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How to cope with disappointing sales

 

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Poor sales can get you down

The retail business is a constant roller-coaster. Nothing beats the thrill of launching a product that becomes an instant best-seller. But do you struggle to stay motivated when the product you have created or selected doesn’t sell? The creative process is by far the most exciting and rewarding aspect of a retail business, but when you get little or no reaction to what you have put in front of your customer, it can be hugely disappointing.

Once you’ve read this post, don’t forget to grab a copy of my roadmap to building a profitable retail business here. More on that later though, for now, let’s talk about how to stay motivated.

Your product can feel like your baby

Products that you have created or ranges you have selected can feel like your babies. You’ve spent weeks trying to get the product into your business, you’re so excited to share it with your customer, but then the reaction that you get is decidedly luke-warm.

Losing your motivation can happen easily

Products that you have created or ranges you have selected can feel like your babies. You’ve spent weeks trying to get the product into your business, you’re so excited to share it with your customer, but then the reaction that you get is decidedly luke-warm.
Losing your motivation can happen easily
When this happens, it’s easy to feel deflated, de-motivated and discouraged. After all, you wouldn’t have stocked the product if you thought it wouldn’t sell.

These feelings can easily lead to a downward spiral if you let them, where you start to question your judgement and even the idea behind your business.

If you let yourself indulge in negative feelings, it can stop you from keeping your eye on the prize - the goals that you have for your business

Stay objective, don’t get derailed

To be successful in our businesses, we have to get out of our own way. That is to say, learn to avoid taking things too personally.

Buyers who have many years experience in the industry don’t get it right 100% of the time. They swear something will be fantastic that flops, or under play something that sells out almost instantly. Of course, it’s a different feeling when you don’t own the business, but they may have spent vast amounts of time sourcing these products, designing them and getting them into the business.

The best buyers are the ones that celebrate their successes, but don’t take their failures personally. It is important that they are able to look at the sales, learn from them and ultimately use them to move forwards.

It is exactly the same for entrepreneurs - it’s important to see everything that you do in your business is feedback that you can learn from.

Learn what you can

When you have an item that doesn’t sell, instead of letting it get you down, get really curious about what is going on.

Make sure you understand completely what is happening. Are people looking at it but not buying? Are they just not looking at it all?

If people are looking but not buying, ask yourself if the customer has all the information that they need to have in order to comfortably make the purchase. Have you given them sufficient proof of the features and benefits?

Look for patterns in what doesn’t sell. At one of my previous companies, we spent some time hanging up all of the worst selling dresses on one wall, and immediately saw that they were all green. It isn’t always possible to pick out these patterns without visually looking at what isn’t selling, so if you have samples, line them up and look for patterns.

Part of developing your skills as a retailers will be honing your ability to identify what is working, what is not working, and understand why so you can feed that back into your buying and product development.

Work on being as objective as possible. Try and distance yourself from feelings of disappointment or guilt, and look at your sales with fresh eyes. If you find that hard to do, consider asking someone to help look at your sales with you.

As always, the best way to understand why things aren’t selling is to simply ask the customer. Find people who have purchased from you in the past, and give them an incentive to talk to you directly. Could you offer them a voucher or a free product in exchange for a 20 minute phone call? Hearing their view directly can be a real eye opener - although a word of warning, people have very subjective views, so one person’s reason for not buying is not necessarily the final word! It will, however, help you get some useful insights.

What do you do to cope?

Are you experiencing disappointing sales of any of your products at the moment? I’d love to hear how you cope this with, and if you’ve been able to take a step back and objectively look for the patterns.

Other Ways I Can Help

If you want a straight-forward set of steps to build your retail business - download my free roadmap “Retail Entrepreneur’s Roadmap to Profit” right here.

And don’t forget to join the discussion inside the Female Founders In Retail Facebook group where you can meet other women building amazing product-based businesses. If you’re not already in the group, click here to request to be let in. See you in there!

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