Professional selling has three stages, which have been the same throughout history. They are prospect, present, and follow up. These three phases constitute the three parts of the "sales funnel." If your sales and income are down, it is because you are not prospecting enough, presenting enough, or following up and closing enough. The way to increase your sales is usually for you to increase the quality or quantity of your activities in one or more of these areas.
Imagine Your Funnel
Imagine the basic sales model as a funnel. At the top of the funnel, you put in prospects. You have to call on a certain number of people, or suspects, to get a certain number of prospects. This number varies depending on the market, your product or service, your individual skills in prospecting, advertising, and many other factors.
The second part of the sales funnel is presenting. There is a direct ratio between the number of people you call on initially and the number of people who will agree to meet with you. Let us say, for example, that you have to call on twenty prospects to get five presentations. This would give you a ratio of 20 to 5 for your prospecting activities. Selling is very much a numbers game.
Follow Up and Close
In the third part of the sales funnel you have following up and closing. Let us say that you have to follow up with two prospects to get one sale. What this means is that you have to put twenty prospects in the top of the funnel to get one sale out of the bottom of the funnel, a ratio of 20 to 1. The rule therefore is this "keep your funnel full."
The definition of a good prospect is "Someone who can and will buy and pay within a reasonable period of time." Do not waste your precious selling time with nice people who do not have the authority, money, or ability to buy from you. Think continually about your personal income, and always be sure that the person you are talking to can contribute to that income soon enough to justify the time you are investing in him or her.
Qualities of a Good Prospect
- The prospect has a genuine need that your product/service can fill.
- The prospect is friendly toward you and have a favorable impression of your company and industry.
- The prospect is willing and able to make a buying decision in the near future.
- The prospect is a good potential source of further sales and referrals.
Qualities of Poor Prospects
- The prospect has no money or need for your product or service.
- The prospect is critical of you, your company, or your product.
- The prospect immediately haggles and complains about your price.
- The prospect is indecisive about purchasing from you or anyone.