The sales funnel is a useful concept for helping us visualize the journey that a prospect makes toward becoming a customer.
But the idea of the “funnel” makes the process seem more predictable than most of us find in practice! Just because someone is in your funnel doesn’t mean that they will buy, or even that some percentage of them are going to buy this month!
What can we control about our funnel, and what can’t we control?
- YOU CAN’T CONTROL WHO’S GOING TO BUY
Obviously, not everyone buys. In fact, some folks you think are a slam dunk will never buy, and some long-shots will come through easily.
- YOU CAN’T CONTROL THEIR TIMING
When a prospect tells you, “I want to get this done this week.” Does that mean that they’ll sign this week?
You aren’t the only thing going on for them, so what they tell you about timing should be taken as a guide only.
- YOU CAN’T CONTROL THEIR BUDGET
You can influence their perception of your services’ value, but if they say no money sometimes, there’s no money. Other times they find the money.
- YOU CAN QUALIFY HARD, SO YOU ARE WASTING LESS TIME ON TIRE KICKERS.
What you can control is what you focus on. If you spend your time with the most qualified leads, the prospects at the center of your sweet spot of services, for whom you have a ton of case studies and you can prove your value. More of those will close (and it’s more likely they’ll be profitable too).
Unfortunately, too many of the new business people I talk to don’t have a very tight definition of what their ideal customer looks like. When the pipeline is slim they chase after anything that moves instead of staying focused on profitable work that has a high likelihood of closing.
- YOU CAN IMPROVE THE CONVERSION RATE
Good sales discipline, where you adhere to a defined sales process, keep up the urgency and lower the uncertainty, can make more of your pipeline leads into winners.
The longer a lead sits in your funnel, the less likely it is to close, so keep things moving!
IF YOU NEED TO HIT A CERTAIN SALES TARGET, THE ONLY THING YOU CAN CONTROL IS THE TOP OF THE FUNNEL.
If you want more sales, the best way to get it is to talk to more qualified leads. The more qualified leads you put into the top of your funnel, the more sales come out the bottom.
So why don’t we generate more leads?
A consistent lead generation process requires two things:
- A clear idea of who your ideal client is and where to find them.
- Consistent, daily effort to find and engage with those clients.
Do you have a clear perspective about who your ideal client is, and why they would choose to work with you? Can you clearly articulate the value you will create for them? That’s a great first step!
Do you have a list of vetted, qualified prospects that are ready for outreach? A script that you can work from to communicate your value in a way that gets them to respond and a way to get that information in front of them?
Whether this whole conversation is making you queasy, or if you’ve started this journey but are looking for clear next steps we may be able to help.
I’ve created a short, eight-question assessment that will help you to identify exactly what you need to get started with prospecting. There’s no email address or other information required to get the results. This could open the door to that consistent flow of leads that you’ve been looking for.