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The Sales Funnel and Your Advisory Business
When it comes to making marketing decisions for your advisory business, it is best to start by referring to the sales funnel. The sales funnel is a tool that breaks down the customer’s journey from prospect to client. Generally, the funnel is depicted with four levels. Each subsequent level gets smaller as some prospects stop engaging with your business and others move on to becoming clients.
By examining the sales funnel model, you can identify where in the process you are losing prospects, so that you can appropriately focus and improve your marketing strategy. Here is a look at each layer of the sales funnel and the most important things for you to consider at each step.
- Awareness – Increase Your Digital Footprint
At the very top of the sales funnel is awareness. If you have plenty of leads, that means new people are being introduced to your business and you are effectively communicating who you are and what you do. However, if leads are lacking, you need to focus on building more brand awareness.
The key to building brand awareness is to invest in traditional and digital marking campaigns. Some traditional marketing methods are networking, sponsoring events, investing in billboard or print advertisements, and creating referral programs. Digital marketing includes posting original content to your website and social media, producing a podcast or video blog, or advertising on Google.
Awareness can be measured by tracking your likes, follows, shares, and mentions on social media and monitoring your page views with Google Analytics. The more active you are, the more people will enter the top of your sales funnel.
If you are satisfied with the number of leads, it is time to move them to the next level of the funnel – catching their interest.
- Interest – Maximize Opportunities To Connect One-on-One
To increase interest, you need to do more than post updates to social media and advertise. A great way to get people interested in your business is by creating prospecting offers. Prospecting offers open a door for you to reach out and engage them one-on-one, which establishes a more personal and meaningful connection.
Prospecting offers come in many different forms. You can host a monthly educational webinar, conduct social security or retirement planning seminars, or provide an informative guide as a download on your website. All of these require the lead to register, provide you with their contact information, or give you an opportunity to talk to them directly.
During this phase of the sales funnel, you will learn more about what initially piqued the lead’s interest. You can also determine if they are a good fit for your practice. Remember, every interaction with a lead can either impress or distress them. It is critical to have a process where your team responds promptly and professionally to interested leads.
While level one and two are marketing-driven, levels three and four are primarily sales-focused and require different skills.
- Decision – Trust and Transparency Are Required
Often people assume that to be a good salesperson, you need to be a good talker. The opposite is true – being a good listener is far more likely to help you make a sale. During your initial conversations, it is essential to focus your discussions on their specific needs and interests.
Maybe they are not sure what to do about stock options or need help selecting investments. Perhaps they need help with retirement income planning or preserving their wealth for heirs. Whatever the focus, your goal is to demonstrate how your process, team, and expertise can help bring clarity and resolution to their needs.
Being confident and able to discuss how you bring value to your clients is critical. It is equally essential to be able to communicate your fee structure. During this phase of the sales funnel, professional marketing materials can serve as a talking point guide for you and an informative resource for them.
Once a lead has decided to trust you, there is one more level they need to progress through for client acquisition to occur. They must act. Surprisingly, you may have leads that trust you, yet are stuck at level three.
- Action – Now Is the Right Time
If you were to ask someone stuck in level three why they have yet to act, they may say it’s because now isn’t the “right time.” Prospects may want to wait until they receive an inheritance, are approaching retirement, or are ready to get serious about investing. It is your job to convince level three leads that NOW is the right time.
What these leads may not have considered is that critical events that affect their future could happen at any time. Their current investments could tank. They could experience an unexpected job loss or a health crisis. Furthermore, retirement planning and investing requires a long-term commitment, meaning the earlier they start, the better prepared they will be.
Another reason level three leads may be reluctant to act is because your consultative process may seem unclear or complicated. Your process needs to be communicated clearly. Your marketing materials should help clients feel more secure and informed.
Sometimes, a leak in your sales funnel can be difficult to identify on your own. Working with a third-party business development consultant can give you a more objective viewpoint and help you improve the effectiveness of your sales funnel. For more information on our business development services, contact us. We have the experience and support to help you with any stage of client acquisition.