30 April 2012

The reasons why people don’t buy what we are selling…

There is nothing more frustrating than developing a new product or service, investing time, energy and money in it, launching it, waiting expectantly for the crowds to come barging in the door and nothing happens.

If people aren’t buying what we are selling it generally comes back to the fact that we haven’t done enough homework in the planning stages. I am sure most of us have been guilty of this, I know I have. We come up with a great idea (well at least it’s a great idea to us), we get all excited about it so we rush to get it on the shelves, but because we don’t do the basic research, we are shocked when no one buys our new wonder product. Devastation sets in.

If we are clear about why people don’t buy, we can do something about it. So here are the 10 main reasons why people don’t buy:

1. They don’t need it.

Just because you are offering the world’s best quality budgie smugglers, in 1000 different designs, for 10 cents each, you are not going to make a lot of sales if your budgie smuggler shop is in Anchorage, Alaska. Finding out if there is a market is always the place to start, but very few businesses do this kind of homework.

2. It is too expensive.

Just because you are selling it doesn’t mean people will buy it. If you haven’t done your homework and people can buy the same product up the road for half the price, you are probably in trouble. Alternatively, it might just be what you are selling costs too much and the customer is not prepared to buy it. Simple as that.

3. It is too cheap.

If it is too good to be true; it normally is. Consumers are much savvier these days. We have all purchased things that are “cheap” only to be disappointed in the quality of our new acquisition. Selling on price alone rarely works and personally I much prefer selling on quality products at a fair price.

4. It isn’t the cost; it is the amount.

This is typically when people want what you are selling, in fact they really want it, but they simply can’t afford it. If this is the case you have a market for your product or service, but you simply need to repackage it in a more affordable way, let people pay it off, ensure that you take credit cards, work around their cash flow or whatever else works. This is exactly how the buy it now, pay it off in five years, interest free model evolved. Everyone wants furniture and white goods, but finding a few thousand dollars in one hit is not that easy.

5. They have other priorities right now.

I am sure it is your priority to sell your products or services today, but it may not be your customer’s number one priority to buy it. I have seen many new product launches fail because of timing. If you are launching a business service in December, most people have their mind firmly set on other priorities, like holidays, presents and food. Buying a new marketing plan tool is not that high on the list. Launching the same product after most business owners have been to their accountant in May, and realise that they need to get out and market more to generate more money, seems like a smarter move. When customers don’t buy, it often doesn’t mean they won’t buy at all, it means just not now.

6. They don’t know about what you are selling.

This is one of the biggest mistakes that I come across, business owners failing to communicate effectively with their customers. The end result is the business owners think that everyone knows what they are selling, but they very rarely do. It is our job as the business owners to communicate often and in a way that suits our customers, it’s not their job to figure out what we sell. Many businesses are lousy at telling their regular customers what’s new and why they should buy it.

7. They don’t know enough about your business.

Just because we offer something, doesn’t mean that people will buy it. Consumers today are much more complex than we realise or give them credit for. They (and by “they” I mean us), are making much more informed decisions when it comes to buying everything. They are asking tougher questions, they have much higher expectations and they have a huge amount of choice. They need to form an emotional connection with your business in some shape or form. This might mean you have to show them how you are a great corporate citizen that plays an active role in your community. You might need to show them the face behind the business. It is hard to connect and engage with a faceless business. You might want to show them the awards you have won, the number of staff you employ, the way you take care of the environment and so on. Open up to them and they will open up to you and a relationship begins to form.

8. They have a negative history with your business.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. If your business has really messed up with a client, it is hard to get them to come back, especially if you handled it badly. Some businesses are terrible at dealing with EVERY customer. I have department stores that I refuse to buy anything from simply because they are so bad at customer service. Every experience is a nightmare. So no matter how great the offer, they won’t get a cent of my hard earned money. If you don’t have your service sorted, every advertising dollar you spend is a waste of money, because you are simply creating more grumpy customers, who are busy telling everyone how bad your business is.

9. They have an existing relationship.

Most of us are pretty loyal customers. As much as we might hunt for a good deal to save us a few dollars, it will take a good offering to get us to break a bond that we have with a business we have a relationship with. But, tough times make this bond more tenuous. If people aren’t buying what you are selling, it might not mean what you are offering is wrong in some way, but rather that people have a stronger relationship with your competition than you. Hard to hear I know, but at least it gives you something to work on.

10. We don’t give it long enough.

Very few businesses start up and boom from day one. In fact, it is generally the exact opposite. Most get off to a very shaky start, few survive, those that do always have a touch and go story of how things could have gone. You name the brands – Apple, Harley Davidson, Virgin and piles more, they could have all easily gone bust, but their persistence and the ability to listen to what their customers wanted helped them to survive in a spectacular fashion. The moral to this story is that just as it will take time for our business to get off the ground, we need to give new products and services time to work.

All of these reasons for a product or service not selling come back to that one point I made earlier, not doing our homework. From my experience, businesses that spend time getting to know their market (and staying in touch with their market), who have an open and continual line of communication with their customers, rarely have the problem of people not buying what they are selling.

Of course if you have a product or service that isn’t selling, perhaps now you can identify why and take action accordingly. Don’t necessarily right it off, maybe you just need to do some more homework.

Until next time,


3 thoughts on “The reasons why people don’t buy what we are selling…”

  1. Thanks for the feedback Leo.

  2. I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare
    to see a great blog like this one today.

  3. There’s certainly a lot to find out about this issue.

    I like all of the points you made.

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