Sales Funnel Bible — Chapter 23

Sales funnels are the most important part of your business. Get an early glimpse into how they can help your business by reading this early draft excerpted from my Sales Funnel Bible book.

Early draft of Aaron Hoos' book Sales Funnel Bible

Chapter 23. Telling the time in your sales funnel

Since the dawn of humankind, people have been telling the time in various ways – they use primitive methods like simply watching the sun; or they use more sophisticated methods like sun dials, calendars, and clocks.

In your business, your sales funnel can tell the time as well. In previous chapters we’ve covered the idea of your target market moving through different steps that are associated with their mindset evolution. Those steps take on their own tempo or rhythm, in which the average person moves from one step to the next in a set amount of time. In the early steps, they might move more slowly. In the later steps (if you are effectively highlighting their problem) then they might move more quickly.

You’ll find that, on average, most people will spend the same amount of time on a specific step. Yes, there will be some who move faster and some who move slower but most people will spend the same amount of time on each step.
Here’s an example: Let’ say someone is following you on Twitter, which you are using to raise awareness as an early-in-the-sales-funnel step. They might take a couple of weeks before they respond to one of your tweets. And once they click through a link in your tweet and get to your blog post, they might read your blog post and sign up for your newsletter right away. Then they read your newsletters and usually respond by the 8th or 9th weekly newsletter by getting in touch with you via email to get more information. Then you present your solution to them in an email and they might require a week of thinking and follow-up.

The above example illustrates the rhythm of the sales funnel. If this is the average time it takes for people in your sales funnel to go from the early steps to purchase, then you can plot out your sales funnel against a calendar: Two weeks for tweets, one day for a blog and newsletter sign-up, 8 weeks for newsletters, and one week for email-based interaction that results in a sale.

In total, this example sales funnel lasted about 11 weeks. Again, your sales funnel might be shorter or longer, depending on what you sell and who you sell it to.

Determining the tempo of your sales funnel gives you a lot of power because it helps you to watch for patterns and anomalies, and it helps you to predict the future.

Watch for patterns and anomalies: You can watch for patterns and anomalies and adjust your sales funnel accordingly. A pattern might be that, during the pre-Christmas buying rush, people start to pick up in your sales funnel. So you might take note of that and build a leaner sales funnel that you would implement in October or November. Another pattern might be that people under the age of 35 take a little longer in your sales funnel than people over the age of 35. So you might create a separate sales funnel to branch the under-35’s into, according to how they are most likely to buy from you. Or you might spot anomalies – like some people who take forever in your sales funnel and some people who run through our sales funnel in hours instead of days. In these cases, you might set up separate deals, separate sales funnels, or even separate brands to deal with them.

Predict the future: You can watch your sales funnel to help you predict the future. If you know that your sales funnel usually takes the average person a specific amount of time to get through to a purchase, you can know ahead of time how much business you can handle. In our 11-week-long sales funnel (from the example above), we can predict how much staff we need and how much inventory we need up to 11 weeks from now simply because we’re paying attention to what happens earlier. A spike in new people entering your sales funnel – either by accident, by trend, or because of some marketing that you did – can give you a hint about what you’ll need to do in the coming days (or weeks or months – depending on how long your sales funnel is) to prepare.

This chapter is excerpted from an early draft of my book. Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome. Please be aware that the chapter content and chapter order may change by publication.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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