One of the things that will contribute to your success as a business owner is the development of a system that takes your prospects by the hand and leads them directly to the cash register. This is known as a sales funnel and can help you make more money while doing less work if you implement it correctly in your business.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a term that describes the entire sales process people go through from when they first show interest in your product or service to when they actually pull out their credit card and make a purchase. It is called a funnel because you often start with a large number of prospects but only a small percentage of the group actually make it to the checkout line. For example, you may have 100 prospects showing interest in your business but only 5 actually buys something from you.
Why is a Sales Funnel Important?
Understanding and developing a sales funnel for your business is important because it allows you to make more money by tweaking the sales process so that you attract and retain more customers. It also helps keep you organized because you will know where your customer is in the sales process and assists you in identifying where your customers may be losing interest in working with you. With some adjustments, you can even automate a lot of tasks involved in getting your customer from showing interest to actually shelling out cash and free up more of your time.
How to Develop an Effective Sales Funnel for Your Business
The first step to developing and maximizing your sales funnel is in identifying all of the sales opportunities that a customer provides. Many business owners make the mistake of only focusing on the initial sale; for example, an EBook about marketing. However, marketing is a multifaceted subject and one where your clients will need continuous help with. You could offer subscription based online training in advanced marketing strategies or even provide marketing services to clients who would rather someone else take care of that for them.
Once you have a list of sales opportunities a particular customer provides, the next step is identifying all of the actions involved in the sales process for your business. A basic sales funnel may look something like this:
1. Prospect discovers they have a need and begins to search for a solution
2. Prospect comes in contact with your company
3. Initial communication with prospect
4. Evaluation of your products, services, or business opportunity
5. Either negotiation of price or discussion of value vs. price
6. Place an order
The sales funnel for your business may have more or less steps. Each step offers an opportunity for you to capture and sell the customer on doing business with you. Even if they do not buy your initial offering, you can still get them to buy other products if you structure your sales funnel right.
Next, take a good look at each step in the process to determine how you can capture and retain more customers. For example, a lot of your effort will probably go into the first two steps; getting customers to understand they need your product and capturing their attention. However, many of the people you attract to your sales funnel will fall away because they find another product that fits their needs better.
You can still keep these people in your sales funnel by finding a way to keep in contact with them to let them know of new products you have come available that they might want to sign up for in the future. Setting up a newsletter or getting them to sign onto a notification list are two ways you can accomplish this.
Look for ways to automate as much of the sales process as possible. Doing this will allow you to make money during times when you are not actively working your business. One idea is to engage in marketing tactics that produce long term benefits such as article marketing. Another idea is to start a blog that attracts prospects who are searching online for information.
As a last step, find someone you can trust to go through the sales process and tell you what could be better. Sometimes getting another set of eyes looking at your business can expose issues that may be preventing you from making more money.
Taking the time to implement a sales funnel is a challenging but good way to make more money online. If you need help with your marketing sales funnel, feel free to contact me for a free consultation that could help you increase sales and get more free time.