How To Troubleshoot A Product That Doesn’t Sell

If you follow my business and are subscribed to my emails, you may have noticed that I launch a healthy number of new offerings throughout the year. Some of them hit, some of them don’t.

I’ve stopped expecting successful product launches.

I’ve stopped pretending that I always know what my customer wants or doesn’t want to buy.

I’ve instead normalized re-launches and not launching new offerings in the vacuum of my vision, removed from customer feedback.

Launching something new shouldn’t be seen as a presentation of a finished product, it should be viewed as a start of a conversation.

You can test and pilot a product all you want, but if you’re not testing your launch and having people experience the process of being pitched to and then shelling out actual dollars, then you’re walking onto the sales floor somewhat blind.

When I launch something new and it doesn’t fly off the shelves, I look at these 3 routes of troubleshooting to revise my product for a re-launch.

Troubleshoot: The Pitch

If I received no expressions of interest from potential customers, I revisit my pitch (cheerleaders who express how awesome the product or offering is do not count as potential customers).

I make sure that I’m clearly communicating the transformation or end result my product will provide and that I’m the very obvious bridge stationed between my customer’s current pain point and the end result they’d like to achieve.

A clear misstep from those who do not do this is that they talk a lot about their process, methodologies, and tools they’ll be using rather than making the customer’s experience front and center.

Customers care that you’ll change their life, not the tools you’ll use to do that (it’s your job to sweat the details, not them). Always make your pitch 80–90% about your customer and the remaining about what your product/offering will do.

Troubleshoot: The Need

Your pitch is solid, but it’s still not receiving any bites.

If you’re receiving no expression of interest or inquiries from potential customers, take a look at whether your product is addressing a pain point that your customer cares to address.

Just because a pain point exists, it doesn’t mean that it’s worthy of being solved. I don’t like that my hair is wavy in weird places, but I’m not going to buy a straightener and iron my hair every day. I just do not care enough.

Every pain point falls under a certain ranking on the give a crap barometer — if your product isn’t selling, make sure that the customer you’ve targeted rates your product high on a need they have.

If it doesn’t, either change your customer target to someone who rates you highly, or scrap the product.

Troubleshoot: The Price

If you’re receiving substantial interest and inquiries on your product and it’s not selling, it’s likely that your price may have something to do with it. (The best way to find out is to ask interested parties who don’t end up buying why they didn’t.)

If the feedback you receive from shoppers is that your pricing is too high for them, lower your pricing if it’s possible for you to do so.

If it’s not, either pivot to a customer type who is compatible with your pricing tier, or scrap your product.

For more wisdom that turns your startup chase into a victory lap, get my Friday morning emails, (lovingly called The Crux) in your inbox.

I create moneymaking brands with womxn entrepreneurs who refuse to settle for mediocre.

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Sophia Sunwoo

Sophia Sunwoo

I create moneymaking brands with womxn entrepreneurs who refuse to settle for mediocre.

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