Where Does the Sales Process Begin and End?

Published: 10th July 2009
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If you listen attentively to your business coach, you will hear him say that everyone in business is involved in the sales process. So where does this sales process begin and end? Many people like to use the analogy of a sales funnel, with the widest part of the funnel at the top and the narrowest part at the bottom. Prospects travel through your funnel by travelling from the top to the bottom with their arrival at the bottom of the funnel signifying their translation from prospect to customer.

Perhaps it would be simpler to define a prospect? Again, your business coach with probably advise you that everyone is in your sales funnel and that everyone is a prospect for your goods or services.

At the very top of your sales funnel, at its widest circumference, picture the world of prospects out there. These people may not even know you exist or be aware of your products or services. Nevertheless, they may be ideal prospects and it is your job to expose your offerings to as wide an audience as possible and to entice them to move further down into your funnel.

As we proceed a little further down into your sales funnel you can envisage people who have heard of your product or service and may even have expressed some kind of interest. Further along, are people who have received a recommendation from people who may have used your service, or who otherwise have cause to recommend you. As your business coach will tell you, we are getting a little bit warmer now.

As your marketing initiatives come into play, so the people at this stage of your sales funnel become much more aware of what you have to offer. For example, some of these folks may have seen an advert or an article or maybe even subscribe to one of your mailing lists. We are now in the realm of people who are more likely to buy from you at some stage during the passage of time, as you may well have some means of regular communication with them - such as through an auto responder mailing list.

Your business coach will tell you that you need to pay particular attention to the people who occupy this part of your sales funnel. Those who previously bought something from you, who are not recurring consumers, may have visited the sales page on your website once, or may not yet be in a position to become a regular customer.

As you get to the very narrowest section of your sales funnel, you'll come across individuals who have some sort of allegiance to you or your organisation, be they family or friends, acquaintances, alliances, affiliates and so on. People here may be in contact with you on a regular basis and much more inclined to buy.

The very narrowest part of the funnel will reveal your loyal, repeat customers who have travelled all the way down the sales funnel and like everything that they see.

As your business coach told you, if you treat everyone as being in your sales funnel - at some stage in the process of descent, you will be able to design a series of procedures to help you convert them from prospect to valued and loyal customer.


Alan Gillies is the Managing Director of the L2L Group, specialising in supplying Executive Coaching, Training and Consultancy Services to Businesses around the World. Want to find out more about these comprehensive business building success strategies? Get Alan's phenomenal FREE Business Pack right now!

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