What’s your process for reaching new clients? If you’re in sales, you have a funnel. You may not know it, but it’s there. Your funnel is the process that brides or buyers go through from first hearing about you to buying a product. The problem with a funnel that you didn’t know was there is that it’s probably not set up to get you the best results. And done right, a good sales funnel system can keep your ideal clients headed your way without the constant boom-to-bust cycle that so many businesses face.
Step 1: ID your ideal client
You need to know who you’re selling to, because you need to figure out where to find them. Every step of your funnel is to connect with your ideal customer, support them, and build trust. If you can’t prove that you know who they are, what they need, and how you can help, they won’t be buying from you. Sit down and write down everything you can about them so that you can build your funnel with them in mind. Daily life, needs, splurges, community, pain points, hobbies, loves, hates, beliefs, and interests…everything’s fair game. You never know where you may find a way to connect with them.
Step 2: Your USP
The business world seems full of somewhat unhelpful acronyms, but USP is not something you can ignore. It’s your Unique Selling Proposition and you need to be able to get it in front of your ideal customers as soon as you get their attention. You’re doing business in a crowded and noisy world, so you don’t get long to prove that you’re worth their attention. Be clear with yourself about what makes you and your products different and worthwhile so that you can clearly and quickly get that point across to them.
Important point here: This is about them and their problems. You aren’t listing why you’re special, you aren’t listing product specs, or other details that you know but they don’t need to. Find something that solves a problem for them and make sure they understand it. You want to convey the solution and the great feelings they’ll experience when they have it.
Step 3: Build your funnel
Your funnel will be different depending on your product, your customers, and your sales goals, but you need to come up with a flow from start to finish. You can keep it simple:
Email list –> Newsletter –> Newletter –> Offer
Postcard –> Phone call –> Personal email –> Email list –> Newletter –> Offer
Or you can get all web-like and complicated. Generally speaking, the bigger your product and the longer term the relationship, the more touch points you want to build into your funnel. People need to feel like they know and trust you when it’s a big life event or expensive purchase. In the bridal industry, we tend to deal in both. You should have anywhere from 5 to 10 touch points to reach out to new leads.
Ideas for touch points:
Lead generators – These can be a piece of chocolate at a bridal fair or trade show that gets someone in the booth or a great pdf with helpful info to solve a problem. The idea is something they want in exchange for their email so you can get them added to the top of the funnel.
Newsletters/emails – the bread and butter of the funnel. Let them get to know you, Give them a reason to admire your work and trust you. Demonstrate value, even before they give you a penny. You can send inspiration, information, tips, articles, and anything else that may fit with you and your products.
Snail mail – You don’t see too many people use this anymore, but I’m a huge believer in it. It’s personal. It stands out, It makes people feel noticed and important. In a high end industry, it’s a very effective method. I love using postcards with handwritten messages.
Bonuses – These are resources that make their lives easier. Planners, info about helpful events, webinars, introductions and referrals, little gifts. Be creative (but don’t go over the top. You want to look attentive, not desperate)
Phone calls – Pretty self explanatory, but I’ll give you the non-negotiables. First, have a reason for calling (follow up on an email, new info, etc.). Second, have a script, including one in case you get the message machine.
Social Media – This isn’t something you can control as much, but keep in mind that the people you’re moving through your funnel may be seeing your social media posts as well. Keep the message consistent and encouraging!
Products, invitations, and offers – Let them know what you have to offer and if there are any special deals or events happening.
Put them in order
Once you have a short list of things you can send, map out the process. Generally, you want to be more introductory and surfacey with the few couple and get more personal as you go on. Start to draw attention to how you can help them after the first one or two, and build the focus on that as you go. Always give a clear call to action with each step, even if it’s just connecting or getting permission to contact them again.
Make life easier on yourself by having the process written down with scripts that you can easily personalize. Make sure you can track where a lead is in your funnel as well so you don’t let anything fall through the cracks. There are lots of tools you can use for this, like Evernote folders with scripts, Excel docs with your leads and steps, MailChimp automated responders, or Followup.cc to remind you to follow up.
The ultimate goal here is to build a relationship and make it likely that they buy something if it is the right thing for them. You don’t have to sell with each message. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t. Make it clear that you’re always available, Share the info they need and your passion for what you do.
And bottom line, at the end of it all, don’t forget to ask for the sale. That little step can make all the difference in the world.
Marketing and sales processes can be a big task to tackle. If you feel like dramatically increasing your conversion rate and sales would help you reach your goals but you aren’t sure how to get there or you need someone to keep you on track, I’d love to help!