The key to running a successful business is in a product’s ability to make consistent sales—consistency being the keyword. Making a few sales may be commendable and may sustain you for a while, but how much can they do for your success in business?
How much profit can you, as an entrepreneur, realize from a few sales to remain in business and possible expansion?
A Hands-On Approach
If you are not aware by now, you should know that marketing requires a hands-on approach. Identifying customers that need and want to buy your product, which could be a physical, digital product or service, will take several precise steps; from engaging a customer to finally closing the deal and maintaining after-sale rapport.
It is therefore ideal that you adopt an effective model to reach and capture an audience that will be willing to buy. For this, one solid model that filters your target audience from over 7 billion people in the world is the sales funnel.
In a well-suited comparison, Salesflare likens the phases of a sales funnel to that of a romantic relationship1). Both sales and dating involve the subtlety, time, patience, consistency, and nurturing that are required for any healthy relationship. They both require some level of hard work before the other party can admit to any commitment.
There is a reason you always ignore those sales emails from strangers you don’t know but would pay at least some attention to something similar from a friend or someone you are familiar with.
What Is a Sales Funnel
We can define the sales funnel as a step by step process of getting potential clients from ambiguity to making a sales decision in your favor. It is a series of visualized stages, transforming a lead into a client2).
In a sales funnel, you target as many leads as possible using their reactions to each stage to narrow them down as you descend the funnel. By this process, what you have left in the final stages are customers that are ready to commit to a sales pitch.
The Four Steps
There are several versions of stages that market the funnel. While some have a few stages and some are more segmented, they all effectively lead to the same goals. Below are the most important stages of a sales funnel and how to go about it.
Creating awareness about your product is the first and foremost step of the sales funnel. Simply put, it is the defining stage of the process. This is because for you to even exist in the mind of your potential client, they have to be aware of your existence.
In marketing, awareness happens in two ways:
- Outbound – where you engage your leads via digital media adverts, billboards, PPC, or cold pitch emails. In its outbound form, you make leads aware of your product and how it aligns with their needs by putting this information at their disposal in a general and impersonal way. This strategy throws a large net to capture only prospects that will show interest and move on to the next stage.
- Inbound – your potential customers become aware of you because they have a pending question and they arrive at your landing page because they believe you can solve it. For this, you have to put yourself in a position where you can be found by optimizing your online presence with the right contents on social media and web pages.
Whichever way it happens, what is of utmost importance at this stage is the value you present. Value is what your prospects perceive before they surrender their attention. To give value, you should design messages relevant to your audience. Researches are very helpful. Learn about your audience, and appeal to the distinct characteristics you discover about them.
Once you get a potential costumer’s attention, you are required to do everything to hold it. Maintain your demeanor and charm, and you will spur their interest in your product.
It is in this phase that you nurture a relationship with the lead. By now, they are fully aware of you and your product. But some doubt still exists, right? That is expected. However, this doubt grows and festers in the absence of adequate information and trust. And this is where consistency comes to play.
Your follow up should be prepared to be educative and effective. Consider the most appropriate communication channels. Emailing is the most popular for marketers but there are also other options like social media, videos, targeted ads, etc. Be prepared with more contents to keep your lead in the loop.
Keep in mind, at this point the client is making third party researches about you and your product and seeking opinions from friends and colleagues. You would do well to be truthful and factual in your communication.
Again, the importance of research cannot be stressed enough. Good research on your potential customer will reveal key things important to your decisions. Incorporating these things in your messages will make them less impersonal and its impact could be the catalyst of your potential customer’s trust in you.
If your interest stage goes well, then this stage is easy-peasy. It would not be abnormal or shocking. Like with a romantic relationship, all cards are on the table and you both have been waiting for that moment.
At this stage, you should figure out the perfect Call To Action (CTA) that would prompt your customer to click on the ‘Buy now’ button. You should also propose the safest payment options for both your convenience.
Encourage your customers to rate their experience on your website, app stores or Google Maps. This would add to your credibility, and you could be certain of a prolonged relationship with your customer.
And after the first purchase is done? Of course, it doesn’t end there.
Your initial deal is done, but the fire is still warm and you can capitalize. “Would you like to…” is a good place to start, or continue, so speak. Upselling products that add value to initial products help to increase customer experience and improve your relationship further.
As much as a sales funnel requires precision and nurturing, it can also be automated. Wild Mail and Zapier are reliable automation tools where you can give instructions and leave it to do the rest. Think of them as virtual salespersons that work for you 24/7 while you get to do other important things.