What is a sales funnel?

What Is A Sales Funnel?

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“You’re just one funnel away from making a massive impact on the world.”

— Russell Brunson

Websites are dead. They’re gone and buried. In its place is something new called the sales funnel. And unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, you’ve heard of a sales funnel. But let’s just say you haven’t for a moment. What is a sales funnel and what does it actually do? And how does it impact your ability to generate leads, make sales and make more offers online?

First, let’s take a step back for a moment and look at this. What is a website in the first place? It’s a mishmash of information. What happens when you visit a company’s website? The sheer overwhelm of information hits you. Menus. Submenus. Drop-down items. Products. Services. About us. Contact information. Employees. Who really cares in the first place?

Today, attention spans are short. Very short. And if you want to maximize the amount of traffic that comes into your business, then bury your website and replace it with a sales funnel. So what can a sales funnel do that a website can’t? A lot. And I’m going to break the entire thing down for you and show you how you can launch one in minutes, on your own, without the help of a web developer.

That’s all thanks to this man. A man deeply vested in online marketing who struggled with the pain of building and launching sales funnels with the help of a team of eight web developers. The cost to build, maintain and change small elements, and the inability to quickly test different elements on the page without involving developers, led him toward the dream of launching his own sales funnel software.

What Is A Sales Funnel?

Okay, there’s a big difference between websites and sales funnels. Very BIG. But to really understand it, let’s break down a comparison. When you look at a sales funnel vs websites what are the big key differences? Also, what is a sales funnel at the end of the day? Is it just a website with a different skin or is there a different objective in a sales funnel compared to a website?

Think about it like this. From a thirty-thousand-toot perspective, a website and sales funnel have one major differentiator. A website, by definition, has multiple personalities. That’s because websites are designed to be many things all at once:

  • They can offer information
  • They have multiple sections
  • They can contain the ability to purchase
  • They can have account logins
  • They can provide services and products
  • And so on…

When I say multiple personalities, I mean it. Because a website can be everything all at once. Don’t get me wrong. That has its benefits. But not when it comes to providing a laser-focused path for a customer to go on.

All the choices and options of a website are often overwhelming. Combine that with slow-loading pages and poor user experiences and it usually leads to a potential customer leaving right away. We call that a high bounce rate. Basically, the engagement rate is incredibly low.

In a sales funnel, it’s entirely different. Sales funnels can be lots of things as well, but not all at once. A sales funnel is designed to be one thing and has one primary objective at one time. Meaning, it can be designed to generate leads or it can be designed to make sales.

Here’s how a sales funnel looks:

  • They have one singular path
  • They focus on addressing one problem or pain point
  • They are lead visitors on a predefined journey
  • They convert very well compared to websites
  • They are easy to build and launch on your own
  • They make it easy to test changes
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How Does A Sales Funnel Work?

A sales funnel is very intentional in its approach. One thing to understand is that most purchase decisions do not happen right on the spot. Purchase decisions take time. Especially when dealing with higher ticket amounts.

Websites offer poor conversions for high-ticket items unless the brand is extremely trusted. Even then, it’s tough to convert at those higher dollar amounts. But that’s not even the gist of it. Until a person knows, likes and trusts you, they won’t buy from you.

Because the truth is this. People buy from people they know, like and trust. So how do you expect to get someone to know, like and trust you without first opening a dialogue with them? That’s the beauty of sales funnels. It allows you to build a relationship with a prospect.

There are four levels that are typical of a sales funnel. Imaging an actual funnel if you will. As pictured above, imagine pouring traffic into a real-life funnel. Funnels usually filter down oil or another substance we want to help reach a very targeted area.

However, with a funnel, not all traffic that arrives at the top makes its way down to the bottom. This is by design because not everyone who becomes aware of you will end up buying from you. There are four actual phases that the sales funnel addresses.

These four stages are called awareness, interest, desire and action. This is also known as the AIDA model developed by advertiser, E. St. Elmo Lewis.

Stage 1 — Awareness

Awareness is also known as attention. How do you command attention and stop people from scrolling right past whatever it is that you’re offering? That right there is the ticket to creating drool-worthy offers. But once they’re aware, you must be able to gain their interest.

Awareness comes from anything that could range from a headline to an image or a video. For example, some people make the main image in their ad black and white. Why? Because it makes you pause for just long enough to get your attention.

Other ways can include a photo of a cat, a beautiful woman, or even a picture of you with a ridiculous look on your face pointing at something. You’ve seen these a million times before. Next time something grabs your awareness (attention) make sure to take notice at what element caught your eye.

Awareness can also come from social media posts, YouTube videos, Facebook profiles, Instagram, TikTok, or any other place. These are not necessarily ads. It’s simply exposure to you. But you must grab enough awareness for them to take the next step.

Stage 2 — Interest

Interest is when someone who is aware of you raises their hand and lets you know that they’re actually interested. This only happens if they think you have the solution to a problem they’re facing. Then, they’ll fill out your lead form or opt-in to your list to learn more.

The interest stage allows you to communicate with that prospect further. This is where they move into your communication sequences. And in the next stage, you have to build rapport so that they get to know, like and trust you.

When they do get to know, like, and trust you, that’s when they’ll take the next step.

Stage 3 — Desire

The third stage is desire. Can you build enough desire in the individual to move them from a simple interest into actually wanting the thing that you’re offering? There are many ways to create desire. But at its core, you must have an irresistible offer, and they must get to know, like and trust you.

