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).
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.
This year I’m seeing that funnels are slowing down, and conversion rates are dropping. If you have a sales goal you want to meet, you may need to talk to more clients to get there.
How are you adding folks to the top of your funnel every day?