Fri | Oct 15, 2021

Yaneek Page | Sales conversion strategies for tough times

Published:Thursday | April 1, 2021 | 12:14 AM

QUESTION: Thank you for the tips on how to increase sales in 2021. One thing on which my team agreed is that we are a little bit complacent because we have a brand and never really had to advertise that much. Word of mouth is what has carried us...

QUESTION: Thank you for the tips on how to increase sales in 2021. One thing on which my team agreed is that we are a little bit complacent because we have a brand and never really had to advertise that much. Word of mouth is what has carried us thus far. Now that we are doing more promotions and monitoring the sales data more, as you recommend, we noticed something, and here’s where I want your opinion. We get more customer but the conversion is low. What could be the reason that we’re not converting better, and how can we fix it?

– MT-St Catherine


BUSINESSWISE: I’m happy that my tips for increasing sales have paid off for you in such a relatively short period, and at a time that’s still very challenging for some businesses.

For the benefit of readers who may want to refresh themselves on these sales tips, they may be found in my article titled ‘How to Increase Sales in 2021’, published on December 6, 2020.

To answer your question, it’s difficult to suggest effective strategies to improve sales conversion unless we know, with some degree of certainty, the reasons for the low conversion rate and the benchmark conversion in your industry and respective space. To ensure we are speaking the same language here, by conversion, I mean the extent to which an audience takes a desired course of action after being exposed to an intentional message.

Based on your question, it’s clear that the action you wish them to take is making a purchase, which may be an overly ambitious action depending on your context, a point I will return to shortly.

The starting point for you to solving this issue is to research average conversion rates, whether conversion in your space means actual click through to sale or a request for more information, and from there assessing whether what you’re experiencing is in fact unusually low for your type of business.

Once you confirm that the conversion rate is indeed low and the factors responsible, then you can fix the issues at the source. In the meantime, I can help by sharing some common causative factors for low conversion and ideas on how to remedy them, which should be useful if and when you finally uncover why your audience won’t buy.

Common conversion challenges

Targeting the wrong audience is a very common conversion challenge. In this case, if you are targeting the wrong audience, that doesn’t value your offer, then they were never potential customers to begin with and the marketing efforts are being wasted. The fix is to better define and reach your target audience.

Another is that your messaging is wrong and how you communicate your offer isn’t connecting with the appropriate target, or that they need further information to make a decision. In this case, the fix would be to review the messaging, test with your target audience via focus group or pilot effort, then revise the language and messaging as needed.

Third, it could be that your pricing strategy is wrong, and that your audience is not willing to pay the prices you’re charging. Repeats and testing and then the appropriate revisions may help with this.

Another common issue is a lack of effective call to action and that you haven’t created a level of urgency around taking a particular course of action. For example, this is why companies include phrases like “book now”, “limited time offer” or “offer expires March 31, 2021”, to create a sense of urgency in the minds of buyers around a particular promotion.

Now let’s go back to my earlier point about the action you wish your audience to take in your campaigns. It’s important that you meet with your team and realistically assess your definition of conversion or conversion goals, especially at this time. The fact is, people buy when they are ready to, not when you need them to.

It seems that your goals were set almost in a vacuum, without due consideration to understanding your audience, setting appropriate benchmarks based on the business type and spaces in which you’re launching the campaigns, and, most important, reasonable expectations of how the audience will respond.

Remember, buyers’ psychology plays a huge role when it comes to crafting and executing your campaigns, so as you head back to the drawing board, make understanding your target and their needs and motivations the centrepiece of your planning.

One love!

- Yaneek Page is the programme lead for Market Entry USA, a certified trainer in entrepreneurship, and creator and executive producer of ‘The Innovators’ and ‘Let’s Make Peace’ TV series.