Understanding your sales pipeline is arguably one of the most important skills to have in business, because it ensures that you can continually generate sales every single day in your business.
And yet, so few people in the online space have a clear and accurate understanding of their sales pipeline.
In fact, as a sales coach with a 15-year career in the corporate space, I consistently find that a lack of pipeline is behind most sales problems.
We think it’s an audience problem. We think it’s a closing problem. We think it’s a pricing problem. We think it’s a timing problem. We think it’s a problem with our launch or our webinar.
But most of the time, it’s really about our sales pipeline.
What exactly IS a sales pipeline, anyway?
Your sales pipeline is your ecosystem of qualified leads.
Where most people go wrong here is that when they count those leads, they include every single person in their Facebook group, every single person on their email list, every single person that follows them on Instagram, and every single person they’re connected with on LinkedIn.
But while those people are in your audience, not all of them belong in your pipeline.
The ONLY people who belong in your pipeline are the ones who fit your ideal client criteria — and the only way to know that is if they are in conversation with you or your sales team.
So many entrepreneurs think they have a giant ecosystem of leads, but when we really drill it down to who’s actually in their pipeline, who’s actually considering purchasing from them at some point in time, the number is quite small.
And unfortunately, it becomes clear that they don’t have nearly enough qualified leads to reach their sales goals, no matter how optimized their funnel may be.
How do you fix this problem?
An excellent exercise to do with your sales team is to go online and look at some of your very best clients.
- What are they talking about?
- What are they posting about?
- What sort of content are they sharing?
- How are they interacting online?
You may find that while you know your ideal client when you see them, you have no idea how to go out and find them on the internet.
I’m going to give you a perfect example.
Before I became the CEO of Social Sellers Academy, I was growing a business where we worked with brand new entrepreneurs.
And so, what we could tell by looking at their profiles is that there actually wasn’t a lot of information out there about their business.
There was maybe a mention here or there, but they weren’t talking about it a lot.
So that was an indicator for us that a person is a newer entrepreneur.
We also knew that we loved working with virtual assistants, social media managers, Facebook ad managers, health coaches, life coaches, and business coaches.
So, we would use that information to look at someone’s profile and determine if we should be having a conversation with them.
Now that you know how to find your ideal clients, you need to fiercely protect your pipeline and only include people in it that actually fit the criteria.
It’s not just who’s talking to you. It’s not everybody that registers for your workshop. It’s not everybody that responds to an email. It’s not everybody that’ll take a meeting with you.
There’s a very specific criteria.
The statistics tell us that at any given time, only 3% of our audience is actually ready to make a buying decision right now, which means 97% are not ready.
But what happens is that we’re so worried about dumping new people into the pipeline that we’re not actually moving anyone through the sales pipeline.
We’re inpatient because we’re not getting what we want right away. We’re not getting the sale right away. We’re not getting the answer to the direct message right away.
So we go out and we find more people.
But it’s not about more people. It’s about more of the RIGHT people.
You have to ask yourself, are you going deep enough with the right people? Are you spending enough time to really build a relationship with that person? Are you providing enough value? Are you showing up?
Once you start going all in on just those people who really belong in your pipeline, that is where the magic happens.
That’s when you’re able to get to a point where you’re closing a deal every single day, because you have people that you’ve been building relationships with for many, many months.
Here’s some homework for you.
First, go out and spend some time learning what your audience looks like on the internet.
Then, spend some time thinking about how you’re going to pursue those people, what those touch points are going to look like.
How can you provide value to this person? How can you be someone who is interesting and worth having a conversation with?