If you have owned your business for a while and have been doing your own marketing, you would have probably encountered the all important “sales funnel”. You understand that there is a process that happens which requires you to make people aware of your brand and product or service, and then get them to start moving through your sales funnel. You will also understand that at each level of the sales funnel only a certain, and usually a small percentage of people will move onto the next level. Lastly, you will understand that in order to get the people to the purchase level, you have to create trust with your audience.

This process can take a long time. It takes time to build trust because you need to build some sort of relationship. You can’t just put your product in front of someone and expect them to instantly trust you enough to make a purchase.

So what if you could bypass more than 50% of that sales funnel and get people straight into the place where they have trust and want to purchase? This is possible with business referral networking.

The Typical Sales Funnel

Let’s first have a closer look at that sales funnel, just so we understand it completely.

For this we will assume you are running a Facebook Ad. That ad is shown to 100,000 people and from that we will say that 10% of those people click through to your website. For the purpose of demonstration we will continue with 10% filtering down to each level, however bear in mind that in most cases, this is quite a generous figure.

The above is your awareness stage which means that you are making people aware of your brand and your product or service.

So, 100,000 people have become aware of your brand and 10,000 people have entered your sales funnel and those 10,000 are now at the discovery stage. They have come to your website to see what you are all about and they are discovering your product or service.

Of those 10,000 people, 10% filter down to the evaluation stage. These 1,000 people have checked you out, they want the type of product or service that you are offering but they need to do some research. They may go and compare your prices with other people, they may go and check reviews online to see if your service is good, try and find other people who have purchased from you in the past. This is where they need to know if they can trust you and your product or service.

Of those 1,000 people who have researched and evaluated you, 100 will have an intent to buy. However, they are still not sure. If they make a purchase, will they get the proper customer service they need? Is the product or service really something they need right now? So although the intent is there, they just aren’t sure.

However, 10% of those people will be sure, they trust you, they need the product or service, and so they make a purchase.

As you can see, from the 100,000 people that your advert reached, only 10 people actually made a purchase.

And it doesn’t even end there.

After the purchase the sales funnel also moves into the loyalty level. Just because 10 people have made a purchase doesn’t mean it ends there. You want those people to keep purchasing from you, and you want those 10 people to also advocate for you. If they can go out and tell all of their friends, family and colleagues about your product or service and bring more customers to you, then all the better. However, sticking with the 10% follow through, that means that only 1 person will enter the loyalty level.

And this is where the referral networking comes into play. However in this instance you started with 100,000 people and only have 1 person who is referring your business to others.

The Referral System in Action

Now you need to consider this from a different angle. The main issue here is trust. Before people will make a purchase, they need to find out if they can trust you. You then need to build that trust so that they feel comfortable making the purchase and have the peace of mind to know that they will not be left out in the cold if anything goes wrong.

That trust only comes into the funnel at the intent stage, after they have evaluated and done their research, heard from other people, etc.

Then consider that 1 person that is left at the end of the sales funnel. That person has tried your product or service and continues to use it. They have complete trust in you, your business, your customer service and your product, because they are actively involved, continually purchasing.

If one of their friends, family members or colleagues says that they are looking for the same product or service, that 1 person can refer them to you with complete confidence. Because of that trust and confidence, the new customer will already be past the intent stage (because they have voiced the need for the product or service and therefore have the intent to make a purchase), and will go straight into the purchase stage.

Now let’s say that 1 person refers 10 people to your business and 1 of those 10 become another loyal customer. Then you have 2 people advocating for your business and referring more people, and it starts to snowball (and you didn’t need to spend any money advertising to 100,000 people).

Are you beginning to see the advantages of referral networking?

Bring in the Networking Group

What we have spoken about so far is how to get people through your sales funnel to create loyal customers who will then advocate for your business and refer people which can then shortcut the sales funnel.

Now, how about having a group of people who will advocate for you and your business from the get go?

How about having an entire marketing team of approxiamately 20 people without having to hire a single person?

How about getting that marketing team for a monthly cost that is less than taking a family of three out for pizza?

I know it sounds crazy, but it is entirely possible. After all, that’s what we specialize in at Net-Working-Pro, so we know.

When you join a formal networking group like NWP you join a group of business owners that are all looking out for each other. Don’t get me wrong, it does take some time because you have to build relationships, educate the people in the group about your business and products, and build trust. But once that is done, you will see business start to flow in.

Having said that I remember when I joined my first networking group. I joined as an online marketer and in the group was a web developer. Because of our similarity and being in the same industry, both having clients that were looking for web development and online marketing for their businesses, she already had clients who needed my services. Through that interaction and because I joined under the recommendation of one of the other members, trust was already created and I started bringing in new business immediately.

I’m not going to say that will happen for everyone, but it is possible. If it doesn’t, don’t let it get you down. Work at building the relationships. Meet with the other members to discuss your business. Offer specials for people in your group so that they can try your products and services at a discounted price and therefore get to know how good it is. Once the people in your group know how to refer you, what to talk about (because they are educated about your business and products) and know how to market you to other people, the opportunities will start to roll in.

So just to recap. If you want to shortcut your sales funnel then you need to have people who are already intent on purchasing and already have a certain level of trust. That can be done by having a group of people who know you, your business and your product. By joining a group like Net-Working-Pro you have that immediately, right at your fingertips, an entire marketing team who you don’t need to hire or pay salaries to.

These are people who want to help you succeed because it means they will also succeed. They are also business owners who understand the difficulties and the pains it takes to build a business.

What could be better?

Sharing (and networking) is sexy: