Selling is awkward.
It’s uncomfortable to tell people what they should or shouldn’t buy. We all have these prejudices towards selling.
We all have been talking to one of these people knocking on doors trying to sell a hoover or an encyclopaedia. And it’s even more awkward to tell that we don’t need them, right?
That’s why most of the time we decide to leave sales aside and focus on other aspects of our business.
In fact, most freelancers that I have talked to don’t know the exact amount that they have invoiced during the previous month.
This is terrible if you’re monitoring your selling process to optimise and improve conversion rates.
One of the first things that I work on in my coaching services for freelancers is a sales funnel. Because I can’t stress enough how important knowing our own selling process is. No excuses.
Haven’t you analysed or defined your sales funnel yet? Then this is the perfect post for you (and you have a special gift at the end of the post!)
But, what is a sales funnel?
Although I have already mentioned this at some point in previous posts, maybe it’s the first time you hear this term.
Let’s start with the basics, if that’s the case.
Every sale must go through a process, which is known as the sales process (it makes sense, right?)
This process can be divided into different phases. You’ll see that depending on the business, these phases may vary, but they all can be applied to your business (do not panic!)
This is a very simple and straightforward funnel.
You see that at the top you can find the prospects, people that may be interested in your business, potential clients.
From this considerable amount of people, only a few of them will continue to the second phase (inquiries, in this case), people who is interested enough to contact you about your business.
From this number of people that contact you for the first time, some of them will end up asking you for a quote or a proposal.
And from these quotes that you send to your clients, some of them will be accepted. And we will finally get a new client or lead.
As you can see, we narrow the number of potential clients as these potential leads go through the selling process. That’s why we say that this process can be shaped as a funnel.
Why do you need to use a sales funnel?
There are two main (and very important) reasons why you should start using a sales funnel if you’re not using one yet.
On one hand, a sales funnel helps us to define the different selling phases that our client must go through in order to buy from us. This will help us to define a strategy for each of these phases and see what is going wrong if we aren’t selling as much as planned.
For example, let’s imagine that you’re launching a new product. You create a landing page and everything is set and running. After a while, you realise that very few people have bought this new product.
Then, with a sales funnel you’ll be able to see what’s going on.
- Maybe this landing page isn’t receiving a lot of page views from potential clients, which would mean that you’d been to focus on promoting your landing page.
- Maybe people are visiting the landing page but they aren’t clicking the “BUY” button, which may mean that the copy of this landing page isn’t working.
- Maybe people are clicking the “BUY” button, but they don’t get to the end of the selling process due to a technical failure.
And so on.
Also, a sales funnel can help us define strategies for each phase to improve the conversion rate of each of them.
[Conversion what? A conversion rate is the percentage of people that continue to the following phase in the selling process. In other words, how successful a phase is within the selling process.]
The higher this percentage is, more potential clients will get to the next phase and more sales will get at then end of our selling process.
Now that you know how important a sales funnel template is for your business, are you ready to give it a boost? I’ve prepared something special for you at the end of the post!
How to use a sales funnel template?
[Note: Everything explained in this section is applied in the template that you’ll be able to download at the end of the post.]
In order to start using this template, you need to do your homework first:
Define your selling phases.
Think about past sales in your business. And try to answer these questions:
- How does people get to know my business for the first time?
- How can people contact me?
- How can people ask for a quote?
- How people can make a payment in my business?
Another useful exercise to figure out the selling phases in your business is to ask a friend to pretend to be one of your clients. Tell them to go to your website/profile on social media/email. And then ask him/her to jot down how many action s/he had to take in order to get to the final step.
You can take my template as an example. These are the phases that I normally use in my business for sales. (I use a different one, but very similar, to measure subscribers, colleague who I work with, etc.)
In this case I measure people coming from my website and completing the contact form. (But you can be as creative as you want!)
What do we need to measure?
It’s all about the numbers!
We need to measure how many people go through each phase.
For example, if you’re measuring how many people visit your website, Google Analytics can easily help us with that. If you want to know how many people ask you for a quote, you just need to count your email threads, etc.
However, make sure that you come up with a (more or less) accurate countable number for each phase.
Another thing that we need to measure is the performance of each phase. In other words, how many people go from one phase to the next one. This will be measured in percentage from 0 to 100%.
Here is the good news. The template will calculate this for you. You have nothing to do. Just insert your numbers for each phase, and excel will calculate the performance of each phase!
Let’s see the example that I’ve prepared:
As you can see there are two columns next to the phases: the numbers and percentages.
You can modify anything you want in the column numbers, but it’s very important that you don’t modify the column of percentages or the formulas that I have designed won’t work, (especially that 100 that I have highlighted!)
Following this example, I can see that the phase that isn’t converting that much is the second one (it only converts at 50%). Then I should focus on this one first to improve the final result.
Once you download the file, you’ll see some weird numbers and letters. Don’t panic, they will disappear as soon as you enter your numbers in the numbers column next to each phase.
I have also created more phases just in case you need to create a more detailed sales funnel template.
And remember that this easy and practical exercise can tell you a lot about your business and your sales process, so don’t hesitate to start measuring your leads and potential lead from now on.
Now you can download the file here:
Thanks a lot for your support!
Pro-tip to use the sales funnel template
I also use the same sales funnel template to measure my interaction with clients (people who have already bought for me). This way I can know from the total amount of my clients, how many of them have bought from me again.
This is especially relevant when I launch a second product or line of services to diversify my business. I can measure how many of my clients are interested in it, and how many of them are actually using them.
You just need to start counting the total amount of clients that have bought from you so far, and that will be the top of your second funnel. And then follow the same process! Et voilà!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this easy a simple to use exercise. If you feel a bit overwhelmed about sales funnel, I recommend you to go to my coaching services page and get in touch with me. I always help other freelancers to increase their sales through practical tips and exercises like this one.
Also, if you decide to download the template, I’d love to hear from you and your progresses. I’ll also answer any doubt, so please leave a comment below!