Have you ever had a client move 20 minutes away from your gym and quit, saying they’re going to “try a gym closer to my new house?”

‘Hmmmmm. Not willing to drive 20 minutes?’ you think to yourself. 

Or did a client put their membership on hold because they moved into an apartment with a gym? 

Or, or, or…

Here’s the harsh reality: If this person is being honest (if the real reason they’re switching to a new gym is because of 20 minutes of driving), chances are they don’t perceive your gym to offer something unique or irreplaceable. To them, you’re just a place to workout, a dime a dozen. Easily replaced.

This is the secret to a strong client retention and referral game: Offering a unique service/product that clients know they won’t get anywhere else.

(Or at least, you would be tough to replace, and they’re willing to continue paying for your service even if they move 30 minutes away).

And what is going to make someone perceive your service as unique?

Simple: If it provides the results or a solution to their problem they haven’t been able to get in the past.

Food for thought: Have you ever had a client lose 50 pounds or get their long-wanted pull-up and quit the next day?

Pro Tip #1: It starts with Day 1

On Day 1, when you sit down with a new prospective client, dig into what hasn’t worked in the past and what it would feel like to fix whatever they want to improve today. 

Gather as much information as possible about them, push them to be vulnerable or “uncover their pain,” and see if you can offer a solution to this pain. 

Don’t be afraid to ask hard, even uncomfortable questions to get to the bottom of what they’re really feeling.

Pro Tip #2: It comes down to relationships

Suppose all you’re offering is a generic group training program in a group class. In that case, chances are you’re not that unique and probably irreplaceable (no matter how awesome you think your community is). 

However, an honest relationship with a professional coach who knows the person’s training history, goals, vulnerabilities, and pain is more unique and not easily replaced. 

How does this translate to referrals?

Although we’re not suggesting you shouldn’t ask clients if they have any friends or family members who could benefit from training with you, the best referrals tend to come on their own if you’re doing an excellent job with your clients.

Here’s how: John is having such great results training with you, and his friends notice. He looks better, his energy is better, and he seems happier. He can’t stop talking about the gym he’s going to or talking about his coach. Not because he’s trying to convince his friends to join, but because his life has taken a turn for the better. His friend Sam sees the energy oozing out of John and asks John to put him in contact with his coach. 

Boom. Organic referral culture is born.

- Emily Beers

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