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.
The FG in partnership with the private sector will continue to support MSMEs – Osinbajo
Osinbajo has stated that the FG in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses.
Nigeria’s Vice-president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during an MSME stakeholders’ meeting, disclosed that the Federal Government in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses across the country.
According to a press statement issued by Laolu Akande, the VP made this statement on Monday at the first meeting of MSMEs stakeholders for the year 2021.
Prof. Osinbajo said the Government would continue to support innovation and interventions to deepen the involvement of new and existing MSMEs in the nation, this he said would help to improve the economy and create more employment opportunities for Nigerians.
He stressed further that the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan Survival Funds has sent positive economic signals. In a bid to complement the gains in this space, the Government needs to scale up interventions in the MSMEs sector.
In this vein, Osinbajo urged stakeholders in the public and private sectors at the virtual meeting to be innovative in the interventions planned for small businesses across the country, so as to consolidate on the gains recorded in the MSMEs space in the past few years.
What they are saying
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the MSME stakeholders’ meeting, said:
“We must continue to be innovative in the interventions that we plan for MSMEs because small businesses are the engines of growth of any economy, in the areas of wealth creation and employment opportunities, MSMEs are very important.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said:
“We really have to think out of the box in our engagements going forward. We need to change the way we do many things, we need to look for ways of multiplying our efforts because the challenges in this space are greater than what we have been able to achieve so far. Of course, we have done a lot, but looking at the numbers in need, you will find out that there is a lot more to be done.”
What you should know
- The Federal Government’s MSMEs Survival Fund grant scheme, which includes Payroll Support, Artisans and Transport support tracks, is a component under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP.
- The Survival Fund scheme was designed to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic especially on the most vulnerable small businesses, is a conditional grant to support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector.
- The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3 million jobs across the country. However, 283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme. This leaves millions of Nigerians out of the consideration of the scheme.
283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs have benefited from FG Payroll Support Scheme
The FG has revealed that over 200,000 persons have so far benefited from its Payroll Support Program.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that 283,032 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have so far benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme of the Federal Government.
This disclosure was made in a tweet shared via FG Survival Fund’s official Twitter account.
— MSME Survival Fund (@SurvivalFund_ng) January 6, 2021
What you should know
- The Payroll Support Program by FG under the Survival Fund initiative was created to provide an adequate buffer against the impact of the COVID-19 on the stream of income of MSMEs.
- This, however, is an offshoot of the Survival Fund initiative, established to support and protect small businesses from potential vulnerabilities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In line with the mandate of the programme, the government will support MSMEs with staff salaries for 3 months.
- It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic and other regulatory actions of the Federal Government affected the core segments of SMEs, as well as the revenue and income vehicles of Small businesses in Nigeria.
- According to a survey by NBS, it became public knowledge that the total number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country was about 41.5 million, as of December 2017, with significant employment contribution running to millions.
- In the light of this, it is plausible to say that the Payroll support programme is not inclusive enough, as the recent move by FG to support MSMEs leaves millions of MSMEs and their employees out of the radar.
FG warns applicants of N75 billion MSME Fund against fraudulent websites
FG warned unsuspecting members of the public to beware of fraudulent websites demanding account details.
The Federal Government has warned unsuspecting members of the public, who wish to apply for the MSME Survival Fund, to beware of fraudulent websites demanding account details, before giving applicants N50,000.
According to Punch, the disclosure is contained in a press statement that was issued in Calabar by the Project Delivery Office (the Coordinating office of the scheme) under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and titled ‘Portal requesting for beneficiaries account details to get N50, 000 not known to us.’
The PDO is coordinated by the SA to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President, Tola Johnson.
What the Trade, Industry and Investment Ministry is saying
The Ministry, in its statement said, “Our attention has been drawn to the activities of fraudsters parading themselves as operators of the Federal Government’s Survival Fund Scheme.
“The syndicate operating a fraudulent portal with the link https://survivalfund-gov-ng.freefunds.xyz/#1609249530133(https://bit.ly/FG-survival-fund) are asking unsuspecting members of the public to check their eligibility for the scheme by providing their account details on the portal in order to be paid N50, 000 grant under the Survival Fund Scheme.
“It is pertinent to note that the Project Delivery Office (the coordinating office of the scheme) does not operate any such portal and beneficiaries do not require to go to the website to verify their eligibility for the federal government’s Survival Fund as indicated on the fraudulent portal.
“The website requesting beneficiaries account details is, therefore, a scam. The PDO does not operate any such portal and wishes to advise all Nigerians and beneficiaries of the different tracks of the survival fund to be wary and desist from having dealings with the operators of the site.”
The Ministry pointed out that the authentic survival fund portal remained www.survivalfund.gov.ng and the PDO would always inform members of the public on updates about the scheme whenever it was necessary.
What you should know
The MSME Survival Fund, which is part of the N2.3tn stimulus package of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, was introduced by the Federal Government as part of efforts to help businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is expected to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.