Do you remember participating in science fairs as a little kid? There were all kinds of cool experiments involving magnets, paper and lots of other stuff. But by far the coolest experiment that always got everybody’s attention was the erupting volcano. It was pretty simple and you literally had one shot at it. You created a papier-mâché mountain and you put a cup at the top of it. Then you added baking soda and a mixture into the cup, and what happened next was an explosion of lava. It was cool. You probably had one or maybe two chances to actually show it, but when you did it certainly made an impact.
In business, we have an almost inverse version of that science experiment called the sales funnel. The volcano is taking a lot of bent up pressure and pushing it through the small hole at the top. What we liked to see is the lava oozing out of the top; however in business what we want to see is something slightly different. We want that same trapezoid, or triangle, but we want it to be inverted, so we see things oozing out of the bottom…this is called sales.
The Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is about bringing people into the vortex of what we’re doing and at the bottom we convert them to clients, but it’s much more than that. There are two major components to this: First, the sales funnel itself is what happens when people actually enter the funnel, and how we can help them exit as happy customers. Second, how do we draw those people into the funnel to try to create that final experience? We’re going to explore both pieces of the puzzle today.
Let me start by talking about how we draw them in. With so many tools at our fingertips today, it can be completely overwhelming trying to figure out which one is going to work the best. The simple explanation of all of this is called content marketing. You create and generate content to draw people into the vortex. These concepts include: audio, video, podcasts, website, blogs, email, print ads, and so much more.
All of the above are tools that draw people into our funnel. We will focus next on how to draw them in, and then we’re going to discuss what happens when they get inside that funnel.
Draw Them In
Your website and landing pages have to resonate with the end user in order for them to jump in the funnel. That means you have to have a compelling reason to draw people to either sign up for your email list or to purchase something from you. That is the cornerstone of what makes a sales funnel work. It’s where transactions happen.
The next thing you have to do is figure out what means of communications will invite them into the funnel. Some people may be drawn in by bright shiny objects … Video. Some people may be drawn in by persuasive terms … Blog. Some people you just have to talk to … Podcast. Or maybe you just have to get out and meet people face-to-face … Networking. Whatever the channel of communication is, there’s a chance that all of them work on different people, so you have to a plan to meet everybody where they’re at and draw them into your funnel.
What Is A Sales Funnel
So let’s take a look at exactly what the sales funnel is, and how you can utilize it to pull people in and ultimately create more sales for your business:
- Awareness – Just like when the baking soda and mixture created a chemical reaction, you have to do the same thing with your audience. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If no one knows you or your product or service exists, does it matter? This is where all of your tools, like blogs, podcasts, videos, webinars, social media, etc., will make a difference. It’s your job to create awareness and draw people into your funnel.
- Consideration – Your next job is to get your audience to consider why your product or service is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not just about the features and benefits; it’s about creating an emotional connection that draws them in to learn more. You need to spend time convincing them to spend their time in your space to learn more. That may mean creating social media posts to get them to a webinar, which will help them learn more about who you are, what you do, and why you’re different.
- Preference – Next, you have to create the sense that you have the answer to their problem and can solve their pain, or give them the best opportunity to succeed. This comes from open lines of communication. This may be a free half hour phone call to give them more information, or additional training or videos that can help them better understand the difference between your product and service and the competition’s. You have to convince the audience that you have the best solution to their problem.
- Purchase – Getting people to exchange their money for your solution gets tougher and tougher in a very noisy world. Make them feel comfortable with by offering a money back guarantee, over the top customer service, and a website with testimonials that rave about everything you do. No matter how you get them to pull out their credit card, access their PayPal account, or send you a check, you have to work hard to make sure that you under promise and over deliver in ways they could have never imagined.
Here it goes much deeper, because a successful business has people that buy again, and more importantly recommend you to others after being so blown away by what you do that they become your sales team!
- Loyalty – My friend Benjamin Mack has an excellent concept … “Think two products ahead.” If you’re diligent, convincing, and special enough to make a sale, then you have to think what’s next? How can I get them to think about what else they can buy? A lot of people start off with a short and cheap entry product. This could be a $1-$10 sale, but then they draw them deeper into the funnel to purchase a $100 or $1000 product, or even a $25,000 consultation. Just because somebody buys one thing does not mean the sale is over.
- Advocacy – Finally, you have to create a communication system that gets people to sing your praises to their friends. The best sales people in the world are happy customers. The worst sales people in the world are unhappy customers. It’s often been said that it takes 10 times the amount of effort and money to find a new customer than it does to build off a happy customer. Make the most of what you have already invested in and get them to become your advocate and sales force.
A lot of people try to stop at the first four, but can create a really killer business when you use all six to make sure that you are building a sales funnel that has sustainability. You can have the best product in the world and the best customer service in the world, but if nobody is aware of it or considers it, prefers it and purchases it, you don’t have a business. In order to sustain your business, you need loyalty and advocacy.
These concepts may seem pretty basic, but do you actually have a plan to make this work for you and your business? I would love to hear your feedback, comments, and especially your insights as to what has worked for you…please comment away!
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Do You Have A Sales Funnel?
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