Business not making any money? Here's why (and how to overcome it)
1) Not enough people know about your product.
If you only pitch to 10 people, the chances of all 10 buying your product is really low. You might get 1 or 2 people to buy it, but what are the chances they come back and buy again? The truth is: sales is a numbers game. This doesn’t mean you should sell to everybody. Focus on more quality leads. We need to find out who our target market is. Some people just sell to friends and family – which is a great place to start – but we quickly realized we must expand outside our circle.
Solution: one of the quickest ways you can gain more awareness of your product is through social media advertising (Facebook, IG, even Google ads).
Remember sales is a numbers game. If people don’t know you exist, then how are you going to make money? It would be virtually impossible for customers to buy your product if they don't know you exist.
“If they don’t know you, they cant flow you.” Grant Cardone, 10X Conference 2019
We had this same problem when we first started our business in 2012. Not enough people knew about our company. We knew that if only people knew we existed, getting revenue would not be a problem. How did we do it? We door-knocked, we cold-called, we asked for meetings, we showed up, we emailed. Now back then digital advertising on social networks was still new. I didn’t even have an IG account until 2014. So, this wasn’t an option for us at the time. We had nothing but sweat equity and doing the hard work no one wanted to do.
Fast forward to 2020, if I had to do it all over again, I would invest my time on digital advertising (understanding who my target market is and what platform they use the most) and I would still do the traditional sweat equity tasks – instead of cold calling, I would cold-DM in LinkedIn for example. Now I know what you're thinking, social ads is going to take money. Yes it is an investment. Spending a few hundred dollars to gain traffic and more exposure to your website could be all the boost you need to see an increase in sales. Keep in mind that setting up your ad campaigns will also take some tweaking and you may not see results until 3 months. But hang in there, the clicks will come.
Another way to gain awareness is to build the right relationships. Especially if you're a B2B company, relationships are key. You need to be networking, joining associations, becoming members of the chamber of commerce -- just to name a few. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Sales doesn't just magically appear, you make it happen!
2) Wasting time on mundane tasks.
Let's be honest, some of us are conveniently finding other things to do – like updating our website, going to the post office, posting on social etc. These are real things that need to get done, but you're avoiding the elephant in the room on purpose. But then you wonder why your business hasn’t generated any revenue. You can hire someone else to do those mundane, admin tasks.
If you don’t have the funds to hire an assistant, then you need to prioritize your time. Thankfully, Jamison and I had each other as business partners so we can divide and conquer on a lot of tasks and duties.
Prioritize your day and make time for sales. Every single day is a sales day, even if you can only do it for 1 hour that day.
The post office can wait one more hour, but your business can't wait. Make the time for sales.
Look at your schedule for Monday through Friday. Let's say for example, MWF we will do sales activities for a minimum of 3 hours each day (phone calls, networking, digital advertising, building content, driving traffic, generating leads). Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, those are our admin days and errand days. We still do sales activities on Tues and Thurs, but maybe only for 1 hour.
Still don't think that you have time? Think again --
I worked a part-time job from 6am to 2pm. Right at 2:05 pm I changed out of my uniform and into my one good pair of slacks from Express and least wrinkled blouse I could find. Then, I got in my car and started door-knocking from 2:15pm to 5:30 pm. Yep, I did that everyday for years in my mid-20s. For those of you who still work or have kids and other obligations - I GET IT. It can be difficult to believe that this is possible, but trust me it is!
A really cool free tool that I used to get more work done:
Boomerang was a game changer for me. Boomerang allowed me to schedule my emails. Since I worked early in the morning, I sometimes didn't have time to reach out to my prospects while I was working so I needed a way to still email at 9am even though I was at work. My routine went something like this: I got up at 4am, wrote out my email, and scheduled it to be sent at 9:15am to my prospect, left the house at 5:20am for work, left work at 2:05pm to go door-knocking. Sometimes the email was a cold introduction, or a follow up on a proposal. I let Boomerang do the work while I was at work. And best of all it was free. This was over 5 years ago, but now Gmail has recently come out with the "schedule email" feature for all Gmail users (by the way, Outlook has had this for years). This is just another example of how you can make the best use of your time, even if you're not always available from 9am to 5pm. You can be writing your emails right now at 11pm ready to be sent at 9am (and it looks like you sent it in real-time).
Remember, we all have the same amount of 24 hours in a day. We just have to find a way to be more effective and meaningful with our time.
3) Product doesn't solve a problem.
All products and services must solve a problem. If it doesn’t there won't be a sense of urgency for the customer. Re-visit your product/service and ask yourself what is it I can do to make it better? One of the quickest ways to do this is look at what your competitors are doing …what are they doing that you're not? What's great about their product and what’s not so great? What are they missing?
