Nothing can be more frustrating than hitting the hot Nigerian clime, product in hand, a ready smile and high expectations only to be rebuffed, time and again by potential customers.
The truth is that consumers everywhere have requirements which must be met before persuading them to buy anything. If your marketing or sales strategy is not meeting these needs, it is probably the reason your product is not selling. As consumers, we are not just persuaded by the “price” of a product; we are moved by the benefits of the product and what it can do for us or how it makes us feel.
If you find that you are having difficulty in selling your product, you may want to consider the following as reasons for consumers’ unwillingness to buy, and evaluate how you can do better at marketing your product in a way that converts potentials into eager, repeat business customers.
They are not aware of your product
It’s not magic. Consumers cannot purchase products which they are unaware of. If you are marketing, but consumers still don’t know about your product, it may be time to evaluate why it’s not working. Are you targeting the wrong market per chance? You most probably are. Is your message reaching those who would have an interest in your product? Maybe not. It is important to remember that the solution is not always more marketing, because the problem may lie with the direction of your marketing efforts, and what vehicles you are using to deliver your message.
They do not understand the benefits of your product
Consumers don’t buy products solely based on price. Now, this does not mean price doesn’t matter, actually it does. However, consumers buy based on the benefits your product brings to them, in some cases, regardless of the price. If you asked your customers what the benefits of your product are, would they know? This is important. Your marketing must be centered on the benefits of your product in order for consumers to take an interest in purchasing it. Create a list of the top three benefits of your product and use those in your marketing campaign.
They do not feel your product has perceived value
No one will buy a product which they perceive as having no value. Why should customers value your product? You can use the benefits of your product to create a perceived value and it is that perceived value that helps in the sales of your product. If a customer cannot see the value, they will simply pass on to the next best alternative. You must create that perceived value in your next marketing message or else you could be broke sooner than expected.
They do not see how your product meets their needs
We’ve rambled on about benefits and perceived value, now let’s talk about needs. Do consumers know how your product meets their needs? Does it make their life easier, save them time, make them feel better, taller, thinner, sexier, more revered? If not, then it’s back to the drawing board, and don’t leave until you can actually tell them what needs your product satisfies. You have to tell them, don’t make them guess or come up with the answer on their own. Educate them on why they need your product or else someone will do a better job with their own product.
Your product is not accessible to them
Consumers cannot buy what is not available to them. If they hear about your product but it is not immediately available to be bought, then forget it. Consumers want ease in obtaining and using your product. How can you make your product more accessible to them? Is it putting it in more locations? Distributing your product differently? Perhaps it’s offering your product online (seriously, if you don’t have a business website by now, what are you really in business for? Duh!). Evaluate the accessibility of your product and see if you need to make changes.
No trust, no sale
It’s no longer news that our markets are flooded with inferior goods and products that hardly ever work. We live in a time where people are more conscious about the health and safety of the food and water they buy and consume. Every day, we learn of products and services that were paid for but never delivered. We live in a time of scams and conmen, and most people are increasingly suspicious of anything they buy unless it’s from a brand or business they trust.
Trust and credibility are very essential for success in today’s world of business. If you don’t have them, then you will surely have a liquidity problem.
Not enough ordering options
Give people as many ordering options as possible. Give them every possible way to order from you. Yes, accept credit cards, checks, money orders and other forms of electronic payments. Take orders by phone, e-mail, Web site, fax, mail, and pigeons with notes attached if possible. Make it easy to get their order, and make the sale.
Concrete reasons behind your freebies
Nigerians are some of the most suspicious people on earth. They want to know why you’re giving them a freebie and how long will your freebie remain accessible to them. When using free stuff to lure people, always be upfront with them about your intentions. You might be surprised that even if the product is about to expire, as long as there’s a need and perceived value for your product, people will still buy, and by the carton–load. Remember, “No trust, no sale”.
I am sure this is an over flogged horse, but the truth is that people are inherently lazy and overwhelmed with work, play, the wife and kids, etc. Many potential customers are interested in your product, but they put off buying it till later and eventually forget about it. Woo, court, beg, anything but threaten them to buy now. Throw in a freebie, a discount, ‘limited quantity available’ offer, or some dreamed up deadline if you must, but make the sale!
Poor Customer Service
Trust me on this one, if you get your after sales service wrong, everything else will go right out the window with it. In this day and age, customers must feel the impact of your product long after they have experienced its perceived benefits, and that means having exceptional after-sales personnel with a ready smile and a willingness to truly help the customer. But also remember, the front end counts just as much; employ good people, pay and train them well and teach them, I mean actively teach them, how to be polite, especially to first time customers.
It’s a jungle out there people, and the lions and other predators that are ready to adapt to ever changing circumstances will survive the harsh realities of business… good luck.
About the Author
Whenever he is up nights, Brain Essien faffs around the internet gathering material for detective novels he is not sure when he’ll ever publish. He likes to play investment and brand strategist in the mornings and website architect/builder in the afternoons. On the weekends he likes to throw on a few apparels and gadgets and go bounce people out of their own parties if they become a handful. Besides that, he loves reading detective novels, building muscle, daredevil racing, video games, shadow chess and cooking.