Have you ever looked at your sales team and said: “I can’t believe they didn’t sign up. Our weight loss program is exactly what they were looking for. What went wrong?!”
It might be your sales process.
Three factors can contribute to this outcome:
First, the choices your customer sees often seem very similar. While you may be able to rattle off important differences between your weight management program and Weight Watchers, those distinctions may be lost on your customer who doesn’t think about these differences all day long, every day.
Second, customers don’t buy important wellness services all that often. The one exception is the annual doctor’s visit. Limited experience may translate to less confidence in making a major decision — for example, selecting an annual membership, or comparing integrated wellness centers that offer varied programs and services.
Third, your customer listens to multiple voices when making a buying decision. They hear what you have to say — and they also get input from friends, coworkers, family, people at church, at the PTA, at the golf course, standing in line…you get the idea.
These factors produce a jumble of conflicting considerations for the customer. Their final decision may look random, or strictly based on price. But in fact they probably followed the path of least resistance. They mentally flipped a coin to resolve conflicting information, or picked the most objective, least subjective decision criteria — which for most people is in fact price.
Does that mean they were really super-price-sensitive? No. It simply means that the easiest element of the decision was price.
Your goal is to design a sales process that makes every other element of the decision just as easy for the customer, by closing any gaps of expertise, confidence, or information overload.
Five key questions can help you close these gaps. As you consider each question, think about where and how you can tweak your sales and marketing approach to head off these problem areas. Start with our examples – then look for the issues that are unique to your particular wellness business.
(Now, keep yourself honest as you think about this. Focus on what your prospects — your potential customers — do and think, not what YOU think.)
1. What expertise does your customer need to properly evaluate your services?
Explanation of different specialties or professions may be helpful. For example, if you offer physical medicine, chiropractic and rehab services, your sales process may need to educate your prospects about the capabilities available from each type of wellness professional.
You may need to educate your prospects on training, certification or licensure in your field of expertise. It may also be important to explain the difference in specialized equipment — for example, the pros and cons of hydraulic strength equipment versus resistance band training versus free weights.
And consider including other team members in the sales process if their expertise in an area will help your prospect make a sound decision.
2. What aspects of your services are most difficult for prospects to appreciate?
Many consumers don’t realize, for example, that strength and cardio routines need to be changed periodically to eliminate the training effect and produce the best results for the time invested. So they may not fully appreciate the value of an ongoing relationship with a personal trainer.
Here’s another example: we find that prospects often don’t initially see the value of recurring visits with nutritionists. They expect to get “The Diet” in the first visit or two, and their assumption is that they’re on their own after that.
Helping them realize the value of ongoing coaching and support helps them appreciate the value of a long-term structured program. This is an area where stories from current customers who have tried other businesses and picked yours can help.
You may also want to point out “insider” knowledge that typical consumers wouldn’t know about. For example, a health professional who works specifically with diabetic clients might illustrate his expertise by sharing a list of web resources specifically for active people with diabetes.
3. What aspects of your services do prospects most often overlook?
Your sales process should specifically cover these areas. And ironically, these aspects are often the factors that best distinguish your business from the competition.
For example, many fitness centers don’t make personal trainers available on the fitness floor unless you pay for their advice. That means customers are left to figure out the equipment themselves. If you have trained staff available, be sure you explain why that’s so important.
Another aspect of your service that prospects may overlook is the opportunity to pay with funds from a health savings account or flexible spending account. And they may not consider possible cost savings as a way to “fund” their purchase of your services. For example, the cost of a smoking cessation program can be offset by the money not spent on tobacco. The cost of a weight loss program can be offset by reclaiming clothes in smaller sizes from the back of the closet rather than buying new larger sizes.
Perhaps your staff is trained in clinical exercise, or has successfully worked with special populations — experience that’s hard to replicate. Or perhaps you or your staff has personal experience with health concerns that resonates with prospects.
4. What mistakes do prospects tend to make as they make a buying decision?
Design your sales process to avoid or clear up frequent mistakes.
Some mistakes can be relatively easy to clear up. For example, many consumers think nutritionists and dietitians are identical, and that physical therapists and personal trainers are the same. All four professions offer value to clients, each in different ways.
Other factors can also significantly affect the likelihood of a successful relationship with that prospect.
For example, clients may opt for a shorter program to save money, when they’re much likelier to get the results they want from a longer program or one that takes an integrated approach to nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress, emotional wellbeing, and other health and wellness matters.
Another mistake prospects often make is setting overly ambitious goals that set them up for rapid failure rather than incremental progress. It’s to your advantage to help them make a decision that’s likely to produce early success for them.
5. What misinformation often confuses or alarms your prospects?
The health and wellness field is rife with misinformation and half-understood information.
Design your sales process to surface and clarify typical misunderstandings during the sales process.
For example: Many parents believe that it’s dangerous for kids to do strength training. Many women believe weight gain after menopause is unavoidable. A short (non-threatening!) quiz can be a fun way to get these misconceptions on the table.
It’s also often helpful for complementary and alternative healthcare providers to fully explain their services and address misinformation specific to their area.
For example, a chiropractic clinic may find it helpful to distinguish evidence-based treatments from the “crack session” horror stories that many consumers have heard. Acupuncturists are often especially good at clearing up misinformation, showing prospects just how tiny the needles are and explaining that no pain results.
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