Do You Have a Sales Funnel Strategy?
Welcome to another edition of my podcast. Now, in the last podcast episode, I talked to you about the five types of salespeople. And I told you how the best salespeople of the world were those who focused on funnel-based selling– meaning they are tracking their activity at every step of the sales process and at the end of the day, the week, the month, the year, they can give you numbers in terms of how many people they were talking to, what kind of activity they had, and most importantly, the most important activity, of course, is how much they made in sales.
But what you find, is that the people who are only focused on results are actually not as good in terms of the end result, as those who focus on every step of the funnel. And this is something you see because I’ve talked to enough salespeople and I’ve hired enough salespeople and have them working for me.
At this point, I probably have twenty different salespeople at various companies working for me. And I see what works and what doesn’t work.
And at one point, I managed the team of over one hundred and fifty salespeople across the entire United States and let me tell you; these were the facts that made the difference between the best salespeople and unfortunately those who didn’t quite succeed.
But what I wanna talk to you about today is something totally unique that I don’t usually talk about. In fact, I have a board of directors group. These are a group of businesspeople that I talk to, and I taught them about the sales funnel.
But none of them have heard this particular concept, which is a concept of taking your sales funnel down to just four steps.
Now, if you’re member of my board of directors and you’ve been trained by me on sales funnels, you’re going hear this, and you’re going go. “Arman, why didn’t you tell me this before, because I’ve been struggling with this stuff for so long and now you’re finally telling me we can break it down in the four simple steps?”
Yes, I’m sorry to break it to you members, but yes, we can break it down into four simple steps. Now, in certain businesses, you may wanna have more, but if you go with just simple four steps, you can have an incredibly effective sales funnel that would get the results that you want, and it makes it easy to track.
The Definition of the Sales Funnel Process
So first, let me tell you what a sales funnel is, for those of you who don’t know, what a sales funnel is simply saying when you look at a funnel, the bottom of a funnel is small and the top of the funnel is big. And so all the sales funnel tells you is that look, it’s not a pipe. It’s not that you have a certain number of people coming and that same number of people go out on the other hand.
What you have is you have a bunch of people who are out there who could potentially be your clients and then at the end of the day, only a certain number of them end up being your client.
Right, in the business, you can see this. I say, for example, if you’re going out, you’re doing outside sales, you might need to knock on a hundred doors, and at the end of the day, you might get two sales, so that would mean you started with a hundred people at the top of your funnel and you ended up a two at the bottom.
The Four Sales Funnel Stages
But what a sales funnel does is – it tells you that there are steps along the way that you can be tracking. And by tracking those different aspects of your sales process, what it allows you to do is find out what were your opportunities for improvement are. And find out what aspects of your sales process are working and what is not working.
So, let’s get right into and talk about this in the most simple way that we possibly can, by taking your sales funnel breaking it down in the four simple steps:
Step 1 – Prospecting
Step 1 is Prospecting. What that means is that the people at the top of your sales funnel, we’re going call them prospects.
What is a prospect? Well, a prospect, you can define as someone you get in front of. Now, depending on if you do outside sales, inside sales, you’re in retail, or what you’re in. It doesn’t really matter.
In a retail store, your prospects would be everybody who walks in the door.
In outside selling, your prospects would be the people on a specific area. Let’s say you go door to door selling solar panels, well, the number of homes in a particular complex that you knock on, right, those would be your prospects.
When you’re doing inside sales, and you’re making calls going out, whether the number of calls you make, right or the people you get on the phone, those might be your prospects.
But the bottom line is in any business you have a certain number of people you get in front of, not today, with marketing and social media marketing especially, you know Facebook gives you actual data on how many people are watching your videos.
Right, so that kind of thing is something you could track very easily online these days, because you’re seeing how many prospects, you have on your website, using analytics tools, you can actually see how many people are visiting your website. Those are your prospects.
So, what you want to do is you wanna be clear on how many people you are actually getting into the top of your sales funnel.
Now, in the last episode, we talked about the different types of salespeople and we talked about the top of the funnel. We said the people who only focused on the top of the funnel are what, yes they’re prayer-based sellers, because they talk to as many people as possible, praying that those who turn into sales.
And well, that’s not the worst kind of selling, it’s better than actually a couple of other ones, it’s definitely not the best.
So, once you prospected, what’s the next step?
Step 2 – Qualifying
Step 2: Well, from prospecting, you get to what is called a qualified lead. A qualified lead is someone who you prospected to, and you have identified as someone who could potentially utilize your products or services.
And at this point, in order to make this connect combines step, I’m going also say that they have to know who you are, and sort of have access to your information. Meaning- your name and your phone number, website address, email address, whatever it is that their method of contact is with you.
So now you’ve taken all these prospects, and you’ve identified them as a qualified lead, meaning if you’re going door to door selling solar panels as the example was, you’ve knocked on someone’s door, they’ve answered the door, they’re standing in front of you, and you’ve asked them, “Do you have solar panels on your home?”
And they say “no”, and you say “Have you ever thought about the fact, that in selling solar panels might save you money, and make you more environmentally-friendly?” and they don’t shut the door on your face. At this point, you might possibly have a qualified lead on your hands.
Do you see the difference how we took someone from a prospect to a qualified lead? All it is is going from sort of having a big huge wide net to saying, “Ok, how many of these people can I actually talk to?”
So if you’re in retail, right, and someone walks into your retail store, let’s say again, I’ll give you the Nordstrom example, if you’re in a Nordstrom shoe department, and somebody walks in, right, they’re a prospect. But if they get to your department and they walk in and they look at the shoes, hey, that might be a qualified lead. If they turning to go to the bathing suit section, that may not necessarily be a qualified lead for you.
