Sally Ann Miller

What To Do When Nobody Is Buying

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You’re doing all the things. Showing up and telling people about your business. But nobody is interested. What do you do?

First, don’t panic! Nothing has gone wrong. Growing your business is an iterative process. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Everything you do in your business is an experiment. And with each experiment you’re collecting data. The data means nothing about you and your idea. It’s just information.

You’re already succeeding because you’re in the game. You’re running experiments, taking action, and figuring out what works.

When you don’t get the results you expected, you take a step back and analyze. What did you do? What worked? What can you do differently next time?

Then, you go back and test again. Keep iterating and improving. And do it with curiosity and love. If you do this, you will keep moving closer towards a thriving business.

What you’ll learn on today’s episode:

  • How to be a scientist in your business and take control of your results
  • 6 specific actions you can take when nobody is buying
  • Why sometimes the only thing you need to do is keep showing up
  • When to offer your product or service for free

Featured on this episode:

Interested in working with me inside Business Growth Lab? Learn more here.

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Transcript

Welcome to Introverts Thriving in Business, the podcast for introverts to enjoy the comfort of her, hate the idea of selling, and want to create a thriving business on their terms. If you’re ready to go from overwhelmed and anxious to feeling calm and accomplished in your business, then keep listening. I’m your host, Sally Miller.Hey, everybody, welcome back to the podcast. Today, I’m going to talk about: “What to Do When Nobody Is Buying.” This is the biggest fear most people have, definitely at the beginning, but it can come up at all stages in your business. So, growing a business is iterative. The process that I personally teach, I call the Business Growth Process, there are three phases.

You can go back and listen to the first four episodes of the podcast to go deeper into the phases. But phase one is coming up with an idea. Phase two is testing your idea. And then three is scaling it. And phases two and three are very iterative. The first time you test your idea, that’s asking people, if they’re interested, if they want to buy, you’re probably going to get a lot of no’s. And so you need to keep improving and iterating. Analyze your results, look for ways to improve or change, and then try again.

And that doesn’t stop, all the way up to 100k, and even past 100k. When you start building out your business growth machine, that is what I teach my students to build when they want to scale their business. The first time you put together a sales and marketing process, for example, you’re not going to get the results you want, probably. And again, you’re going to iterate, constantly tweaking and improving to get to where you want to be.

So, what do you do when you’re in the early stages, and you’ve put a new process in place, or you’re in phase two, and you’re first testing and just nobody is biting, you’re getting no engagement, or you’re getting engagement, but nobody’s actually paying you? What I want you to do is think about yourself as a scientist in the laboratory. I love to use a lot of curiosity in my business and when working with my students. So, I want you to see this entire process of building your business as an experiment.

So, what do scientists collect when they’re doing experiments? They’re collecting data, it’s just information. The results you get every time you run an experiment are irrelevant, they mean nothing about you. They don’t mean success or failure. The only way you fail is by not running the experiment. And then not being the scientist and looking at the results you got, and deciding what to do in your next test, your next experiment.

So, if you’re not getting any interest, that’s okay. You’re in exactly the right place. Just take a step back and analyze—analyze your results. Did you ask the right people? How did you ask them? What can you do differently next time? Now I’m actually going to give you six concrete things you can do to improve your offer and to go out and test again in this episode. But the gist of what you’re doing here is you’re just going back and collecting more data.

Now, I do want to mention a side note: If people are saying no, and they’re mentioning time or money as their reason for not buying. So, for example, they’re saying, “I just didn’t have the time. I’m going to do it later.” Or “I just don’t have enough money.” You want to dig deeper into their reasons. You really want to actually talk to people and dig deep and find their real reasons. This is really important. Here’s what you need to know about time and money. These are very often excuses people give when they don’t want to risk upsetting you, or when they don’t want to admit their real reasons.

And often, they won’t want to be admitting their real reasons to themselves. When they first say to you, the reason is time or money, they genuinely might believe that that is the case. This is their brain protecting them. And time and money are two of the easiest ways that your brain can say, “Let’s not do this now. Let’s put this off. Let’s go do this later.” It’s all okay. You want to stay curious and ask people what they would do if they were guaranteed a 10x return on their investment. Or a similar question.

