Let’s look at something entrepreneurs talk about all the time: You’ve created a product that you’re proud of but it’s just not selling. The worst part is that you can’t figure out where you’ve gone wrong. Is it the product itself or something to do with your marketing?
Let’s explore the top 8 reasons we’ve found over the years as to why you might not be making sales.
1. Is Your Messaging About You Or About Them?
Look at your messaging and be honest – is everything you’ve written, about you or about them?
Have you shown them that you understand their pain?
Have you taken them through the journey they’ll have with you to resolve that pain?
It’s natural to want to talk about yourself and why you’re the right person to help, but making sales is all about putting the focus on the customer.
Instead of talking about how wonderful you are, acknowledge that the customer has a pain point that needs to be solved and show them how you can solve it for them.
Connect with your customers
You need to make a connection with your chosen customer and show you understand who they are.
That way, you’ll know (and they’ll know) how you can best serve them.
Look at your homepage or landing page and be objective.
Imagine you are your own customer.
Does this page speak to you as a customer or is it all about you as the seller?
Start looking for ways to change your messaging to reflect your customers’ needs.
Once you get it right on your website, your messages will start to flow everywhere else as well.
Let me share with you one of my favourite quotes in this space:
You Can Say The Right Thing About A Product And Nobody Will Listen. You’ve Got To Say It In A Way That They’ll Feel It In Their Gut. Because If They Don’t Feel It, Nothing Will Happen.
– Bill Bernbach
Use this idea as your guide. Make them feel it in their gut.
Help them understand that you are the right person with the right solution for them.
When they see that you’ll start making sales.
2. Are You Using Their Language Or Yours?
We tend to distil language for ease of use because we are so familiar with our own areas of expertise and we’ve developed our own shortcuts.
Often, we translate it into terms we know, and use our own lingo. We do this to make processing the information quicker, but that doesn’t always work. Just because we are familiar with the idea or the area doesn’t mean our customers are.
Instead, we need to use their language; that is your customer’s language.
How do they describe the challenge they are facing, rather than how you’ve interpreted what you think the problem is?
What specific words and phrases do they use to articulate their pain point, to tell you what’s wrong and where they need help?
By listening carefully, you’ll pick up on that specific language, and be able to use it in your messaging.
Look again at your website and review the words you’re using.
Replace your words with theirs.
This is another way to show your customers you understand their challenges and you’re listening to what they say.
Your objective here is to make them feel like you’re speaking just to them.
3. Have You Shown Them What Transformation Looks Like?
Have you clearly shown your prospective customers what the transformation will look like when they’ve bought from you?
What will happen?
How will their life look?
What results can they expect?
If you are coaching them, who will they be at the end of the process?
Will they feel better, understand themselves more? Will they be ready to do the things they always wanted to but stopped themselves before?
If you’re selling them a sleeping bag to take camping what will they wake up like?
Will they feel rested, warm and full of energy? Will they be ready for their next big adventure?
If you’re adding robots to their industrial process how does it impact their operations?
Will productivity skyrocket? Will it prevent repetitive strain injury in their staff?
Transformation over features!
This is not about sharing all the features of what you have to sell, but how their life will be transformed as a direct result of buying from you.
That’s what counts.
Remember – your client has a goal and they know what they want to happen.
So you need to show them that their goal will be achieved if they choose you.
They need to know the success you will deliver for them.
When you do that you’ll start making sales.
4. Do You Know Who Your Customer Is?
Always start your marketing by building a customer profile.
It’s a very tangible step in getting to know them and ultimately in understanding them.
When you know your customers you will know how to reach them and how to sell to them.
Customer profiling forms the backbone of all your marketing.
You can start with documenting what you already know and what you’ve discovered from feedback.
But the real nuggets come by speaking with some existing customers to really get that first hand viewpoint.
Your existing customers can share perspectives on your relationship that you never thought of or realised.
You are simply too close to see it for yourself.
Pick up a phone to some existing customers or people who you thought might be a good fit and encourage them to be honest about why they did or didn’t buy.
Lean in and listen.
You’ll be surprised how much your customers want to help you help them.
Check out our article on how to build a customer profile effectively.
It’s a step by step approach so it’ll simplify this exercise for you and will make a huge difference to how you market to your customers.
When you know your customer, you will know how to sell to them.
There’s also a customer profiling template in the article which you can download to make the whole process easier.
The template will prompt you for the key information you will need to make this work. Check it out.
5. Have You Checked That There Is There A Market For Your Product?
Next, ask yourself: is there a market for your product?
If people are already buying a similar solution from someone else, then you know you’re on the right track.
But is there space for you?
Is the market saturated or can you offer something different enough to guarantee that you can meet your own financial goals for the business?
Check out this blog on How To Use Market Research To Find The Difference That Matters to help you answer that question of whether there is, in fact, a market for your product.
Once you eliminate that as a reason, you can quickly move on to addressing the other reasons listed here as to why you might not be making sales.
6. Have You Built A Marketing Engine That Integrates With Your Sales Process?
The hardest thing on this journey is NOT necessarily building the product that solves the customer’s problem.
It’s often about creating the marketing engine that builds awareness and warm leads to support the sales process.
It’s not enough just to have the product.
You need to show people how to find you, to learn about you, engage with you, buy from you and to ultimately recommend you and your product or service to others.
You need to understand your customers’ journey to find you (or someone like you) and to map their journey to your marketing engine.
Without that engine (or marketing funnel, if you prefer) people won’t know you exist.
If they don’t know you exist they can’t buy from you.
And you won’t be making sales at the level you want.
So build your marketing engine to match their journey and see your sales grow.
7. Have You Checked That Your Marketing Engine Is Working?
If there’s a market for what you have and you know who your target customer is and you’ve got the messaging right but sales still aren’t happening, then there’s a leak or break in your marketing engine.
Look at each point in this marketing process to see what’s working and what’s not.
Don’t panic, because nobody gets this right the first time.
It will take a while to understand that these are specific steps to be broken down, one by one.
Some Possible Breaks In Your Engine Can Look Like This:
Are you creating content and putting it out regularly to build awareness and engagement?
How consistent are you? If you are not consistent then they won’t remember you.
Are you reaching enough people and are you measuring impact?
How many people are seeing your content?
Are you using hashtags to broaden reach?
Are you measuring how many eyes land on your content and more importantly land on your website?
If enough people aren’t coming to your website then they can’t find out how to buy from you.
If nobody is engaging with your content then your content isn’t working because it’s not resonating with your target customers and that’s another point where the leak or break is.
Do you offer a lead magnet so people can find out more about you without having to make a commitment?
If nobody is downloading it, then that’s where the leak or break is.
Keep it simple!
Consider the most obvious thing that could help your customer with the problem that they articulated to you.
That’s what the lead magnet should focus on.
If it doesn’t, change it.
Find a different magnet. One that generates sign ups and brings you closer to a sale.
Once people are downloading your lead magnet, do you talk to them about the next step?
Have you an email sequence to guide them to the next step?
How do they make a purchase and how do you entice them to do so?
Do you offer a discovery call or is it super clear how and why they should buy at this point?
Measure, evaluate and improve each step of your marketing engine and review what happens when someone goes right through the journey.
Where can you make things easier, quicker, better?
You want people to give you testimonials to encourage others to buy from you.
Are you looking after your customer and giving them a great experience?
How easy is it to use your product?
Are you asking for testimonials? Maybe that was the step that was missed.
Look for the leaks or breaks in your marketing engine.
Checking it works is part of this process.
When it works that’s when you’ll start making sales.
8. To Make Sales, Everything Needs to Align
A common, but overlooked issue with marketing is that everything needs to align across your entire business.
Your messaging needs to be aligned with the truth of your product, the level of customer service you provide, how you treat your employees and suppliers.
And fortunately, it’s now including your relationship with the world around you.
The whole story behind your business needs to be aligned and that should be underpinned by your brand values.
If it doesn’t your customer will sense the misalignment even if they can’t quite put their finger on it and will tend to bring their business elsewhere if they are not happy with what they see.
Alignment is: the right product for the right customer at the right time, at the right price and with values aligned with those of your customers.
All your messaging needs to mirror that alignment and it must be consistent across every touchpoint. That means your social media messaging needs to align with your website messaging, your sales messaging, your recruitment messaging and so on.
The mistake often made here is that marketing is considered a narrow field of expertise.
Some think it’s about creativity, others think it’s about data or influence.
The truth is far more wide-reaching.
Know and live your values!
Marketing is about the interplay between your purpose and values, your process for communicating them, your ability to connect with your customers and your creativity in how you express that.
It’s why you will often hear me say.
Marketing Is Your Truth Told. Great Marketing Is Your Truth Shared.
– Finola Howard
Yes, marketing can be overwhelming.
But if you use your “truth” as your compass point and take it one step at a time you will find it all clicks into place and it will work for you.
Remember that every time you tweak your process so that it is more in alignment with who you are, you will improve and increase the customer flow.
You don’t have to wait for perfection; perfection happens in the process.
I’ve seen that time and time again with all my clients.
Clarity comes with action…
…and every action teaches you something else once you make sure you look for the insights in each step you take.
Then just keep going.
Let me know if you’ve any questions or insights you’d like to share on this topic in the comments below.
And if you’d like to know more about how to build a marketing strategy that takes your business to the next level then check out Get Strategic Get Results™.
This is our 12 week signature program that shows you how to put all the ideas expressed in this article into action, one transformational step at a time.
This is a process that works because you build your marketing from the inside out.
And that never fails.
I love to work with businesses, both large and small to help them create sustainable business dreams... Brand and Strategy are at the heart of everything I do and that gets rolled out digitally and across any channel where your customer lives.