Referrals are still the best way to obtain new clients in the fitness industry, so what are some creative and new ways to ask for referrals? How about building strong working relationships with other businesses in your community and finding enticing ways to ask them to refer their clients to YOU?
- Learn how to set up your successful cross promotion
- Understand how to manage and implement your cross promotion
- Find more ways to promote Win/Win Business to Business and Community Relationships
It is easy to focus all of our attention on social media and online advertising these days. Having a solid online presence is essential, but (in our industry) real live relationships still rule when it comes to obtaining new members/clients.
The majority of our potential new clients originate from word of mouth referrals. So, how do we encourage those word of mouth referrals? We build relationships and we ask for them! Not only do we build strong relationships with our current clients and find creative ways to ask them for referrals; we also build strong working relationships with other businesses in our community and ask them to refer clients to us and we do the same for them. Setting up, implementing and managing cross promotions in your community does require some effort, but the payoff can be huge.
Setting Up a Successful Cross Promotion
- Will it be a co-logoed gift certificate for a complementary first session for their customers?
- Will it be as simple as you posting your most current flier/leave fliers for their customers to take and agree to do the same for them?
- Will you offer their staff complimentary group training classes and VIP rates on all other services in return for them displaying your marketing materials/fliers and giving away gift certificates for free first sessions? (If you go this route….remember to ask the employees to not tell others that you are offering them free services so it doesn’t upset paying clients.)
- Which businesses to approach – do your research
- Which businesses share similar types of clients?
- Which businesses have a lot of customers?
- Which businesses are close to your facility? The radius you choose will depend on what type of area your facility is located in: downtown, suburb, rural etc.
- How to ask businesses for cross promotions
- Approach each business with a positive and upbeat attitude and with an offer they can’t refuse.
- Start by introducing yourself and asking if they know of your business. Then explain your promotion idea keeping it short, sweet and intriguing.
- Remind them that it will cost them NOTHING and could possibly help promote their business as well.
- Once everyone is agreed, assure them that you will take care of the details and will stop by on a regular basis to check in.
Implementing & Managing Your Cross Promotion
You have worked hard to develop meaningful relationships with local business owners and have initiated cross promotions with them. Now don’t let them slide! It is easy to forget about or put these types of promotions and relationships at the bottom of the “to do list.” Don’t Do That! As we all know, it is harder to get a new client than it is to keep a current client. It is the same with business to business partnerships. Once you have one, don’t let it go!
- You should already have a marketing plan set up for the year. Within that marketing plan ensure the appropriate amount of time has been set aside promote each campaign you will be running.
- One of your staff members should be assigned to creating and posting your promotional fliers. This should include any fliers that need to be made for your business to business partnerships.
- Also, assign a staff member (could be the marketing manager etc.) to manage all of the business to business relationships. This staff member is responsible for providing all follow up with your business partners.
- Don’t have one staff member you can spare for this big job? Assign each staff member/personal trainer a set number of businesses they are responsible for managing.
Cross promotions with local businesses can give referrals that reach further than word of mouth referrals from your clients. It is important to remember that once you have implemented the promotion/relationship you MUST keep up with it. If you don’t and try to come back to pitch another cross promotion the business may not be as receptive and earning their trust again can be difficult.
More Ways to Promote Win/Win Business to Business and Community Relationships
- Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce – Get to know other business owners and operators in your community, get involved in community volunteer efforts and learn about what your community needs from you and your business
- Host Events to Benefit Your Community – host running races, hiking treks, rock climbing adventures, dance parties and more.
- Host FREE Educational Seminars at Your Facility – great for your community, gives you something to promote and gets potential new clients through your doors.
- Create a “Network of Professionals” and/or “Client Benefits” page on your website - recommend professionals in your area (chiropractors, massage therapists, salons etc.). Ask them to add your company’s info and link on their website.
Go ahead. Get out there. Get involved with your community. Get referrals. Get more potential new clients. Build relationships that make your business better and make your community better. Stay committed to your task and the benefits will come easy.