What happens when a dog chasing a car catches it?
Have you ever watched a dog chase a car? It gets very excited, a lot of tail wagging and yapping, usually to no avail. The car always outpaces the dog, and the dog is left behind continuing its barking at a fast receding vehicle.
Just imagine what would happen if the dog caught the car. What do you think would happen next? I’m not sure I know, but one thing is for certain, I don’t think the dog knows either.
When we market, it’s like chasing the car as we pursue leads. It can be fun and exciting while pursuing the prospect. But what do you do when you have the prospect in front of you. Is it all yapping (selling) at the customer? Is there actually a thought out plan?
Having a sales pipeline when you catch the prospect means that the prospect won’t run away as soon as you confront them. It’s a gentle process that is barely noticeable to the buyer. It’s an exchange of information with nudges rather than a push to buy.
The information exchange could be verbal, using questionnaires in exchange for brochures or other marketing collateral. This could start on your website or when the receptionist answers the phone. The key is to map out each step in your pipeline. What is the desired outcome of that step? (Closing the sale is only the objective of the final step.) What information needs to be acquired? What information needs to be provided? What do you want the prospect to do at that step? (Getting them to do something, even a small thing, increases commitment.) If the prospect is not ready to move to the next step, what do you do? What is the follow up?
The whole process is preparing the prospect for the sale, so that at the end they are full of desire for your solution and only a small nudge is required for the sale to happen. Putting in place a rigorous sales pipeline can result in substantial increases in sales to which my clients can attest.
While it takes some time to put your sales pipeline together, the effort required and the rewards that brings is certainly better than barking at a receding customer you will never catch.
May Your Business Be – As You Plan It.
Dr Greg Chapman – The Profit Whisperer
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