There is nothing worse than when a personal trainer has to be on a constant grind trying to find new clients. It feels like your more of a sales person than an actual fitness professionals. And as a result the majority of trainers who are actually successful in the gym setting are not really fitness professionals but rather folks who have the gift of gab. Its a frustrating experience for those true enthusiast who simply want the opportunity to help improve the quality of life of others through fitness training. But there is a key way to avoid this constant grind.

On average you will lose 20% of your personal training business on a monthly basis no matter how good of a trainer you are. Your clients may run into financial hurdles or their life gets too crazy for them to maintain consistency with their training. For those trainers who are not that good (and there are many unfortunately) that number can go as high as 50% because people don’t feel they are getting value from your training. But out of that average 80% monthly retention, your clients will on average cancel 20% of the time. So lets break this down with an example.

How does this all look for the trainer?

We have personal trainer Michelle, she currently has 12 active clients, each of whom are training 2 times a week and on average she is making $40/session. If she had no cancelations she could potentially make $3,840 a month, which is a pretty decent amount. But again on average one loses 20% so that brings here to 9 clients and then out of those folks 20% of the time they will cancel, so that brings the total monthly sessions to 57 and a pay out of $2,280. This is a drastically different number from the initial calculation and lets say Michelle goes two months with out picking up any new clients, this can go as low as $500-$800 bucks monthly very quickly.

This is a scary reality for many personal trainers and one of the biggest reasons there is a revolving door in the gyms, with new trainers every 3-6 months. This not only brings down the value of personal training departments at the clubs, it also brings down the experience level of a team which effects everyone. The trainers who survive are the ones who are just hustlers (and I don’t mean in a good way), those who land great consistent clients (and they are the exception to the rule) and then there are those who have a business strategy.

A Referral system can be your best tool

One of the greatest strategies that one can employ is a referral system. Now before I even break this down, please understand this only works if you are a good trainer providing valuable service, if your not there yet, hone your skills. But if you are, then regardless of if your clients can maintain working with you, or are a little inconsistent or whatever…if you are a good trainer, they are your best marketing team. But they will only market for you if you ask them to.

Every business knows that referrals are the key to success.Many trainers have too much pride to ask their clients for recommendations/referrals, thinking that it somehow reflects failure. This is the furthest from the truth, every business knows that referrals are the key to success. If you don’t ask your clients to recommend you to their friends/co-workers than they may assume that you are not looking for any more business and they won’t want to pressure you. So get over your ego and communicate it to them!

The best referral system is one that rewards your current client. A good example is that if someone refers a friend to try out your training you give them a complimentary 15-min athletic stretch (or any small thing you are qualified to deliver). Then if their referral converts to a new client you can give them something bigger like a complimentary personal training session that week.

Lets go back to our example and say 50% of Michelle’s 12 clients referred someone new to her monthly, that would be 6 people trying out her service that month. Out of those trails lets say conservatively at least 35% will convert to a client, thats two new clients a month. There is no hustle needed here, its just a healthy referral system where your current clients promote your great services and you in turn maintain a consistent and happy personal training business. It allows you to do what you love, make a decent living and meet interesting new people who bring new opportunities.

How does your referral program work? Leave a comment below.