It's all about the funnel.

You have heard about conversion rates for your website, but there's more to it than that.

I was talking to a friend of mine today and we were chatting about sales, and conversion rates when it dawned on me that just about everything you do in business is related to your sales funnel, or more aptly your customer funnel.

One one end you have the world, the other a paying customer. The steps in between look something like this.

  1. The world
  2. The target market
  3. The prospect
  4. The lead
  5. The potential customer
  6. The paying customer

Just about everything you read about business talks about improving your conversion rate through one or more of these groups of people.

So whether you are on eBay seller, a barber, or a real-estate developer you work with the funnel in some way.

People often tell you that you need to define a target market? Why? Because marketing or selling to the world is more difficult than a target market, so they tell you to start there, but it's the wrong place, you actually need to start with the world and then figure out how to improve your ratio to the next step in the funnel, your target market. There are books on this called, how to define your target market, but as long as you know the "big picture" and realize that the target market is not where you start, then you are starting to understand my point.

There are marketing books, SEO (search engine optimization) strategies, sales books, usability guides, statistical tools like Google Analytics all saying the same thing differently and often in a confusing way, that being, if you plug holes in your funnel, you will make a lot of money.

So, don't write a business plan, write a funnel filling and leak stopping plan.