How do I get more clients? How can I get more people to know my studio exists? What’s the best way to get client referrals? These questions are in my inbox, brought up on phone meetings and asked at my workshops. Whether you are a Pilates Instructor or Studio Owner, an inflow of clients is necessary for building your business and for maintaining consistent business.
Last week’s call began to dive into the topic of Client Referrals. What are they? Why you need them? How do you get them?
So, what is a Client Referral? According to Webster’s dictionary, a Referral is: the act of sending someone to another person or place for treatment, help, advice, etc.
As Pilates Instructors and Studio Owners, potential clients are referred to you because of your ability to teach them Pilates – in their bodies. Your instruction helps them connect their bodies to their goals and needs. Your studio is inviting and your instructors are welcoming. A referral is the greatest compliment. As an entrepreneur (yes, you are one) referrals are a form of marketing that is truly integral in your ability to do what you want to most: Teach! The time you spend marketing to strangers can be exhausting; your existing clients can do the marketing for you!
There is no question, referrals trump getting clients through walk by’s or your website… here are some statistics for you. According to a Nielsen study, 92% of people said they trust the recommendations of a friend or family member. 77% of those polled said they would make a purchase based on the referral of their family and friends. The effect of direct marketing ads is decreasing. And, more people are making purchases based on the social media posts and ads shared by the consumer.
This is a great thing for each of you! Why? You want to teach more and market less. When your clients refer clients to you, this means you’ll get to teach more and market less.
How you get client referrals is where we will focus our energies today:
1. Teach the client in front of you
When I first became an instructor I started off with one client. Of course, I knew I needed more than one client to build my business. But, I couldn’t spend their time with me thinking about this. I needed to teach so amazingly that they sent their friends to me. I couldn’t distract myself finding ways to ask them to tell their friends about me. Not in the beginning. No, I had to teach them the best session for their body. Of course, this sounds like a “duh” tip. But, it’s easy to get caught up with trying to impress a client to get their referral. It’s easy to get distracted by the pressures of building a business. In their session hour, the exercises you teach, the session you prepare has to be geared towards getting them the Pilates results their body needs. When their body starts changing and when they feel stronger, they will be excited to share their experiences with others. They will tell their friends and family about you. Their friends will notice them standing taller, even complaining less about aches and pains. When their friend compliments them they will insist on them trying Pilates with you. All you had to do was do what you do best: Teach Pilates.
2. Get Social (Media) with your Clients
It’s important that you as the Instructor or Studio Owner make it easy for clients to engage with you online. First, set up some social media channels that you can keep up with. If you do not have any social media, find out what channels your current clients enjoy using. Start with those. Ask your clients to “like” you and you can follow them. Next month’s call will go more into the social media world. Once you and your clients are connected online you have made it easier for them to give you the “shout out” you and your studio deserves. They can “check in” at your studio. Tweet, post, Instagram about their session that day. They’ll tag you and all their friends will see how awesome it is to work with you.
When was the last time you saw a movie without hearing a review? Setting up a spot on your website, an account on Yelp, CitySearch or another review site makes it easier for your clients to sing your praises. You can let your clients know about these sites in your next newsletter, Inviting them to check out what others have said about you. They’ll be excited to share their experiences and then potential clients you don’t even know and your own clients may not even know will read these reviews. These reviews will gain you referrals better than an ad in the paper or flyer in a coffee shop. Again, today’s clients trust the recommendation of another person before they’ll trust an ad.
There is actually no one way to get client referrals. Lucky us! If you have some ideas that work for you that I didn’t list, please let me know in the comments below.
This week, take a look at who is already on the books. Have they mentioned a friend of theirs who needs to see you? Have you helped them see how far they have come? Remind them of where they were when they first started Pilates with you. Connect with your existing clients on Social Media. Invite your clients to post their favorite reasons for doing Pilates with you or at your studio.
Start with these few tasks. Then come back next week! We’ll have more ways you can get client referrals and enjoying this new avenue of Marketing for your business. Feel free to post your questions, wins and ideas in the PPG forum.
This post is one of a 4 part blog post series: Client Referrals.