The sales funnel visualizes the entire sales cycle from beginning contact to closing sale. It often uses the metaphor of a leaking pipe, into which you can drop sales opportunities in an almost infinite variety of ways. Eventually, all sales opportunities to drop out of the funnel, no matter how tempting they seem at the beginning.
Successful sales funnel contains several stages: identification, setting goals, prospecting, closing the sale, and repeating. In each of these stages, there are distinct types of actions:
Decision – This is the action that leads to a decision about which action to take next. Decision makers may not be aware of every detail about their needs or wants. They make decisions based on the available information, such as their budget, their own needs, and what others think about their product. In fact, when salespeople are asked, “What did you do today to improve your sales,” they are usually asked, “What did you do today to change your decision?” In other words, decisions are about more than just what’s right; they are also about what’s best for the organization.
Setting Goals – This part of the funnel is more important than most other parts. When salespeople meet with potential customers, they are presented with several options about the kind of business they want to run. The choice between these options depends largely on the customer’s buying habits, which determine what products they are willing to buy frequently. Salespeople must decide, in advance, the specific amount of money they expect to earn per sale, but they must also decide on the number of sales they expect to make and how many customers they expect to turn out.
Prospecting – This is one of the stages of the funnel that all successful salespeople follow. Most salespeople begin their search for sales by asking friends and family, by making cold calls, and by taking surveys. However, some salespeople do not even need to call people. Surveys and phone interviews can help them learn more about what clients think about their products, and how the company fits into their lives.
Closing the sale – The last stage of the funnel includes all of the steps of the sales funnel except for the final decision. Once the decision has been made, the prospect is sent a final email or text message, which tells them that their case has been reviewed and they have received a response. If the offer is attractive enough, they will choose to purchase the product.
The purpose of the funnel is to keep the sale people’s minds focused on the goal of closing the sale. The salesperson needs to focus on what they want to get out of the sale and not get sidetracked by what others might be saying. For example, if you ask your friend, “What did you think about my presentation?” while she is in her pajamas, you are going to have difficulty closing the sale.
By creating this focused focus, you ensure that your sales pitch will get the most out of your salesperson, because the more you’re focusing on what the client is looking for, the more likely they are to listen to what you say. You should also make sure that they are paying attention to your sales pitch.
As a salesperson, you know that the more involved in the sales process you are, the more likely you are to close a sale. It is important, however, that you stay involved in the process of closing the sale so that you can give your customer value-added information that will allow them to make an informed decision. This helps keep you in the lead. Your goal is to keep your prospects focused on the goal of closing the sale, and not on the details of how the sale was made.
If you are selling a service, it is important that you take the time to explain the process of buying the product in an organized fashion, and the sales funnel that goes along with this process. For instance, if you are selling a car, your funnel could include the price, financing terms, and delivery details, tax and registration details. Each of these items will help the customer understand the process and help them make an informed decision.
The more you are able to detail the sales process, the more likely you are to close a deal, because your customers will have a better understanding of how it works. As a salesperson, you need to remember that the more you explain the process, the easier it will be to close a sale.