Desire is created through the power of storytelling. Stories must be told in a way that makes the prospect understand that you too faced the problem that they are facing right now. And the thing you’re offering is what helped you solve that problem.

The reason why people use sales funnels to generate leads first is because there is far less friction involved with giving something away for free than trying to sell someone who is only recently became aware of you. Sales funnels help you move that person toward action.

However, sales funnels also help you move a person from a lead into a buyer or a low-ticket buyer into a high-ticket buyer by moving them from one funnel to another. This is also known as ascension because you’re ascending the customer into paying more.

Stage 4 — Action

The final stage is action. Once you have their awareness, interest and desire, then there’s the final stage of action. Action simply means that you get the prospect to complete the specific action intended. This could be purchasing a small offer, booking a calendar call, purchasing a high-ticket program, and so on.

The goal is to move prospects through the funnel by using the right frameworks and the right communications. This is all about building rapport. But you also need to provide social proof, risk reversal and other elements that help push prospects towards an action.

Another way to look at this is to break the funnel apart and dissect what occurs at each of the stages. It’s easier to look at a funnel like this.

Value Ladder

Another way to look at the sales funnel is horizontally. This concept is called the value ladder. When you think about the sales funnel as a value ladder, you notice that you step up the stairs towards the higher value offers.

Your job as a business owner is to ascend customers up the value ladder. In other words, not only do you need them to take action, you need to ascend them then move them up to different funnels.

Although this concept can seem overwhelming, once you have a very good idea for how funnels work, making money by implementing different funnels is a walk in the park.

Traffic Types

Every funnel starts with traffic. This can come from many places. However, most sales funnels rely on paid traffic. Meaning, you’re running ads. This is a form of awareness. Traffic comes in from the top of your funnel and filters down.

It’s also important to understand that the temperature of your traffic can be different. Traffic temperature is an important concept to understand. Because, based on the temperature of the traffic, the way you communicate will be different.

For example, cold traffic are people who are unaware of you but might be aware of the problem they face. For example, you might run a paid ad agency, and cold traffic are businesses who are struggling to get new customers in the door.

Warm traffic are people who are both problem aware and solution aware. They already know you and have an interest in what you’re selling. Then there’s hot traffic. These are people who are product aware. Typically these are your repeat buyers who you’re trying to ascend up to sell them more valuable products and services.

Choosing Your Bait

To capture a lead, you have to choose your bait wisely. There are numerous types of bait that you can choose. However, no matter what you choose, your bait has to address one part of the problem they’re trying to solve. And you have to overdeliver the value and “give away the farm.”

You might think this is a mistake. But it’s not. When you give away the farm, you create trust. And remember the formula of know, like and trust? That’s part of the entire equation. So creating your bait is something vital to the entire process.

If you want a more detailed breakdown of this, I would highly suggest checking out Myron Golden’s Make More Offer Challenge where he deep-dives into precisely how to do this. When you nail the bait, you nail the lead. It becomes almost effortless.

Some examples of bait include the following:

  • Checklist
  • Cheatsheet
  • Free trial
  • Ebook
  • Guidebook
  • Video Training
  • Audio guide
  • And more…

Creating Your Frontend Offer

A successful sales funnel will have a great frontend offer. We call this an irresistible offer. This could be a:

  • Free-plus shipping offer
  • 2-step tripwire offer
  • Physical + digital offer
  • Other low-ticket offer
  • And so on…

This offer also has to not only be high in value. It also has to be low in risk. That’s the ticket to making the sale. You’ll typically find these offers in the rang of $1 to $97 with incredibly high value. You also need to use psychological levers to get the prospect to take action now.

Understanding the concept of urgency and scarcity is important. Your frontend offer is not designed to trick the prospect. It’s only designed to persuade the prospect to buy what you’re selling. Because here’s the thing. Once someone spends a small amount of money with you, they’re far more likely to spend more.

Backend Offers

Your goal as a business owner is to ascend customers into your highest-ticket offers. These are typically your backend offers. They can be masterminds, coaching programs, high-ticket services, and so on. However, you have to blow them away with value at the lower steps to pull this off.

When someone gets value from you, and you help solve part of their problem, they’re more willing to ascend your value ladder. This is where you can sell $3,000 to $3 million programs. As long as it delivers real value to the customer, they will be willing to pay it.

Why A Sales Funnel?

If you struggle with poor conversions, slow page speeds, or just can’t stand dealing with website developers who are slow, inefficient, and often make mistakes, please pay attention. Although you don’t need to get rid of your website, it’s time to change gears.

Here are some statistics about sales that will hopefully make you understand the importance of having a sales funnel. The truth is that most sales take several “touches” before they happen:

  • Only 2% of sales happen on the first “touch” point of contact
  • Only 3% of sales happen on the second “touch” point of contact
  • 5% of sales happen on the third “touch” point of contact
  • 10% of sales happen on the fourth “touch” point of contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth “touch” point of contact

Without continuous follow-up, how do you expect a sale to be made? Considering that websites are an overwhelming amount of information, they don’t lead prospects onto an email list or into a sales funnel. That’s a major mistake.

Translation: If you want to grow your business then build a sales funnel

Sign up for a FREE 14-day trial and start building sales funnels using ClickFunnels today!

Click here to claim your FREE trial now!