I remember the last time I joined a gym (about a year ago). Jared, a twenty-something college student and part-time membership sales rep was nice enough. He showed me the facility, had me sign the contract & release and smile for my mug shot.
I had already decided that I was going to sign up before walking through the door, so I was a pretty easy win for him. Our interaction was polite, but very process-oriented (vs. “me-oriented”; remember, it’s ALL ABOUT THE MEMBER!).
There was no rapport established. No trust. It was simply a transaction.
As Jared worked through his checklist for signing me up, he got to that dreaded last step and popped the question: “Would you like to suggest the names of three friends or family members that might be interested in joining the gym? You know, research shows that people who work out with a buddy are more likely to get results. So this would really help YOU.”
“IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU DO NOT RECEIVE”.
Ah yes … the “member referrals mantra” touted as gospel by so many fitness marketing professionals.
And it’s true. But that is NOT THE WHOLE TRUTH!
Trust me … in my case, Jared asked but he DID NOT receive!
Just asking is not enough. The “asking” has to happen at the right time.
The dialogue during the entire sales process needs be focused on:
BUILDING relationship capital
Otherwise, you risk a reaction like the one I had in both cases:
“I don’t know you. And I certainly don’t know you like that. So No. No YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE NAMES AND NUMBERS OF THREE OF MY FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS.”
Stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll share some tips on developing the rapport I mentioned above – specific steps you can take to implement the A.B.C.’s of member referrals.