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Your Opportunity…Don’t Miss It

Hey small business owners, thanks for tuning in. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I would talk about the sales cycle to help you convert more sales with your customers. The whole point of marketing is to bring more people into the top of your funnel. However, once they are there, it is your job to turn these opportunities into sales. Not every lead will produce a sale, but you want to be efficient and get as many as possible.

This article is not about how to bring more people into the top of your funnel, but it’s about helping you close more sales once you have someone’s attention.

When I was in door-to-door sales, I knew about the low-hanging fruit. When the timing was just right and the person was already interested, I could almost always land those sales. Then there were those who would never buy no matter how good of a job I did, and no matter how perfect my sales pitch was. They were simply not going to buy.

In the middle though, were those who might buy as long as they were sufficiently convinced by the features, benefits, and value of my proposition. My goal as a salesman was to get as many of those as I could. As a business owner, this is how you grow and thrive in your business. You can sometimes get by on the low-hanging fruit, but you really begin to thrive when you start landing a big portion of the middle group that needs to be convinced that your value is worth the investment.

This sales funnel can be applied to face-to-face sales, phone sales, and email sales. It can be used in a retail store, an e-commerce store, or for a service-based business. The way a sale is made is by helping a customer see that the money in their wallet or bank account is worth less to them than the opportunity to do business with you.

I remember an example I was taught years ago at a sales training on building value. The presenter held up a Snickers Bar and asked, “would anyone here buy this Snickers for $1?” Many people raised their hands. Then, he said, “how many of you would pay $100 for it?” No one raised their hand. “It's a king-sized bar, with delicious chocolate, caramel, nougat, and peanuts.” It was a delicious treat, but  still there were no takers. Then, he asked, “what if you were snowed in at a mountain resort and there was no other food in the hotel and none on the way anytime soon, then would you pay $100 for it?” Many more hands went up. The point is, sometimes value depends on the beholder.

This is why knowing your WHO and their WHY is so valuable. What is valuable to you might not be to someone else. When someone values what you have more than the money they have in their wallet or bank account, that is when a sale is made. 

Marketing brings people into your funnel, but it’s sales skills that get them to buy. Here is a visual representation of your funnel.

a graphic showing the parts of a sales funnel

When we market, we help business owners bring more people into the top of the funnel. Sometimes it is frustrating because we can bring many people into the top, but if a business owner doesn’t know how to nurture and close the sale, the increased traffic and interest in the product doesn’t actually help the business. 

If you are going to make more sales, you must understand the value of your product or service and how to explain it to others. I would start by understanding your WHO, and your WHO’s WHY. Know your ideal target market and why they would do business with you. Your WHO’s WHY is your differentiator. Most people don’t even know this. They might know why they would buy, but they don’t know how to communicate it well to their potential customers. If your primary customer comes from your website, you need to make sure your site is built to convert a browser into a buyer. See this post for more: Turn Browsers into Buyers

If you aren’t sure how to communicate your product’s value, write out a list of all the best value-building selling points of your product or service. What is your power punch? What do people love about you? Write these things down, and think about how to communicate them well. Once you have your WHY dialed in, it is time to nurture the sale. If you are meeting with someone one-on-one, develop a sales pitch. Something that demonstrates your value. If you are a retail location, make sure there isn’t something preventing customers from buying from you. Make sure your store is clean and tidy, and that people feel welcome. If you are selling online, use visuals to represent the value of your product or service. Think about this stage. Your job when trying to sell something is to make sure the skids are greased. Make it as easy to do business with you as possible. If your product is expensive, make sure you have financing options. If your product is consumable, or repeatedly purchased, have a subscription model that makes it easy for your customer to get your product regularly. You can also discount buyers who commit to a longer period of time. Again, make this process as simple and enticing as possible.

Finally, make sure you know how to ask for the sale. This is one of the secrets of success. You must be able to ask for the order. You can have a great presentation and a great sales pitch, but if you don’t ask people to purchase, or incentivize them to make a purchase now, you will miss out on many possible sales. You might still close the sale on low-hanging fruit, but you will miss out on much of the opportunity in the middle group of prospects.

You must ask. No question about it. Make it simple and direct. Would you like to get started? Can we get you signed up? Would you like to place an order? Don’t wimp out here, ask! The worst that can happen is they say maybe. No is ok, yes is better, but no is valuable too. If you are getting mostly “No”, maybe you need more value-building, but at least with a no, you know what to do. A “maybe”, or no answer at all because you didn’t ask for the sale makes it impossible to do business. You are just hanging in the wind with no way to move forward. Ask for the sale and get an answer, yes or no.

Once you make a sale, get good at delivering the product and making people happy. Then you will get good reviews and more referrals. This funnel is the secret to big growth. But it's not a passive pursuit. Make things happen by understanding your sales funnel and building the skill of helping people move through it. Remember, marketing fills your funnel, but sales skills convert browsers into buyers.

By mastering your sales funnel, you unlock the true potential of your marketing efforts and fuel significant growth for your business. Here’s how:

  • Refine your value proposition (Your Who’s Why): Identify your "power punch" and communicate it clearly to your target audience.

  • Optimize your sales process: From website design to in-person pitches, ensure a smooth and frictionless buying experience.

  • Ask for the sale: Don't be afraid to close the deal! A simple, direct prompt can turn a "maybe" into a valuable "yes".


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