The reason most entrepreneurial ventures fail? Quite simply, they overestimate the number of people that will buy what they are selling.
As entrepreneurs, how can this doomed fate be avoided?
If increasing sales is a continuous struggle for you and a relentless concern, consider which of the following issues you may be experiencing: 1) Potential buyers don’t want what you have; or 2) You haven’t clearly defined the benefits of what you are selling to potential buyers.
For some, the immediate assumption is that people aren’t buying because they don’t want what you have. The facts are readily available indicating whether anyone is visiting your website, how many are actively inquiring about your services, who is responding to your advertising, referring others to you, attending your events, and ultimately, if people are buying. However, it may also be assumed that there are potential buyers out there wanting what you have, but they just don’t know YOU sell it or the benefits. How can you determine which it is? What is your compelling offer? What is your benefit statement? Do people really know what you do? Does it resonate?
If you are sure that you have a valuable offering, then quantify it. Relying on gut feelings or intuition works until you have the ability to quantify. At that point, you must, at least in part, rely on data. So how and what data should I track?
Today, marketing strategies, employees, consultants and lost opportunities are too expensive NOT to test and measure what is working. Use Google Analytics to measure activity and track traffic going to your website. Measure direct mail, advertising and marketing responses by asking everyone who responds how they heard about you and match this to your sales conversions. Track the number of referrals you are receiving. Conduct a survey using SurveyMonkey.com (free) as well as formally ask clients a series of questions about your offering and messaging. Draw conclusions from your trending sales data. Another option is to create an advisory board of clients, strategic alliances and industry leaders. Ask them what they think of your offering, your pricing structure and your messaging. Then, put it in a simple spreadsheet and analyze the results and responses monthly (if not more frequently).
If your messaging isn’t working, then change it. If your offering isn’t compelling enough then change it. After you analyze and quantify the value of your services and the compelling nature of your messaging, you will have direction. Without looking at the data, you are relying on intuition. And although intuition is often right, if held too long without results it can be extremely detrimental. Never rely on assumptions when you can rely on hard facts to show you where you stand and where you can improve.