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When people buy products, they have an intuitive sense that governs many of their actions. As a rule, people have to trust someone before they will do business with that person. Therefore, you have to work on setting up a comfortable environment in which customers are likely to buy.  You can do this through your literature, your in-house layouts, your customer service, or your actual sales approach, or in dozens of other ways.

To gain people’s trust, you need to make sure you don’t give prospects a reason not to buy, have a consistent message, put your customer in charge of the buying decision, back up whatever claims you make and have a quality sales force.


Eliminating Reasons Not To Buy

According to some reports, most successful entrepreneurs have started a business similar to the one they just left. Part of the reason is that they know what to do, but another part of the reason is that they know what NOT to do.

You can discover obstacles in the sales process by realizing that people’s reasons aren’t logical, setting up an advisory board, developing key contacts in the distribution channel, reading trade magazines, and being a member of trade associations.


Customers Aren’t Always Logical

Prospects may not buy because they once had a bad experience, they have heard a rumour or misinformation in the past, the product doesn’t seem right, they mistakenly think that a part is poorly constructed, or any number of other reasons. You can find out about these red flags by asking people what problems they have had in the past, by listening to people’s comments, and by checking with people in your distribution channel. Don’t dismiss comments because they don’t make sense. Instead, question the person a little further to see if some past event gas inspired the comment.


Advisory Boards

An advisory board is a group of customers or prospects who meet with you every two or three months to discuss how they view your business. They can give you feedback about potential features or advertising programs, and also about whether or not they will react negatively to any of your planned activities.


You should also ask your advisory board about any moves your competitors may be making. Its members may be able to point out both your competitor’s mistakes and their smart moves, which will give you more information about the reasons people may not buy.


You can also set up an advisory board of people in your distribution channel. If you are a retailer, you can ask some manufacturer’s representatives, distributor salespeople, or members of a manufacturer’s marketing and sales force to serve on your board. These people will know what tactics have backfired in the past, especially if some of them have years of experience.


Trade Magazines

Read magazines for your industry and look for articles about companies’ successes. Often an article will explain problems the company had and how it overcame them. Note and keep a record of those problems so that you don’t make the same mistakes.


Association Roundtables

If you are a member of an association, you will find that they are always looking for topics for their quarterly or monthly meetings. Suggest to the association’s president a roundtable, class or seminar on companies’ biggest mistakes or errors companies should never make. Some of the association’s more experienced members can probably tell a few horror stories about things to avoid.


Most readers are busy and that it is difficult to find time to join an association. You need to look at that time as an investment. You’ll have a chance to meet contacts in the distribution channel, you’ll meet competitors who have a great deal of experience, and you’ll have a chance to pick up tidbits of information that can really help you.


Action Step

Start a file on mistakes to avoid. Include in it:

Magazine articles

Stories from customers or distributors

Advisory board evaluation of your program and competitive programs

Notes from meetings with associations.

Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

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