It is always a worthwhile exercise for salespeople to reflect on their focus at each stage within the Sales Funnel to help them:
- Progress opportunities,
- Know their next steps, and
- Communicate with the rest of their company.
A quick search on Google results in +50million hits in less than 3 seconds of models, spreadsheets, flow charts etc, some have 3 steps, some up to 15 plus – it all gets very confusing, very quickly.
Leonardo Da Vinci said that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, I am by no means an artist but have tried to make it as easy as I possibly can for me and others to understand, my model below has just four stages:
I have written before about Sales Funnels and Why People Buy here.
I LOVE Zig Ziglar’s quote:
People buy off people they like, know and trust.
In my world where my customers differentiate through relationships and solution selling, this provides an outstanding framework for what sales people should focus on at each stage.
- Stage 1 – LIKE Identifying and Qualifying require some research, tenacity and curiosity to work out if the prospect is worth pursuing.
- Stage 2 – KNOW Qualifying and Satisfying sees the relationship develop further, mutually, after several communications over a period of time around objections and (possibly) commercial negotiation.
- Stage 3 – TRUST Satisfying and Solidifying sees the enquiry converted into an order but with many more opportunities to uncover, sales people need to engender trust to improve both the depth and breadth of their relationships to maximise the lifetime value of their new customer.
One can move quickly from Like, through to Know and then Trust if the circumstances are right and luck is on your side, though it usually takes much more to build a sustainable pipeline of opportunities.
For sure and certain you cannot skip any part of Like, Know and go straight to Trust without paying a heavy price somewhere down the track – like a good red wine, it takes time and combined effort to win something that is both profitable and rewarding.
By overlaying Zig Ziglar’s words of wisdom over the various stages of the Sales Funnel we can understand:
- How we need to show up;
- What to be cognoscente of;
- How we are perceived by prospects;
- What will give us the best chance of getting an opportunity to quote / supply; and
- How to set up the foundations of what could be perhaps a long term mutually rewarding relationship.