What Are the Parts of a Sales Funnel?

Sales Funnel Model

Last week I talked about the general definition of a sales funnel. This week I'll delve into the 5 parts of any sales funnel: Prospects, Contacts, Leads, Finalists, and Clients.

First off all, why have all these steps?

Well, the goal of each step is basically to do what's called “qualify” the person on your list. Is this person a buyer, or a time waster? Does this person actually need what you have to offer? Does this person have the money to buy it, even if he/she does need it?

The answers to these and other relevant questions will narrow down the field with each stage of the process. Those who don't need your service or product, who don't want it from you, who can't afford it, or who you just don't want to have to deal with gradually drop of with each stage, so by the time you get to the bottom of the funnel, only those serious about doing business with you are left, and you can now pay more attention to them and give them the quality of service they're paying for.

Now, on with the 5 stages

The crowd of prospects
The crowd of prospects at the start of the sales funnel.
Prospects
These are the people you have first made contact with. This could be from them visiting a web page, seeing an ad, getting a call from you, or meeting them at an event. Regardless, at this point, you don't know much about the prospect, and the prospect may not know much about you, or your business.

This is when you need to answer your questions to find out if the prospect qualifies to do business with you, or may qualify at some point in the future. This is also where the prospect should be qualifying you, do you have something he/she can afford that solves a problem or increases profits?

If both you and your prospect successfully qualify each other, you can then move onto the next step and become Contacts.

Contacts
These are prospect who you have been in 2-way contact with before. Either you have met them, spoken with them on the phone, or had an email exchange, etc. They have shown that there is at least a potential need for your services and you have the potential to meet that need. These are people who you want to keep more regular contact with, as there is at least the potential for something more concrete to develop.

Once something concrete does come up, such as a project they may need you for, or one of your products they may want to buy, for example, then the Contact proceeds to the Lead stage.

Selecting strong leads from out of the crowd
Selecting strong leads from out of the crowd during the middle of the sales funnel.
Leads
These are Contacts who have a need of your services or products. They may be exploring several different options at this point, but you are at least 1 of their candidates. They may not have the money, but at least they are in the market. At this stage, you need to find out if the lead can afford any of your solutions, and if so, convince him/her that your solution is the best.

If both of those happen, the Lead moves onto the Finalist stage.

Finalists
These are Leads who have been fully qualified, so you know they need you, and can afford you. They are convinced that you can help them and that you are one of their top choices. Now comes the negotiations to get the Finalist to commit to you. You must convince your finalist that yous is the best option. If you can manage that, then the Finalist will buy from you and becomes a Client.
Lead becomes client.
You found that client from out of the crowd of prospects and leads, mission accomplished!.
Clients
These are your contacts who have bought from you before. You may have an ongoing transaction, project or contract, or you may have had one in the past. These are the people that your sales funnel is meant to find. These are the people your sales funnel needs to separate out from the crowd and get you into contact with.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post a comment below. I am also always open to suggestions on topics you would like to see me cover in a future article.

That's enough for this week, but I'll have more on sales funnels for next week. Until then have a productive, fun and healthy week.

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