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The Theory and Practice of Sales Funnels

The Theory and Practice of Sales Funnels

For over 100 years, the term “sales funnel” has been used to describe the traditional process of making a sale. At the beginning you attract a wide base of prospects and as you continue the process, you narrow all the way down to individual customers.

The reason the sales funnel model has stood the test of time is its ability to be applied to any seller, business model or product base. Without a sales funnel, the sales process can become unnecessarily complex leading to confused customers and lost sales. With a sales funnel, you’ve got a roadmap to success.

How Does It Work?

The central idea is so simple you’re probably already fulfilling the basic functions without being aware of it. At its core, the sales funnel is based on four progressive stages:

  1. Awareness

This is the moment a potential customer becomes aware of your product or service. This is where your marketing kicks in i.e. getting your message out there.

  1. Interest

Stage 2 begins as soon as a customer expresses an active interest in your product having already been made aware of it in Stage 1. An example of this from the good old days would have been a customer walking into your brick and mortar store.

  1. Desire

Now the customer is aware of your product or service and has shown interest in it, you need to help them understand why they really want it. Staying with the example from Stage 2, this is where you or your top salesperson goes over all the unique features and benefits of the product.

  1. Action

The final stage. You take the customer to whatever version of a checkout you’re using, and they purchase the product or service.

Of course, this is an oversimplified version of a sales funnel as there are several other stages that come into play depending if you have a complicated product or service. Often, there is another stage called Evaluation where a customer likes your product but wants to check out the competition before they buy from you.

Hiring the right sales coach to come in and help you establish a targeted sales funnel for your business can be hugely beneficial as they will have the advantage of seeing your product or service as a consumer.

The Sales Funnel in Practice

Here are a few elements that trigger the sales funnel and act as a guide to the consumer on their journey to making a purchase.

  • A sales page is an essential part of any sales funnel. Sophie Turnbull, a sales manager at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting, said: “A sales page is the link between Awareness, Interest and Desire all wrapped into one. It’s marketing and it’s function, and it’s indispensable.” This should be one of the first pages a potential customer visits on your website. The sales page should lead quickly and easily to the order form, presenting the customer with an easy hop from Desire to Action. Finally, a confirmation page is important to leave the customer with a warm feeling of attention and care.

  • But, what about Evaluation? That is the stage between Interest and Desire that is where you could lose your customer. Luckily, there are elements you can include in your sales funnel that can prevent them from jumping ship. Felix Lightfoot, a business writer at Draft Beyond and Researchpapersuk, suggests: “Reminders are the perfect non-intrusive way to keep customers on track to a sale. They can happen at the point of cart abandonment — a great opportunity to offer discounts and sales incentives — or they can be sent to a customer’s email later, perhaps when they’re in an easier spending mood.”

Conclusion: This is only a short introduction to the sales funnel and how a certified sales coach can help you establish and maintain your own successful process. The bottom line is your sales process should flow easily from stage to stage so any customer who expresses an interest in your product or service does not run into any “sale killing” impediments.

Try being an “undercover customer” or get a friend or a colleague to do it for you. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes and see how easily you’re able to be moved through the sales funnel by your store, website or sales staff. If you find the purchasing process overly complicated or frustrating, it might just be time to call in an expert sales trainer to help you streamline your process.

About the Author: Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. Alongside her writing career, she has also been involved in business projects across the country. She enjoys traveling, reading and mixed martial arts.