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How to sell products that are low in demand or unpopular

While the ultimate goal of marketing is to target products at customers who are ready to buy, occasionally products or services require additional push.



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Key points

  • Make it about the customers.
  • Do your research before reaching out.
  • Define your buyer.
  • Contribute first, sell second.
  • Ask questions, and listen.
  • Be mindful of psychological quirks.
  • Hit an emotional high point.

All marketers from time to time, come across products that could be difficult to sell. While the ultimate goal of marketing is to target products at customers who are ready to buy, occasionally some products or services require additional push. So why don’t some good-quality, good-value items sell? There are obvious and not-so-obvious reasons:

[READ ALSO: How to plug your spending leaks)

  • Not prominently displayed: Unless it’s a product heavily searched for, simply adding it to the catalogue doesn’t do the trick. If you want certain products to sell, you have to show them off.
  • Costs too much: Use lightly discounted pricing or comparison pricing to entice shoppers to learn about the item.
  • Costs too little: People often associate low pricing with cheap quality.
  • Product details are lacking: If you want people to buy a product, you have to tell them what it is, what it does, and how it solves a pain point.
  • Others aren’t talking: The lack of social sharing and discussion can also be a turn off.

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So what are ways to ensure that these unpopular and low in demand products sell?

Use comparison pricing

Don’t leave it to the shopper to compare. Show similar products side-by-side. The classic study of a bread machine sold by Williams-Sonoma is a prime example. In the 1990s, after consumer research, the company introduced a bread maker for $275. After it didn’t sell well, a marketing research firm recommended that Williams-Sonoma add a higher-priced item to the lineup. The more advanced machine retailed for over $400. The result? Sales of the lower-priced machine took off. That’s because consumers had nothing to compare the $275 against. Once the retailer introduced another model, it made more sense. This practice is called anchoring, and nearly all the big retailers use it to sell anything, from silverware to cars.

Convey Scarcity

Once you’ve communicated the value of your product, how do you encourage the prospect to buy? Without a sales call or conversation with the prospect, it can be challenging to communicate why they should buy now. To combat this, try offering a limited time offer or discount. For example:

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  • “Limited edition available while supplies last.”
  • “30% discount, this weekend only.”
  • “Last day! Buy (product name) and receive a free gift.”

Once you have closed the sale, you need to work on building brand loyalty to encourage repeat custom. You may consider offering free local delivery, free returns, or running promotional deals. Exclusive special offers to online customers won’t have too big an impact on your bottom line but can strengthen loyalty and improve customer satisfaction. Ensure that you are meeting the needs of existing customers. Seeking and responding to customer feedback at the point of sale and after they have used the product is a great way to improve sales, encourage repeat custom and improve your offering.

Make it about the buyer

The cardinal rule of sales is to always make it about your buyer. Every email you write, voicemail you leave, demo you give, and meeting you attend should place the focus squarely on the buyer. Constantly ask yourself, “What’s the relevance to this particular prospect?” and customize each interaction accordingly.

[READ ALSO: How to plug your spending leaks)

Define your buyer

This might seem like a paradox, but the secret of selling anything to anybody is not attempting to sell just anything to just anybody.

Whether you work in retail, auto sales, or B2B business you’ll have far more success if you’re familiar with the characteristics of your target buyers and thoroughly qualify each prospect against that matrix. This is called an ideal buyer profile, and it’s like having a secret weapon. By finding the specific type of “anybody” who is just right for your product or service, you’ll avoid wasting time on poor-fit leads. Instead, you’ll have more time to devote to buyers with a good chance of becoming customers.

Contribute first, sell second

Do not jump in with your pitch right off the bat. Position yourself as an advisor who wants to help, rather than a salesperson thirsty to sell. With this approach, you’ll find a more receptive audience when you finally get around to connecting their problem with your offering. In short: Always Be Helping.

Ask questions, and listen

No matter how thoroughly you have researched your prospect, there will be gaps in your knowledge, and you won’t be able to help the buyer solve their issue if you don’t fully understand it. For this reason, it’s critical to ask thoughtful questions during your conversations – and a lot of them.

