Why People Aren’t Buying What You’re Selling – EP #1

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It seems obvious enough but we’ll just go ahead and say it: people are not ATMs and don’t just dispense money to you on demand. No matter what you may have heard from other “marketing experts”, if you treat them like cash machines, your business will fail. We’ll show you a better way that will make you even more money and better yet provide you with a business that lasts and thrives.

Be sure to subscribe to Mastering Growth on iTunes or Apple Podcasts to get all our episodes as they are released.

Episode Transcript

Jim Hohl: Welcome to Episode One, the very first episode of Mastering Growth. This episode is called Why People Aren’t Buying What You’re Selling. Hey, everyone. I’m Jim Hohl.

Lucas Garvin: I’m Lucas Garvin. We wanted to make the first episode about one of the key issues that coaches, consultants, and other online experts face when starting their business, launching a new line of business or a new tier of service. That issue is a very fundamental one: why are people not buying what I’m selling?

There are so many answers to that question, but the most important thing, at this point, is to realize it’s not just you. It’s a very, very common issue, so don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many of our clients first come to us because they’ve hit some sort of wall or plateau in their business and they need some help breaking through that because, clearly, this is not a situation that can last if you are going to grow and scale your business and serve more people.

Let’s look at a few key reasons we find for why people aren’t buying what you’re selling. The reasons fall into three buckets: the offer itself, the way you were offering it, and finally, the way you think about the offer.

Jim Hohl: Let’s look at the offer itself. The first place to look when trying to uncover why you’re not making sales is whether you’re offering the right thing to the right people. Now, we’re assuming here that what you’re selling has value, that you’d be able to sell it to anyone at all. That part’s a … but assuming that it’s something that anyone would want to buy, you need to look at who you’re offering it to.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say the best people could sell ice to Eskimos, “Oh, Fred. Yeah, he’s our best salesperson. He could sell ice to Eskimos.” That always struck me as odd. I mean, I know that’s the whole point, that Eskimos don’t really need ice, and Fred is so good he can sell it to them anyway, but that doesn’t make you a good sales person. Selling them something they don’t need makes you a con artist. If you’re metaphorically offering ice to Eskimos, you need to take a long, hard look at your offer and your audience, maybe even your whole business model.

Now, of course, that’s an extreme example, but there’s some more concrete and more relatable examples of this. For example, sometimes an audience just can’t afford what you’re offering. Maybe you’re offering a $10K course to new business owners in their 20s. For example, say you’re selling educational products for children, but you’re offering them directly to the children instead of the parents. Since the parents are the ones with the money, that’s your audience, right? Another example, sometimes your solution doesn’t solve the audience’s key problems. For example, say you’re selling a training or some kind of software tool for professionals but you’ve never been in the business yourself and you’ve never even interviewed people who have. You just assume that it would be something they would need. Well, the odds of your product providing exactly what that audience needs are pretty slim.

Or how about this? You’re trying to sell technology solutions to people who don’t like technology. You’re selling holistic health solutions to hardcore scientists. There are so many examples of bad product/market fit. If any of this sounds like it might be you, then this is where you need to start. It’s the number-one reason why businesses or products fail. Even though getting this right is essential, it’s not enough.

Lucas Garvin: There’s a really important part that I think is so often overlooked, and it might just come from the day to day pressure of running a business and trying to remain profitable. I want you guys to know people are not ATMs. I want you to write this down and put it up on your wall, especially if you are selling a knowledge or expertise, because I see so many people in the information business violating this basic rule on a daily basis. People are not ATMs.

To put it another way, your list is not your bank. Your Facebook audience is not your checking account. Yes, you likely earned the right to that list and that following, and you’re completely within your rights to pound the heck out of both of them, but treat them like that at your own peril. In the long run, and this is what this podcast is all about, building a thriving business for the long run, treating your list and your following like the human beings they actually are will get you so much farther. Offer them value. Send them your best stuff for free. Make them feel that you are not just out to make a buck but to serve them and help them grow, and they will pay you back in spades.

How can you do this without jeopardizing your business? Let me answer that with an example. Brendon Burchard, one of the greatest in the coaching space right now and online marketing in general, and certainly one of the most successful financially, just completed the launch for his new book. In the process of that launch, he released no fewer than 20 training videos, sent dozens of content emails, produced a 20-minute behind-the-scenes video, and literally uploaded the entire book, chapter by chapter, for free, to iTunes. Yes, he literally gave away the entire contents of his book and still sold in the tens of thousands of copies number very quickly. He was the number 14 best-selling book on all of Amazon and was still number 120 on all of Amazon four weeks out. People respond to Brendon because they feel that he is truly not just trying to sell them but sincerely trying to help them grow and prosper in their personal and professional lives.

