Friday, January 28, 2011

The Sales Funnel & Reverse Funnel

After yesterday you might start to think I am not in favor of quick fast growth. Quite the contrary that is way I made 2011 the year of doubling your sales. I just don’t want you going bankrupt from lack of cash in the process or if you do run out of money at least know why.

So let’s look at my friend the sales funnel. Some gurus of sales have said the funnel is dead, it leaks, and it’s just no good anymore. I disagree, you can put the funnel upright or you can put the funnel upside down (the reverse funnel) and still win sales, or if you have two funnels you can put them end to end and like wow, stand back baby, it’s time to watch the after burners in your sales efforts.

The idea of the funnel for those of you not familiar with it is to put lots and lots of prospects in the top and work those names though your sales process and sales cycle and as you go forward (as the funnel gets smaller) you get a better and higher quality prospect which eventually comes out the bottom of the funnel. To get customers out the bottom you need to be pouring in names in the top. There is a system to it.

The Sales Funnel selling process consists of the following steps:
1. Total Prospects
2. Total Company Currant Customers
3. Unqualified Prospects
4. Inital Communications
5. First Contact & Discussion
6. Proposal Development
7. Presentaton(s)
8. Prospects Evaluations
9. Negoations
10. Verbal Commitments
11. Written Agreement
12. Product Service Delivery
13. Payment Received
14. Follow-up action plan


An alternate but similar series of steps is as follows as a company might be entering into a new field or launching a new product or service.
1. New Opportunity
2. Initial Communication
3. Fact Finding
4. Develop Solution
5. Propose Solution
6. Solution Evaluation
7. Negotiation
8. Sales Order
9. Account Maintenance



By using the sales funnel, and by quantifying the number of prospects at each stage of the process, you can...
1. Manage the prospects
2. Manage your customers
3. Manage the sales pipeline more effectively
4. Control the sales pipeline
5. Improve the sales productivity
6. Improve the conversion rate
7. Increase the sales


Now for those who like to read here is the entire process all written down for you. If you don’t like to read just take the numbered points of action and work them out for yourself.


1. Total Prospects
2. Total Company Currant Customers
Prospecting refers to identifying and developing a list of potential clients. Sales people go and get the names of prospects from a variety of sources including trade shows, commercially-available databases or mail lists, company sales records and in-house databases, public records, referrals, directories, social media and any other source possible. Prospecting activities should be structured so that they identify only potential clients who fit the profile of the best possible client and are willing, able, and authorized to buy the product or service. Once prospecting is started, it then is up to the sales professional to qualify those prospects to further identify possible customers and screen out poor leads.


3. Unqualified Prospects
4. Inital Communications
Before engaging in the actual personal selling process, you must first analyze all the information you have available about a prospect to better understand as much about the prospect as possible. During the Pre-approach phase of the personal selling process, you try to understand the prospect's current needs, current use of competitor’s brands and feelings about all available brands and products on the market, as well as identify key decision makers, review account histories (if any), assess product needs, plan/create a sales presentation to address the identified and likely concerns of the prospect, and set call objectives. You also want to develop an overall strategy for the sales process during this phase, keeping in mind that the strategy may have to be readjusted as you learn more about the prospect.


5. First Contact & Discussion
6. Proposal Development
This is the time of actual contact you have with the prospect. This is the point of the selling process where the you meet the prospect, and make your initial introduction, establish some kind of rapport which will set the foundation of the relationship, asking open-ended questions to learn more about the prospects needs.


7. Presentaton(s)
During the presentation portion of the selling process, you get to tell a product "story" in a way that speaks directly to the identified needs and wants of the prospect. Making your presentation customized is the key component of this step. At this point in the process, prospects are often allowed to hold and/or inspect the product and the sales professional may also actually demonstrate the product. Audio visual presentations may be incorporated such as slide presentations or product videos and this is usually when sales brochures or booklets are presented to the prospect. You should strive to let the prospect do most of the talking during the presentation and address the needs of the prospect as fully as possible by showing that he or she truly understands and cares about the needs of the prospect.


Overcoming Objections
You then seek out your prospects' objections in order to try to address and overcome them. When prospects offer objections, it often signals that they need and want to hear more in order to make a fully-informed decision. If objections are not uncovered and identified, you cannot effectively manage them. Uncovering objections, asking clarifying questions, and overcoming objections is a critical part of training for professional sellers and is a skill area that must be continually developed because there will always be objections. Trust me when I tell you that as soon as you finds a way to successfully handle "all" your prospects' objections, someone will find a new, unanticipated objection-- if for no other reason than to test you.


8. Prospects Evaluations
9. Negoations
10. Verbal Commitments
Although technically "closing" a sale happens when products or services are delivered to the customer's satisfaction and payment is received, for the purposes of our discussion I will define closing as asking for the order and adequately addressing any final objections or obstacles. There are many closing techniques as well as many ways to ask trial closing questions. A trail question might take the form of, "Now that I've addressed your concerns, what other questions do you have that might stop you from starting up with us?" Closing does not always mean that you literally asks for the order, it could be asking the prospect how many they would like, what color they would prefer, when they would like to take delivery, etc. Too many sales professions are either weak or too aggressive when it comes to closing. If you are closing a sale, be sure to ask for the order. If the prospect gives an answer other than "yes", it may be a good opportunity to identify new objections and continue selling.


11. Written Agreement
12. Product Service Delivery
13. Payment Received
14. Follow-up action plan
Follow-up is an often overlooked but important part of the selling process. After an order is received, it is in the best interest of everyone involved for you to follow-up with the new customer to make sure the product was received in the proper condition, at the right time, installed properly, proper training delivered, and that the entire process was acceptable to the customer. This is a critical step in creating customer satisfaction and building long-term relationships. If they experienced any problems you can intervene and become a customer advocate to ensure 100% satisfaction. Good follow-up can also lead to uncovering new needs, additional purchases, and also referrals and testimonials which can be used as sales tools.


Larson Notes & Satire: Sitting back having a long sip off good hot black coffee. . . I’ll talk about the reverse funnel next week. This was quiet enough for one day. But hint, hint. . . the reverse funnel involves referrals and social media marketing.


So are you still game to double your business this year. Do you want to do it? Can you do it? Do you have the mental fortitude to do it? The blog above can give you a rough idea if you can do it.


Can you Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge ?


Need help in pouring in new sales leads into your sales funnel. That is what we here at Larson’s do.
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better


Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better
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howard@larsonassociates.ws
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P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.


P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!

2 comments:

HOW -2 DO said...

Thanks

Rashida Panxpan said...

The sales funnel and reverse funnel selling processes are very different. Nicely described here everything about these two steps. I would like to say I'm very delighted to learn handy lessons about these to business process from here. Your sales prospects can easily be monitored via online tools like PanXpan's sales pipeline module.