- April 10, 2018
- Posted by: Pattraco
- Category: Innovation
(A blog by Ishana Luthra)
“My sales are stuck at what it was a year ago!” – Is that you? If yes, then you could be a victim of what I call as, The-Upside-Down-Sales-Funnel and you’re reading something valuable now.
Have you ever seen a funnel? A funnel has the capacity to draw more volume and streamline into a channel. That’s how businesses should be – gather all, leave none. But what if you keep the funnel upside down? It’s gather some, leave most – in that case.
While I worked closely with many of my mentees, I realized an upside down sales funnel sometimes created most troubles in increasing sales. Here are my findings, which are truly interesting.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE WHEN YOUR SALES FUNNEL IS UPSIDE DOWN:
You have a customer who is keen to buy your product or service, however the way they enter your buying process is not well-defined. This makes most entrepreneurs lose out on probable sales, thereby making them stagnant on what they already make.
For example, you run a flower shop. You take custom orders for occasions and specialize in designer arrangements. A prospective client calls your store to enquire about an arrangement, but no one answers her call in one go (mistake 1). You’re lucky, she calls again and the store manager or you answered the call. You tell her the standard arrangement would cost $100. She wanted to know prices of exotic red water lilies in the arrangement; you explain it could be extra $50 but you seek time to get back to her with the exact information. It’s over 6 hours now and she hasn’t received a call back (mistake 2). The customer loses interest in your service, and contacts a second vendor to fulfill the need. You could have still managed to get her back by doing a follow-up call, but the absence of the same drifted the sale to your competitor (mistake 3).
This is an example of a bad sales funnel. In this scenario, had you been vigilant of the first call the client made to your store, she would have retained trust in the professionalism of your store. She was willing to give you sales worth $150 but a missing sales channel, diverted her to another vendor.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MY BUSINESS?
A sales funnel is essential whether you have a product or a service. A well-defined way to dealing with incoming inquiries makes sure you don’t lose on probable sales. Please know one sale has the chances of generating the next few sales as well. In the world so well connected on social media these days, having good reviews can help you. Your ability to generate a small sale also – can get you great reviews and positive outcomes.
The process of reaching your business, needs to well defined for any customer.
HOW DO I CREATE A GOOD SALES FUNNEL?
Your business could be operating in offline or online modes. Whether your sales are driven through online or offline media, you need to break down the buying process into smaller parts or micro-processes to improve on it.
Step 1: Draw a flow chart of your buying process. Mention the smaller steps as well, to identify where the problem is.
a. customer enters store
b. customer meets store representative
c. customer explores product range
d. customer discusses product with store representative
e. …and so on!
I recommend using a pen and a paper to do this, unless you can master the flowchart on your laptop as well.
In an online store scenario, you could use Google Analytics to know user behavior and what pages they go to by studying the data.
Step 2: Mention the time taken for a micro-process to be completed in your flow-chart. For example, customer explores product range (4-6 minutes). This will help you understand how your customer is purchasing at your store. This will also help you understand what part of the buying process can be made more comfortable (where your customer is spending most time).
Step 3: Next identify, which micro-process determines the decision to purchase for a customer. For example, customer’s discussion with the store manager about the product could be a decision making step for them. If you are having too many customers walk into the store but very little sales, with this step you will be able to identify what is influencing their decision to buy or not buy at all.
Step 4: Moving on, identify the micro-processes of your checkout or payment process. For example, customer stands in queue to pay, customer chooses card or cash option, customer gets goods, customer collects bill, customer moves out of the store. Under this, try to identify what is that can make a prospective customer not buy – for example, is it a long queue or absence of credit card machine? Identify what is making the customer not buy from you.
Step 5: After describing the purchase process, identify areas you can change that will make your sales funnel easy flowing. For example, if a long billing queue is an issue can you have a store representative process the bill until the customer is seated comfortably? Think like a customer and walk through the process; and design changes in the funnel.
Please know, every buyer is a human being like you and me. And real people are governed by emotions during the buying process. If the buying process allows mistrust, doubt, fear of loss or is more time consuming vs. it’s worth, your brand is sure to lose out on valuable sales.
There can also be intrinsic nuances of your business that influence your sales funnel. A careful examination will help you identify those.
Don’t keep your sales funnel upside down. You could just be missing out on a lot of money.
If you think, you need help with this, share your sales funnel flowchart and questions with me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to help.
Until then to your growth,