Like I said before, give your audience value. Treat them like people that you truly care about, because I know you do, but it doesn’t always appear that way from the outside, and they will respond in kind.

Jim Hohl: Another reason people might not be buying what your selling is you’re selling what people need not what they want. Let me put this another way. People rarely buy things they need. They buy things that they want. Okay, yeah, they buy insurance, they pay their water bill, but they don’t buy coaching or expert consulting services because they need it. They buy for emotional reasons. The rarely buy things they need on impulse. They buy things they want. They buy shoes for how they will make them look. They gamble for the fun and the thrill, knowing full well that the house is going to win, and they’re going to lose. They buy trainings not for the 10 DVDs or the 18 cheat sheets, but for the life-changing or business-changing impact your training will provide them.

Yes, of course, some people need to see the details. They need to know what they’re buying. They need to know if they’re buying a shoe with arch support. They need to know how to play the game they’re betting on. They need to know which training modules and coaching calls are included in the package that they’re considering purchasing for 2,000 or $20,000, of course. That is all what they need to feel confident that they’re making the right decision, but what they want is to look good, or to have fun, or to grow in their life, or grow their business. They want what’s on the other side of the transformation. You need to show them that stuff much more often than the rest of it.

Sell them on looking good or losing weight when you’re selling health coaching. Sell them on more time with their family or on an early retirement when you’re selling them money coaching. Sell them on working less or leaving a legacy when you’re selling them business coaching. Focus more on the benefits and the transformation you provide, and then, in the process of delivery, you can fill in all the details on the rest. As a business coach of ours once told us, “Sell them what they want, then slip them what they need.”

Lucas Garvin: Another coach and mentor and client of ours, Lisa Sasevich, also says that it’s 90% transformation and 10% delivery. Another way she says it is also, “Sell the destination not the plane.” That’s powerful.

Lastly, let’s talk about mindset. The way we make all of our high-ticket sales here at Visify is through one-on-one calls. Potential clients might come in as a referral or a cold lead from a Facebook ad, but ultimately, they want to have a call to make the decision to come in. Most people selling high ticket sell the same way. Because of that, the way you approach calls with your potential clients, your mindset, can make the ultimate difference in whether you sell or not.

I’ve noticed a couple huge issues in how people approach these calls that can derail them and kill the sale. First, you don’t believe in what you are selling. I know that is a bold statement, but bear with me. This can show up in a couple different ways. One way is you don’t have confidence that what you are offering will truly provide the value you claim it does or you don’t think that it provides enough value to justify the price you are offering it at. In both of these cases, the person on the other line can tell. Trust me. I’ve been there. We’ve raised our prices considerably over the past few years multiple times. Every time, it’s been an adjustment to get my mind in line with the value that I know we can provide.

Jim Hohl: Another really common way you might be derailing your sales calls is selling your potential clients exactly what they say they want, not what you really believe will help them. It might seem counterintuitive, but remember that not every prospect or potential client really knows what they need. They hear a lot of things, and sometimes they come to calls with preconceived notions. If you give in to what the potential client says they need right away instead of sticking with them and getting them to get to the core of their issue, you may be selling them short.

For example, if a potential client calls us saying they want to do YouTube ads because they heard YouTube was great, and they just have to do YouTube ads, my first inclination used to be sell them YouTube ads. But if YouTube ads were not really the right option for them at this time and I sold it to them anyway, odds are, within a couple months, they’d realize this and who’d be the one to blame? Not them for coming to me with that need, but me for selling it to them anyway.

A better approach to this issue would be to dig a little deeper into this issue, maybe asking, “What makes you say that?” We might discover that what they really need is to connect with their audience more, and the way to do that is video, but maybe it’s not YouTube. Maybe it’s Facebook video ads that are a better and more affordable option for them. Or it might turn out that ads are what they need at all, but to reengage their list, and emails to a video landing page would do the trick. Or maybe we discover that they really do need YouTube ads, but at least we’d both be entering into the relationship fully understanding why this solution was the best one.

Lucas Garvin: There you have it, the three main reasons why people aren’t buying what you’re selling. It might be the offer itself, the way you are selling it, or your mindset when you are selling it. Whatever the reason, it’s time to get to work fixing it and start selling more and helping more people in the process.

Our next episode will cover our proven system for growing your business and selling more, which we call Growth Optimization. It’s going to give you some great ways to avoid the pitfalls we discussed today. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to catch that episode and be updated whenever new content is released. Thanks for listening and, until next time, keep growing.

About the Author

Jim Hohl

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Jim has been in marketing for over 25 years, and has worked on campaigns for startups to multinationals. He writes, speaks and trains on business development, sales and productivity.

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