The key to getting more customers is building an effective sales funnel that is continually reviewed, updated, amended, and refined to cater to changing market conditions, customer behaviour, regulations, and competitor activity.
Broadly, a sales funnel will include four key phases;
Before you do this, however, you need to Find Out What They Want (FOWTW) and ‘Give It To Them’ (GITT).
Fundamentally, what problem does your target customer have, and how do you solve that problem better than anyone else?
Now you’ve answered those questions. It’s time to understand the phases a customer goes through that your sales funnel needs to cater for.
The first step in the sales funnel is making a prospect aware of you, your company, and your products/services. If your product/service is a new proposition, you might need to make them aware of a problem they didn’t even know they had.
Typical strategies include: Social media, TV, billboards, press ads, telesales.
The prospect is aware of their problem and actively looking for a solution. This could be by asking friends and family, searching online, or simply being more receptive to traditional TV adverts, billboards, or ads delivered via digital means.
Typical strategies include SEO, PPC, content marketing, remarketing, and newsletters.
The conversion stage is all about convincing the customer you’re the right business to work with. Most companies jump straight to this phase, but if you’ve allowed a competitor to build trust during the first two steps, you’ll find it much harder to convert a prospect to a customer at this point.
Typical strategies include: Website conversion rate optimisation, incentives, trust signals (e.g. testimonials & reviews), sales people, sales pitches.
Very often, this is ignored at a new customer generation phase. Most businesses consider it to be the job of Customer Service and Account Management teams to get repeat sales from existing customers. But this fails to capitalise on the trust you’ve built and encourage them to introduce you to people they know who might benefit from your products or services.
Typical strategies include: newsletters, account management, sales people.
One strategy we’ve not included in the above is referral marketing. This is one of the best ways of generating new customers as it cuts through the entire sales funnel.
Referral marketing is like word of mouth but on steroids. Rather than waiting for someone to refer you, you instead build relationships and proactively find opportunities for each other.
Referral marketing is typically done in two ways,
Strategic partnerships: Businesses that work in similar fields have the same customers, but don’t compete with each other. For example, a plumber, electrician, plasterer, and carpet fitter would all work with homeowners and property developers. When one gets a job, they can feed work to the other members of the group without clashes.
Networking: By joining popular networking groups such as BNI or 4N, business owners can support each other by referring them to their own network. In BNI there’s a common lesson that on average every person has 1,000 contacts. So for every new person who joins a group, that’s another 1,000 people you could be introduced to.
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