Jim Labadie is a fitness entrepreneur, sales expert and speaker. You can download a free copy of his new e-book “63 Must-Have Sales Tips for Personal Trainers” at http://www.ptsalestips.com.

Most personal training departments see a drop-off in revenues from time to time. While some see it as a reason to panic, astute fitness professionals know it is the perfect time to spend working on marketing. There are many activities your personal training staff can partake in to grow the department during slow times. The following personal training marketing strategies are a must for anyone serious about increasing revenues.

1. Gather the list of 100. Everyone knows at least 100 people. Have your trainers create a list of everyone they know, then list the people those people know. Their job is to contact every one of these people by phone over the course of the summer and explain to them what their profession is all about.

It’s pretty amazing that most family members and friends don’t even know what a personal training business is or entails, let alone how to refer people to it. Therefore, it’s wise to have your staff educate everyone they can think of on what it is they do and who they do it for. Make sure your trainers know it is more than OK to actively ask for referrals.

2. Expand your sphere of influence. Your personal training manager or fitness director’s list of 100 should include leaders in the community and successful business owners. Be sure to take each one of them out to lunch. Pick their brain. What made them so successful? How can you help their business or cause? How can they help you? Be sure to pick up the check, and send them a thank-you card. The more influential people who know you and your business, the better.

3. Explore new networking groups. Many networking organizations are a great source of referrals, and most allow you to attend two meetings before having to pay to join. Explore all the options in your community, but make sure your target market attends the meetings. Even if you already belong to a group, be sure to use your downtime to get your name out more often. You could even make a special offer on your services to members of these groups.

4. Join Toastmasters. Personal trainers—at least those who want to be successful—need to be good public speakers. Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization that helps members develop public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback (www.toastmasters.org), is a great place to hone your staff’s speaking skills. There’s a good chance they will find some clients there, too. Additionally, set aside time to line up future speaking engagements. Public speaking is a terrific way to market your business. It’s much easier to sell to a large audience than one person at a time.

5. Create a blog. Standard Web sites are almost becoming obsolete. Blogs are the here and now. They get terrific search engine rankings and will do a great job of driving prospects to you. In fact, take the entire summer to learn the new landscape of the Internet. Technology is always changing, and it’s your job to keep up with how it will help your personal training marketing efforts.

Follow these five tips to make the most of your downtime and secure a solid financial future.