The sales funnel is an illustrative representation of how each customer travels from the point of first becoming aware of your business or product, to the point of making a purchase. It is used to exemplify the concept that you generally need to make a large number of people aware of your business in order to successfully sell your product or service to a much smaller number of people.
Within the funnel itself, the potential customer can move from learning about your business, to awareness of a particular product or service of interest to them, to learning about that product or service (will it meet all their needs, can they afford it, etc.), to deciding to make a purchase and finally to the purchase itself.
This description of the sales process is used throughout the sales and marketing industries. So how can you use LinkedIn to create or improve your own sales funnel?
LinkedIn is a popular networking tool for professionals and businesses, which can enable you to locate leads by examining not just the people to whom you are directly connected, but their connections and their connections’ connections as well.
Leads found through LinkedIn can be extremely valuable because you can usually arrange for a personal introduction to your lead from someone who already knows you and your business. However, you shouldn’t stop at using LinkedIn to simply locate leads.
LinkedIn can be used to nurture your leads and find qualified prospects. Once you have been introduced to someone over LinkedIn, you can use it to further build your relationship with that person. One way to build relationships is to offer something of interest to that person. You can offer to introduce them to someone who might be able to benefit their business, or share content that they will find interesting. You can also join or build an industry-specific group, which will allow you to have more interactions with your lead and find out more about their needs and what it will take to make a sale.
It is important to build your relationship with leads before starting in on your sales pitch. If you simply use LinkedIn as a way to send out messages about your product, no matter how great your product is, many people will simply view your messages as spam. Avoid reusing content in multiple messages. Instead, send personalized messages that reinforce your connection and concentrate on what your product will do to help your leads.
When used to its fullest, LinkedIn has the ability to help you bring potential customers nearly all the way through the sales funnel. By concentrating on making personal connections with potential customers and building those relationships, you can get the most out of LinkedIn.