What is the “Sales Funnel” and How Does It Work? (Part 1)

In business, sales are our lifeblood. Without persuading new customers to buy our products or services, all the innovative business ideas and creative genius in the world mean nothing. So, whether or not you are officially a “sales person”, if you are an entrepreneur, you are in sales.

What the Sales Funnel is:

Somewhere along the line, you may have heard of the “Sales Funnel”. It is a classic business teaching tool that maps out the process through which every person goes every time s/he buys something. This is one of those universal business truths, so it behooves you to know what it is and how it works for your enterprise. Learn the sales funnel and how to use it, and you are much more likely to generate more business.

There are many versions of the Funnel, but the most common (and most common sense) is the AIDA model. It looks like this:

Sales Funnel AIDA DailyKev.com

As you can see, AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Every sale, every time, goes through these stages before money changes hands. Different amounts of time are spent in each stage depending on the purchase, but no sale is complete without at least stopping over on every level (also, different tools are used at each point to move consumers down the funnel, but that is for another post). 

How the Sales Funnel works:

Think about it. Say you are on the road and stop in to a convenience store for a salty snack. How do you choose? You walk up and down the aisle, scanning packages and labels. Why do you hone in on a certain one? Well, something about it got your Attention – color, label picture, etc. You narrow down the selections to two or three and examine them a little closer. One package says “Extra Salty”, which gains your Interest

Next, you imagine how good and salty that salty snack is going to be, and you want it. Desire is achieved. You take Action and grab the package. Slap your money down, and off you go to high blood pressure heaven. A Sale.

The process would be the same if you were buying a car, a house, or a pony. The sales funnel works and to properly utilize it, you have to know two crucial things about your customers:

1) What stage are they in?

This is important, because consumers at every level of the funnel need something different. Give it to them, and they are likely to move toward a sale. Don’t give them what they need, or try to move them along too fast, and the sale is lost. Get to know what your sales prospects want. What questions are they asking? Are they in research phase, or are they ready to buy? Get this right, and you will close more deals.

2) What tools will work to move them down the funnel?

Ever see a billboard with too much information on it? That is a case of someone using an attention tool for an interest or desire function. People just need to know your name. Are you sitting in a room with a client who is asking questions about your offerings? Great! You are at interest level. Better answer those questions in full.

Understanding the sales funnel will help you do better business and make more money, pure and simple. Do your best to understand your prospects, understand the messages they need to hear and when they need to hear them, and they will respond.

This is just an introduction to get your started, so stay tuned for more on the sales funnel and how it can help your business.

Thanks for reading.

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