To be honest, if you asked me eight years ago what my company’s business model was or let alone my sales funnel, I would’ve had a funny look on my face. This is probably the same facial expression you would receive from thousands or more entrepreneurs springing up all over the global. In the last four years, of consulting it has been my goal to have not only solid sales funnel for my business model, but for my clients also. Scaling your company is not just staying out the red, it takes understanding the elements of your business sales funnel.
Today, I want to share simple sales funnel concept to help you get a better grip of obtaining and retaining your customer base, be it a product or service company.
Pre-Contact (Your Branding)
If I were to land on your website, social media or newsletter pages today what would I see? Would everything be cohesive, easy to navigate, relatable and most importantly would it reflect who your business is? Most times the answer is no. Especially for new businesses or businesses who lack guidance. No matter if you’re fresh off the boat or been building this empire for a million years your branding aka the way your business appears to others is what draws them in. One of the best compliments I have received is no matter the platform you find my company on, it is the same. In addition to that, I hear I am the same online as I am in person. I highly suggest, having your brand audit so you can understand where you are going wrong. First impressions are lasting ones, make sure when people first discover you, it pulls them in.
Initial Contact (Referral System)
It is very rare for your target audience to just stumble upon you. They are either lead by searching, referrals or heard it through the grapevine. All mine consulting clients discovered me via Instagram and then others were referred to me by existing clients. My question is, do you have a referral system in place that brings people to you. It doesn’t need to be some elaborate beautiful guide on matted paper, but something needs to be put in place. A great idea would be providing your existing customers a first purchase card to provide friends when they receive an order. So, if I order several products from your online store you would include a next purchase card to retain me and then maybe 3 first purchase cards to give to my friends. I hear often people are afraid to ask fro referrals, but if you want your business to thrive I highly suggest you ask your clients. Word of mouth is huge, because people prefer to buy from people they trust.
Your website or lack thereof is what sells your business to others. There are several elements to a website that matter such as; design, navigation, call to action, graphics, photos, & contact page are just a few those. Once you have gotten the fish on the hook doesn’t mean you will be taking it home for dinner. It is important that you have call to actions that direct your new potential customer on what to do. Provide them with the assistant to stay on the hook to either buy your product or your service. This is why fishermen have real live bait and those fancy bait traps to hook the fish. You have lured your potential customer in with, but you must keep them in. Have some friends or family rate your website. Give them questions regarding navigation, loading time, product photos, descriptions, check out, and other areas you want to improve.
In addition to that, what is the checkout process for customers? Are they going to multiple pages to check out or are you redirecting them to Paypal or other third party payment gateways? It is best practice to consilidate checkout to one singular page. You can do this with platforms such as Squarespace or WordPress. Finally, make sure the program you utilize sends automate confirmations for order recieved and shipped. Those are two important elements when it comes to trusting your business.
Your Product or Service
Your product or services are the golden geese who lay the eggs of obtaining and retaining your clients. Question, I want you to be completely honest here. Because the success of your business truly does matters. Would you buy your products or services? Is the price you’re offering for X product worth it? Would you wait until it’s marked down or is it worth it full price? The same goes for your services would you pay yourself for it. This is something that has always been at my core business model. Would I, Tasha Robinson buy my product at X amount or would I hire myself for consulting? At times, there were products I wouldn’t pay that amount for, but discounted I would. That would take me to is this the right product for my store if it would only be purchased at discount. As for services, yes I would pay someone $375 a month for an hour call if they were blunt, honest and guided me in the right direction. I am not a fluff kind of girl and there are a lot of consultants like that. I need facts, stats and a guide of how to take A to Z. I want to be told this isn’t working and what I need to do next. Being honest about the products and services will help you really distinguish what is working for your particular business model.
Once a person purchases either a service or product from you is where so many people drop the ball. They think the cycle is over, but it truly just beings if you’re looking for long-term growth. The customer or client has purchased from you. How does the package arrive at their doorsteps? When branding your company did you include stickers, packing, invoices and more? I remember a long time ago when I order from BlueFly the first thing I noticed was their tissue paper with their logo on it. They had thought of everything when it came to remembering the brand. You might not be able to afford custom tissue paper or boxes, but maybe some ribbon, stickers and of course next purchase cards can help. Another thing must small business owners do not do is follow up to see how the purchase is working for them. I suggest waiting 30 to 60 days to sending an email asking. This shows the customers you care. When it comes to service base business, you can introduce a survey you send after services have been rendered. Allow feedback to be provided on areas that really helped them and where you could’ve done better.
The reason so many creative business owners never make it out the red or past their first year, is their sales funnel or lack thereof. It is important that you start thinking about how you get your customers in, how you keep them and how they can refer others to your business.