The top 5 reasons your prospects are not buying

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

I have a small confession to make. In the grand scheme of things, this is not the biggest or worst confession ever, but it took me so long before I made the decision that it feels like a Really Big Thing to me. Here it is:

I've recently started using pop-ups on my website.

I'm no fan of pop-ups, and I know most people aren't. But in this case I think the pain is worth the value I - and visitors to my site - are getting from this. First, these pop-ups are relatively non-intrusive (and yes, I know they're still pop-ups and therefore at least somewhat annoying). Second, the questions I'm asking help me understand my visitors better. Third, by understanding what people need I can better guide them to stuff that can help them. (And once you've answered a question, you won't get asked again, so the annoyance factor is somewhat mitigated.)

The data has really made me think.

One of the questions I ask visitors is "What do you most need help with at the moment?" Initially, my thinking was that most people would answer either "I need more leads" or "I'm overwhelmed" - but the data is now telling me otherwise. Here's a partial screenshot from the RightMessage dashboard (the app that delivers the pop-ups):


I was expecting a majority of visitors to say they need more leads - after all, that's what I've always been led to believe is one of the biggest problems in business. What I was not expecting is the fact that just as many visitors have leads - but they're not buying.

A small epiphany

Aside from the fact that this information is hugely valuable (I'm learning that some of my assumptions were wrong and there are other things visitors to website really need);

this data has given me more insight into what some of my subscribers have mentioned to me (their subscribers are not buying) - and I've not paid enough attention to before.

I do have running conversations with some of my subscribers (including current and past clients), and some have mentioned to me how they're struggling to sell - irrespective of how big their subscriber lists are. I've noted this as something I need to address, but until I had this data I did not understand just how common - and therefore important - this problem is.

Why are they not buying?

All of our marketing, lead nurturing and sales efforts are targeted at one thing - getting people to eventually buy from us. This is how we make a living, and if they're not buying we may have to go out and find A Real Job.

The interesting thing is that it doesn't matter so much whether you're selling high-value consulting services or online info products (I do both) - the most common reasons people don't buy are the same.

So here are the top five reasons people may not be buying from you.

#1: You're not making enough offers

Believe it or not, but:

one of the top reasons people are not buying from you is because you're not making enough offers.

I've seen this both in my own business and working with numerous businesses over the last decade. The fear of asking for the sale often holds us back from making an offer. We're afraid of the no, the rejection, so therefore we keep talking to our potential clients, finding out more about what they may need, and never really get to the stage where we make an offer or ask for the sale.

The flip side of the coin - especially when you're doing online sales - is that your subscribers will forget that you have a product or service that may help them. So you have to give them a gentle reminder that the product or service is available. I see this every time I remind subscribers that my Productized Services self-study course is available for sale - there is usually a small spike in sales every time I mention it in a newsletter or article like this one.

#2: You're trying to make the sale before you've established some level of trust

We have to make offers to make a sale, but we can also be making those offers way too fast. That fact is:

it takes time for a prospect to build enough trust to buy from you.

Before they buy from you, they have to trust you - and this is especially true in the online world. They have to have seen you offer truly useful stuff to understand you're not just there to make a sale - you are truly trying to help. Many vendors will build trust through content marketing - articles like this one.

Another way to build trust is by using a product ladder - offering a range of products and services starting small (low cost) and building up to your flagship products. You can read more about this here and here.

The easiest way to figure out if you're going too fast (or too slow) is to put yourself in their shoes - how would you feel if someone tried to sell you a frying pan as you walked into the kitchen gadget shop?

#3: They don't have enough information

Remember the last time you bought something expensive? Perhaps the latest and greatest phone, or even a car. Did you just walk into the shop, listen to the sales person's pitch and then buy the product?

Of course you didn't. You researched the product and its competitors. You scoured the review websites, studied brochures, did comparisons and asked your mom. (OK, perhaps not that last bit.) The point is, you gathered a lot of information and pondered it before making a decision.

It's exactly the same when people buy something expensive from you (and even not that expensive). And this is even more true when they're buying online.

You need to give them information - lots of information - before they buy.

There's a reason good sales pages are long. And not the long-winded hype fests that pass as sales pages in some circles. I'm talking about well-constructed, informative sales pages for good products. Your buyers will visit that page multiple times, each time reading something else, looking for a bit of information they missed the first time. And only after they've visited that page two, three or even four times (sometimes more) will they have the confidence to make the purchase.

So give them more - rather than less - information.

#4: You're not addressing their fears

Every time we buy something, we have questions about the product or service we're buying. There are fears and objections, and we won't actually purchase the product until we've had those fears, questions and objections addressed.

If you can address the fears, questions and objections before they're raised, you have a much better chance of making the sale.

If you're selling online, or at least explaining what you do online, you don't have the opportunity to speak live with your potential client and hear what their objections are. So you to address them even before your prospect raises them.

There's a two-step process for doing this:

  • First, you have to find out what those fears and objections are. The best way to do this is to listen to your subscribers or potential clients - interview two or three of them, and find the words they are using to describe their fears.
  • List and counter each of these fears and objections. You can do some or all of this on a sales page, or you may opt to have a separate FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) download.

The more objections and fears you can address, the better the chances that you're going to get a sale.

5: It's difficult to choose

Have you ever struggled to figure out what you get from the different versions of a product or service offered by a vendor? Have a look at this screenshot from the pricing page of CoSchedule (they've since updated the page substantially):

An old version of the CoSchedule pricing page

There are at least 5 packages on offer (with a "+ More" tab promising even more) and each package has three options to choose from. I challenge you to figure out which of the 15 or more options would be appropriate for your business - I'm confused and I bet you will be.

If your offer is not clear and easy to understand, your prospects will have a difficult time deciding which option is right for them. Here are the key factors:

  • It must be easy to figure out which version is the right one. Clearly show what's included in each option.
  • You must offer at least two (preferably three) options. If there's only one option they can only say yes or no; if there are two or three options they have more chances to say yes.
  • Too much choice can be confusing, so try to avoid going beyond three options.

So offer a choice, but make it easy for them to understand what's included where and which option is most appropriate for them.


The data that I get from my pop-ups has really helped me better understand what visitors to my website really need, and that insight led directly to this article. This really highlights the need to understand what people need so you can serve them better.

The top five reasons your prospects are not buying are:

  1. You're not making enough offers. To make a sale, you have to make an offer, and the more offers you make the higher the chances of a sale.
  2. You're trying to make the sale before you've established some level of trust. Build trust by providing valuable information without asking for anything in return; then make it easy to start with a low-cost product before you move on to the expensive options.
  3. They don't have enough information. Especially online, people don't have the luxury or asking you questions directly. The more information you can give them, the better informed they will be and the easier the decision to buy from you.
  4. You're not addressing their fears, questions and objections. Listen to your prospects and address those fears and objections.
  5. It's difficult to choose. Offer a choice, but don't offer too many. Make it easy for them to understand the difference between the various options.

I hope this helps you make more sales. If you have comments or questions, I would love to hear from you!

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