You just can’t get people to buy your stuff

Despite the detailed information you’ve provided on your website, people are not signing up for your offers, not engaging with your social media programs and maybe just a few are actually walking into the door of your store.

What are you doing wrong? You just can’t get more people to buy your stuff.

Does this sound familiar?

I’m going to share with you one of the biggest marketing secrets to make more sales: When you focus on the features of your services or products, your marketing efforts won’t work.

It’s really just that simple.

Understanding your customer’s challenges

The first step to learning how to sell solutions and not just your products is to really listen to your customers when they talk about their problems. Once you understand how your services can untangle their obstacles, the next step is to start selling solutions that create a motivating force for someone to buy from you.

People don’t want to buy your product or services. They want to buy solutions for their problems. They want to know how your stuff can provide them with a specific outcome to make their lives easier.

I use to be in sales

Want to know where my first real grown-up job was? My junior year in college I got my first ‘I can’t believe they’re paying me this much to work here’ job at a local radio station. I worked in sales at the Top 40 station that all the college kids locked into the first place on their car radio buttons.

I spent the first month learning all the secrets behind the music and voices on the air. I soaked in as much as my college brain could handle. For the next fifteen years, I found a home in radio.

With the exception of accounting, I’ve done just about every job you could imagine at a radio station. I even did a small part on the morning show at our local country station for about a year and half.

Then came that fateful day when the big box store corporations took over my world. I moved to the online division and eventually my frustrations with the way radio was changing caused me to leave.

I left radio to start my own business in 1999. That was truly the day the music died.

The real reason I stopped selling

I worked in sales for over ten years. By the time I worked at my last radio station, I moved my desk into the marketing department.

Want to know the real reason I stopped selling? I’m abso-freaking-lutely terrible at the hard sell. Quotas were getting harder for me to reach. Management was always on me to close more deals.

I tried, I really did but it just got to that uncomfortable, awkward icky place.

Truth was – I sucked at selling the product.

Ironically, over those ten years in sales, I did make money and hit my commission numbers. People bought from me because of my customer service skills.

They bought from me because I showed them how to get more folks through their doors, more people to show up to their events and more orders for their stuff.

At the time, I didn’t realize that I was selling them solutions.

I gave them reasons why they should use my radio station – my listeners where loyal to the station’s advertisers, they were the right customers these businesses wanted and they had the money and the right problems to buy.

You’d think I would have been the top sales person and drive a big fancy car from all that solution selling.  But I didn’t.

Businesses wanted lower rates. They wanted to know they were getting a good deal or they’d buy from the radio rep that was waiting for his turn to get into the manager’s office.

It was a different time back then. Those were the days before social media and the idea of one-to-one engagement.

Sell the Solution, Not the Product

Most of the statistics I found said we see over 250 marketing messages per day. That number includes everything from TV commercials, outdoor billboards and online banner ads.

There’s no way our brains can process that many messages. Chances are, you probably only recall seeing about a third of those marketing ads.

But the right message telling us how it can fix our problems? Now that will get our attention. A marketing message that shows us something we want will get noticed and remembered.

How do we show our customers we have the right answers to their challenges?
1. Establish value

I’m not talking about the “do you want to make that a value meal?” kind of thing. I mean to focus on the value your products can bring to your customers.

Does your service help them save time? Will using your product reduce the risk of something that concerns them?

Don’t just list all the selling points of your stuff. Use your marketing messages to tell them about how they’ll benefit from buying from you.

2. Engage and then inform

When you pull your customers in with something that connects with them, they’ll be more open to hearing about your offers. I always say that people do business with PEOPLE that they know and trust. Building that relationship with them is the key to selling solutions.

Show them you know what you’re talking about with blog posts that teach them the basics. Establish your expertise with tips on YouTube videos or creating step-by-step image-based ebooks.

Think about a way to tell your company’s story through selling solutions. Keep asking yourself the question, “How can I help my customer?” until you find the answers where you connect with your customers on an emotional level.

Only then can your products and services turn from just trying to sell them your stuff into something they want and need. And most likely, will pay anything to get it.

Photo credit: Pretty water drops 

PS Are tips like these helpful to figure out your social media marketing? Download the Strategy Builder workbook and get more of my secret tips to help you develop your social media plans. It’s an easy to follow marketing strategy workbook to you create successful social media campaigns.