What To Do When You Don’t Make Any Sales

This is going to be a good one. There’s a little story from yesterday that I want to share with you.
I think that, most people in business have at least tried some kind of marketing campaign. Are you included in this?

Maybe it was a newspaper ad, maybe a sign out the front of your shop or maybe even paid advertising on Google or Facebook.

And to add to that, most first time advertisers fail to get any sales. And here’s a couple of reasons why.

Here’s a backstory to this episode, do you know them self checkouts at the grocery store? At Woolworths and Coles? You swipe your own groceries, the machine reads the barcode, you put it in the bag yourself and you have to wave the assistant over at least one in every two times you use it? Because an error of some kind happens?

Yeah, know them ones?

Well, yesterday I was at the grocery. By the way, running this business that I have is awesome, really awesome. It gives me the chance to work from home more often, walk to the shops and the local cafe. It’s really really awesome. Living the dream every day, well most days. There is a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

Back to my story, I was at the grocery just passing through, picking up a few staples for home and I was lined up for the self checkouts. They were all full and I was 2nd in line. Well they weren’t all full there was 2 on the side that weren’t being used.

But I assumed these 2 machines were out of order because the guy in front of me, had stepped forward, looked at them but then stepped back and didn’t move.

Here’s the lesson for today. It’s very subtle but if you’ve advertised before and you didn’t make any sales, I suggest you tune in here and listen to this. It could help you get better results next time, and every time after that.

When a marketing campaign doesn’t work, there’s only really a few things that could go wrong. There’s only really a few reasons why you or any business doesn’t make any sales when they try to market something.
I probably won’t go into all of them here in good detail, I’ll leave that for another episode sometime in the near future. But I will go over one of the most common reasons because I want you to be at least ahead of the pack.

The most common reason why businesses won’t get sales when they advertise is because their offer is terrible.

The Offer, is the thing they’re selling. The Offer is the 1 single reason why someone listening to, or reading your Ad should buy your product.

What are you OFFERing people who are hearing your advertisement? Businesses usually just consider themselves and think “it would be cool if people bought this” and not focus on having the customer think: “this is cool! I’m buying this!” .

There’s so much more to mention about that, but i’ll have to leave it for another day.

What I wanted to share with you today is what happened at the supermarket yesterday. It was funny, well at-least I thought it was funny.

So I was lined up behind this guy at the automatic checkouts, and there was two machines not being used. Have you seen how on the top of these machines there is a little spot for the shop to stick in a piece of cardboard. So it stands up on the top of the screen, like a little hat. And it says promoted their rewards cards, or credit cards, or other stuff like that.

It’s a thin piece of cardboard that just pushes into the little slots and sticks up right in front of your face. About the same dimensions as a pack of spaghetti. (seen as though I’m talking about the grocery shop, I’ll give you a spaghetti reference).

Well on top of the two machines that weren’t being used was a 100% red piece of cardboard. With no writing on it. It was just all red.

So imagine this. You’re standing at the self checkouts, there are two machines that no one is using and they each have a RED rectangle bar stuck to the top of each screen.

What do you think?

It might be difficult to imagine what I’m talking about because my explanation wasn’t great. But what it looks perfectly like is that these two machines are OUT OF ORDER.

So the guy in front of me had stopped, because all the machines were in use besides the two machines that had the sign up that seemed to say ‘out of order’.

Now the signs DID NOT say out of order, but when the assistant said “oh, you can use them – they’re fine”, I shared his surprise because when I looked at them I thought “ok, they’re out of order”.

This is just one example, but there are an infinite amount of other examples that cover this same principle. Let’s call them Invisible Roadblocks.

These Invisible Roadblocks also appear in your marketing. On your website. They are there when you talk to people and try and close a deal. And here’s the most painful part of all of this, and it used to cause me a lot of pain and annoyance too!

The worst part is that a businesses Invisible Roadblocks are MOST invisible to the business owner! It’s very difficult to see our own roadblocks that are stopping people from being our customer.

Your website gives off a unspoken message. Yes you have other words, headings and paragraphs on your website, but the Invisible Roadblock is the ‘feeling’ that your website gives off.

I’m sure you’ve met people like this right? Maybe you were buying a used car, or you met someone who was a friend of a friend, they smiled and didn’t say anything bad exactly, but something just told you that they weren’t a good person.

It’s the vibe.

If you’ve ran an Ad before and you didn’t make any sales, one of the key reasons is there were too many Invisible Roadblocks, there was too many negative underlying messages. It might of been as simple as the person knowing “oh, that’s not worth it”.

What And How

Yes it’s partly WHAT you’re saying, but it’s largely HOW you’re saying it. If we’re talking about your new website that didn’t make any sales, it’s the largely going to be the feeling your website gives off.
There is something there that just makes the visitor to your website subconsciously say “no, I’m not doing this”.

If it was a Facebook Ad you tried and you didn’t make any sales, or you didn’t get any sign ups. There was an undertone there, or something else, some other Invisible Roadblock that stopped people from moving forward.

This is a very difficult part of marketing our own business, that business owners need to overcome. It’s always a little painful to put  days of work into an advertising campaign, be willing to put up $100, $200 dollars or $1,000 dollars and just sit there, tense, waiting for something to happen.

Waiting for the phone to ring, or waiting for an email. And the sales never come. It’s tough, I get that.
It’s just as hard to step back from your idea, to step back from your advert and read it subjectively, to read it as if you didn’t write it.

Try and read it like your customer would, and see it ONLY through their eyes. Don’t stand up for your own ad. Judge it and question it.

  1. Is it really really clear what you’re trying to say? And are you ONLY saying that one thing?
  2. Is there too much fluff in general?
  3. Would a 9 year old kid know what to do next?


Have you ever had an argument with your wife, or husband or girlfriend, boyfriend or someone. When you said something that was “obviously” meant to be a joke, or had NO MEANING at all, and they absolutely took total offence to it? Has that ever happened? I’m sure it has.

You said one thing, they heard something totally different. The same thing will happen with the words you use the undertones you present in your advertising messages.

When you’re putting an advertisement out there, there is always and unavoidably:

  1. What you say. And
  2. What the undertone conveys.

So if you put together an ad and you didn’t make any sales, have a second read or listen to it. If there are people out there who buy what you’re selling, but no one bought it from your ad, it’s YOUR AD and not the customer.

If you have question about all of this, just comment below and I’ll respond shortly.

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