Generate Referral Leads to Feed Your Sales Pipeline

Referrals play a key role in your sales pipeline because they are a cost-effective method of generating high-quality, hot leads. They are also important to retention rates because members who have a workout partner are more likely to be more successful in reaching their fitness goals and stay members longer.

Most clubs know all the reasons why they should be collecting referral leads but often find that their referral numbers are not where they should be. Is this you? If so, here are four tips to help drive referral leads:

1. Train staff to ask for referrals at point-of-sale

When a new member signs up, they are excited about your club and to get started with their fitness goals. This is a prime time to see if they have family or friends who would like a trial pass to your club. Train all sales staff to ask for referrals at the point of sale by letting new members know they are more likely to meet their goals if they have someone to workout with. You may find it helpful to develop a script for staff to practice and memorize so that asking for referral leads becomes second nature to them.

2. Create an incentive for members

Sometimes members can be hesitant to give out their friends and family's contact information without getting anything in return.  Encourage members to share referral leads by setting up a program to reward them for encouraging people to join your club. Your referral program can be as simple as giving away a free smoothie for a certain number of leads or can be as elaborate as a prize draw for a weekend away. No matter what the giveaway, make sure it's compelling enough to make people act.

3. Capture referral leads from external sources

New members may not be able to think of a referral off the top of their head at the point of sale. For this reason, allowing members to offer a free pass to a friend through your club's mobile app or via social media at a later time can help you increase the number of incoming referrals. If you do provide members with the option to offer trial passes to their social network via these external sources, make sure all those referral leads are automatically fed into your sales software so sales staff can actively follow up with them.

4. Use software to enforce process

While staff may be trained to ask for referrals as part of your point of sales process, sometimes this doesn't happen because they may simply forget in the shuffle of collecting information from the new member. Take a look at your sales software to see if you can set up a workflow so your sales staff are prompted to ask for referral leads when they complete the steps to sign a new member up. You should also check your sales reports to make sure that staff are getting referral leads and if not, you may need to coach them further in this area.

While the tips above may seem like no-brainers, it really can be that simple to increase the number of referral leads that staff are generating. Just remember that getting referral leads is only part of the battle. Sales staff should be proactively reaching out to referrals and selling to them so these hot leads don't go to waste.