The Sales Funnel
sales process can be viewed as a funnel that refines a huge range of
possibilities and entry points into one simple end result; a new customer. In every call you make (on the phone or
face to face) there are a variety of outcomes that will occur. There are a variety of questions
(objections) you will face. There
are a variety of decisions that must be made along the way in regard to how to
proceed. The result of every
decision and every action you take will either pull the client toward the center
of the sales funnel resulting in an end sale (close) or, loosing control and
accidentally deviating from the center of the funnel closer to the edge of a
lost opportunity. By the way, lost
opportunities are never completely lost, they simply re-enter the funnel at a
later point in time.
Buy viewing things
this way, a sales person's job becomes strategic rather than reactionary and
predictable rather than guesswork.
All a salesperson ever has to do is gently and skilfully pull the
customer / process through the sales funnel and close up exit paths along the
way. When this is done right, the customer enters the sales funnel at the
bottom and does not ever feel pressure in any way. There are almost infinite ways one can
enter the sales funnel (cold calls, referrals, family etc) but all contacts
should have one result; a new customer.
some illustrations of this point:
You contact a
client, they are extremely busy. You then say "sorry to bother you". And never
call again. - This simple example shows you entered
the funnel at the top but failed to pull the client to the center resulting in a
deeper layer of the funnel. You
instead did not handle the objection at all and fell off the edge of the close
process right after entry.
an example of leading the funnel most of the way down then exiting:
You contact a
client, they are extremely busy. You then say "That's ok, when is a better time
to contact you?" the person than gives you a time to call back. You then call back, set a face to face
meeting but fail to qualify the lead and realise after arriving (or even after
the presentation) that the key decision makers were not invited to the
meeting. You then get the standard
objection of "We must pass this by our boss (or the key decision maker)". - In this example you can then exit the
funnel at this deeper level, or handle this skilfully sill leading customer
toward the final close. It is ok if
you do not know how to handle this objection, you can always re-enter at a later
date where you left off.
I hope I
have communicated myself effectively and illustrated the big picture. The sales
process can be quite extensive. As you bring the client closer and closer to
root of your funnel (refining the approach and resulting in a sale), you will
find many objections will come before you.
If you have done your front talk correctly and built trust in the
relationship, the objections will be more facilitative rather than
oppositional. Either way all
objections can be handled well. In
your career with us, keep a tally of every objection you face and remember how
you handled it. If you resulted in
a positive result, duplicate that success the next time. If you ever face an objection for some
reason that you couldn't figure out how to kill (a negative result), don't worry
you can always re-enter the funnel at a later time, often still at the point
where you temporarily exited.
While out of the funnel you can invest some
mind power and time to figure out the root of the customer's objection and
identify ways to return to the funnel, cancel the objection and turn the lead
into a new happy customer. Once
that is done, duplicate your success the next time around and you will never
have to leave the funnel again.
Your process and approach will continually get refined and you will
always improve. In everything you
do you will either be creating sales success or learning from circumstance and
improving as a consultant. There
for the next time around (even with that same person) you will result in an end
"close" / sale. Either way you
win. With perseverance and applied
strategy, your success rate will always increase and never decrease.
The interesting fact is that as you obtain
mastery over this job you will be able to see the entire funnel even as you are
entering it. You will be able to
see all objections before they occur simply because you have been there before
and know all possible approaches, all possible outcomes and all
possibilities. You become a
seasoned athlete and skilled surgeon of your craft. The chess game reveals itself to you and
there are no longer any surprises waiting along the way. You see all the pieces in play and you
know what you must do to successfully finish the game. In essence, the job becomes easy. That is once again why at first we stick
to specific industries of expertise.
While you are
learning and even while presenting as an experienced consultant, it is truly
important to keep in mind at all times where in the funnel you are and what
direction you are heading. If you
face an objection you can't handle and accidentally jump out of the funnel,
spend just a few minutes to think about:
1) What happened,
2) Why It
3) How can you change your approach to cancel that objection, turn
the situation around and progress closer to the center of the funnel rather than
the outside edge. A customer will
always try to progress the conversation to the outside of the funnel, we simply
return them to the center.
You should never
experience the same objection twice without learning how to handle the objection
in new and creative ways. Therefore
you will never make the same mistake twice and your closing averages will
increase as you gain high levels of experience and skill. If you ever experience the same
objection more than twice and find yourself out of the funnel repeatedly, you
now know that there is something missing or wrong in your approach.
To every objection
there is a solution, let the chess game begin!