What Is A Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is visual representation of the different stages of a sale in your business.

Imagine it like an upside down pyramid with leads being at the top, prospects (or qualified leads) being in the middle and customers at the bottom.

Each person that enters your “sales funnel” via your website or your landing page will usually need to to be exposed to your offer multiple times before reaching the final stage of your funnel, which is the buyer stage.

In fact, it takes an average of 7 exposures to your offer to convert a prospect into a sale. An exposure is simply an email, a phone call, or any kind of interaction with the person with a view to sell your product or service.

Email marketing is one of the proven ways to follow up multiple times with your customers. It’s effective because as you make constant contact with your potential customers, not by selling but by educating. You empower them by giving them enough information to complete the sale while building trust and credibility.

You’ll be surprised to discover that the majority of people who haven’t bought from you, don’t; not because they don’t need your product or service, but mainly because they simply don’t have enough information, or they have objections that need to be overcome.

You can handle those objections and move them further down the sales cycle simply by answering questions that directly relate to their objections though your emails, your videos, your direct mail pieces or face to face appointments. Each exposure is important, and is supposed to bring your prospect one step closer to becoming a paying customer.

There are 4 main stages in the sales cycle that moves your potential clients through the sales funnel. They are: awareness, attention, education (knowing how the product will benefit them) and making a decision.

So for example, when they become aware of your brand eg from a tweet, a Facebook ad or they find you on Google, they become a potential lead.  Once they interact with you or acknowledge a piece of your content, you may have a good chance of converting that person into a customer.  It could be something as simple as a Facebook like or a retweet. What happens next, is up to you as the brand owner. Your goal should be to get their attention and move them through the sales funnel as quickly as possible. For example, get them to opt in to your newsletter, or offer them a free trial of your product or some samples.

Once you have their attention and they meet a certain criteria, they can be classed a a qualified lead. This is typically when you’re having dialog with them and you are giving them advice or educating them on your products or services. This can be done by sending them updates from your newsletter (email marketing) or some other kind of regular content or arranged conversation.

When the prospect makes a decision to buy your product, they become a customer. That’s what we call a “conversion”.

Have you ever heard the technical term conversion rate? That’s the percentage of customers that go through the sales funnel and covert into paying customers.  This metric tells you how well a particular sales funnel is performing.

Your website contains a sales funnel either by accident, or a purpose built sales funnel. This depends on how intentional either you or your web developer have been in terms of making sure your site has the necessary tools and systems in place to capture customer data, and automate some of the followup processes. Make a well thought out sales funnel part of your marketing plan today.

You can find out more about these tools and systems by clicking here.

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