So, you want to come to them very open, very willing to hear their answers. It’s very important that when you do go back and dig deeper, you’re doing this from curiosity, because if the other person thinks perhaps, you’re still in sales mode, and you might be pushing them into a sale, they’re going to close down. They’re going to not be able to give you the real reason. They’re not going to be open enough with you. But try and find out the real reason they said no. It’s nearly always because they didn’t see the value in your offer. And it’s just your job to find out why. And then look for ways to pivot, make some adjustments, and go out and try again. The process is iterative. Remember that. You find your offer, then you test it, then you analyze your results, and look for ways to improve, and you keep doing that.

So, let’s dive into six ways you can improve your offer, when you are testing, or when you’re in the scaling phase as well, okay, and you’re just not getting the results you want. Remember, I just want to remind you, what you’re always doing here is you’re figuring out who you help, how you help them, and how you talk about what you do, what you sell, your service your product, so that people want to buy, that’s your goal, right? So, let’s go through the six methods. Method number one, is check in with your own belief. How you do something is just as important as the actual action you take. And when you want to build a business, I want you to be doing it from abundance and positivity, not from scarcity and fear and self-doubt.

So, one way you can check in with your own belief about whatever it is you’re selling, is by answering this question: on a scale of 1 to 10, and 10 is high, how much you believe that anyone can achieve the outcome using your product or service? So, whatever the outcome or the result or the transformation they want, whatever problem you help themselves, how confident are you that anyone—and that part is important—can achieve the outcome? And how confident are you right now?

People buy from confidence. In other words, they buy when they feel certain, they feel confident they’re going to get what they want. And their confidence is determined by your level of belief. Think about it. Think about any time you’ve purchased something, think about a real purchase you made recently, maybe a higher ticket purchase or a one-off purchase. Perhaps it was a special outfit for an event you were going to, maybe it was a piece of furniture or an appliance, maybe it’s something even bigger, like a car or a special vacation. How did you feel when you paid for that thing that you bought? Was there any doubt in your mind that it would give you what you want, it would give you the result, it would provide the outcome you’re after or the feeling you wanted or just to fulfil the function that you were purchasing it for. For example, if you were buying an appliance like a fridge, all right, I want to bet you 100% belief, or else you wouldn’t have bought it. That’s how important this point is. Now, the interesting thing is, when I say this to my clients, you know, how much do you believe? A lot of people automatically give me a 9 or a 10. They give me a really high score. But I know that genuine belief is lower than that, because people aren’t buying from them. And if people aren’t buying from them, it’s almost always because they don’t see the value.

Now the reason you give that high score is at the surface, your brain’s like, “No, I completely believe in what I’m doing.” Because your brain is like, “Why would I even be doing this if I didn’t have belief?” That is why I asked the question in this way. How much do you believe right now that you can help anyone achieve the promised outcome?

And sometimes I’ll go even further and I’ll say, “Okay, if I give you a room of 10 people, how much you believe you can help all 10 people achieve that outcome, get that result with your product or service.” And that’s where people will start giving me a lower score. And they’ll start saying things like, “Well, they’ve actually got to do the work. Well, they’ve actually got to use my product, or perhaps, they’ll just put it away and ignore it.” And then I dig deeper and deeper and deeper and find what’s underneath that reason. And eventually, we find the true doubt that you might have in the value of your offer. So that’s the first method, checking in with your belief.

Now, the second thing that you can do when people are not buying is change how you describe your outcome or your process, how you describe what it is you do, or what it is your product does. This is really important. You need to be constantly tweaking your message. Even after you’re making sales, be constantly playing with different ways to talk about the outcome and talk about your process so that you want to see what people engage with, and you want to make it as clear and simple as possible.

Incidentally, I do want to do a little side note here. What I mean by process is how you help people get to the outcome, how you help people solve whatever problem, but when you’re selling, you really want to be leading with the result, people are buying a result. And they just want to get there as quickly and easily and painlessly as possible. But talking about your process can be helpful when you’re showing people how simple it is to do whatever it is that you do. Hopefully, that makes sense.

