If you Google something like: “sales funnel,” “purchase funnel,” or “marketing funnel,” you’re likely to find a myriad of differing opinions on how to find and gain new customers for a business. Because of the various products and service providers out there, it makes sense that there wouldn’t be just one approach to earning new customers. Now, my searches didn’t come up with the same approach that we use here at Lieberman Technologies, so to add our twist on this topic to the volumes that have already been written, I give you:
The Relationship-Focused Sales and Marketing Funnel
This stage in the funnel is very similar (if not identical) to most other models out there. It’s nearly impossible for someone to convert to a being a customer if they aren’t aware of you and your products or services. In terms of our digital presence, we focus on getting our name out there through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest, in that order. We also try to develop awareness in non-digital channels by offering education and training at local events, engaging with networking groups, and some limited print media advertising.
This is where our approach differs from the examples of other sales funnels. Instead of categorizing this stage with terms like opinion, interest, consideration, or evaluation, we simply combine it all into one stage that describes what’s going on in the minds of our potential customers. If we are doing anything in this stage, it’s along the lines of helping the customer answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” But hopefully, our awareness efforts were effective enough to make this a smooth process, where our potential customers are “leaning in” and driving the conversation about finding solutions.
This level is smaller than the previous level because there is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path. Even when a prospective client understands the relevance of the product or service, and nods along with you during your meeting, they haven’t actually converted until they purchase the goods, or sign the agreement. This is where we try to cultivate more trust in our budding relationship. Expectations are created and set, and we make a commitment to deliver what we’ve promised.
This is the ultimate goal of our funnel. We want to have relationships and touch points with the folks who already believe in us to get the job done and done right. Talk is cheap, and we have an opportunity to display our value by exceeding the high expectations that we both have. Putting the right sort of energy into developing these relationships further creates awareness for other products and services, beginning the sales funnel anew. After all, it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to find a new one. And what’s more, existing customers are often your best route to new customers, since they’re in a unique position to sing your praises based on their experience with your company.
At LT, we defined this relationship-based approach to sales after recognizing that we were spending a disproportionate amount of time on creating awareness with potential customers, and not enough on staying attuned to the wants and needs of our current customers. Now, we’ve shifted our energies a bit, and we’re making sure that we keep those relationships healthy by always trying to stay aware of our clients’ current needs. Relationships matter in business as much as they do in the rest of life. We believe that it’s of paramount importance to focus on this for our sales and marketing efforts.
It’s not easy, of course, but we believe that it’s worth it. Satisfying our customers is what drives our business. And like any good marriage, the real work begins after you say, “I do.”