6 Surprising Things That Might Be Holding Back Your Sales

On paper, your business looks great. You have an in-demand product or service, a solid business plan, and motivated employees. 

Yet your sales numbers have stagnated. You know you can do better, but you don’t know how. 

If you find yourself stumped for ideas on how to move sales forward, consider the following six surprising issues that might be the root of your problem.

#1 Not Focusing on a Responsive Website

As of 2018, over 50% of global web traffic came from mobile phones. The rapid growth of technology means your audience can seek out information on your company or buy products 24/7. 

A poorly optimized website – or lack of a website altogether – means customers will be reluctant to buy from you and will search elsewhere.

For a traditional business, make sure your location, hours, and contact information are easily visible online from both a traditional desktop computer and a smartphone. 

It might not be a bad idea to have an online catalog with pricing as well.

For e-commerce sites, a responsive site is crucial. Customers want to browse and buy products on their lunch break, while waiting in line at the grocery store, and even on the bus home. 

Make the process as painless as possible to boost your sales. 

If your customers spend a lot of time shopping on your site or using your services from a mobile phone, consider developing an app they can download to further streamline the experience.

#2 Focusing on a Product and Not a Solution

Harvard professor Theodore Levitt famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole”. 

Your audience is not interested in your products; they’re interested in what your products can do for them. 

What problem can you solve for them? 

When your sales team focuses on why a product’s features are important, it makes it more appealing. The key to good sales is to discover what each customer needs and then fulfill that desire

A vacuum cleaner is a solution to pet fur on the couch. 

Dish soap is the solution to tough stains on dishes. 

A tailored suit is the key to making a professional impression at a job interview. 

Whether selling in-person or writing website content, focus on the solutions your company can offer.

common sales mistakes to avoid

#3 Forgetting Internal Organization and Company Culture

Ineffective project management can lead to problems such as waste, overproduction, underutilized workers, and leads to a slow descent in chaos. 

Whether on an assembly line or at corporate headquarters, effectively using your resources is key to maximizing profits

Your sales problem may not be an issue with your product. It could be the result of inadequate project management techniques and unhappy employees. 

By only focusing on your customers and ignoring your own workforce, you set yourself up for problems. 

Modern auto-manufacturing giants like Ford and Toyota have mastered the art of an efficient workplace with minimum waste that also achieves high employee satisfaction. By following their methods, you can also boost performance within your own corporation.

#4 Not Researching Your Clients

You know your product inside and out, so you assume you also know what kind of person wants your product. 

This is a common trap many businesses fall into. 

Without researching your audience, you never truly know who uses your business and why. 

This is a big mistake when reaching out to potential clients. Cold calling and direct marketing will give better results when you contact prospects who are actually interested in your offer, instead of someone who might be. 

With the growing amount of marketing data at our fingertips, not researching the consumer market is just a bad excuse nowadays. 

Once you have converted a potential client into a paying customer, you need to maintain the relationship to continue driving sales

Customer needs are ever-changing, but one thing that never changes is that they want a perfect experience. 

When you focus on good customer experience, you will turn a one-time sale into a long-term relationship.

#5 Pitching Too Far Down the Command Chain

If your sales team is cold calling or emailing everyone that comes their way, they may be wasting time with employees who have no authority to make purchasing decisions. 

Top salespeople succeed because they prioritize quality over quantity and focus on the top-level executives

Top managers, the VP, and the CEO all have the authority to close a deal on the spot. 

Make sure you’re pitching to the right person before you spend hours on a live demo with someone who can’t sign a contract even if they want to. 

If you don’t know who has the decision making authority at a prospective company, then you likely haven’t done enough research to close the sale.

#6 Trying to Do It All Yourself

If you’re a Fortune 500 company then you may have a team big enough to handle every facet of marketing and sales. 

For small to medium-size businesses, however, you may find many important tasks are not a day-to-day requirement. 

It’s not cost-effective to hire a full-time employee for this task, yet it still needs to get done. 

Instead of forcing current employees to take on work they are unfamiliar with, outsource projects to companies who have the first-hand experience in those fields. 

Web design, branding, and market research are all expansive fields that require a special skill set. 

While it may seem more expensive to outsource these tasks, you’ll reap valuable rewards in the form of customer data and marketing that can drive new sales.

Focus on the Long Term Goals

Growing your sales is a marathon, not a sprint. 

By taking the time to identify areas where your company is lacking and researching the most cost-effective methods for improving, you can boost sales without overspending

Declining or lagging sales numbers don’t always indicate a lack of interest in your product or poor salespeople. 

The culprit could be an unexpected, even surprising, issue that is easier to remedy than you might think.