Sharing knowledge with clients increases their success

By Mark Campbell

As a measurement of our success as trainers, referrals often stand up as one of those markers that say “Wow! I AM doing a good job”. Most of the trainers that I have met come into this industry primarily because of the difference they wish to make in someone else’s life. Certainly there are some trainers that like their job because they also get to work out more often, and sure, that is a great added bonus, but I find that in most cases a person becomes a trainer because they know they can make a difference and they wish to share that passion and expertise with others.

If we take a look at the statistics, we see that referrals come after you have been training for about one year. They amount to a total of about 75% of your new clients. If you are renewing a large proportion of your clientele, you only have a small amount of space remaining for new clients. From this perspective, it is not hard to understand that of the space that you have left in your schedule that 75% can easily be filled from referrals.

I am going to share with you some obstacles and solutions in regards to getting referrals. The first one is based on invitation from your clients upon their renewal. We would expect that a client will want to renew if they are seeing and feeling results, however, it is about less than 1 in 4 people that are going to renew with you, even if they may want to. There is something between the both of you wanting the renewal that is missing and that is the personal invite from you. This invitation comes in the form of you saying something as simple as “Did you enjoy these sessions?” and if they respond with a yes then you have your in. You can follow up by asking “Do you have any friends that you would like to invite to feel and achieve the benefits that you are feeling right now?”The great part is that you can say this from a confident standpoint because of the proven track record. It can really help to state to your client that you want to train people just like them. Saying something like “We work together so well, I think the people you refer would be a perfect fit.”This is where that old cliché of “don’t ask, don’t get” really stands true.

Secondly, another opportunity for referrals is to piggy back sessions. Invite your client to bring a friend to their next session and have them join in to get a taste of what training with you is like. This is such a great opportunity and most gyms and club will allow you to do this for at least one or two sessions. It is very efficient and it could end up with you gaining a new client or this one hour session might become a paired session if they choose to want to workout together. Referrals can sometimes be great add-ons to an already existing time slot.

Lastly, the timing of this invitation is really available all the time. However, in addition to this there is the added power of finding that special moment. Sometimes I observe my clients and I’ll notice when they have reached a point in their workout where they are in a state of euphoria from either completing a tough workout, a challenging exercise, or a solid set. It is in this moment of euphoria that you can ask your clients “You know how amazing you feel right now? Who do you know that you would want to feel like this right now?” When I see that little aha moment, it is so much easier because this person has most likely told their friends about me as a trainer, and their friends have probably noticed their results, so to pose the question of referrals by invitation in this moments is totally on par. When people feel good they want to share it, so if they offer you a name of a friend then you can follow it up with “Can I have their number?”, and then say “I will be contacting them via phone or text at such and such a time”. The important thing here is to follow through as you said you would. Also, ask your client to let their friend know when to expect your call or text so they can be available. And most importantly, after you have been in contact with this new potential client, phone or text your client back and thank them for the referral. This is all a beautiful balance of gratitude and good karma.

Referrals are out there for you, and you have to be willing to ask for them. Be your authentic you and your schedule will be full in no time!


Mark has logged over 40,000+ hours as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and canfitpro PRO TRAINER. He has earned several awards for Participant’s Choice, PRO TRAINER of the Year, and was a finalist for the canfitpro 2017 Fitness Professional of the Year award. Having owned a successful PT business for over a decade, Mark credits his success to a combination of learning the “hard way” and an abundance of continuing education.