SALES FUNNEL STAGES FOR A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
Your online business needs a sales funnel to be able to convert website visitors into paying customers. Sales funnel is a journey your business prospect makes from point of first contact with you until a completed purchase. It involves turning a lead who has no prior experience with a brand into a converting customer. The lead gets to learn more about the company and its services and products as she passes through one stage to another.
The sales funneling analogy is used because a large number of potential customers may begin at the top-end of the sales process, but only a fraction of these people actually end up making a purchase. There are multiple sales funnel stages, each implementing different tactics that will take the lead onto the next stage of the funnel, getting closer to a sale. It is obvious that the first step is about getting more traffic traffic to your site because without traffic, the other stages of the sales funneling will not happen so we shall not include it. This can be done by creating SEO-friendly content, publishing white papers and getting backlinks.
Under this stage, your prospect or lead is blank about your services or products. She probably just visited your website which they accidentally just found from an ad, Google search, a post shared on social media or another traffic source and this is their first interaction with you.
Under this stage, the prospect is showing a lot of interest in your website and are spending a lot of time exploring all the pages of your business website, trying to learn as much about who your company is and its products and services as possible. The prospect even goes another stage to follow you on social media, subscribe to your list, read your blog and read reviews from past customers.
This stage involves your lead evaluating your services based on the information or opinions he/she has gathered. she/he might reach out to your competitors too to compare the alternatives. Also your customer service or sales person might be contacted to get a quote and ask specific questions about one’s products or services.
Decision and Negotiation
After all the evaluations and deliberations, at this stage, your prospects or lead decide to purchase your products or services. Under this stage, sales offers are made and a lot of attention is on what you offer. This is also the stage where negotiations take place until a price and terms of service are agreed upon by both parties and a contract is made.
Here, the prospect is becoming a customer by finalizing the deal with you, products and services are exchanged for an agreed payment and the prospect is becoming a customer. Remember, this is not the final stage of your sales funnel. The sales funnel is not only about making a sale, it is also making your customer come to you for another sale and that brings us to our next stage.
Most of the purchases or contracts are made to cover a period of time or probably you have other extra services that you offer that your customer could be interested in the near future, so once you have closed the sale, your job is not done. You need to follow up and keep in contact with your customers. Not only to retain them for potential repeat business but for referrals as well. The customer should choose to make another purchase with you once the contract expires or if they need the extra services you offer. Also retaining current customers is six to seven times less costly than acquiring new ones and maintaining relationships is key.
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