Now, what you see is the best salespeople in the world figure out how to make that bathing suit person a qualified lead for the shoe department. But how you sell is completely different story.
Today, I’m going talk to you about the steps of the sale.
So we’ve gone from prospecting, and having prospects, to now having qualified leads, which again, is that person who’s willing to at least hear you out and not shut the door on your face, right. That’s the qualified lead. Now, what’s the next step?
Step 3 – Making the Offer
What do you do with your qualified leads? You push them one more step down the sales funnel and now, call this the proposal step. Right, this is the step where the hand-off happens, where you actually put a decision in front of the person. You give him something where they can now make a decision about whether they wanna do business with you or not.
This is the third step of the FOUR STEPS SALES FUNNEL. So you’ve prospected, again for the solar example, you’ve knocked on their door, they’ve answered the door, didn’t shut the door on your face, they don’t already have solar panels up on their house, and now you talked to them about it.
You let them know about your products or service, you give him ideas of how this is going save your money, you’ve given them all this information and now you say, “look, here’s what we can do for you. For you we can install this many solar panels, it’s going to take this much time and it’s going cost you this much money.”
So, the proposal is where you give them all the information they need to make a decision. Once you’ve done that, you’re in the proposal stage. Meaning the ball is now on the potential client’s court, right. Now of course, the best salespeople of the world don’t stop at that. They realized that even though the ball is on the potential customer’s court, they still need to work their butt off to make that sale happen. But, you’ve now gone to the third step of selling.
So let’s review, you’ve got prospects, and you turn your prospects into qualified leads. You’ve got qualified leads; you’ve then put a proposal in front of them.
Step 4 – Closing the Sale
And finally the fourth step is the close. You close them. You make the sale. You get money in the bank and you’re done. That’s what the four steps of the sales process are. Now of course the best salespeople of the world, are not done at step number four.
They have other steps after this because the way that they do it is they wanna get repeat business, they wanna get referred business, and all of that other stuff.
But in the simplest way, what I’ve done for you here and again for my board of directors’ members who heard me talking about this so many times, I can feel your head spinning right now, go on, “my goodness, I had nine steps on my sales funnel, thank you Arman for simplifying it to four.”
Well, if you have nine steps and it’s working for you, stick with it. But if you tried to track your sales funnel, and you’ve struggled because you felt like my goodness, there is just too much to track. I’ve now simplified it in into four simple steps.
Marketing Sales Funnel Systems in Action
So let me take this now and give you a couple different industry examples. One example would be real estate. Let’s say you’re in the business of selling houses, right. What you’re going need to do is do prospecting. The best way to do prospecting is either do marketing online or make cold calls. So let’s say you’re making cold calls.
When you cold-called let’s say a hundred people, those are your prospects. Now a qualified lead would be someone who says for example, “yes, you know, I would consider selling my house right now. I understand that inventory is low and maybe this is a good time for me to sell. Sure, I’d be happy to talk to you about it.”
You’ve now have a qualified lead. Now you take that person, you meet with them in person, as most real estate agents do, to get a listing. And you sit with them, you go through the stuff with them at their kitchen, table or whatever and you put a proposal in front of them.
“Hey look, this is what it’s going take for me to lease your house.”
You’ve gone to step three. And finally when they say “yes,” they sign the dotted line, they list the home with you, that my friends is when you have a close, right.
You can see this in just about every single industry in every place that you go to. They’re these four steps and again, there can be a lot of other steps in between this.
But the best salespeople in the world when you asked them how did your day go, they give you numbers about a funnel. So, for example, the best sales people might say, “You know today I made a hundred cold calls.
I was really good because I got ten qualified leads. Also in the evening, I wanna make three presentations and man, I’m so excited because this week, I’ve already made two sales.”
See, they’re telling you the different parts of the sales funnel. So, get out there, take this sales funnel concept. Put it to use out there everyday and if you’re in business, and you think you’re not a salesperson, let me tell you, anybody who loves a product or service or anyone who cares about their client is going be about selling because how else are you going let the world take advantage of the incredible things that you have.
For me this podcast is an amazing thing. But look, if we weren’t out there selling this podcast, even though it’s free, and people can download it for free and do whatever they want with it, we stop to get after and sell it. Otherwise, no one’s going know about it.
So, whatever your product or service is, get out there. Recognize just how important it is for you to sell and understand that if you create a structured sales funnel system, using the simple four steps sales funnel, you are going to be able to massively increase your sales. And the important things which your sales funnel is this, once you started up, you got to track the numbers.
So at any point, I gotta be able to tell you, how many people are in the proposal stage, right. And you should be able to give an answer. I should be able to tell you, “Hey, how many qualified leads did you get this week? ” And you should be able to answer that, “How many people did you prospect to this week?”
You should be able to answer that. And of course, “how much business did you close?” You better be able to answer that.
But if you can answer these four steps, prospecting, qualified leads, proposal, and close, I guarantee you, you’re ahead of 98% of the salespeople I’ve met and I’ve managed in my life. Hey guys, look, get out there, I say, guys, of course, guys and gals, everybody that listens to this podcast, get out there and kick some butt with your business.
I wanna see you reach levels in life that you’ve never imagined. Get out there and take the awesome things that you’ve done, the products and services that you’ve created, and let’s offer them to the world to make this world a better place.
I love you all and as always in business and life, in relationships and in everything else that you do, always remember to lead with your heart.