It’s not often one can say, “Absolutely every business needs to do this.” After all, there is a wide range of businesses out there. The person that sells candy is running a much different business than the person who does landscaping.

However, all businesses need a sales pipeline with clear, understandable sales funnel stages and so does your coaching business. Some coaches may find their clients move through the stages quickly while others have a longer sales process.

The stages are universal and if you are developing a sales pipeline for your coaching business then you need to be aware of these stages.

It All Starts With a Lead

Every sale at every business begins with a lead. Leads can come in a variety of ways. Some businesses, like the landscaper mentioned earlier, may have to generate leads by cold calling, handing out flyers, or door knocking.

Other businesses, like the candy store, may generate leads by offering free samples outside the store.

Coaching businesses may generate leads online by offering a freebie. In any case, a lead is a lead.

Being able to track a lead is incredibly important. This is your first indication that someone may need your product or service. It is also the entrance to your sales funnel. Before you can begin moving customers through the sales funnel stages and turn them into clients, they must begin as a lead.

The Most Important Sales Funnel Stages for Every Business

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Leads Will (Sometimes) Become Prospects

You have a lead. The journey through the sales pipelines stages has begun. As you begin the sales process, you are attempting to turn leads into prospects. This is the next stage of the sales funnel. Let’s go back to the candy store and landscaper example, shall we?

At the candy store, a lead can become a prospect within a matter of seconds. After they taste that sweet piece of candy the customer may venture into the store to see what else is offered at the candy store. They are now a prospect. For those who want to rank prospects on a scale of hot to cold, it is likely that this person can be considered a hot prospect.

Our landscaper may require more time before their leads become prospects. Let’s say they left flyers at every new home build in an area of the city. A week later they get an online form submission from a customer that visited the website listed on the flyer. This lead has now become a prospect and can be advanced through the sales pipeline stages to ensure proper follow up is completed.

How does this work for your coaching business? Well, if they’ve become a leader through opting-in, you now need to follow up with them trying to find out what their specific interests in your products or services are. When they show interest by clicking on a link that leads them to a specific blog post or a video or webinar, you now have a prospect.

However, some leads do not become prospects. Clients may be uninterested and it’s important to mark these leads as “lost.” They cannot be advanced through the pipeline and should be removed. This is where a lead funnel and a sales funnel software can come in handy.

Not all lost leads are necessarily lost forever. Clients may say something like, “Not this year but maybe next spring.” A note can be made to re-enter the client as a lead to follow up with when the time is right.

Prospects Require Proposals

It’s very hard to make a sale if the prospect is not asked for the sale. This is where the proposal stage is so important. It also helps you clearly watch as a person is moved through your sales funnel. Again, this is where sales funnel software can be incredibly valuable. You can see which proposals are being worked on and when the proposal has been completed.

Other proposals may be simple. In the candy store, for example, a proposal can be an employee offering 10% off for joining the email club. The word “proposal” often creates visions of flashy printouts in monogrammed binders but a proposal can be big or small.

Prospects Require Proposals for Every Business

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Did They Say Yes to Your Proposal?

Now, it’s time to finalize the sale.

This is the most satisfying stage in the sales funnel. All of your hard work has built up to this point. However, don’t get complacent and assume the job is done. Are there any conditions to the agreement? Just because a prospect has said yes to a proposal doesn’t mean their money has been handed over.

Tracking this stage is incredibly important and may require being broken down into several smaller stages depending on your sales and delivery process.

Here is another step where sales funnel software can save you from an embarrassing and costly mistake – ensuring the client makes it through the finalization stage is the business equivalent of sprinting the last few yards of a race.

Finish strong and see things through to the end.

The Sale is closed

Once signatures are done and payments have been completed or scheduled, a client can be considered, “closed.”

It’s important to note when a deal has been closed as it is the only indicator that a client has been completely moved through the sales funnel.

Make it easy for clients to move between the stages and make tracking simple for you. The result will be a better-organized business.

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