How to encourage your clients to recommend you to a friend

Client referrals are one of the most influential factors in gaining new personal training clients. Positive word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients encourage others to approach you with their personal training requirements and establish you as a trainer that people can trust. Positive reviews = more business for you!

So how do you go about encouraging your clients to refer you to their friends and drive more business through referrals? Here are 5 tips that really help.

Be amazing at your job

The simple fact is; if you’re amazing at your job and get results for your clients, they’re going to recommend you to their friends and colleagues. The first step to any successful business venture, including personal training, is to offer a high level of service. Really taking an interest in your client’s goals and helping them achieve them will lead to your client happily referring you to their friends. Good vibes travel fast, but bad vibes travel faster, so make sure you’re doing the best you can. Your focus should be on helping your clients first and foremost – anything after that is secondary.


Offering incentives to your clients for every referral is great way to increase your reach. Whether it’s a discounted rate for every person they bring on board or organising group sessions where they bring a friend for free, an incentive can go a long way in encouraging referrals. Don’t be pushy or put the hard sell on clients though, as this will do more to alienate people than you think. If they bring up the fact a friend is struggling with their trainer or their own training regime, ease your incentive scheme into the conversation.

Client testimonials

Get your clients to leave reviews on your blog or website (ALERT – if you don’t have a blog you absolutely need one!) as real testimonials from real clients with a link to their twitter account will increase referrals. And don’t try and fake them either – as everyone knows when they’re not real!

Branded training gear

Free stuff like training gear, sweatbands, socks or t-shirts that people can wear at the gym and outside are a great way to advertise your services and generate enquiries. Just as bands sell merch at gigs, you could think about offering free items to your clients if they stay with you for a certain amount of time. If they wear your shirt when they’re out jogging with a friend and your design looks great – there’s a conversation to be had as well as a potential referral.

Keep it fun and interesting

Training is hard. In fact sometimes it’s downright disgusting. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Keep your training sessions fun and interesting and you’ll find your clients will not only stick around longer, but tell their friends about how great your sessions are. No one wants to just run on a treadmill whilst having you bark half-hearted orders at them. Change it up, use the different machines and keep it focused but fun. Show them exactly why they need you to help them and you’ll find your client base growing as they not only enjoy their session but really feel like you’re making a difference, recommending you along the way.

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