An Impossible situation – solved with the help of Kiss the Fish Ltd 

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“I’ve got two reps who are stuck at home for 50% of the week and for whom we can’t get appointments – what do I do?” 

That was the dilemma that the CEO of Hillcroft Surgery Supplies of Yeovil presented to Andrew Milbourn, CEO of Kiss the Fish Ltd at the end of 2021.  

Hillcroft had been a success in that they were achieving good growth year on year before the COVID-19 debacle but when the pandemic hit the country the business understandably had trouble getting face-to-face appointments.   

The business was supplying Doctor’s surgeries across the UK with everything a surgery needs by way of disposable supplies, equipment, pharmaceuticals and furniture (and even ‘fit out’). Up until 2020, the company found it relatively easy to get appointments and where they got appointments, it tended to get business. As with a lot of Community ‘supply’ businesses, the customer service levels were (and still are) first class. Once Covid and ‘lock-down’ became a ‘thing’ the business hit a problem even when Dr’s surgeries ‘opened up’ for business during the pandemic period. Guy Howden the MD invited Andrew Milbourn in for a chat to see if Kiss the Fish Ltd could offer any help.  

Andrew’s first response to the situation was to suggest that we put some expert ‘telemarketers’ on the job – the sort of sales animal that never hears the word ‘no’ and who could answer all the objections and close some meetings. This was immediately put to the test as Hillcroft engaged with two agencies who were ‘experts’ in their field. Andrew suggested a period to ‘test and measure’ if this approach was viable 

Sadly – it didn’t work. The problem was complicated by the fact that whilst Hillcroft knew of the surgeries they wanted to sell to, the buyers tended to avoid LinkedIn and social media so the company had no means of identifying the names or email addresses of the target audience. 

Furthermore, contacting doctors’ surgeries was (and still is) impossible by phone, even for patients who need treatment – let alone sales reps who are trying to sell something to them. “So we were back to square one”, reports Milbourn. 

Kiss the Fish prides themselves as a team of sales experts who have ‘seen it all’ and who can offer hope in any sales situation where a business is underperforming but this situation was challenging even to the CEO of the business with over 35 years of sales management experience under his belt.  

“In COVID” Andrew explains “I recognised the need to bring new ideas and latest thinking to our clients – things like Zoom/Teams meetings were becoming standard and the sales landscape was changing fast across all markets. Hillcroft’s market was tougher than most due to Doctor’s surgeries being under enormous pressure from the threat of spreading disease and making people ill rather than helping those in need”.  

Selling into that environment needed a fresh approach.  The successful strategy came from Andrew’s study of the Neuroscience of trust.  

“Building trust quickly is achieved when a seller understands how to change a buyer’s attitude – or mindset, this is achieved by a strategy that immediately impresses a buyer who otherwise would treat you with indifference” said Milbourn.  

So, for Hillcroft, the situation changed when the reps were activated to go out with a fresh approach which utilised the neuroscience of trust. Hillcroft found that with the new approach not only could they get appointments but they would require more reps. They have moved from a positioning of questioning if the two reps would ever be truly effective to a business built on five reps working flat out right across the UK.  

It is quite clear that Hillcroft is a very well-run business, led by the management team and in particular Guy Howden the MD who has a fast-moving innovative approach. 

“I’m very proud to be associated with this great business” said Andrew Milbourn, “and pleased that I was able to contribute to their success by offering strategy in a difficult time”. They are on target for record growth and will continue to flourish because of that I have no doubt.  

For a no-obligation chat with Andrew to explore how Kiss the Fish might be able to help your sales team – email him directly at or if you prefer to speak then call on 07880 558000 

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