The Prospecting Sales Funnel
Business is all about systems.
Even in the unpredictable world of attracting customers and making sure that they hear your message and grow more toward becoming customers, there are proven step by step systems that you can use to increase your chances of winning the prospect.
All marketing and sales techniques are based on the prospecting sales funnel. This technique describes how you move potential customers from being prospects to becoming customers. The journey is like moving them down a funnel until they ultimately buy from you.
What is it based on?
It is based on the principle that whatever business you are in, people buy from people they know, trust and like.
So, in order for people to become your customers, you must first make yourself known to them. In knowing of you, they must see you as a credible person or business. Once you are known to them you need to give them proof that they can trust you. Once they believe that they can trust you, you need to serve them and get to know them so that they get to like you.
This same journey from introducing your business to people to making them trust you and then to make them like dealing with you is represented by the prospecting sales funnel.
At the top of the funnel are your cold prospects. These are people who may not know you yet. So, you need to broadcast to them with messages that tell them who you are and what you do. In this part of the funnel, not everyone is likely to be interested – so you have to do two things to get the best return for effort or investment.
First, define your target market as closely as possible – the people who are most likely to need your product or service. This is to make sure that your efforts are made toward people who have some inclination of interest in what you say. The second thing is to make sure you broadcast widely to this narrow group of people – you advertise, send them messages and emails, provide brochures and greetings. Putting the two together, the idea is to ensure that you provide as much information as possible to as narrow a group of people as possible, thus ensuring that people who are likely to be interested in your product get to hear about you.
The middle of the funnel are people who have progressed from getting to know you to showing some interest in what you offer. These prospects have become warm leads. They now know you but you still have to qualify them by making them trust you.
So for these people, you need to increase contact so that they get to see more of what you offer. You would conduct marketing activity that includes free samples of your product or service so that they see that you are credible. Social proof in the format of testimonials or other satisfied customers at a social event is good proof of your reliability and trustworthiness. Now, knowing you is reinforced by seeing that you can be trusted.
As these warm leads see that they can trust you, some of them continue down the funnel to show specific interest and they become clear targets for sales conversations.
So you can see that the journey starts with as large a focused group you can start with, and gradually, through different marketing activities, narrow down to some qualified targets who are more likely to respond to having a sales conversation with you.
You can apply this principle to any business.
In a retail business, you can advertise your store widely but focused on those who are your target market. If you sell books for lawyers, place your advertisements in law journals, not do-it-yourself magazines. Then follow up with a sponsored seminar inviting lawyers (who would have seen your advertisements) and in the seminar show how your books can help their career and give them free samples. Then start to send out invitations to visit your store.
Or, as an online coaching business, broadcast your business online – in appropriate social media platforms where your target market will see them. Then, alter your social media messages so that you offer free ebooks or online coaching sessions. As these attract people and you build a list of prospects, send them targeted messages about your offerings.
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