What is a sales funnel and why you need one for business survival

What is a sales funnel?

Sales funnels aren’t as intimidating as they sound and trust me if you haven’t already got a sales funnel. You need one. Regardless if you are a start-up or an age-old business, a sales funnel equals survival.


Marketing is about building trusted relationships with your clients. Simply asking people for your business, doesn’t work. At least, not right away. Customers need to know you, like you and trust you before they will part with their hard-earned cash. Rightly so.

Your sales funnel is the way you build this relationship, taking people on a 5-step journey, all the way from merely being interested in your product/service to becoming a raving fan.

The good news is that the more you implement of this plan, the greater success you will have; and you can get going within days building a whole funnel in weeks, not months or years. You just need to get started.

So what exactly are a sales funnels? Well, consider them as the core four steps of your marketing plan – and one that will make you money.

So how do you build your 4-step sales funnel?

Start like this:

A one-liner:

Some may call this an elevator pitch. It doesn’t matter much what you call it, provided it’s a simple and repeatable statement clearly explaining why you matter to your ideal audience. And why is it important? It’s the way you make people curious, curious enough to find out more about your brand.

So how do you craft your one-liner?

a. State the problem your product or service solves.

b. What is your solution to the problem (stated in just a few words)?

c. What does success look like?

Put these three elements together, and you’ve likely got the makings of a one-liner.

This simple act alone will start generating you business. Your one-liner works for one fundamental reason. It’s customer-centric. It shows why you matter to your customers’ lives. Your one-liner is very different from your USPs, for example. By definition, your USPs (unique selling propositions) focus on what you want to sell. Your one-liner focuses on what your customers want to buy, and that’s way more powerful.

Once you’ve it, nailed this short and compelling statement, put it to work. Memorise it, have your team memorise it. Put it on your business cards, use it at network meetings, put it on your emails. Use it everywhere. Remember, great marketing is an act of memorisation. Repeat your one-liner as often as you can.

And, when this first step of your sales funnel is complete, you’re on your way.

A wireframed landing page:

Once your customer is curious about you, they come knocking on the door of your website. Here’s where a problem often lies. Too many businesses spend vast amounts of money on beautiful sites that simply don’t convert browsers into buyers.

Unfortunately, it’s what happens when you forget the secret to websites that work. What’s the secret?

It’s words that sell things. It’s the way the human brain works.

Don’t be blindsided by a beautiful website. Always remember, the job of your website is to help you sell. To do this, you need to communicate using the right words.

So focus on the words that you need to sell by creating a wireframe. This focus will help you concentrate on what matters. The words. They need to be clear, concise and compelling. Want to know the three most important questions your website should answer? The grunt test is here to help.

A lead generator

We build the best relationships when both parties are willing to give. And your relationship with your customers is no different. Your lead generator is your opportunity to show that you are eager to add value to their lives. You’re a business who is willing and able to help your visitors solve their problems.

This lead generator may be a checklist or a report or video series. They’re quick and cost-effective and build real trust with clients.

They can be short (no-one wants to wade through pages and pages of content at this point) but must add real value and deliver on a promise.

Now we know that most people don’t give up their email address easily. But when they do, they’re interested in your product or service. Quality leads not the number of leads is what counts. And now you’ve got the contact details of your prospects; you’re able to keep the conversation going.

Still unconvinced? Let me illustrate the point:

On average, only 3% of the people who visit a website are ready to buy or contact you directly. That means that without a lead generator, you’re effectively targeting just 3% of your traffic.

However, of the 97% who are not yet ready to buy, 7% are very open to buying, and a further 30% are interested, but not just yet.

What this means is that if you can capture the details of those who visit your site but aren’t quite ready to buy yet, your addressable market goes from just 3% to 40%. That’s a 1,233% increase! (Allan Dib, The 1-page marketing plan)

If you were sceptical before, those stats alone should illustrate why lead generators are so darned vital to your marketing success.

 An email campaign

If you’re old enough to remember You got mail, you’ll know that it’s possible to fall in love through email. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan illustrate the point entirely.

Now, as a marketer, you are probably not looking to fall in love, but you are looking to continue the relationship that you have with your customers. And having given you their contact details these customers are now, at the very least warm leads. They may or may not be ready to buy right now, but they are interested in your brand, or they wouldn’t have shared their email address, their personal information.

Yet, I hear a lot of nervousness about email. Do people read it? Will it becoming annoying? The truth is that when you are given an email address from a prospect, they are expecting you to follow-up. They’ve picked out your brand as one who can help them solve their problems. Does that mean you have a duty to deliver? I would argue, yes.

From an organisational point of view, email just works. It’s the way that you show up in your prospects inbox until the moment that they are ready to buy. It takes very little investment to set up, and it targets only customers that have shown interest in your brand and delivers returns that other digital channels can only dream of.

If you’re still dubious how about if I told you, according to Hubspot calculated that email in 2020 generates an average £38 for every £1 spent, an impressive return on investment of 3,800 percent, so, if you’re not following through with a well-thought-out email campaign you’re leaving money on the table. No marketer wants to be responsible for that.

Note the caveat here. Your email campaign needs to be well-planned and well-executed. Ad-hoc emails as and when you think of them aren’t going to cut the mustard. It’s not the size of your list that matters; it’s what you do with it that counts. What should you do with it? Well, nurture your relationships with your customers. Add value to their lives, build trust. Show you care and when you’ve done that… don’t forget to sell.

If you would like a free consultation to discuss building a sales funnel for your business, schedule a free consultation today

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