Here are two questions you can consider here: is, how can you better communicate the value of your offer? And how can you show the ease of achieving the desired outcome using your process? You really want people to see the value of what you’re selling, and it wants to be worth a lot more than their investment, than the amount that they’re paying. Are you showing them this? They also need to believe it won’t be difficult, it won’t be time consuming to get to that desired result.

If what you’re saying feels complex to them, or confusing, then people won’t buy. This is an art, this is something you will probably working on, always in your business, constantly talking about what you do, what your product does, and making it as simple and clear and as appealing as possible.

Method number three, and this one is a little bit of a hack, but I really think it’s important, I want to share it. And it’s to make it easier for people to say yes. This is very important, especially in the beginning. If you’re in phase two, and you’re testing and you have no paying customers yet, or very likely, maybe you’ve had one and you’re just struggling to get that second one. So, what I mean by making it easier for people to say yes is removing all obstacles. Until the demand is greater than supply for you, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to say yes to your offer. What I mean by that is until you have a long line of people waiting outside your door, who want whatever it is you’re selling, you want to make it as easy as possible.

So, imagine, for example, you’re inviting people to a sales call, if you’re a service provider. And the first time you go out and you ask people if they’re interested, you ask them to go and click on a website page, fill out a form and then book a time on your calendar. That actually is a lot of obstacles. Now I get why you would do that. Established coaches absolutely do have a process like that, because they’re in a situation where they’re fully booked. So, if they’re a service provider, and they can handle 20, or 30 clients, no audio, that number, they’re pre-screening to only get the highest quality of applications come through, so that they can select who they work with.

But early on, you don’t want anybody to work with. You want to remove all of that friction, because somebody who’s kind of interested in what you’re suggesting, they can fall out of the process at any point along the line. Like, they might click on the website, but then they read some words, and it feels just difficult to them, their brain is constantly looking for ways to stop the process, to stop them on following through. Because this is new, it might mean spending money, it could mean getting uncomfortable, so you want to make it so easy.

And that might look like, let’s say, you’re posting on social media, and making offers to work with people is: “If you’re interested in this, comment below or click like.” It’s just one button press. So, if people in the moment, they’re engaged, you’ve grabbed their attention, and they think they might be interested. It’s just like one button press or one word they write. Or if you’re sending out an email—what I tend to do when I’m emailing my newsletter to test something, I just say, “Email me back with the word yes.” That’s so quick and easy for them to do. You’re just helping them raise their hand. And then you make the next step as easy as possible. So perhaps you’re going to say something like, “Hey, send me three times that you can get on a call and let’s talk about this.”

And you’re flexible in the beginning, you jump on a call whenever you can, because you’re in the testing phase. And you want to keep moving through this phase, until you know how to talk about what you do so people buy. See how you can make the action as simple as possible for people to take? You don’t need automatic scheduling. You don’t want long sales pages or questionnaires when starting out. Remove all necessary friction.

Okay, method number four is gather more data. This one should probably go without saying. but people don’t run anywhere close to the number of tests, they really need to be running. You want to be always gathering more information. If nobody’s responding or if people are responding and saying no, you want to be digging in and finding out why. That’s what I said right at the beginning of this podcast. You need to find out what is standing in their way. What do they like? What appeal to them? Or what didn’t they like? What’s stopping them from taking the next step with you?

The best way to do this is by asking people directly, okay? Don’t be scared to hear feedback. Remember, you’re using curiosity, and you need to show up genuinely open and curious. So people do give you honest feedback. You can do this in email, direct message. I like to do it in-person if you possibly can on the phone or in real life. Another thing you can do is if you’re just starting out, then work one-on-one with people for free, especially if you’re a service provider. But also, if you envision creating workshops or online courses for groups, you can still work one on one with people for free in the beginning. And let me explain why you might want to do this.

