Tips for Developing a Sales Methodology

Health and Fitness Ireland

Health and Fitness Ireland is a young company that is capitalising on a significant shift in society. The health and wellness agenda is topical and here to stay for the long term. Because there is now more science research and much to learn, people are willing to pay for help and guidance.

The company has had a good start and is showing great promise for the future.

The Selling Strategy Challenge

Most of the business so far has come from schools and colleges and Muriel Cuddy the owner is the main driver of sales. My concern is that the company is putting in a lot of hard effort in for limited returns. And the average sale is not that high. The effort and time required to sell a programme to a small school is the same as a large one. But schools and colleges each make their own decisions about such things, so what other choices does she have?

I believe there is real potential in developing a suite of offerings for the corporate market. I’ve mentioned many times before in this column that as the economy grows, it’s an employee market once again. Organisations are challenged with keeping their employees and are looking for innovative ways to improve engagement in the hope that it will reduce turnover. Many of them are increasing spend on perks and attractions that will show them to be a ‘best employer’. I’m convinced that some would invest in wellness programmes for their people. They will see that it doesn’t just improve engagement. It will increase productivity and reduce absenteeism too.

The corporate market is more lucrative, less bureaucratic, with bigger budgets. I believe that with a well-polished offering, this company has the potential to break into a new market and grow sales.

Change Tips for Developing a Sales Methodology

  1. Start with research. Decide the characteristics of an ideal prospect, in terms of size, employee numbers, location and maybe even business type. Xerox in Blanchardstown with hundreds of people on site, is a more likely candidate than a dispersed construction company. The point being that you want to maximize your time. Then build or buy a database of prospective clients matching the criteria.
  2. Decide how you will make proactive contact with prospects. Respectful of GDPR, you still have choices about how to make that initial contact. I’m not at all convinced that driving coldly to every prospect is the right answer. Your initial contact should be to attempt to qualify the prospect so that your first visit will be a warm one. In this initial contact you are not telling them everything. Try to secure an appointment only so that you can go in person and do a more thorough pitch.
  3. Adapt a consultative selling style. For Health and Fitness, its offerings require a consultative selling style as opposed to a more prescriptive style with commodity products. Consultative selling is where you ask a series of questions in a highly structured format, to establish your customer’s actual needs. When you do this effectively, you make the shift from ‘selling your product’, to the customer ‘buying your product’. If you haven’t received training in selling like this, consider it now. It will make a very big difference to your conversion rate.
  4. When you understand the needs, only then should you make your pitch. Adapt your standard sales pitch to mirror the needs that were identified in the consultation. Focus on the triggers that the prospect was most animated about and be sure to emphasis the benefits and advantages of your product to the client and the participants.
  5. Keep in touch beyond the sale. A satisfied customer will do two things. When they have a future similar need, they will buy from you again. They may also recommend you to a friend. After delivering a successful project, stay in touch with each client occasionally checking in on progress. This is working your pipeline for future business.

There is an added opportunity for Health and Fitness Ireland beyond this structured approach. There are eighteen expert professionals delivering the programme on its behalf. Consider incentivising them to listen out for further opportunities within existing clients when they are on site.

Summary

As the employee engagement trend continues and organisations aspire to be ‘best employer’, they often secure more budget to spend accordingly. HR departments are exploring alternative ways to invest their budgets to get maximum return. The traditional areas like learning and development are of course still popular and are proven engagement tools.

But as lifestyle trends develop such as with the health and wellness agenda, this is a growth area for Health and Fitness Ireland. It should take note however that its competitors are not just the obvious. It may also be the training companies, social clubs, extra-curricular learning organisations and those that offer corporate health insurance. In other words, think big picture.

Alan O’Neill is Managing Director of Kara Change Management, specialists in strategy, culture and people development. Go to www.kara.ie if you’d like help with your business.

Alan’s debut book “Premium is the New Black” will be launched in October.

© Copyright. Alan O’Neill. All rights reserved. 2018