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How to make your funnel flow faster
Yes, you can speed up the time it takes for a potential buyer to make the purchase of your product or service. But not by skipping steps along the buyer's journey. You do it by looking closely at the time they take to move through each step - the lag - and helping them to progress faster through one or two of these stages.
An analysis of this process - or journey - will result in knowledge of when a buyer is gone and should be "leaked" and when they are in need of another tactic in order to be converted into a customer or client.
What stages do they go through in their heads? If we want our funnel to go faster, we need to know what stages we are asking them to cycle through quickly.
This cognitive process is a journey. Buyers move one step at a time. And if you make them an offer for which there is no clear need, they seem to take forever - and end up not doing anything anyway.
The journey in the mind of the buyer looks like this:
They have pain, but might not be feeling it. Or perhaps the pain is not a priority
They become aware of a problem - something going wrong, or going too slowly or too quickly, or costs too much.
They think about what it is that they need - and what the payback is for meeting this need
They work out what all the options are
They kick a few tyres
They select you from the other solution-providers out there
At last they engage you
If you want your funnel to go faster, you need to know the progression you are asking your buyers to make, and work out how to help them progress faster.
Funnel Velocity - The numbers will help:
How many buyers are there at the top of the funnel?
How many of these do you need to flow through to the bottom?
How long does it take over-all?
What about each of the stages? How long do does each stage take for your buyers?
Select one or two of the stages and find tactics that will help buyers to move through that stage faster. If the contracting stage is taking too long, simplify your contract. If it's the need definition stage, offer a free workshop.
So that's the macro view, now dive into individual buyers in your funnel: Businesses we have measured tell us that it takes longer to lose a deal than to win one. Why would this be so?
The answer lies in what you can assume about a buyer who has taken longer than usual to progress through a given stage.
Prospective buyers who take longer than usual to progress through any stage in their journey are giving warning signals that we cannot afford to ignore.
Inevitably, a salesperson wants to believe in their value proposition and in their ability to sell this to the market.
But when a prospective buyer is stuck at a given stage in their journey, the salesperson persuades themselves (and others) that there are many reasons why the sale has stalled, and that all will be well. Careful analysis of your Funnel Math may suggest otherwise.
So what should you do with buyers who have stalled?
The answer is to leak them. But not all of them; sometimes there are good (and temporary) reasons the buyer has stalled, but often they have already leaked and we just haven't admitted it yet.
The two main reasons that salespeople hate to quit on an active prospect are:
They don't like telling their bosses bad news
The company does nothing to help nurture leaked buyers back into the funnel, so salespeople are afraid to let them go. But if you don't nurture them, who will?
In summary, to make your funnel go faster:
Know what journey your buyers go through, and how long each stage takes a typical buyer
Find a way to help your buyers progress faster through one or two of these stages
Put in place a good recycling program
Leak any buyers who have stalled, but do so gracefully
Businesses work hard to stop buyers from leaking.
The real trick is not to focus so much on preventing leakage, but to reduce lag. Help those buyers who are ready to progress to go faster, and let the rest recycle slowly.
Splitting your buyers in this way will bring revenue forward - and keep your funnel flowing.