The sales funnel confuses more of my clients than even the most complicated WordPress plugin. And I can't blame them. When I started out, I clearly didn't get it either.
Most people can grasp the concept of taking your prospective customer through different phases which eventually leads to the sale. However, what I couldn't wrap my brain around was the fact that different prospects travel through the funnel at different speeds.
Some power through it in record time: "I need some help now. Can you help me? Yes. Cool, here's my card."
Others need to marinate for a bit. They may read your newsletter for a year. Then they send you an email asking a detailed question, which you will promptly reply to.
Then silence. You won't hear back from them for weeks.
Or even years.
My instinct years ago was to use a little water torture, and just ping them every other day until they cried for mercy. To be brutally honest, this technique actually does work and I have closed some deals by leveraging a variation of it - email, call no voicemail, call with voicemail, call no voicemail, drop by their office and leave a card, rinse and repeat.
The downsides are huge though. NOBODY likes to be rushed. Sometimes they need a nudge, or in some cases a push. But rushing someone will inevitably result in a face-plant at the finish line for which YOU will be blamed. Not worth it. Ever.
So what then? Just wait it out?
Nope. Still reach out to them, just slow down a bit and remember this (in fact, I would write it backwards in permanent marker on your forehead so that every time you look in the mirror you will read):
If your prospect is not ready to buy,
then they are not ready to buy.
Seems overly simplistic, I know. Your job as a small biz owner is to be ready to help your prospect when they are ready. The majority of referrals we receive is NOT because I am an oh-so-amazing-marketing-genius. It's because my community appreciates *how* we do business.
We aggressively avoid selling. We don't rush our prospects. We take our time. Then when they are ready, we bust ass and get it done in record time.
"But I need to close some deals NOW!"
In that case, your job is to find prospects who are ready to buy. And if that were easy then everyone would be successful.
However, you can avoid this kind of urgent flailing about in the future if you start panning ahead now. Know that not every one is going to buy on your schedule, and keep the "top of the funnel", i.e. first contacts, full. That way you'll have a steady flow of folks from the top of the funnel to the bottom, and the deals will happen. Keep talking to people, continue reaching out to people in a human way, and be ready to roll when, or even right before, your prospects say go.
If you build it, they will come. When they're good and ready.
See the rest of the commandments here:
10th Commandment - Be Human
9th Commandment - Leave No Interaction on the Table
8th Commandment - Remain Relevant
7th Commandment - Rock Your Niche
6th Commandment - Get Uncomfortable
5th Commandment - Don't Dilute
4th Commandment - Practice Confident Exclusion
3rd Commandment - Don't Rush
2nd Commandment - wouldn't you like to know 😉 Get notified by signing-up here for our monthly newsletter