I have found a potential client - what sales funnel do I use?

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

Today in our five part series on your marketing funnel and our legal chat bot, we are asking the important question what sales funnel are you going to use?

Marketing funnel

This graphic is what we are working through in this five part series. What we want to do in this post, for the purpose of properly understanding our two goals (get them into your sales funnel or open a file), is to drill down on this part circled in red in the graphic above.

When the week's posts are finished I will also be sharing a checklist to work through each of this week's points, if you scroll down and join the mailing list you will get the checklist and information sent to you even if you are not a FamilyProperty user.

What is a sales funnel?

If you Google what is a sales funnel, or what is a sales funnel for a professional service, then you get all sorts of explanations including articles telling you that sales funnels are dead. I saw a number of suggestions for your sales funnel, including:

When I typed sales funnel into Wikipedia it redirected me to 'Sales Process Enginnering'. I bet if you are reading this article you have heard the term sales funnel before, and yet the actual definition of it seems to be elusive. I found:

  • A sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey from your prospect’s first contact with you until a completed purchase - here

  • The sales funnel (also known as a revenue funnel or sales process) refers to the buying process that companies lead customers through when purchasing products - here

  • The sales funnel is each step that someone has to take in order to become your customer - here

As with many other things I will talk about in this five step series, I think that the concept of a sales funnel has become so complex that it has lost it's original basic meaning. For the purpose of this process that we are working through we will treat our sales funnel as a way of helping people to step through the stages of know, like and trust. When they initially become aware of your existence it would be great if you could put them into some sort of marketing channel to help them to get to know you, and then like you, and then trust you. Of course, if they trust you, they will recommend you to a friend too, so it isn't just one potential customer that you have gained.

As with all professional services often when people need a lawyer or a mediator they need a lawyer pretty quickly. It would be great if you had some sort of system or plan to reach out to people who don't yet need a mediator or lawyer, and help them to get to know you, then like you, then trust you, so that when they do urgently need you they will phone you.

Speak to people who don't need you yet

Most lawyers or mediators make the mistake of only thinking about people who need them now, right now, when it comes to marketing. While that is great, to get an immediate convert, on the whole mostly people who need a lawyer either use their existing trusted advisor or ask a friend.

The other mistake that I see is people saying "we get new clients from word of mouth" but then using that as a reason not to market. You still need to market, you just need to market to your existing client base and referrers. It is just a different approach.

Don't take my word for it, let's look at the blog posts I shared with you yesterday -

You need to be getting people to know, like and then trust you either before they need a lawyer, or in time for them to refer you to their friend who needs a mediator. If you don't believe me then go back to yesterday's blog post and read those links I gave you to other marketers talking about this same thing.

What is the best sales funnel for you

Now again it is easy to go down a rabbit hole here researching what your ideal marketing channel or sales funnel would be for your ideal client.

Remember when I spoke before (in this post) about your point of difference? I said -

Your points of difference matter, but they should be natural, an opportunity to tell the potential client how you are different, not a mandate to reinvent how you or your business do things.

Now lots of people talk about points of difference, this is not revolutionary stuff. What I don't understand is why so many people out there giving you marketing advice seem to forget the importance of your point of difference when it comes to choosing a marketing channel or sales funnel. If there is a marketing channel that is working for you now then that should be the top of your sales funnel. Your business is not (hopefully) a standard or generic business, so why would you go and look at standard or generic statistics about someone else's business to work out how to reach your ideal client. Shouldn't you look at what is working for you now, not what is working for your competitor, or for some random group of businesses that answered some surveys?

I have taken a long time to get to the point of today's post, which is to answer a series of questions to get to the bottom of what marketing channel is working for you now?

When you sign up for the mailing list (scroll down), the checklist you get will step you through these questions. What is important though is to answer the question what is working for you, for your ideal client. Now in time, after attending my time recording webinar, you will have data to answer that question for you. For now though I am working through a short cut in the checklist to get you started.

How are your ideal clients coming to you now?

For now I want you to answer the question, how are my ideal clients coming to me now? You should be asking every new client who comes through the door how they came to you, you should be recording that, and you should be able to get meaningful reports from that data. If you haven't already got that data then you could pick up the phone and call a few of your ideal clients (who you have already acted for) and simply ask them.

If you want more on defining your ideal client, and working with a real person rather than a made up avatar, then you should definitely listen to this podcast, or if you are more of a reader there is a transcript of the podcast.

I have been working in law firms for a long time and I have never found that somebody was insulted by me calling them to say "I really loved workign with you, so I wanted to ask you, how did you find me" or "why did you decide to use me as your lawyer". People don't have the time or perhaps the focus to fill out a survey if you send it to them, but I find they are generally happy to talk to me on the phone about it. In fact often when I ask them that question they say something along the lines of "fair enough, you want to know where to spend your marketing dollars".

Think of your three best examples of an 'ideal client' and call them and ask them:

  • How did they first become aware of your firm's existence?

  • Why did they decide to use your firm (as opposed to any other firm)

If they give you different answers then perhaps you need to call a few more clients, but often you will find they give you similar answers.

What marketing channels are working for you now?

Again I don't want you to go off and research what marketing channels are working for others, it is more important to understand your own business and your own client base. You will have a natural tone, and certain people will naturally gravitate towards that. Statistics on the platforms are great to inform these decisions but I think in most cases people need to spent a lot more time looking at their own data.

Also remember that your sales funnel can change over time, and it can be different for a different type of work. At the moment we are just looking at setting up one sales funnel, for now. Over time you will collect proper data and make better choices about where your ideal clients are coming from.

In the checklist that you will get when you join my marketing funnel mailing list I will step you through collecting some statistics on your marketing channels. Don't hear me saying that you need to be using all of these channels. You are far better off doing one channel well and abandoning the others altogether than spreading yourself too thin. If you have more than one then that is fine, but each channel has it's own style and personality and you should really be having one of them as your focus.

I have been using a spreadsheet of my own for collecting data on my channels, I keep thinking about fixing it up to share with subscribers. Let me know (email me at janisdc@familyproperty.com.au ) if you think it would be valuable to have a spreadsheet ready for you to pop your marketing data into.

For now (if you haven't already) sign up to my marketing funnel email list so you can go through some questions in the checlist on your existing channels.

Now you are ready to draft a sales funnel

Now that you have collected some information (using the checklist you have been emailed) you are ready to draft a sales funnel. If you are a FamilyProperty user then reach out to me, once you have completed the information in the checklists I am happy to go through it and propose a specific plan for you.

Some examples of some sales funnels you might use are included below, notice that they are difference and it depends on what is working for you and your ideal clients.

Next we are going to cover the blue circles in the marketing graphic, circled in the graphic below. These are the ones that are all about exchanging information, which is why I say that at the moment this is a draft sales funnel. The other parts of the marketing flow chart will also form part of your sales funnel, and we will look at those tomorrow.

The aim is, of course, to move the client as quickly as we can through the funnel and so we want to make sure that we aren't forcing them to arbitrarily stop at any of these stages, if they just want you to act for them right now.

If you haven't done it already then please join the mailing list (scroll up) to get all of the checklists.

Don't just time cost, make sure you are time recording.

Join us on Tuesday 28 July for our webinar discussing time costing and time recording. We will go through what you should be recording and how that will help your practice generally, what you should be using your practice management software to record, and all of that will help you to refine the questions 'who is my ideal client' or 'what is my ideal matter type' moving forward.

You can register for that event, which we are co - hosting with Smokeball, by clicking here.

Want more information? Like I said this is the second part of a five part series, so stay tuned for the rest of the steps that you need to set up your marketing funnel.

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