If you’re like most business owners, you want more referrals. The problem is, the way we approach getting referrals is usually pretty disconnected with the way that referrals actually happen. Most business owners try to get their clients to become commissioned sales reps with the typical ‘if a friend of yours joins, I’ll give you _______________.’ But that’s not really the way referrals usually work.

Most of the time the client is either trying to do something kind for you by spreading the word or they’re doing something kind for the person they’re connecting with you because you can help them.

It’s not that they don’t appreciate the incentive, but let’s face it... they didn’t seek you out for a part-time job.

So if you want more referrals, it really comes down to what I call the I2 Method: Invitations & Introductions.

You want to create opportunities for your clients to invite the others in their lives to experience what you have to offer in a low-risk way or you want to give your clients easy ways for them to introduce you to those people in their lives who might eventually benefit from what you do.

A couple examples of Invitations could be an opportunity for a client to bring a guest for a session or even a week of training, or maybe a charity event that they could bring guests to be part of. Introductions could be as simple as clients being given a gift card they could share with a friend or even a social media post that you ask them to share on Facebook about an offer you’re making or a success story of one of your clients.

When you start to think of referrals in this way, the options are almost limitless... and you’re never going to feel awkward by continually asking your clients for more business.

You are never really asking those people whom you’re helping to do any more than invite people who might enjoy what you do or to simply introduce you to others in a positive way.

It may be the simplest way to grow your business... and the most enjoyable one, too.

Pat Rigsby is one of the fitness industry's leading business coaches and the owner of PatRigsby.com. He has built over a dozen businesses in the fitness industry as a CEO and co-owner, ranging from two-award winning franchises to certification organizations and equipment companies. Now he focuses exclusively on helping fitness entrepreneurs build their ideal businesses.