Small Business Sales Funnels: A Step-by-Step Guide

sales funnels

Funnels are useful things. They keep you from spilling motor oil or transmission fluid all over the engine of your car. They’re helpful in kitchens and science labs alike. And, used correctly, they can help take your small business to new levels!

A sales funnel is a term that explains how to take potential customers from browsers to buyers. They’re fairly simple to set up, can be tweaked for use with virtually any product or service, and can be repurposed time and time again.

Here’s your step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Source Your Leads

The first step in a sales funnel is to begin filling it with your leads. This is often called the “awareness stage.” While you don’t want to cast too wide a net, you also shouldn’t be too picky right now. The goal is to get as many people as possible to the end of the funnel and out the bottom, but you’re going to lose a large percent of them along the way anyway, so the more, the merrier at this stage.

This is where a potential customer first becomes aware of your brand. They might have stumbled on your blog, walked by your brick-and-mortar shop, or clicked on a social media post shared by a friend. They’re probably at the very beginning of the buying cycle and are very susceptible to a potential wooing.

In short, it’s time for introductions, and your handshake had best be welcoming and firm. First impressions matter!

Step 2: Qualify Your Leads

Now that you have a good idea of exactly who you’re marketing to, it’s time to qualify them. The test is pass or fail and they won’t even need a No. 2 pencil. You’re about to see how far your funnel-dwellers will go for your small business.

Will they give up their contact info for a gated resource like an eBook or white paper? Click through an email and register for your site? Interact with your chatbots on Facebook or sign up to attend a free webinar?

If they’re willing to take action, no matter how small, you can consider them “qualified” to continue circling down your sales funnel. If your advances are declined, however politely, their journey has ended … for now.

Qualified leads do not have to be ready to buy right this minute. In fact, many of them may still be firmly entrenched in the browsing stage of things, and that’s OK. They might just need a little nudge — which brings us to our next step in the sales funnel.

Step 3: Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

This is arguably the most crucial step in the sales funnel, and the point where many of your leads decide to jump ship. You’ve hooked them with your content, you’ve given them the coveted “qualified” stamp — but can you get them to jump on the opportunity you’re about to offer?

Now is the time to sweeten the pot. Provide them with your best, most exclusive, “for new customers only” deal. Maybe it’s a deep discount on your flagship product or service. Maybe it’s a free upgrade.

Whatever opportunity you choose to offer, make sure it’s something they’re willing to jump on immediately.

Step 4: Seal the Deal

Congratulations! You have successfully guided your customer through the sales funnel and now they’re standing at your register, credit card in hand, ready to make the purchase.

But your work isn’t done quite yet.

Ideally, you want this customer to come back again and again, which is why it’s so important to provide stellar customer service throughout (and even after) the sale. Do this, and you can keep your customer at the bottom of the funnel. Neglect it, and you’ll be starting over again at Step 1!

Sales Funnels Make Marketing Easier

A proper sales funnel helps streamline your marketing efforts. You can see results at each step, and it’s easy to see which areas of the funnel need improving. Are too many people failing to become qualifying leads? It might be time to look closely at the resources you’re offering. Are potential customers jumping ship before you have the chance to make a sale? You might be making the buying process too difficult.

Sales funnels get results. If you need help creating yours, Mischa Communications is always available. Let’s get the conversation started.