It’s a hallowed word in the world of business: sales.
Whole businesses are born and are decimated as a result of the sales they make, or fail to make.
The hard truth is — as you’ll doubtless be aware — if you’re not making sales, your business won’t survive. Cash flow dries up, profits plummet and don’t even get started on the horror of not making payroll.
For business owners and entrepreneurs, just creating a great quality product or service isn’t enough.
That’s a hard lesson to learn.
You’ve invested something far deeper than capital into its creation. You’re convinced it can transform the market and impact on the lives of your customers.
So why is it often such a difficult sell?
There are several key reasons why businesses never fulfill their potential. And it’s nothing to do with how good or impactful their product or service was.
You have to ensure your idea doesn’t crash and burn like so many other companies with great ideas which never made it past their early stages.
See if any of the six key challenges ring true to your sales situation. Then consider what changes you can make in your business today to correct your path to effortless selling.
1. You’re getting business from all the wrong people
It’s easier than ever to judge your digital progress and visibility, especially with online marketing. You can reach hundreds of thousands of people with a single post and little monetary investment, but looking at your books you ask yourself: ‘am I seeing any difference in sales figures as a result?
It’s highly likely your product and the marketing you’ve worked so hard to produce isn’t actually reaching the right potential customers. Buy the attention of one hundred men and try to sell them a revolutionary new bra and, unless it’s February the 14th, you will get a near 0% sales conversion.
So sit down, even for a half hour and define your market. Pinpoint exact details about your ideal customer – their career, lifestyle, how their average day looks – and start marketing directly to them. Yes, consider things like demographic and gender but you need to go deeper than that–as soon as you can identify and solve your ideal customer’s problems, you’ll learn the definition of exponential growth.
2. You lack a consistent line about your true value to customers
OK, so you’ve found your target market, but what do they have to say about you? Has your message permeated through into their memories and convinced them you’re actually something to rave about?
How do you stand out? Why shouldn’t they just fall into the palm of your competitor’s slimy hands?
Relevance to your target audience is great, but if your message is too complex and unclear it’s not likely to catch. If you want your business to be like wildfire, you need to create the right conditions for it to spread.
Craft a compelling, attractive message which exudes value, but make it simple and catchy enough that your entire team can sell using it. You’ll know you’re onto a winner when your ideal customer can use these exact words to identify your business.
These are the conditions you need for total competitor annihilation, because now people associate you with a particular service, they’re not going anywhere else soon.
3. People don’t know your story
Why did you start your business? Who are you, and what are your deepest held beliefs?
Now that’s an interesting topic for conversation.
Are you wondering how people get so attached to a certain brand or product? More often than not it’s because they have a clear purpose, and a set of values bigger than themselves which their audience can get behind.
Having an underlying mission sells. Simple.
So, don’t be introverted about your beliefs. What frustration or realisation drove you to come up with your business idea in the first place?
These are human traits which your audience may well share. When you’re on a mission and you have a strong purpose, and this gets people’s heads turning.
When people feel involved, this engagement is what turns one-time-buyers into fans and customers for life.
4. Your conversations with prospects revolve entirely around the sale
When you speak to your prospects, how long does the conversation typically last? Is there just an immediate switch of focus when the sale is done? A quick ‘Next please!’ and that customer becomes history?
How do you think this impacts your sales potential?
Having lasting, meaningful dialogue with your customers is incredibly important. Are you worried about scaring them away? That’s probably because you’ve had emails and brochures yourself you’d immediately identify as spam.
Start a conversation with the right people. Be personable and provide value upfront in the form of helpful content and you’ll begin to build relationships and trust.
Getting to know why customers like your product as well as what else they’d like to see from you is a great place to start a conversation with previous customers.
Paying this extra attention is well worth your time and money, as engaging with your audience naturally encourages repeat business, not to mention the fact you may be able to improve your product as a result.
5. Nobody’s heard of you
You may know who you’re trying to reach, but do they know you?
Trying to sell to a customer who hasn’t heard of you or your product is like trying to swim through treacle for you or your sales team.
Imagine how much easier it would be to pick up a phone to a prospect and know they've heard of you BEFORE you begin the conversation.
With no idea how your product differs from any others on the market and no prior relationship with you, a prospect has no basis on which to trust you. As far as they’re concerned, you’re just another nuisance sales caller.
Wouldn’t it be SO much easier if people already knew who you were, or better, came directly to you?
I’m not saying you need to strive to become an A list celebrity, but aiming to be the name on your specific audience’s lips is certainly something to aspire to.
Once you’ve built a name for yourself, customers seek you out. Then you won’t even need to get into the pool before you’re swimming laps around your treacle covered competitors.
6. Your business development strategy is on-off at best (if you have one at all)
Do you feel at the mercy of forces outside your control? Would your business be easily uprooted due to its shallow strategy and lack of consistency? Do you lack the capacity to resist a season of misfortune?
If your business feels stationary, you need to find a way of gaining momentum before someone swoops in and causes permanent damage.
It needs to be moving at full pace towards your objectives and goals. And to do that you need clarity and momentum. Clarity in terms of what success looks like and momentum in keeping your message and visibility consistent in the eyes of your target audience.
In short, you need a foolproof strategy to turnaround all of the above challenges.
What do you plan on doing if your competition fights back? If you’re putting your brilliant idea out to the public you don’t want it to go down like a tone deaf singer at an open mike night.
Understanding where you are now and where you need to be is the first step in building the assets you need in your business to face down each of these challenges.
In this short video, I explain one of the issues nearly every disruptive business faces.