What a Sales Funnel Is and Why Your Promo Business Needs One
Most distributors rely on referrals and word of mouth to bring in new clients, with some also doing outreach efforts such as email, cold calling, etc. All these can bring in new clients, but are rather unreliable and unpredictable. To establish and grow a successful distributor business, you must consistently attract new qualified leads on an ongoing basis.
This may sound daunting, especially if you don’t have the time, the budget or even the know-how. But it is not as hard as you think. You just need a plan and a method, and some time to work on it.
First, Let’s Define The Sales Funnel
If you’re lucky to get in front of an ideal client, there is only a 10% chance he/she will have an immediate need and is ready to do business. About 90% will be at any point in their buying process, from perfectly happy with their current vendor, all the way to aware they will have to find one for an event happening sometime in the (not so near) future.
The sales funnel represents the stages your ideal buyer goes through in their buying process that leads to doing business with you, from lead to loyal customer. It allows you to tailor your approach to match the level of interest in each of the stages so you can communicate in a more relevant way to get better results.
There are four main stages of a distributor sales funnel, let’s tale a look.
1. Awareness Stage
The awareness stage is about capturing your potential buyers’ attention. This is the widest part of the funnel because regardless of how many get to see you, few (if any) will be ready to buy.
At this stage, your goal is to let as many potential buyers as possible know that you exist. Think of a billboard on the highway selling tires. You pass by every day and it seems you don’t notice it, until one day you need tires and you go looking for that tire place because you’re familiar with it. Similarly, your qualified potential clients come across your company as they navigate their social networks, and even though they’re not interacting with you at all, they become familiar with your company and form an opinion about it. With good marketing, you’ll manage to get their attention and make a good impression so they take the next step.
2. Engagement Stage
Now that you have their attention, you want to pique their interest and build rapport.
At this stage, a portion of those who’ve seen you around – most likely many times – will relate to your posts, and start paying more attention and even interacting. At this point your marketing needs to communicate the advantages of doing business with you. You can achieve this sharing client’s stories, product ideas, tips, etc. Here’s an article about 20 ideas on what to post on social media that can help.
Your prospect finally has a need and decides to contact you. With the right marketing, they are finding you on google searches, which is where they’re looking.
At this stage, your prospect is ready to buy. Your job is to make the buying process as smooth as possible, and keep it simple. Remember, prospects are busy and they don’t really know much about what goes into producing branded merchandise. Avoid bogging them down with artwork demands and problems, present solutions instead. Keeping it simple for them will win the sale.
4. Retention Stage
Your sales job does not end once your prospect has placed their first order.
One of the bigger benefits of the distributor business is the repeat business potential of every new client you acquire. If they’re happy, they can be clients for years, even decades. It is crucial to continue to market to your clients to remain in front of them so they know all your capabilities and don’t forget about you. Be sure you avoid being a typical transactional distributor that only interacts with clients when they call. These are the ones who get into price matching situations, having to underbid other more proactive distributors who managed to get in front of their clients.
Create Better Marketing to Nurture Leads, Prospects and Clients
Sales is the ultimate purpose of your marketing, it provides direction so it generates revenue.
It’s been said that it takes seven “touches” before someone will commit to a purchase, probably much more these days. That’s why you need to have the proper marketing in place to continuously demonstrate your expertise in multiple relevant ways.
The point is to create an ever-flowing sales process to move your leads at the top of the funnel through all the stages until they become a customer. The right marketing helps you do just that, because it deepens your connection and builds trust and relationships.
If you need help in creating a marketing system that generates lead and sales, our team can help!
Gloria Lafont is a mother, grandmother and business owner. Throughout her business career she has started, bought and sold a dozen businesses in the branding and marketing field, including a distributor company. She’s currently president of Action Marketing Co., founded in 2007. Her company focuses on helping distributors increase visibility, generate awareness and drive traffic so they can connect with more of their ideal clients and generate more leads and sales.
Gloria is a big fan and supporter of education and the cultural arts, volunteering her time and donating marketing support over the years to help various organizations grow in membership and revenue. She also enjoys the South Florida lifestyle mix of business, beaches and arts.