Selling is an important part of every business. Without sales, a business would not make income. However, making a sale now and then is not good enough for a business to succeed. Instead, sales must be made on a regular basis, in a reliable and predictable fashion.
Successful businesses use sales funnels to keep sales coming in dependably. Basically, a sales funnel is a process by which you manage potential customers, step by step, until they reach the point of making a purchase. The complexity of the sales funnel varies, depending on the business model and the products being sold. However, each step in the funnel is designed to bring a potential customer one step closer to making a purchase.
The steps might be informational in nature, or eventually more heavily focused on marketing. For example, the initial steps of the funnel might include commercials, videos, articles, or a landing page that provides basic information about the product or service being sold. Further down the funnel process, there may be steps such as automated emails that follow up on customer questions, or triggers for phone calls to be made by sales personnel.
While the complexity of the funnel may vary, the basic stages of the funnel are essentially the same. Initially, the first step is “awareness.” Essentially, this means making sure the customer knows that you, as well as your product or service, even exists. Commercials, ads, content marketing and information videos are all good options for this first funnel step.
The second step of the funnel is the “relationship” stage. During this stage, actions are taken so that the potential customer develops trust and a good level of comfort with your company and product. Targeted ads and personalized emails work well for this stage, helping the potential customer develop the belief that he or she needs your product, and trusts your company.
The third step is the “sales” stage. This is when the actual purchase is made, and the sales prospect becomes an actual customer. Steps are taken during this stage to “close the deal” and ensure that an optimal purchase is made.
Truly successful businesses realize that there’s always a chance to improve upon a sale. A good sales funnel should, if appropriate, include an “upsell” stage. Good upselling can result in building a more trusting relationship with the customer. Providing your expertise concerning attachments or additional options during the “upsell” stage can result in a more satisfying sale for the customer, as well as additional profits for the company.
Sales funnels are more successful when proper thought and planning goes into their creation. Not all marketing steps are useful for all products or sales processes. For example, the sales funnel for selling large-ticket items such as luxury automobiles would be much different as compared to the sales funnel for a neighborhood coffee shop. But, with some thought and planning and perhaps a bit of trial and error, a good sales funnel process can be designed for virtually any product or service being sold.