How Membership Clubs Can Give to Get Referrals?

A couple of months ago I was out in the Virginia area talking to a marketing director of golf club about marketing. In this post I plan on using my insights and knowledge to make a point about how any membership club can give to get referrals.

Many health, golf, fitness centers, wholesale and professional networking clubs depend upon referrals as the lifeline of their business, but they also abuse this privilege in an effort to maximize this dynamic relationship.

The reason for the abuse, and the struggle is that, most businesses view referrals as something to GET from their customers rather than something to GIVE. (More on this later in the post.)

Now, this usually occurs though clubs offering a customer a financial reward so they’ll hand over some referrals. A typical membership club tactic is to give away discounted monthly dues for every new membership referred.

Here’s the problem with this tactic: It forces your customer to make a financial decision when referrals are fundamentally a social interaction. It forces your customer to think “what can I get” rather than “what can I give.”

In order to hardness the true power of referrals you need to focus on creating referral motivation. This motivation is about giving rather than taking. You must find a way to create an environment where enthusiasm can be shared and where the primary reason someone makes a referral is because they believe another person will experience the same benefits they are enjoying.

Learn More: 3 Reasons Businesses Fail and How to Fix Two of Them

This mindset is nothing new, but does change the referral equation dramatically.

For example, this mindset forces a business owner to think about ways to deliver real independent value first and in doing so become more referable. This mindset also forces a business owner to make supporting a vibrant community as important as getting the next referral.

But here’s the best thing about this is? Any membership club can give first and in doing so create a culture where customers want to give as well.

Learn More: How to get referrals (guide)

The hard part of this (where my insights and knowledge comes in) is finding ways to apply it in the realm of specific marketing initiatives.

So, how can membership clubs give to get?

  • What if a fitness membership club created a series of presentations geared towards traveling C-level executives that showed them how to stay healthy on the road and away from the club?
  • What if a women’s health club created a community of expecting and new mothers-to-be and taught pre and post-natal fitness while providing a playful like community?
  • What if a golf club created a new customer package that included golf lessons, reservations for a premier dinning spot and a business training event all gathered from strategic partner businesses?
  • What if a professional networking club sponsored an after school kids business program that encouraged parents to use their facility free of charge during a once a week business program?
  • What if a wholesale club sponsored a monthly “live fully” night that featured renowned chefs teaching nutritional cooking, local chiropractors talking about healthy at work practices and classes on meditation, breathing, rest and recovery?

Learn More: Customer Referral App

For today’s post I used membership clubs as an example, but the GIVE to GET referral mindset applies to insurance agents, business centers, accounting firms, financial planners, contractors or executive and life coaches.

Question: How can you give and deliver independent value in your marketing efforts?