So hot right now! The role of ‘relevant’ when it comes to selling

Natural Training
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London 2012 is to be the “greenest” games in Olympic history, according to the committee.

From cutting carbon emissions to using recycled material there’s clear and determined intent to be environmentally-aware over the next few weeks.

Coca-Cola has even pledged to get used bottles from the various venues back on shelves within six weeks after the closing ceremony.

Why is the committee making such a big deal of this issue? Simple, because it’s important to people right now. If the entire event is to be a success one contributing factor will be how it is organised and arranged in a way that appreciates what the public want today.

Today, being ‘green’ is a top priority.

So when the Olympic Torch passed by our London offices en route to Stratford last week my mind re-focussed on how this desire to be current and relevant creeps into effective selling strategies. When you think about it, aligning your product or service to what is happening around you is absolutely critical.
So, instead of asking ‘what do my customers want?’ the best sales teams are asking, what do my customers want right now?

Hopefully these three examples will help us to illustrate the point. All of the following have made ‘relevancy’ a priority in their sales strategy… 


What is it?
Established back in 1999 Netflix was originally set up as a media distribution service specialising in physical DVD distribution. Since then the business has branched out into the world that no accounts for half of its revenue – digital. Netflix provide packages with a simple flat rate fixed monthly price. The service offers customers access to a wide range of films and TV programmes via their computer, TV or smartphone.

What’s the situation right now?
Our demands around television have changes. Ten years ago the phone was taken off the hook at 7.30pm most nights because my mum was watching Coronation Street (she didn’t like to be disturbed). Today’s technology gives her complete control to watch it whenever she likes - and the phone stays attached to the wall. People want the latest movies and TV instantly, and don’t want to take a trip to the local video store. With WiFi spots cropping up everywhere as well, the demand for smartphone supported entertainment has never been greater.

How is Netflix relevant?

  • Constantly evolving
  • Available anywhere
  • Affordable
Noticing the migration away from the DVD, Netflix jumped on the digital bandwagon. It made that leap with one crucial element to its business plan: The ability to adapt and refresh its offering on a regular basis. New content is updated in real time onto the site so customers never feel as though they’ve bought something that stands still – it evolves and changes every week and month. Developing their streaming site so that it is transferable on to a variety of platforms has been a key success too. By making it available a variety of formats (from interactive TV’s and games consoles to tablet computers and mobile devices), Netflix customers have the freedom to access when they want, where they want.

What’s the impact of staying relevant?

Its flexible offering has helped it go from strength to strength. By the end of January 2012 Netflix had over 24m registered users in the US alone. At one point last year the site was the biggest source of North American web traffic, accounting for nearly a quarter (24.71%).

The Gym Group

What is it?
A collection of gyms scattered across London and the UK, set up in 2008 to “provide the most affordable, most flexible and most accessible gym membership.

What’s the situation right now?
A recent survey by Leisure Database Company indicated that gym use is at an all-time high with 7.6m users across the UK. However, the economic downturn has caused uncertainty throughout the country and people are less willing to spend large amounts of money or tie into long-term contracts. Also, one of the biggest problems with gyms is the number of people using them at ‘peak hours’.

How is The Gym Group relevant

  • Zero long-term commitment
  • Matches the ‘flexible working’ culture
  • Confronts key challenge: peak hours
By giving users a unique code to access the gym and by installing effective CCTV systems the group has managed to cut staff costs. This also means that the gyms stay open 24 hours a day seven days a week – which is perfect for the growing number of people who work erratic hours or are embracing the latest employment trend: flexible working. The money saved from staffing costs means that the group can also offer very low cost membership without long-term contracts. It’s the perfect solution for the average man or woman in London or other UK cities right now.

What’s the impact of staying relevant?
In 2011 turnover grew by 88% from £7.2m to £13.5m. Membership numbers grew by 67% from 58,000 to 96,000 and the number of sites increased from ten to 16.

Money Saving Expert

What is it?
A free-to-use website offering money tips and advice while showcasing the latest saving deals of the moment. Set up by the now famous Martin Lewis, this site has proved extremely popular within the current tough economic climate.

What’s the situation right now?
The British economy is recovering from an economic downturn that forced a shift in the way we spend. Once money-off coupons were hidden under the bill, today they are celebrated and their use is actively encouraged. Value has never been so important to so many. There is also a growing dislike and lack of trust towards large corporations, particularly banks. Many believe they were responsible for the downturn in the first place. Therefore more trust is placed on independent writers who simply use their investigative noses to sniff out the value deals of the day.

How is Money Saving expert relevant?

  • We live in a ‘deal’ culture
  • Simple, collated in one place
  • Real time offers revealed like scoops in the press
Simplicity has been one of the watchwords for the past few years – as consumers we want all the answers in one place. Don’t make us hunt around on the internet for them. Realising the hunger for deals and offers on absolutely everything, Money Saving Expert collated all the offers and made sure it was first to ‘reveal the deal’ on a daily basis.

What’s the impact of staying relevant?
The site attracts over 13m unique users each month. Large companies such as The Body Shop and Tesco have their deals displayed on the homepage. In June 2012 valued the site at £87m.

There is no doubt that the dominance and success of these three businesses is down to a constant drive to align themselves with activity in the external environment. Their market shows a desire to watch TV on the move and the product moves accordingly. A change in taxation on petrol and a website immediately shows customers where the cheapest places to fill up. These are reactive companies, showing just how much value there is in responding immediately to changes in market appetite.

Is there a focus on relevancy in your sales team?

Leave a comment, I’d love to know

Matt Drought
Natural Training - The Sales Training experts


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