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Be mindful of psychological quirks

Our brains are wired to respond to certain situations in specific ways. Here are just a few of the quirks relevant to salespeople:

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  • Anchoring effect: The information we receive first acts as an anchor against which we evaluate all further data.
  • Decoy effect: A third option can sometimes help people choose between two possibilities.
  • Rhyme-as-reason effect: Rhyming statements seem truer than non-rhyming ones.
  • Loss aversion: We react more strongly to the possibility of losing something we currently have than the possibility of gaining something we don’t.
  • Peak-end rule: People remember the end and a high point within a presentation more vividly than any other section.
  • Confirmation bias: We are more likely to accept information that aligns with our beliefs than contradictory evidence—no matter how compelling.
  • [READ ALSO: How to plug your spending leaks)

Identifying recent buyers

Sometimes sellers need to identify the most recent buyers—even if there is only a handful of them—and try to find other people in the same category. Once you find out who the buyers are in today’s market, you can expand on that.

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Nigeria among countries to be worst hit by food crisis globally

Nigeria, others were listed as countries with the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months.



7 million Nigerians to experience food shortage

Nigeria has emerged as one of the countries to be most hit by food crisis across the globe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic which had worsened the already bad situation.

This disclosure is contained in a report by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report from the FAO also shows that the Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging as the country with the world’s largest food crisis in terms of absolute numbers, with Burkina Faso listed as the country with the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months.

The food crisis is made worse in Nigeria by the longstanding religious and ethnic conflicts and even organized crimes by some bandits, which has greatly affected farmers working on their farmlands.

In addition to these, the farmers were already contending with the issue of flooding or drought, which has negatively been impacting on the agricultural sector in a period the country is desperate and very desirous of economic diversification. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a surge in food prices as can be seen in the reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a country that imports over 10% of its food supply.

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With a population of over 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, which is regarded as the world’s most food-insecure continent. This is made worse as importers of food items struggle to gain access to dollars for their imports due to scarcity of foreign exchange which is triggered by the crash of oil prices and low foreign inflow.

This is expected to be exacerbated by the recent order by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria, to stop the allocation of foreign exchange to importers of food items.

The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, warned in April, “We are heading toward famine and starvation.”

The FAO report which states that Congo has about 21.8 million people that are acutely food insecure, also points out that Burkina Faso has witnessed an almost 300% uptick in the overall number of people experiencing acute hunger since the start of 2020.

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FG apologizes, says Self-Certification directive is not for everyone

The Federal Government has made clarifications concerning earlier announced Self-Certification Forms.



FG apologizes, says Self-Certification directive is not for everyone, FIRS introduces stamp duty on house rent and C of O transactions

The Nigerian government has backtracked on its earlier issued guidelines on the new banking Self-Certification Forms, saying the notice does not apply to everyone.

On Thursday, the Nigerian government ordered all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms, to complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

It stated, “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions. Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete & submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.”

However, on Friday morning, after receiving expected backlash on social media, FG attempted a clarification stating, “We apologize for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons,” and that, “the FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

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READ: CBN automates trading system, introduces electronic form to facilitate exports 

The FIRS earlier today made a statement, that the guidelines are only for non-residents, and people paying tax in more than one country.

READ: Tax implication of IFRS adoption in Nigeria: key issues

“The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS. Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.” the statement read.

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This is a copy of the Self-Certification form govt. wants targeted account holders to fill

The FIRS posted a copy of the self-certification form on its website.



This is a copy of the Self-Certification form govt. wants targeted account holders to fill, President Muhammadu Buhari's full speech at China-Africa Extraordinary Summit on June 17, 2020

The Nigerian government on Thursday tweeted an order to all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms to complete and submit Self-certification forms.

This was announced by the Federal Government in a social media statement on Thursday. The FG warned that failure to comply may include a monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.

READ: FG to save N1 trillion annually from petrol subsidy removal

The Government also urged Nigerians to comply with the requirements and execute all forms needs, if not sanctions may be introduced in the forms of monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.

The government however deleted the tweet on Friday, explaining that it does not apply to everybody, contrary to what it had earlier tweeted. The FIRS claims those affected are non-residents.

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READ: Despite billions on agriculture, food inflation up by 108% since 2015

Nairametrics has seen a copy of the “Self-Certification Forms” detailing the information that account holders are meant to share. See below;

NB: This article has been updated to reflect new information regarding who the accounts holders (reportable persons) are.

READ: UK to impose visa ban, seize assets of Nigerians for electoral offences

Download (PDF, 839KB)

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