Know Where Your Customers Are!
Workshop Two of the Pitch Programme is about knowing who your customers are, where they are coming from and how you engage with them, all plays a vital role in building and growing your business. Many businesses – be them large, small, independent sole traders, creatives, or sales and service professionals spend time understanding where their customers are. Not only looking at where they physically are, drawing up a map of who to target locally and nationally and making sure that they are the right kind of customer for them. Also, looking at where they are mentally along a buying process. By assessing where the customer is in the buying process, they can then carefully manage each customer to the next stage of the process to eventually turn them in to a customer.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is the buying process, or the stages that businesses lead customers through when purchasing products or services. Typical sales funnels are divided up into multiple steps. These steps can be different for each buyer or even for each business selling – in essence they are very similar. Here is a simple six step sales funnel to have a think about:
Awareness Phase – a time in which prospects (your new customer), becomes aware of the product or service you offer. At this stage they may, or may not, know that they may need that product or service. This is generally where your marketing efforts go towards generating awareness.
Interest Phase– your new prospect begins to show interest in the product or service that you have to offer, they may have contacted you or you may have contacted them.
Needs Phase – It is during this stage that the prospect identifies an actual need for your product or service. This can either be led by you consulting with them or them recognising this need themselves. It is now that you have the opportunity to build value around your product or service and allow the prospect to see you as being able to deliver on their needs.
Compare Phase– At this time the prospect begins to look around at alternative options and examines competitors’ solutions as they move towards a buying decision.
Decision to Buy Phase– The prospect has reached a decision to buy and now you can start negotiating on the finer details of the offering.
Purchase Phase– This is the good bit; you have done all the work and the prospect is now a customer and paying you for your product or service.
For any business wishing to grow and bring on new customers it is important to evaluate how well you do at each stage. If you can look at each part and understand at which point you may be losing prospects, then you have the opportunity to make that stage stronger and lead the prospect through the process.
A great way to do this is to think of each stage as a step up a ladder, or a staircase, to them being your customer. Think of every interaction with them being of value in guiding them along to becoming your customer. Each step needs to have a goal and purpose. Whether it be to build a relationship, or to sign a deal, or present solutions or create awareness. As long as there is a goal to each step – you are moving in the right direction.
Great salespeople know where their customers are situated within the sales funnel. They know what is in the pipeline and where they can put their efforts for maximum effect. And, for those of us that are not actual salespeople, we too can have a great sales funnel. It can be a quick and easy way to get new customers whilst being able to deliver on the product or service that you are so good at.