If it’s your goal, to eventually create an online course, you can still work with individuals in the beginning to learn a lot more about their problem, to really get to understand their pain points and how you can help them. Selling a free offer is actually not all that different to selling a paid offer. For the person who’s kind of opting in for the free offer, they still need to trust you to give up the time to spend with you. But in your mind, if you have any obstacles or discomfort around asking for money, it’s going to feel a lot easier, as you’re going to show up in a very different energy in a very different way.

So, if it feels easier for you to do it for free in the beginning, and you’re just not getting traction, I actually want to suggest you consider doing this. You’re going to gather a lot of data, you’re going to get to know your audience, and you’re going to grow your confidence, so you can then move into paid offers. I totally did this at the beginning with my coaching, I did a number of free one on one coaching sessions.

All right, method number five, remember The Rule Of 7. So, The Rule Of 7 is a marketing concept that’s been around for eons. I think it was first coined several decades ago. I don’t actually know exactly when. And The Rule Of 7 states that it takes an average of seven interactions with your business before a purchase will take place. I would like to say that in today’s world, it’s probably more like the rule of 12, or 15. This is even more true today. So back when that term was first coined, then there was no online, there was just offline. But with online, the sheer volume of interactions that we have with different brands, the amount of information coming into people’s brains, they’ve been constantly bombarded from multiple directions from multiple companies, people, brands, all competing for attention, most people actually need multiple interactions with you and your business before they make a purchase.

So, because this is the case, you just need to keep engaging with people keep showing up and allow enough time to build that trust with your audience. Even if people aren’t responding yet, it doesn’t mean they weren’t. People have absolutely purchased for me, after being on my email list for over a year. It can take that long. Now, it doesn’t always take that long. I’m not suggesting you wait a full year and get zero sales in all that time. I’m just saying there are a lot of people who can take more time to kind of warm up and reach the point where they’re ready to buy. And you’re warming up through this process too; you’re getting better and better and engaging with people and communicating what you do.

So, keep showing up. And also do it from a place where you’re assuming that it is working. So, if every time you’re showing up, and you’re making offers, or you’re engaging with people, whether it’s in person or on social or an email or anywhere at all, if you’re doing that, from a place of it’s not working, they’re not interested, you’re closed or you’re desperate, or you’re needy, that is going to translate to a negative energy that’s going to repel people, it’s going to push people away. So even if you’re getting zero engagement, stay open to the fact that this is working, and keep showing up. Just imagine you’re sharing people with free value until they reach the point, they can’t help but buy.

Final method, and this one is last for very good reason. Because most of you do not ever need to go here. I don’t know if you ever need to but I feel like I need to offer it, and it’s share with a different audience. Listen, I offer this method last because usually, the reason you aren’t making sales is because of how you’re thinking and talking about your offer. It has nothing to do with talking to the wrong people. And if you immediately jump back to changing your audience making offers to different people. That’s like going back to phase one in the Business Growth Process, coming up with your business idea, if you haven’t done all of the other things first, to really work on your internal belief, to work on how you talk about what you sell, you just came back to the beginning.

However, what I want to offer to you is, if you think it’s possible, that you do have the right offer, you’ve done all the other things, and you’re just selling to the wrong people. If you think that might be the case for you, then consider these two questions. First of all, who most wants the solution you provide? And second, is who’s the person you’re actually sharing it with? Because yes, if there are people who have the money and a deeper desire for whatever it is you’re selling, that you could go make this offer to, then why not try that? It’s a very quick and easy test you can do, is go make your offer to a different audience.

All right, there you have it. Six ways to improve your offer when nobody is buying. Go out there, keep testing, keep iterating. And remember, do this from curiosity, from love, from interest and not from desperation, neediness. All right, I’ll see you on the next episode.

If you’re ready to thrive in business, I want to invite you to join Business Growth Lab. This is my group program where I teach you the exact process I and my students have used to grow profitable businesses we love. When you join the lab, you get lifetime access to everything you need to grow a six-figure business: the training, expert coaching, accountability, and community. The approach we take is scientific. We don’t dabble in business, and we don’t waste time. You’ll create your business on a solid foundation, using proven methods. To join, go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. We’ll see you inside.

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