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How to Create a Sales Funnel That Works for You

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: June 1, 2017
Photo credit: Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

Turning leads in to sales: How to create a sales funnel that works for you.

How much effort have you put into how your clients find and ultimately buy from you? Do you believe that your product or service is so amazing that it “sells itself?” That is dangerous thinking. According to the US Department of Commerce, for every 10 businesses that open, only two will still be operational at their five year mark - with 30 percent failing in just the first year.

Surely there aren’t that many bad ideas that made it to fruition - so where did these businesses go wrong? The answer is quite simple really. The one things every business needs to be successful - money! Money comes from clients and customers. Every mistake that experts claim to be the downfall of a business boils down to not enough customers.

Your sales funnel is how you convert prospects to customers. It is so much more than just opening a store or starting a website and expecting them to buy, it is about building trust every step of the way. So how do you create a sales funnel that works for you?

1. Work backwards

This seems a little odd to most business owners, they believe you should start at the top - prospective clients - and follow their thought process all the way down to the goal. This method ends up with a plan that is too generalized and perhaps missing steps.

Figure out what your end goal is . Your goal should be more specific than “make sales” - the more details you consider in your sales funnel the more successful you will be. Perhaps you have one big ticket item that has a higher profit margin than most - or you wish it to be your flagship product. If you run a service based business, your goal would be to obtain loyal customers that utilize your services on a regular basis.

Dean of Personal Development Earl Nightingale said “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” That couldn’t be more true when mapping out your sales funnel.

2. Inspiration to buy

We started at the end, with the final purchase or the acquisition of a new client - but what do they see or experience right before that? What was the final step that pushed them to make the purchase?

The answer is different depending on your business model and which stage of business you are in. If you are an established company with a large loyal following, the inspiration to buy could come just by announcing a new product and directing people to how they make their purchase.

It is fair to assume however that if you’ve reached that stage in business, you have already perfected your sales funnel in previous stages. Those who have not - keep reading.

The best way, in any industry, to inspire people to buy is to show them the value you have to offer. This can be achieved in many ways tailored to the business or industry that you operate within. A designer or photographer would accomplish this by consistently showing their talent. A lawyer may offer a free consultation to have the opportunity to showcase their legal knowledge and ability to a potential client.

In order to create your successful sales funnel, you have to decide what the best way to showcase value to your potential clients would be. There should only be one answer.

When imagining your funnel, it grows larger the further you get away from a paying customer. In the wider part of your funnel, you should have many different ways to lead your customers to a place where they would be in the position to buy.

Perhaps you offer a free webinar during which you ask people to sign up for your newsletter, you send out a weekly or monthly newsletter offering free tips relating to your expertise with a link to sign up to your online course at the bottom.

Now if a potential client does not click the link to in the newsletter what happens?

In a successful sales funnel multiple avenues would lead to that link,

Perhaps potential clients would prefer to follow you on Facebook as well, where you would continue to offer valuable insight showcasing your knowledge - and before the beginning of each online course, a call to action to the signup page. All avenues should be leading down the funnel to your ultimate sales goal.

3. Grab their attention

This is the top of your funnel - the widest point. This is how previously unaware or unengaged prospects become interested in your product or service. This is the point where a lot of more traditional marketing methods do the trick. Radio or television ads, newspaper articles, contests and other promotions. Think of what methods would best reach your target demographic. Your net should be wide, and you should expect to only capture a small percentage of those you reach. In fact, a traditional direct mail campaign is universally considered a success if you get a two percent response.

Without planning out a detailed sales funnel, you won’t be able to accurately predict or effectively boost sales. This should be in every business plan - it is a major factor in whether or not you will become the next new business statistic.

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