It's not about re-investing the wheel, but making the wheel smoother and better.
Start thinking of some ways to make your product/service better. What if it had a certain component or feature, which would give a particular benefit as a result?
You want your product or service to be able to make your customer's lives easier, make them feel better, save time, etc. It must provide some sort of benefit so that it creates a sense of urgency.
Think about your favorite skincare or makeup brand. Why do you keep buying the same brand over and over? It's not because you hate it right? It's because it makes you feel good. You like the overlook and feel of your skin. For me, I love Target Drive-Up and Publix Curbside Pickup. Why? Because it saves me enormous time and I don't have to walk around a grocery store pregnant with a 2 year old on my hip trying to buy last minute chapstick and milk. I can order on my phone, it'll be ready for pickup in an hour, sit in my car in my PJs, and be back home. See what I am saying? It solves a massive problem, and honestly I wouldn't mind paying extra for that service.
If you solve a problem, you'll never go broke.
4) Not giving enough value away for free.
I'm not suggesting that you give your product/service away for free, however, I do believe in product sampling especially in cosmetics, food/beverage, etc. Get people to see the results of actually using your product. (Free trials work wonderfully for service-based businesses too!)
What I am really talking about here is having free content. Give content away for free: blogs, how-to guides, articles, videos, podcasts. More and more companies are doing this. This free content serves the purpose of providing more information and solutions for everyone.
To give you an example: (if this was a skincare line) take advantage of not just selling your product on your website, but why not offer have a blog on how to make your skin more smooth? Why not have a 5-minute video of how to use your exfoliator? Why not write an article on Medium on secrets of the skincare industry?
The point of providing this free content is to:
position yourself as the expert in your field. You want to be that go-to for all things (in this case) skincare.
prove to the community that you are MORE than just another skincare company trying to take your money. We're here to be the ultimate resource and solution.
attract tons of traffic to your site from both existing customers and future customers.
"Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." Albert Einstein
The power of value is this: value will sell itself. The beautiful thing about creating enormous value (for free) is that after a while these prospects are eventually going to become paying customers. They will be so convinced, that they tell their family and friends and will have no problem buying your product/service because you've already done so much for them (i.e. given relevant, useful content AKA solutions that work). It pays for itself in the long-run.
There's so such thing as get-rich-quick. Building a community takes time and trust. Believe me, if you nail this one, you will never have a problem generating revenue.
5) FEAR is holding you back.
Fear is real and it doesn’t necessarily go away. It’s completely normal to have fear, I sometimes still get nervous when making a phone call or speaking on stage. We talk about fear a lot on the podcast and even in my mentorship group. In the early days, I remember driving to a prospects' office and I felt like a total fraud. I had imposter syndrome to the max! Didn't feel qualified and didn't feel worthy. So fear set in pretty easily.
How did I overcome it? I got better with time. I kept going despite those little voices in my head. It's not easy and I can remember trembling and being so nervous to speak when I showed up. But when I left my prospects' office (thank you GOD!) and got into my car, I was SO proud of myself. And honestly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It often really isn't, it's really just in our head.
You can't psyche your way out of it. The only way to overcome fear is to face it head on and do the work that scares you. Record yourself in the mirror, do dry runs in front of your boyfriend, watch your body language, do affirmations, etc. You have to practice at getting better and do the cringe-worthy things that will make us stronger in the end.
Not everyone has $60,000 lying around to hire a sales rep, so at this point what other choice do you have?
- Practice everyday by showing up. The simplest and easiest way to punch fear in the face is to literally show up anyway. The secret is you don't have to know what you're doing. The fact that you are brave enough to do the thing that scares you, will actually shudder your fear.
- Find a virtual mentor. Because I started from complete scratch, I had to find someone who was successful and that could help me get better at this thing called Sales. In 2012, there was a guy named Brian Tracy who was pretty popular on YouTube and I learned everything I could from him. I studied him, I read his books, signed up for his daily email reminders, took notes, watched his mannerisms -- everything! I was determined to get better and his free content allowed me to build more confidence and less fear. It still wasn't exactly easy, but it was nice to know I had a framework and wasn't shooting in the dark. Who's your virtual mentor? Go on YouTube and find someone who speaks to you the most and encourages you to be better.
There are LOTS of reasons why a business isn't generating revenue, but in my experience, it usually boils down to the things I mentioned above.
Which one of these solutions are you going to implement in your business? I can assure you that you will see a difference in your top line.
Thanks everyone for your support!