June 24, 2013

What Does Your Sales Funnel Really Look Like?

If your business involves direct selling, you probably know about the sales funnel or pipeline. A sales funnel is a great tool for determining your sales process and correctly identifying the stage where a potential customer may be. It is also extremely helpful in determining upcoming income potential and identifying any problem areas within your sales process.

However, there is a downside to the sales funnel as well. If you aren’t accurately recording the stages, you won’t have an accurate view of your income potential. For instance, marking someone as a potential prospect when they make it clear they are not going to purchase from you, but instead tell you to call them back at a later time isn’t an accurate reflection of that communication.

Let’s face it – sales and lead generation is difficult. Not just in finding leads, but on your psyche as well. You have to be tough, understanding and positive all the time. You have to face the possibility that rejection could come from every interaction, and your main goal is to figure out ways to overcome that possible rejection.

On top of it all, your number of sales or potential sales is a figure that determines your worth or value to your company. With all these factors in mind, it’s easy to see why your sales funnel might not be accurate. No one wants to admit they might not be doing as well as they should be.

The problem is this – when you allow this to go on, you are only hurting yourself. When you aren’t taking a real look at what your funnel looks like, you can overlook actual problem areas that could be fixed. For instance, if you are having trouble getting past your initial communication, it could be your opening pitch or even the quality of leads you are finding. However, if you don’t examine your funnel honestly, you may never know, and therefore never improve, the situation.

In the example above, if you determine that the quality of leads you are getting is sub par, you can take steps to find a different lead provider.

Transparency is the ultimate sales tool. It allows you to know exactly where you stand without any doubt. If you’ve been running into issues with your pipeline take some time and evaluate yours by asking yourself these questions:

  • Does this prospect actually belong in this part of my pipeline?
  • How long has this prospect been in this pipeline? Why? What can I do to move it along or remove it?
  • When was the last time I talked to this prospect?
  • Has anything changed that might have handled this prospect’s last objection?
  • Is this really a prospect or a dead deal?
  • What can I do to increase the quality of prospects I’m engaging with?