When implementing your sales funnel in your business, one of your goals should be to optimize your sales funnel to get more people moving through each stage on their way toward becoming a Customer.
And, when most people think about sales funnel optimization, they think of reducing the number of steps that someone has to take in order to buy. For the most part, that makes sense: A prospective buyer shouldn’t have to click here then there then there then there then somewhere else in order to buy. It’s a generally accepted truth that the easier and faster and smoother the steps in the sales funnel are, the more sales you’ll make.
But it’s not always the case.
In my recent blog post 99 ways to optimize your sales funnel and grow your business, one of my tips (tip #4) was to actually increase the number of steps in each stage of your sales funnel:
Increase the number of steps in each stage. This might sound counter-intuitive but it can help to reduce the amount of resistance people feel by helping them take baby steps instead of giant leaps.
HERE’S WHAT I MEAN
Your sales funnel is made up of five stages — Audience, Leads, Prospects, Customers, Evangelists. And each of those five stages of your sales funnel is made up of steps. (The number of steps vary, though, depending on your marketplace and business model.)
Sales funnel contacts move from one stage to another by going step-by-step through each stage. (Check out this blog post on how to identify the steps in each stage of your sales funnel).
If the steps were carefully selected, each step should be the next obvious step for the sales funnel contact and each step should be a step that they move to with little or no resistance. It should be an intuitive step that the contact automatically gravitates toward in their desire to find a solution to their problem or fulfill their need.
Where businesses fumble, though, is by streamlining their sales funnel so much that they don’t have enough steps in each stage, thereby resulting in too big of a space between each step. The steps are no longer intuitive. They are no longer easy or obvious for the prospective buyer.
For example, a Prospect might think (step 1) that you have a potential solution, (step 2) that you have a potential solution that will work for them, (step 3) that you have a potential solution that they can afford, and (step 4) that you have a potential solution that needs to be purchased immediately. Those are good, obvious, small steps.
But consider this example: A Prospect might think (step 1) that you have a potential solution, and (step 2) that you have a potential solution that needs to be purchased immediately. See how there is too much of a space between those two steps? The steps are no longer intuitive and easy to move to.
So, by adding more steps into your sales funnel, you are solving that problem by making each step a little easier to handle. They become more intuitive.
HERE’S WHY IT WORKS
It works because sales funnel contacts want to solve their problems and fulfill their needs but they can only move through a sales funnel in a way that feels natural and is free of resistance. As soon as they sense discord or have questions or can’t make the logical leap from one step to another, they either stall or fall out of your sales funnel completely.
By adding (carefully chosen) steps into your sales funnel, you are reducing the resistance and ensuring that the steps are natural and easy to take.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO
If you are finding that your sales funnel contacts are stalling or disappearing, try this:
- Identify the stage in your sales funnel they are stalling or falling out of.
- List the steps you currently have at that stage.
- Break down those steps into smaller steps, if possible.
- Brainstorm ways that you can place steps in between existing steps and implement those.
- Have others review your sales funnel with this revised stage of steps to make sure that the flow is as logical and intuitive as you can make it.