Sales Funnels Explained

marketing Aug 23, 2023

Every business, no matter what industry or niche, should have a sales or marketing funnel in place for consistent sales and sustainable growth.

But I understand that even the term 'funnel' can sound overwhelming and technically challenging.

The good news is, it doesn't have to be either.

Let me explain.

When I started out in my own business over 8 years ago, I always thought the term 'online funnel' was synonymous with platforms like Clickfunnels, which (at the time) sounded expensive and way out of reach for a newbie like me who was excited to be charging £500 for a website!

But even though I was ‘in marketing’ (with over 15 years in the trenches at this point) I wasn’t really clued up on some of the jargon that was used in the online space. If you’ve moved from offline to online, you’ll understand what I mean when I talk about opening the door to Narnia that happens when you discover the online marketing world. Courses, lead magnets, funnels, webinars…it was a new world and one that I quickly embraced.

Taking my predominantly offline marketing knowledge to purely online business was an exciting and rewarding challenge that I embraced immediately.

I realised that marketing is marketing.

It’s about putting the right product, in front of the right person at the right time or place.

And I quickly became obsessed with all the shortcuts and emerging tools and resources that could generate success really, REALLY quickly.

From helping a coach use Facebook ads to sell £20k of their product in just 6 weeks, to helping a franchisor to generate £169,200 in revenue with £3k ad spend, one thing became clear… Every business needs a funnel.

So what exactly is a funnel?

Simply think about the steps your customers take, from initially engaging with you to become paying clients. Each decision making moment can be predicted. Overseeing the entire process and what pieces are needed at each step will give you the big picture and this is your funnel.

Start with the end goal in mind. What do you want to sell and who is your ideal customer? Before someone buys from you, what steps will they take? Did they chat to you on the phone? Meet you? Email you? View your videos? Did they download a free PDF or lead magnet? Read your blog posts? Whatever actions they take, you will start to see a pattern of how people move through your sales funnel.

Mapping out this journey helps you get super clear on:
1. what to offer;
2. how to attract the right audience;
3. ways to convert leads to bookings.

Let's explore with an example: pretend you're a photographer.


When a prospect considers booking a photographer, they are unlikely to make a purchase decision immediately. This is especially true for higher priced services such as Wedding or event photography. In this case, it is important to create a funnel that leads a 'cold' prospect to become a 'hot' customer. Let's face it, if you were in the market to book a service of any kind, you would do your research, speak to a few providers, check out their past work, testimonials, and social media.

As the business owner, you need to be at the front of the queue for attention. This is what's called the awareness phase of the sales funnel and it's where list building comes into effect. It's the first contact point when someone 'enters' your sales funnel and becomes a lead.

Getting leads.

One great way to get people into a sales funnel is by using a lead magnet. This would be a free download which creates demand for and awareness of you and what you offer. It could be a magnitude of different things, but it must create demand as well as provide value.

Essentially, once someone opts in to receive your free download by giving their email address, they go into your sales funnel. You then have their attention so you can show them (via email, social media, Facebook Ads etc) not only why they need to hire a photographer, but why you're the one they should book.

Nurturing and converting leads to sales.

It's important that each step of the sales funnel is tailored to the customers' decision making phase. So consider the following and how to address it with your messaging, and move them onto the next step in your funnel: What objections/questions/beliefs might they have to booking either a professional photographer in general, and to booking you specifically.

What questions are they likely asking themselves and you? How can you position yourself as a solution to their needs? What will help them take that next micro-commitment to becoming a client - i.e. requesting a brochure, price list, or making a call to you. Take it one step further, how can you automate this within your email marketing to ensure you are addressing their objections upfront (and hands-off).

So with a view of your big picture, you will have mapped out your sales funnel.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen and start giving thought to how you can attract, nurture and convert your prospects - essentially holding the hand of your leads to your end goal.

With a clearer understanding of the steps to move prospects through the funnel, you are on track to enjoy a more consistent, sustainable and predictable revenue. Understanding and automating your lead generation will truly be transformational for your business.


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