It can happen for a startup and it can happen to an established company.
People aren’t buying what you’re selling.
It could be a product or a service. Doesn’t matter. It seems like it happens to every business at some point. And unfortunately it can happen more than once.
The frustrating part is that you don’t always know why people aren’t buying. Then you feel powerless. What was once working like crazy is now sitting there without any demand.
The obvious course of action that successful businesses take is they do figure out what’s going on and once they pinpoint it they figure out a way to move forward.
And that’s always what the good ones do. They move forward. They don’t look for excuses and sit back and wait. They do everything they can to understand the situation and they figure out how to move on.
Here are some big reasons why you’re product or service isn’t selling and some insight into how to move forward.
1. They’re Confused (And That Isn’t Their Fault)
This is a big one. I see it all the time when I browse business websites. And I struggle with it right here at GBW. The confusion comes from trying to explain what you do.
It’s painfully obvious, but people rarely will buy what you’re selling if they don’t know what your product or service or what it does for them.
It’s even more challenging on websites because you have only a couple seconds to explain what you do and what you offer the visitor. If they can’t figure it out they’re leaving.
That’s why the first heading on your homepage needs to explain what you do.
It’s not the potential customer’s fault either if they are confused. I’ve fallen into that trap. I’ve though, How do they not get it? But it’s my job to communicate it.
And usually it comes from speaking with current customers or potential customers. I was hanging out with a friend recently and he brought along another friend and he asked what I did so I explained it – blogging services for businesses.
He jumped in and said, “To help their websites to rank better.”
I thought, yes it’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s the value. He connected the dots for me.
2. They Don’t Trust You
Next up is the fact that the person doesn’t trust you. It’s hard to go from not knowing someone to giving them money. And it’s a challenge in the B2B world. That’s why the About page on your website is often very important. I see all the time that the About page on GBW is in the top five or even top three most trafficked pages.
The reason is because people want to get to know us. They want to see who we are. They want to trust us before making a purchase. And that makes perfect sense.
We can’t expect people to trust us from the first meeting. That trust has to be earned. And it can be earned in different ways. Getting to know someone by talking and asking questions. Letting others talk about you. Testimonials. Talking with influencers because people trust them and in turn will trust you if you get that endorsement. Offering a guarantee.
3. They Don’t See The Need
Once the person understands what you’re offering and even when they trust you they might still have a question about the need. Usually this kind of builds on you being able to effectively communicate what you offer. If they can’t see the need then you’re either not selling it right or they’re the wrong customer.
Usually this is where the best salespeople are good at asking questions. They don’t start explaining. They start asking. And from there they’re able to find what the person needs and if there is a connection between the product and that need they’re able to communicate the need and make the sale.
4. They Don’t See The Difference
Once the need is established the competition comes into play. Obviously if someone is comfortable with a competitor they would need a good reason to move. If you’re just like another offering out there, especially one that’s more trusted, then you’ll struggle to make a sale.
And it doesn’t have to be a direct competitor. It could be a different product that fills the same need. It’s like trying to sell a car to someone that works and home, uses public transportation, their bike and Uber. You’re not competing against other car companies. You’re competing against all those other options.
Our job is to find the difference between what we offer and whatever else the person could use to fill a need.
5. It’s Frustrating To Use
Lots of things are frustrating to use. Computers. Smartphones. Software. It can be incredibly frustrating. If someone starts using what you’re selling and they can’t figure it out they’re not going to be a user for very long.
This is usually the time when you need to cut things back and make it as simple as possible. And that’s not easy to do. It’s hard to make things easy to use. It’s even harder to cut back on features and what you can do, but sometimes that’s what the best companies do. They cut back on what they offer and focus on making that one thing as simple to use as possible. This cuts down on the frustration and brings in more users.
6. They Have More Questions
Sometimes a person simply has more questions about the offer. And if they can’t get answers they won’t move forward. This can be challenging especially with a website because people will leave the site and you won’t know why. You could try some exit interviews and try to capture answers to why they left. You could do some user testing and figure out what questions are left unanswered.
It might be something simple like how much the item costs. That could be enough reason for someone not to buy. Or maybe they don’t know what the first step is or they have a question about how something works.
7. They’re Not The Right Fit
And finally it can just come down to the fact that a person isn’t the right fit. The earlier you see this the better. You don’t want to waste anybody’s time trying to sell something to someone that isn’t the right customer.
The key to fixing this is to figure out exactly who your target customer is and focusing on that person. This allows you to make your product or service better. And it allows you to understand exactly the need you’re filling and how to sell because you know that need so well.
It’s really frustrating when things aren’t selling. The biggest frustration is when you don’t know the reason why. If it’s happening to you then go through the steps above. It might take some digging with your customers to figure out the feedback on why things aren’t working. The good news is that the fix could often be simple. And in the process you’ll learn more about yourself and about your customer. And that’s good for your long-term success.