It’s fairly easy to treat a current client with attentiveness during a training session and throughout the contracted time. After all, they’re standing right in front of you and paying regular fees.

The same goes for the client. While you’re training them, you’re easy to remember, and if they know someone looking to up their fitness game, there’s a good chance your name will pop up, especially if you’ve been regularly asking for referrals.

But, a lot of opportunities to gain new clients are missed after the contract ends. Maybe the client reached her goal and moved on, a life change prevented her from having the time/ability to work out, or a financial issue nixed the training sessions outright. Don’t just toss her name in File 13 while you search for someone to take that now-vacant time slot.

This is your opportunity to go above and beyond to continue the relationship. There are a couple reasons to do this that you can likely guess. Number one, if she decides to continue with training at a later date, your name will top her list. Number two, if people she knows, even three years down the line, want personal training, your name will top her list.

This takes planning, strategy, and commitment on your part. The good news is you don’t have to stomp like you’re on a campaign trail. You can effectively reach out to former clients in minutes. But it must be done consistently.

It helps if you have a day and time already set aside for marketing. If so, simply incorporate a few extra steps into your day to keep those lines of communication open. You’ll be surprised who you suddenly hear from again.


The first thing to do is to decide what you will honestly keep up with for the long haul. If you pick something involved and complicated, and your track record says you’re more the keep-it-simple-and-move-on type, kudos on ambition, but don’t be shocked when your method goes up in smoke after a few cycles of implementation.

For instance, e-newsletters are a great way to stay connected. Hold on before you skim on through! Many people think of e-newsletters as complicated, multi-scroll electronic documents that include news articles, fifteen links, and super-duper graphics. There are many like that, sure, but that doesn’t have to be what yours is made of! Newsletters can be just a way of letting contacts know what is going on in your life.

Just the other day, I received a great one from a fellow writer who I met at a conference earlier this year. The entire message fit on one screen and consisted of a quick paragraph at the top letting recipients know that he was excited about an upcoming relocation and included a few details about a reading he was doing! The newsletter did its job. It put his name in front of his contacts, and invited them into his life. It was personal and a quick read. You can do something like that, too.

One habit networkers swear by is taking time to write two or three emails per day. They simply select a few names from their list of contacts and fire off a quick email. Nothing big, but emails allow you to personalize even more by connecting about the things you have in common with individual people. It gives you the chance to mention to someone the boot camp he raved about, or that her transformation is one you mention to new clients signing up.

If you choose the email method, just keep an electronic or paper list to keep up with who you contacted and when. Depending on your relationship, or the amount of time a particular client has been gone, you can vary the contact rotation. One email per month might suit some, one every other month might be best for others.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with it. I know of a lady in car sales who drummed up a ton of referral business for herself simply by creating a unique way to keep in touch with past sales customers. Every spring, she’d mail out one of those inexpensive packages of flower seeds you find at a gardening store or Home Depot with a short note in an envelope. Customers loved getting the seeds in the mail, and they found it a thoughtful and unique way to stay connected. This saleslady got referrals all the time.

We all know that referrals are the easiest, not to mention the most flattering, way to get new business. What methods do you use, or plan to use, to pull more referrals to your gym or personal training business? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.

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Tanisha Rule

Tanisha Rule has a BA in English and is a former Mad Dogg-certified Spinning instructor. She taught indoor cycle and boot camp and has now combined her passions as a full-time writer for the health and fitness industries, check out her site at If she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found happily training for an endurance event, likely after having said, “This is my last one for a while,” because there is no finish line; there is only progress.