… don’t offer those stupid FREE massage coupons or stuff like that.

You have to ADD value and REWARD your clients.  Not send them off to a place where they’ll be pitched at.

Example:  Let’s say you singed up a client at $70 per hour (your basic package).  Explain how you can reduce their price to $60 per hour only if your client refers one of their friends / relatives to you – and they sign up.  And knock off $5 each time they refer someone who signs up with you.

Doing it this way, you have your clients working for you.  Chasing you clients.  So in a 15 week period, you might of knocked off $150 ($10 x 15) – and made $1050 ($70 x 15).  That’s a pretty good investment.  Best of all – you didn’t do any of the work.  Your clients did!

Remember:  Sign your clients on your basic deal BEFORE they bring you someone who signs up.  Only AFTER they bring you someone – you put them on the rewards program.

That’s another reason why having a Direct Debit system makes your personal training referral rewards program easier to implement.

I remember early in my career I got to know a good physio.  We formed a joint venture and agreed to refer clients to each other.  As the typical optimist that I am, I went first.  I referred 2-3 clients per month for 5 months.

In return – I got nothing.  And worse, I never got a thank you card, a telephone call or anything of appreciation.

That physio violated the business referral 101 rule:   Respect the people who feed you.

My clients naturally stopped seeing her and instead I took on the fun responsibility of doing their physio work (with much better and quicker results too).  The yearly value of a physio client can be anywhere in the range of $1500 – $2000 per year.  I gave her 5 – so there’s a potential of $10,000 per year – plus more.

All that got stripped from her.  Not only that, I stopped a bunch of clients and prospects from seeing her.

And I told a cluster of people to avoid her at all costs.

Yes.  She lost a years’ worth of income all because she didn’t take the time to acknowledge and appreciate my efforts.

A 5 minute call.  A thank you card.  Just something… is all I wanted in return.

The result:  Her career was ruined.  Mine thrived.

The lesson:  Whenever someone refers you a client – make sure you thank them and show your appreciation.  A thank you card, a gift (movie tickets work well), acknowledgement, do a small favour for them – anything.  Make sure people feel welcome and appreciated on going out of their way to help you.

And no, just giving them a discount or a free 20 minute consultation each month is not the thank you.

You have to go beyond that.

It’s that little ‘extra’ thing that’s gonna give you credibility and recognition as the ONLY trainer for them.

It’s what’s gonna put layers of thickness and protection over your fence.  And your basic referral will be on auto-pilot.

Surprisingly – they’ll keep referring you more.  And it’ll be because they want to.  Your personal training referral problems are soon gone.

So, yes.  Be the best you can be.  Get your clients the best results you can. Care for them.  So when the conversation about Personal Training comes up – you’re sure to be mentioned.

John Toumpakke.

Here are some related resources:

[Video] PT Client Retention with E.A.R. Model


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True referral marketing is built upon mutually beneficial relationships. And that’s an important fitness marketing rule to live by. Rather than wasting time trying to speak to as many people as possible about yourself, having a third party there who can endorse you and your offering is a more powerful, often overlooked, tool.

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  1. Exactly, I’m sick of those ‘FREE’ coupons and I know they don’t work because people are so much smarter now. Excellent tips John as always.

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