Incentives of Having a Referral Program

How can referral programs work for you?

Half of Andres Schwartz’s new business is word of mouth.

It seems that FTX CrossFit in Carol Stream, Illinois, does not stray from the norm on that fact.

However, Schwartz said word of mouth doesn’t stand alone. “Encouraging that is key,” he explained.

One of the ways this can be done is through a referral program like Schwartz has at FTX. “If you refer a friend or [acquaintance] and they sign up as a member, in other words actually do a recurring membership with us, then you’ll get a month free,” he said.

The thing is, in and of itself the referral program is what Schwartz dubbed as passive. It sits in the background and members take advantage of it when they can. Sometimes, Schwartz will bring it to the forefront to periodically let members know that the benefit is still there, but that’s about it.

Schwartz also uses business cards to make the referral program easier. Members can take these cards and write their names on them. Then, if they happen to get talking to someone about CrossFit, they have the information right in their pocket or purse. Plus, the member will receive credit if his or her name is on the card.

But, Schwartz did note that he needs his Coaches backing up programs like this. The trainers need to be eager to push the business cards and encourage the members to participate, he said.

So, what he is looking to possibly implement is an incentive program within an incentive program. His trainers would hand out the business cards to members who would give them to prospects. That way, the Coach would also receive credit and possibly a monetary boost as well. “You need to get the trainers excited about whatever you’re doing as well and remind them,” he said.

Overall, Schwartz said whatever your promotion is, it needs to be clear, simple and easy to execute. “If you make it complicated, first of all it makes it hard for you to track,” he said. “People nowadays have so many things that are thrown at them, it’s just got to be easy to understand, easy to execute. That’s true for your members as well as your trainers.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at