In your sales funnel, who you sell to is just as important as who you don’t sell to

It’s called a sales funnel because of its shape — a lot of people go into the top (at the Audience stage) but the opening at the bottom (at the Customer or Evangelist stages) is a lot smaller. You might bring in hundreds or even thousands of people into your Audience stage, but only a small portion of that number will ever make it to the Customer stage.

And what happens to the rest of those contacts? Some of the contacts stall in your sales funnel and don’t move forward but don’t leave, either. (Read a blog post about how to get these “stalled” contacts back in play). Other contacts fall out of your sales funnel completely. (Read a blog post about how to still benefit from these “fallout” contacts).

In spite of your best efforts, you’ll never get 100% of your Audience members through to the Customer stage. You’ll get some of them buying from you… but the ones who don’t become Customers can still be a valuable asset to you. Here’s why:

It’s a simple matter of ratios: You might have 1 Customer. But to get that Customer, you might have had to have 10 Prospects and 100 Leads and 1000 Audience members. If those numbers represent your business, then for every Customer you have, you’ve worked with 1000 Audience members. Those other 999 Audience members have stalled or fallen out of your sales funnel or are moving through at a slightly slower pace.

If you want to improve your sales funnel to improve your business, you need to understand how your 1 Customer is like other Customers, AND, you need to understand the difference between your 1 Customer and your 999 Audience members. What quality is common among the 999 that your Customer doesn’t share? Once you know that, you need to tweak your sales funnel to address that.

It might not be easy to tell, but there is something there that is different between the 1 and the 999. It could be something as simple (and obvious) as a more pressing need — perhaps the contact who became your Customer needed your product or service sooner than the other 999 Audience members. Or maybe it comes from an outside influence, such as a peer recommendation or a life event. It could be as small as something you said that resonated with the 1 in a compelling way.

Finding the similarity isn’t easy. It takes disciplined data collection to determine why your Customers are buying from you while your other sales funnel audience members aren’t.

And once you know why some people do buy from you and many others do not, here’s what you can do:

  1. You can adjust your marketing to reach more of your “existing” 999 Audience members
  2. You can adjust your marketing to get more Audience members who are like the 1 Customer

I did something similar very early in my freelance writing career. I had done a lot of writing for many different clients and I decided to look at where most of my clients and money was coming from. After some analysis, I discovered that a majority of my Customers were financial and real estate professionals. So I tweaked my marketing to communicate in a more focused way to bring more of those professionals into my sales funnel in the Audience stage.

So, look at all of your Customers and compare them to your Audience members. Who are the ones who are making their way through your funnel to buy from you… AND who are the ones who aren’t?

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