Mikael Dia wasn’t always an entrepreneur. His first business venture enjoyed early success. But it also revealed to him that he knew nothing about selling to people other than family and friends. As a result, he invested his efforts in learning to effectively acquire inbound leads.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Mikael shares the power of the funnel in attracting your dream customers and turning them into real clients.
Mikael and his roommates launched a t-shirt business (he uses that term loosely) right out of college, and the group saw a fair amount of success. They had 5 or 6 designs, and lots of college friends and family who supported the venture.
They got cocky, he said, and ordered a lot more t-shirts. The problem was that they had already sold to all the people they knew, and they didn’t know how to sell to strangers.
He started researching SEO and affiliate marketing, as well as information about setting up websites.
In the 2010 lead up to the Mayans’ predicted “end of the world” in 2012, he created an affiliate website where he sold survival knives. He figured people would be looking for survival equipment, and he theorized that if he could get the site ranked, he’d be in good position to make money.
By the end of the experience, he had invested $100 in his marketing and had earned $5.23.
He made the same mistake that many companies make when generating leads online: they create ads to send people to their sites and then hope that the person finds the right links to complete the purchase.
Mikael discovered along the way that people are distracted. They don’t have much attention, so if you send them to your website to browse around in hopes that they’ll find something, they’ll likely get distracted before they complete the transaction.
Sales funnels work differently. They target your dream customer, and at each stage, they give him the option to proceed to the next step or leave.
You might, for example, create an ad to grab his attention. The message is this: if you’re having this particular problem, click here, which takes him to the next step. The only choice he has to make is whether to proceed to the next step. There aren’t multiple options. Only two.
The sales funnel will always give the customer a simple choice, and it will direct him until he either schedules a phone call with you or he leaves.
If, for example, your simple funnel allows you to track that 1,000 people landed on your page, and 100 of them made it to your application page, then you know that your page converts at 10 percent.
Of those who made it to the application page, 50 of them scheduled phone calls, so you’ll have 50 new leads.
Minimal landing pages
Every landing page has the same goal: to encourage customers to provide a name and email address in exchange for valuable information.
Keep landing pages minimal. Don’t provide multiple options. When customers set their own path, they get lost and don’t realize what you want them to do.
Attract the person to your site, and then guide him to do whatever it is you want him to do.
Give him value.
Realize, too, that if you can’t find a customer on Facebook, you aren’t advertising properly, because everyone is on Facebook.
Mikael stresses the importance of qualifying customers early in the process in order to make sure they can afford what you’re offering.
During discovery calls, Mikael asks customers to acknowledge that the price range is within their budget. Realizing, too, that humans sometimes lie about what they can afford, he also engages other opportunities to qualify customers.
He calls them micro-campaigns, and he equates it to homework. During the process, he asks customers to answer 3 or 4 simple questions like “How much traffic do you generate per month?” As part of that document, he asks them to type “Yes” to a question about being able to afford the services.
He says that the simple commitment improves the closing. It ensures that they are only developing proposals for serious customers. As a result of the effort, they closed 70 to 80 percent.
Finally, Mikael never sends proposals to his customers. He asks for 45 minutes of their time so he can present the proposal using ScreenShare.
If they ask him to send the proposal, he agrees to send it after the presentation.
Doing so ensures that the important details aren’t overlooked, and it eliminates room for error.
Because proposals are intended to be presented, they benefit from storytelling and live interaction.
The sales funnel will help you generate inbound leads without having to constantly create new content. Use your funnel to target your dream customer and walk him through the correct series of steps. It will drive him to schedule a call with you.
“Effectively Acquire Inbound Leads” episode resources
We’ve been recommending the book the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen from our sponsors at Wiley for quite some time because we believe in the message. Based upon interviews with buyers, it offers specific information for sellers to help them become trusted advisors.
As part of the series this week, we have a SlideShare available for you to download, or you can link to it here. As always, we also have a free excerpt of the book so you can try it out for yourself. We believe you’ll like it so much you’ll want to grab your own copy.
Today’s episode was also brought to you by Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and making your brand pop using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy.
If you think you might benefit from more stories like these, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program that brings sellers of all levels and all industries together to share insights. We’re beginning a new semester this fall, and we’d be honored for you to join us.