You already know leads are the life blood of your business. And you’ve probably heard sales funnels are the key to success. But what is a perfect marketing funnel?
Your business is a living organism. Just like the human body, it is driven by repeatable systems, working in harmony to keep it alive and healthy. In this metaphor, leads are the critical nutrients your body needs.
In business, just like in life, the key to success is a repeatable process.
Why do you think franchising is such a successful business model? New business owners can pick up a proven system and run with it. As long as the processes are followed, they are almost guaranteed to be successful.
Regardless of your business, whether it’s financial services, real estate, law, luxury products, info-products or anything else, you are about to learn a powerful process. A set of systems working together to form an integrated marketing process guaranteed to increase your bottom line.
Most businesses don't have formal processes for generating, nurturing, and selling to leads. And even those who do leave critical steps out. Steps which have the potential of skyrocketing their business exponentially.
The best part is, once you’ve learned these processes, they continue to build, improve and grow. And, once mastered, you can repeat them over and over, truly taking your business to the next level.
This sales process includes 7 integrated systems. Each of these systems treats our leads differently, just like parts of our bodies use nutrients differently depending on where they are. While by design, leads flow from step 1 to 7 like a traditional funnel, this system allows them to “loop” back to a previous stage rather than immediately dropping out. I'll explain looping a little more later…
Every sales pipeline starts with traffic. If people aren't seeing you and your business, you can't hope to sell to them. Your prospects need to see you, otherwise it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, you’re going to starve.
In the online world, when we talk about traffic, we usually mean visits to your webpage – through search, pay per click, advertising, social media, purchased mail lists, etc.
But traffic can also mean word of mouth, tradeshows, direct mail, and other offline channels. Many companies forget those, or treat them separately from their online marketing, which is a mistake.
2. Lead Conversion
Conversion systems move your prospects along to the next step in the buying process. In a lead conversion, we are capturing information from our traffic so we can sell or market to them.
This is the first place many companies screw up. They throw these leads to their sales team who pounce on them immediately – trying to close the deal and collect money. Big mistake.
You won’t hear this in most conversion discussions, but in addition to collecting information, this is also a critical filtering point. You have 2 different types of leads – with infinite shades in between. There’s warm leads, and hot leads.
This conversion step is your chance to arrange your leads in different funnels depending on how “hot” they are. A hot lead may fill out an inquiry form, and we can filter them directly to sales (skipping component 3 below).
A warm lead may just want information from a free report. Just like your digestive system filters nutrients in different directions, your conversion source (like your website) should treat different leads differently.
3. Lead Nurturing
The vast majority of visitors to your site (or readers of your direct mail, or people you meet at a trade show) aren’t ready to buy – yet. They need to know, like and trust you first. They are not ready to talk to a salesperson, and they may in fact be turned off if you pounce too early.
Lead nurturing might involve email autoresponders, or newsletters. Alternatively you could give away free trial software, information, direct mail, postcards, etc. Your goal is to build confidence in your company and / or product or service.
As leads move through the nurturing process, various activities, such as the filling out of an inquiry form, can trigger these leads to be passed off to sales (or a sales page) if they hit a threshold of a lead score. I talk more about lead scoring here.
Finally, the conversion system everyone loves – a sale. Your lead finally has enough confidence in you to purchase your product or service. Congratulations.
For most companies though, this is where the process stops.
If this is the end of your sales funnel, you are leaving gobs of money on the table. The remaining steps mean the difference between your business surviving…
Or being the healthy jock (or jocket) athlete everyone wants to be around.
5. Delivery / Fulfillment
After the sale, you need to deliver on your promise.
Did I say deliver on your process?
I mean you need to knock it out of the park…
For all the next systems we’ll cover to function, you need to over deliver on every promise you made. If you promised a 6% gain, deliver 8%. If you said shipping would take 4 weeks, get it there in 2.
6. Up Sell
Up sells are golden tickets. Why do you think MacDonald’s tries so hard to upsize you on fries?
The easiest customer you’ll ever sell to is the customer you already gained. And over delivered to.
What we call backend purchases are where the diamonds are. And these are usually much larger than initial purchases.
Remember I said the best lead is a customer you already have? Well, the second best is the lead referred to you.
You probably don’t have a referral system in place. I know, because most businesses miss this critical step. If you don’t, you’re missing out.
Referrals are actually a traffic source. So, that’s the system referral leads hit first. The amazing thing about referral leads is – they often skip conversions and nurturing systems all together and move directly into the sales step.
While many consultants talk about sales funnels, no one talks about what to do when one of the conversions fails.
With these 7 integrated systems; you simply loop the lead back to appropriate component of your system. That way, you are less likely to lose them completely and have a better shot at warming them up.
For example, if a prospect speaks to a salesman but he doesn’t close. Add them back to your lead nurturing system. If you attempt an up sell but they don't buy – nurture them some more, etc.
By treating your leads like nutrients, you avoid the “push ‘em” through the funnel mentality. Like in the human body, each component of your campaign will run repeatable, proven steps. Delivering the right information or content based on where your leads are at in the buying process.
When prospects finally drop out, you can feel confident they were never going to become customers anyway.
By having a system like this in place, you never have to “guess” how ready your leads are to buy. And your sales and marketing staff know exactly the activities they should be covering for each lead.
You can also hone and tweak your sales and marketing process over time.
This might sound like a load of work. And it is. But it’s worth it. And you will increase your sales and bottom line.
The great new is, most of this can be automated. After setting this up once, your sales staff can focus energy on closing only ready to purchase prospects. Not wasting their time on freebie hunters.
Automating this entire process is an advanced topic, but I can help. Click here to schedule a free consultation and we'll chat about your specific situation. If I have time in my schedule, and we feel we are a good fit for each other, we can automate your entire sales system, guaranteeing you bigger results.
If not, you'll walk away with a consultation worth at least $297. And you can implement the pieces you find valuable on your own.
A repeatable, proven process for finding and gathering leads and turning them into sales is the key to business success. Get started immediately.