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Sales funnel: How to turn prospects into customers

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Sales funnel: How to turn prospects into customers

You've probably heard the term "sales funnel" before. And you probably already benefit from the so-called sales funnel, even if you don't use it consciously (yet). Because as a self-employed person or entrepreneur, you usually use a consumer-oriented marketing model to acquire new customers. No matter what this model looks like, it is part of the sales funnel. So that you can soon use it consciously and easily turn prospects into new customers, we'll show you everything you need to know about the practical use of the purchase funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

In concrete terms, you can imagine the funnel like a holey funnel that you fill with water. Lots of water flows in at the top. On the way down, however, liquid is lost. Instead of water, you now put in leads or contacts that are interesting to you as potential customers. While some of them splash through the funnel, others jump off. So you're losing prospects. That's perfectly normal, because in the end, of course, not everyone buys your product. Only a small percentage of the contacts you initially put into the funnel decide to buy. In short, only prospects you can really convince on their way through the funnel turn into customers.

Sales Funnel: What is a Customer Journey?

This path that your customers go through is called the customer journey. Accordingly, your goal should be to make the so-called customer journey as convincing as possible so that as many buyers as possible remain at the end of the sales funnel. The customer journey can be divided into five phases, which will definitely sound familiar to you:

1. awareness

Your potential customers have a problem that they can't solve themselves. This awareness creates a need. Now you come into play by offering the optimal solution to the problem.

2. consideration

Prospects think about how they can best solve the problem and what options and alternatives are available. To perfectly meet them at this point, you need to think about how you can best satisfy their need for a solution. After all, you want to avoid customers choosing your competitors or rivals.

3. conversion (conversion)

You've convinced the prospect and they decide to buy from you. This is where it gets a little more complicated, because a conversion doesn't necessarily equate to a purchase. Depending on how you define conversion, it can also stand for leaving contact information (leads), newsletter signups, or similar actions.

In these cases, the sales funnel would expand somewhat, because the actual purchase would only come a few steps later. As an example, however, we refer to an example in which the first conversion is already a purchase. This is the case in online shops, for example. The prospects buy your solution and thus become customers.

4. retention (preservation)

If your customers are satisfied, they will usually buy a second time. At this point, it's important to nurture the relationship so that you stay in your customers' minds for the long term.

5. advocacy

If you have really inspired your customers, then they will optimally recommend you to their friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Great, it couldn't be better! Be sure to check out our magazine article "Referral marketing: How to make acquisition a no-brainer" an.

Importance for your Sales-Funnel

What the Customer Journey can do for your sales funnel as an Self-employed or entrepreneur means? That you can sometimes expect a long, wild journey from your customers. Because when you're looking for a solution, you don't usually choose the first option that comes along. Instead, they think about and consider various options, weigh them up and compare them. They ask for several offers and only make a decision after careful consideration. So a customer journey is not linear, but requires a lot of sensitivity, sales skills and touch points with potential customers from you as an entrepreneur. On average, it takes seven contacts for a prospect to become a buyer.

Advantages of the Sales-Funnel

Is the whole effort even worth it? It is indeed worth it, because the benefits of a strategic funnel structure are immense. If you optimize the process, this leads to better efficiency and a higher customer lifetime value. So not only do you get more customers, but you also make more money from each one. You also benefit from measurability: you know in which phases you are particularly successful and you know your figures. This in turn allows you to make forecasts about future sales and gives you greater planning security.

Creation of a sales funnel

You can already create a simple funnel by dividing potential customers into three stages:

1. Website visitors

Attract new prospects with good content so they inevitably end up on your website.

2. contacts (leads)

Now collect contact details of your visitors, for example their email addresses. This works especially well if you offer free e-books or newsletters, for example. Remember to obtain consent for the processing of personal data using the double opt-in procedure.

3. customers

Provide your contacts with good content via email so that they end up buying your solution and becoming customers.

Of course, there are also more complex funnels that contain many more intermediate steps. For the beginning, however, we recommend not making it more complicated than necessary. If your potential customers or your product or service require additional intermediate steps, you can always add them later if necessary.

Conclusion on the Sales-Funnel

Ultimately, a funnel represents the classic buying process. The more strategically you proceed, the higher the chance that you will achieve success right at the beginning. As with many other marketing activities, however, the sales funnel also requires testing, testing, testing. Guide prospects from one stage to the next and offer the perfect solution to their problem. In this way, you are guaranteed to turn interested parties into new customers within a short period of time. We wish you much success!

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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