Successful Sales Funnels Need Filling Constantly – 5 Proven Tactics to Keep Yours Full
A sales funnel is a fairly simple concept really. You fill it from the top, and push your leads and prospects closer to the prize; buying your product or service at the bottom.
Nurturing that sales funnel effectively is the hallmark of a successful business, and a tool like Sales Radar can make sure you’re doing that.
But you can’t nurture thin air. You can’t build relationships with no one. You need to keep filling that funnel from the top, as we sure you’ve heard. But what does that mean exactly, and how do you do it?
There are some really simple ways in which successful businesses go about filling their funnels. Here are the ones we know and love with some simple tips to make them all work more effectively.
Here are five proven tactics to fill your sales funnel – over and over again
Talking to strangers
Business networking is one of the most obvious ways to get people into the top of your funnel. There are many events and organisations that allow you go and meet other business owners who might need what you sell. Google local networking events and try a few out before deciding which one(s) work best for your personality and your business.
Like all marketing though, there are wrong and right ways to do it.
Network; don’t sell.
Aim to talk to strangers and take an interest in them. Start an interesting conversation and learn to spot the signs that they might just need what you have to offer. Approaching networking with a sales head on can fail miserably. No one wants to talk to people if they seem desperate and only keen to sell.
Talk to people for the sake of talking to them and maybe add them to your email list if you’re good out sending valuable or interesting content that will help them. Make sure you get permission first as you don’t want to appear spammy.
Work on your elevator pitch.
At many networking events you’ll get a chance to tell the people in the room (in a very short amount of time) what it is you do.
Even if you don’t get this chance, it’s a good idea to create the perfect explanation of what you do in just a few sentences. A good rule of thumb with this is to be able to explain the value you add with your product or service in a tweet or an old-fashioned text of just 140 characters. This is sometimes called the elevator pitch, as it should be short enough to explain in less than a minute. Keep it simple and you’ll be more memorable.
If you get the chance to speak at events then go for it. Being the speaker at any event is a great way to gather leads as you’ll impact on the event more than anyone else.
Give some good value and help the audience with a few tips related to what you do. If you prove your expertise you’ll build trust and that’s what networking is all about.
One of the main reasons that you won’t be successful with networking is that you see the conversations you have at meetings as the end, rather than the beginning of the conversation.
After any conversation you have at a networking meeting, try to follow up with an email, call, or maybe even arrange a coffee if you feel you could help each other further. Even if that person clearly doesn’t need your business right now, they could introduce you to your next client or they could need you in future.
It can be easy to go to a networking meeting and fall into the trap of only going for the sake of your business. A really good networker will see it as a good chance to be part of a community and help that community by linking people up.
A person who successfully connects people within their network to others will get a lot more for their business purely by the rule of reciprocity. Others will simply want to pay you back for your referrals. It’s good business karma!
Be an exhibitionist!
An exhibition or business show is a great way to gather many business cards, leads and connections at one time. Having an eye-catching stand and generating lots of small conversations about your business is a proven way to get your business, product or service out there.
Here are some tips for successful lead generation at an exhibition:
Stand out and stand up!
It goes without saying that if you’re going to exhibit at a show then you’ll need to go the extra mile if you want it to be successful. They will be lots of other businesses at the show so you’ll be competing for attention from the word go.
Get your stand designed to attract the right people and also get something on your stand that pulls people towards it rather than drive them away. At a recent show, we employed a magician to perform card tricks with business cards to help us show off our business card scanning app. Not only did we have a queue of people but we also gained a lot of business cards which then became fresh leads for our funnel.
Oh… and lose the chairs. Nothing says, “I can’t be bothered to talk to you” than disinterested people looking at their phones sat on chairs. Sorry, but perhaps invest in some comfortable shoes for the day.
Follow up (again).
Yes, we’re back to following up. Just like networking, exhibiting will require you to follow up and continue all those conversations. You might have some specific warm leads to chase or maybe just some ‘getting to know you’ ones. Treat each category of conversation differently and have a system in place to make it simple, but fast. Following up after a show needs to be done fairly quickly so you’re still fresh in their minds.
Creating helpful content like blogs, vlogs, videos and eBooks is still a great way to gain new leads and contacts. You can create content to give away in exchange for email addresses and then start to build the relationship with those leads on email, mail, or even with more products.
Just like any other relationship building strategy, don’t go right for the hard sell. Send out good content and follow it up with useful emails and gently upsell them to bigger and better things where appropriate.
Facebook adverts are by far the cheapest and most effective way to get your content seen by relevant contacts. The best way to do this is think about your ideal prospect (also called customer personas) and create content, ads, and targeted audiences for them. You need to create content and adverts so they’re unmissable and perfect for your prospect when they’re scrolling on Facebook. Think about what ‘pain’ they’re in and how you can help, and start from there.
Website lead magnets.
You’ll no doubt be getting traffic to your website, so don’t let them leave without giving you a chance to help them. Creating a free download or eBook for your website can be a really good way to capture some emails from visitors. As with any of this marketing you’ll need to consider what happens after they get your great download. Research suggests that not everyone will read it, so it’s more about the follow up than the content they get first.
Social media is a big driver of traffic to a website, brand or business – but it can be a leaky funnel if you’re not careful. Social media conversations are a good indication of interest – especially at a business show – but it’s easy to lose sight of all these conversations.
Get them on your list.
Your email list could be the next part of your funnel from social media. Gaining followers and fans is great, but email addresses are still more important for a business. It’s unlikely Facebook will stop tomorrow, but who knows what could happen in future. You’ll always own those emails (unless they unsubscribe) so it pays to get them onto your list if you can.
Build Twitter lists.
At least if you gather all your prospects up into a list on Twitter you’ll have them in one place. This is a good way to approach a show, seminar, or event. Anyone you talk to should be added to a specific list. A really simple way to do this at an expo would be to have a selfie or personalised hashtag competition on your stand and then after the show go back on your hashtag and add them from there.
Targeted Facebook Ads.
Get your adverts in front of the right people and then gather their email addresses for your funnel.
Conversations in groups.
Getting involved in relevant conversations online may well be time-consuming but it really works over time. Find groups where you know you’ll add value and aim to get your name and brand noticed by offering help and advice, and being there to respond to interesting posts. Being an active member of your group will really help you when you post link to your free content, website, Facebook page, or products and services.
If you have a free trial of something you offer then this could work well for gathering leads too. But (and it’s a big but) you’ll need to be an active member in groups. Just posting a link occasionally won’t work, as there will be lots of trust building already going on there already and you’ll just get ignored by most people.
Keep filling it up, it leaks from the sides…
The harsh fact about a sales funnel is that it leaks at every step. Try as you might, you won’t get everyone who comes into your funnel to buy from you at the bottom of it. Many of them will leave at various points in your sales funnel. This is why you must keep on topping it up with fresh leads, and also why you should nurture your funnel, not attack it.
Put in place a good system to follow up, engage, and spot when it’s time to go for the sale.
Not everyone will move at the same pace and not everyone will buy – that’s just how business works.
Using a system like Sales Radar will really help you make the most of all your leads and make sure you don’t miss any opportunities… but it’s up to you to keep it topped up!