Fill Your Prospect Funnel
Whether your firm has one employee or one hundred thousand, you need to find, qualify and close prospect leads. Every firm needs to fill its prospect funnel. The needs are the same, but the methods and processes differ by company size and target market.
In this blog, let’s talk about how small business owners, especially fellow professional service providers (PSPs), prospect for clients.
Over the past fifteen plus years, I have asked a question of almost every business consultant, coach, and service provider I met. “How do you find new clients?” The answer is usually, “Networking! Word of mouth! It’s the best way!”
Okay, and what else are you doing? “Oh, nothing. That’s it. Just networking.” Is that the best way? Think of a funnel. If you have one spigot filling it, called networking, you will be less productive than if you had several, coordinated spigots working.
Before we move to the next step, I think some definitions could be useful. A suspect is any person or firm that might use your services or product. That’s your target market. Prospects are those who may want your services in the foreseeable future. Qualified prospects are those who have the Need, Authority, Money, and most importantly the Urgency (NAMU) to act now. Your whole qualification process should focus on finding and helping those with NAMU. The rest will just cause you to waste time spinning your wheels.
Do you see how we have moved from “may need” to “could use” to “eagerly needs” your product or service? Suspect – Prospect – Qualified Product. Might – Could – Needs. That’s the prospecting flow. The prospect flow is essential to the marketing flow.
If you are just networking, then you can move an individual person or firm through the prospect flow quickly and with little effort or investment.
What if, by deploying multiple marketing processes, you could fill your funnel faster while concurrently helping suspects to self-qualify, that is, to move through the process flow to qualified prospect without your intervention?
You can do this on your web site with specific self-qualifying questions, and you can help people to self-qualify by using other tools such as blogs, vlogs, speaking engagements, direct mail, email, cold calls, and authoring articles and books.
Doesn’t that take enormous amounts of time and money? Yes, but mostly it takes planning and self-discipline. God gave us all 168 hours per week. What if you invested four hours per work day on networking, two hours per day on the necessary tasks you cannot delegate or outsource, and six hours (two sessions of three hours) on crafting the messages that will flow through the various spigots you have chosen: blogs, vlogs, email, direct mail, cold calls, etc.? Wait! That’s 12 hours per day! Yes, it is. Anyone saying you can be successful working four hours per day is selling you something. While I don’t discount the value of luck, I’d rather count of the value of hard work, wouldn’t you?
Here is how I suggest you begin. Re-design your prospecting process. Start by figuring out how your clients benefit from your product or services. Then carefully think through the value propositions for each feature-benefit combination. Then assemble those into “20 Reasons To Buy” (RTBs) from you.
Feature-benefit-value proposition. That’s the marketing flow. Remember, people don’t buy features, they buy what those features can do for them, meaning benefits and the value those benefits bring. Think them through carefully, then write them down on 20 individual flash cards. Practice them diligently. Those messages need to flow from your tongue as smoothly and consistently as they will flow through your marketing messages: blogs, vlogs, etc.
Armed with your 20 RTBs, you are well prepared to begin a coordinated assault on your target market, or will be well prepared once identify the firms or individuals might need your product or service. That’s your suspect pool. How can you communicate to those suspects? How can you help them recognize their need for your services? What critical questions can be asked to help them self-qualify?
The thing that differentiates salespeople is that the pros do what everyone else hates. We do what we have to do so that later we can do what we want to do. We do what we have to. Sales is a discipline, one you can learn. Selling is easier when the above prospecting and marketing processes are adhered to consistently.
Think about how good prospecting and marketing processes lead to more self-qualified leads and faster sales processes.
Start winning by creating your 20 RTBs, then incorporate those messages you’re your blogs, vlogs, emails, and other forms of communication. These RTB messages become the tools you use to build relationships with referral partners and qualified prospects alike. Use those messages constantly, and your funnel of qualified prospects will grow dramatically. How many can you mix into a single conversation?
By the way, if you get busy and stop sharing those RTB messages, you won’t believe how fast your pool evaporates. Consistency and discipline are critical.
So, create your list of features-benefits-value propositions, encapsulate them into concise RTB talking points, then gleefully execute your multi-spigotted assault on your target market. Fill your prospect funnel!
Peter Busacca, MBA
About: Since 2001 Washington BBI has helped owners of small and mid-sized firms in Western Washington to build benchmark performance, create sustainable profits, exit plan, and buy or sell firms.