If you are a sales professional, you are likely already familiar with the funnel concept. This is where a business uses their marketing action plan to funnel all leads into. From here, the object is to take these leads in the sales funnel and turn them into sales. There is nothing wrong with the funnel concept it’s worked well for years; however, it doesn’t really fit what is going on in today’s marketplace, so now we have the sales tunnel.

Prior to the internet the goal was deliver quality goods and services, which in turn would build customer loyalty, and it was felt by the majority of businesses to be a sufficient way to build customers. But then along came the internet, and from the comfort of home and the click of a mouse both your loyal customers and your potential customers can now find another provider that offers better pricing, more choice, and just better value all the way around. Now customers are no longer loyal to you just because they purchased from you. It has forced sales professionals to drop the traditional way of selling and become engaged in relationship selling and the use of a new version of sales funnels that some call sales tunnels.

With relationship selling you are the go to person. You understand the marketplace, and can make recommendations for your customers. This means you will need to be able to prove your expertise. Your goal is more about educating your customers and potential customers than closing the sale. Show them the value you offer that they can’t find elsewhere and they will close the sale.

So envision your sales funnel like this. You and your potential customer, who you’ve already qualified, are at the tunnel opening. The two of you begin to walk beside each other in the dark. While you are in the tunnel, you learn what concerns your potential customer and you provide knowledge and assurance. As you continue to walk, you become less of a salesperson and more of a trusted advisor. Soon you both begin to see the light that’s at the end of the tunnel, which is generated by the products and services that you offer that connect with the information you’ve already provided as a trusted advisor.

Relationship selling using the sales funnel strategy is the number one way to make yourself wealthier and build authentic customers that are there for the long haul.

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