You’ve built the product, perfected the service, tweaked the website, and refined the funnel. But no one is buying; these successful entrepreneurs and members of The Oracles explain why and how to fix it.
1. You’re not listening.
When there’s little or no response to my product or offer, I get feedback from my audience or target market about what they want. The best way to do this is to pre-sell a product by hosting a free webinar and offering a taste of my idea for a paid product. If I get a bunch of pre-orders for a product I haven’t even created, I know it will sell. If I don’t, I send a survey asking what people need a solution for.
Example survey questions include: “What’s the biggest problem you’re facing in your business right now?” and, “What personal challenge are you looking for a solution to right now?” This is way easier than trying to guess what my audience wants, investing the time and money into creating it, and then risk missing the mark. —Lewis Howes, former pro athlete, global top 100 podcast host, NYT-bestselling author of The School of Greatness, and creator of The Millionaire Morning; follow Lewis on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube
2. You haven’t earned your customer’s trust.
Failure to earn the trust of your prospects kills sales conversions. Having a real conversation with a potential customer shows you’re invested in their success and is the best way to build trust.
That’s why product demo webinars are so effective at maximizing conversion rates. When done properly, they develop trust — not only in your product but also in the person and brand promoting it. Webinars, with all their features, offer the opportunity to show how a product works in real time. You can use slide decks, share your camera and screen, and even personalize your content to speak to the issues that each prospect cares about most.
Webinars also create a sense of personal interaction. They give your prospects the chance to get direct answers to their questions and learn how valuable your product can be for them. A live presenter especially helps when building trust with your audience and getting them to buy. —Simon Grabowski, founder and CEO of ClickMeeting
3. You’re forgetting emotions.
People buy for two reasons: on emotion (they like how the purchase makes them feel), or for certainty (they’re certain your product will solve a problem they have). When you fail to deliver either one of these convincingly, you lose the sale.
In essence, sales are nothing more than giving a “loving nudge,” inspiring a customer to take actions they may not usually take. When done right, that loving nudge has a clear and granular message, so your customer receives the emotional experience and assurance they need. Remember, when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one. —Chris Harder, philanthropist, coach, founder and CEO of For The Love Of Money; follow Chris on Instagram
4. You haven’t incorporated constructive feedback.
It may seem like you have the perfect product or service, but if customers aren’t buying, you’re not in business. The smartest thing to do is get honest feedback from the customers you failed to sell to. Explain you realize the product isn’t for them (which lets them off the guilt hook) and you’d be enormously grateful if they could share three things they found most flawed about it.
It’s much better to do this in-person or by phone, as email requests don’t encourage open responses. Listen carefully to each customer’s opinion and don’t respond defensively to anything they say. Get to the root of the problem: Is the price too high? Is your marketing pitch confusing? Or, is there no need for your product or service in the first place?
With good questions and eager ears, you’ll have the ammunition to reinvent your original idea and get customers coming through your door. Building a successful product or service never comes easily. It takes a lot of tries. My most significant successes were on the heels of my biggest failures. —Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, podcast host of Business Unusual, and Shark on “Shark Tank”
5. You’re not using your own product.
If customers aren’t buying, that’s a serious red flag. One way to identify the problem is to invite some of your target audience to dinner for a discussion. Try to understand their wants and challenges. Be open to suggestions. Maybe you haven’t found the exact market fit, or the product isn’t designed for your intended audience. Perhaps you have to adjust your product or even go back to the drawing board.
I remember working with a startup who had a product that people didn’t even want for free — but they kept trying to sell it to large companies. The founder couldn’t believe that someone didn’t want his product. He never took the time to speak with his customers and ignored all the bad reviews. There was no real need for the product beyond his own passion for it. Even worse, he didn’t even use his own product! If you’re selling something, you should use it all the time and more than the average customer. —Sweta Patel, founder of Silicon Valley Startup Marketing who has advised over 200 early stage startups and high-growth companies; connect with Sweta on Facebook and Instagram
6. Your marketing isn’t dialed in.
You may have “cool” products or services, but your customers don’t feel compelled to buy; regardless of the reason, you need to find out why, and fast, before going out of business! Here’s how:
First, ask yourself, “Is your product fixing a problem or creating a solution for your target market?” Connect with your ambassadors, fans and social media following, and get their insights. Ask questions like, “What’s the No. 1 thing you need help with?” or, “Which of my products can you not live without?” Your questions don’t need to be complicated or fancy; just get to the heart of the problem or solution.
Second, and most importantly, know your financials — the cost of your marketing campaigns and the overhead you’re paying to attract buyers should be money carefully spent. Reassess which campaigns are working and converting to sales, and which aren’t. Focus on what’s working, and drop the rest. —Vinicius Aschidamini, founder and CEO of Incredible Visibility
7. You’re limited by your ego.
If you’re not selling, you simply haven’t “met the market.” The market is always right – even when it’s wrong. One of the greatest challenges people have is their ego. Your ego thinks it knows what the market wants. Sometimes, that’s true. Other times, you’ll be shocked to discover it’s not at all.
There’s always the case of the, “Who would have thought?” In other words, I would never have believed the market would be so crazy about hula hoops, or that Spotify would someday be valued at $30 billion.
With any product, your value proposition is that you’re helping someone with their biggest frustration. If you can make a task easier for someone, you get what I call, “A crazy school of hungry fish, just looking for something to eat.” —Roy McDonald, founder and CEO of OneLife
8. Your policies aren’t customer-friendly.
People like to buy from those they trust. One way to earn that trust by adding video to your website, and using it in your client communications.
Your website introduces you and your brand to the customer. A standard landing page is a generic corporation. But video makes a customer immediately feel a personal connection, which your sales will reflect. (My company experienced an immediate spike in sales after implementing video.)
Clients also expect a hassle-free return policy. Look at Amazon; they have a clear policy that’s simple, effective and well-known. Customers feel comfortable making purchases sight unseen because they know and trust they can return it. When you’re clear on your policies — and make them customer-friendly — clients are more likely to trust and engage with your business. —Jason Hall, founder and CEO of FiveChannels; generated $17m+ in sales revenue for his clients in 2017
9. You’re relying on technology to do all your selling.
As advanced as technology is, nothing will ever replace genuine human interaction. It’s the backbone of any successful business and the key to acquiring and retaining your customers.
Humans want to interact with, and purchase from other humans; as social creatures, we’re hardwired for it. But too often, business owners use their websites and e-commerce platforms to hide behind their enterprise.
To combat this, I make it a strict point to make my personal contact information available to my customers. In doing so, I maintain the human element, despite my use of technology and e-commerce platforms. Being a transparent owner forces you to put your name and dignity on your product; something every buyer wants to see. —Jonathan Gilinski, serial entrepreneur, executive director of CapsCanada, and founder of Capsuline; follow Jonathan on LinkedIn and Twitter
The Oracles is an invitation-only brain trust comprising the world’s leading entrepreneurs who share their top advice and success strategies to help others grow their business, live a better life and achieve success faster.
Originally published on Forbes.com. ©2018 by Forbes Media LLC. All rights reserved.