A personal training business can be a difficult thing to market. While a strong online presence can definitely boost business, most of your clients are going to come from referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. When a client is happy with their progress, and enjoying their time in the gym, they’re going to tell others.
It’s a very logical outcome --when you work with a customer, not only do they see physical results, but they gain confidence actually feel different. They start to believe in themselves, and they talk about you to their significant other, to their family, to their friends & neighbors. Don’t forget that you're not only training someone to be physically successful, but also helping them to be successful in general. Now you have successful people advocating for you in the community.
Of course, you can expedite this process by taking steps to encourage referrals. Lynne Wells, a personal trainer in New York City, takes a very candid and simple approach, letting clients know when she has an opening in her schedule. “I'll also put postcards out around the neighborhood where I work,” she says. Or you can offer a financial incentive, such as giving clients a discount on their next month’s fee if they send a referral and that person becomes a client.
This doesn’t mean you can’t speed up the process and encourage referrals. Posting flyers in the neighborhood, sending out postcards can help keep you in your client's thoughts incase a friend mentions that “they need to get back in shape”. Financial incentives, such as group deals and bring-a-friend specials can also work wonders.
Create a gift certificate for a free evaluation and one or two exercise sessions to your clients for them to give to someone else. Do this around a holiday, or tie it to some seasonal event to make it stand out. A “get in shape for summer” is a great scare-tactic to touch on the fear of not being beach-body ready.
Getting your foot in with the medical community can be difficult to do, but well worth it. Participate in health conferences, speak at community organizations, and volunteer with groups where you're likely to make contact with health-care providers. If you meet a doctor at a social event, follow up later to let him know about your services, he may just recommend you to clients in need of exercise or a life change. If you have a studio, consider hosting an open house so health-care providers can see what you have to offer.
Boosting your word-of-mouth advertising is the best way to increase your client base. Steadily build your community reputation with these tips and tricks to grow your rate of referrals and boost your growth.