14 ways to come home empty handed

Regardless of how or where you sell you stuff you may be unconsciously causing folks to move on down the road. Because, even though they really want to buy your stuff there is something getting in the way, so they leave your booth, your gallery or your web site. Well what’s the big whoop about that?  Turns out a lot, because you are not only losing that one sale you are likely also losing any other potential sales from that customer just because of that one bad experience. But it doesn’t stop here that person who really, really wanted to buy that thing-ama-jig from you is more than likely going to tell her friends about her experience so you’ll also lose them as potential customers.

So what follows is a brief list of some of the things you might be doing  that could be losing sales for you.


1. Hide from customers, look bored, read a book.

If you are not willing to get out and meet your buyers they will likely think:

  • You are not friendly and who wants to buy from an unfriendly person;
  • You are bored in which case they will wonder why you are there in the first place;
  • You are independently wealthy and don’t need their money so they’ll just go elsewhere with it;

2. Have a secret automatic reject button

You may not know it but you might have a couple of automatic rejection buttons hanging out somewhere. These are things about you,about your booth, your gallery, etc. that  are invisible to you but serve as automatic barriers to people doing business with you.

It could be:

  • The smell of that funny meat you are secretly cooking behind your booth;
  • The gallery you are in may be in the second under basement right next to the boilers and steam pipes, and you thought it looked “artsy”;
  • Your stuff is scattered helter skelter all over your booth creating a confusing mess
  • Your kid may be playing Lil’ Wayne’s latest and gettin’ down with some kool dudes clearly disinviting potential buyers

3. Only offer buyers one way to buy your stuff

No way are you going to give those credit card companies any of your money because you want to keep every cent. Or maybe you just take cash because you don’t want to take the risk of a bad check.

4. No seal of approval

There is no evidence that you are anything more than an itinerant street seller and hence no indication that you are trustworthy or that you care. This  really mostly applies to web sales since there are still a lot of folks afraid of giving their personal info out over the inter-tubes.

glas_ped5. No way for them to know if your stuff works for them

There is no way for them try that sweater on of if there is there is no mirror. While that superly exquisitly glazed Raku vase looks all artsy on its museum white pedestal it does nothing for those folks who want help imageing it in their front hall.

6. Your prices are not obvious

Somewhere you heard that the secret to selling was not to have your prices showing well that only half way worked for the guys of Glenn Gary Glenn Ross.

7. The benefits of  your stuff  is clear as mud.

That potential buyer has no way of knowing if that funky painting or green pot will work in her house, so she move on. A simple description if you’re selling on-line, will do. If you’re in person let her see that the dress will great with her funky shoes.

hold_down_booth8. Your booth, gallery or web site is not inviting or comfortable

You booth or gallery could be to hot, to windy, to noisy or to smelly and who wants to be in that kind situation?
Your web site is confusing with blinking lights and cutsy stuff that does nothing more than distract your buyers from purchasing…that stuff went out soon after the internets were discovered.

9. Not easy for people to communicate with you

There is nothing obvious that says “here’s how you can contact me”, so your buyers take that to mean you hang out in a card board box somewhere.

10. The benefits of what you’re selling are not clear

The thing, the what your stuff does for potential buyers, is no where to be seen… so they move on to something that they can see benefits them because it is easier that way. If you know your perfect customer, you’ll be able to describe all the muti-faceted things your stuff does, because she just wants to know it is right for her.

11. There are no clear logical reasons to buy your stuff

What ever the reason is that people should buy your your stuff  is missing, and so they move on to the next guy who can tell them that his what’s it will give them eternal happiness making their lives infinitely easier and more enjoyable.

12. No evidence that other folks liked your stuff

There are no pictures of raving fans describing the wonders of working with you and using your stuff. They need to know that others loved and adored your stuff and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread…so let them see already!

13. Have more than one call to action (especially internet sellers)

Your sales page on your web site has a bazillion different choices for your buyers to make so many that they just get all glassy eyed and leave with out buying

14. See your customers as the enemy

Everything is locked up, with triple case hardened pad locks and chains connected to you ankles…ain’t nobody going to steal your stuff!! Oh and you don’t answer no stinkin’ questions either!!

Before you go into automatic freak-out mode, you need to realize that some of these things may be workable for you. The deal is you need to find them and decide if the consequence is acceptable. So you may hate talking to customers the result maybe fewer sales and that can be OK as long as you know it and accept it. You may feel shy about tooting your own horn even just a little bit, the result may be fewer folks knowing about your stuff…again that’s OK as long as you are willing to live with the results.

So how do you find out if you have a secret mine field causing you to lose sales? The easiest and best ways are to ask people, especially if you are selling on line. Put a survey on your site with just a few questions, if possible have as part of your shopping cart check out system. Another really good way is  to bribe some of your friends to be secret shoppers making very clear you want to know about their entire experience especially the hang ups and glitches.


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