A Sales Funnel is simply the process a business uses to turn prospects into customers or clients, regardless of what you sell or how you’re selling it.
It goes by many names, but they’re all the same thing:
- Conversion Funnel
- Purchase Funnel
- Customer Funnel
- Automation Funnel
In recent years, some funnel experts have started referring instead to a “Sales Flywheel” model. But this is still, at its core, a sales funnel.
Because the best funnels are cyclical.
They should lead your prospects to becoming clients, but they should NOT stop there. Each funnel should lead to the next, keeping your clients focused on your business.
A funnel has 4 main stages. Yes, you can break these down into deeper touchpoints, but for simplicity’s sake, I’m going to focus on the 4 main parts, or the AIDA model:
ATTRACT - Where you draw prospects in, getting them to notice your business and your products.
INTEREST - Your prospects have noticed you, but now you need to engage them and get them interested in what you’re offering.
DECISION/DESIRE - They’re interested, but not committed yet. You need to increase their desire for your product and give them a reason to decide that yours is the right product for them.
ACTION - They’ve made their decision and they’re almost ready to buy, they just need to know the details of what they’re buying to push them over the edge. What do they need to do or give to get your product?
When making a purchase, most people must go through each stage, in order, before they’re ready to buy. This is buying psychology. If you ignore a stage, your funnel isn’t going to be as successful as you’d like it to be.
If you want your funnel to effectively convert prospects into customers, you need to know what the End Goal is. What happens when they get to the ACTION phase of your funnel?
This is why I'm going to go through this from the bottom up, starting with ACTION, AKA Your OFFER, and what it takes to create one that people *actually* want to buy.
Why am I starting at the BOTTOM of the funnel instead of the TOP? The top would be the more logical starting point, right?
But... it's actually not.
The top of the funnel - the Attract and Interest phases, that's the "hard" stuff.
It takes a lot of work and effort to get people to pay attention, to get them interested.
So you need to make sure that your offer, the Action phase, is going to be worth the effort it's going to take to get people there.
THIS is why this post starts with the bottom of the funnel, so that you can make sure your offer is on point before you start marketing it.
There are a million trainings out there on creating an irresistible offer. Believe me, I know. I’ve taken a LOT of them. And you know what they’re all missing?
What an offer actually IS.
Almost every single training I’ve taken focuses on headlines, engaging names, “value-adds”, one-time offers, and order bumps.
NONE of these things is an offer. Even combined, they don’t make an offer.
At it’s most basic level, everything you do or create for your audience is an offer, regardless of its price point or value.
Your free lead magnet is an offer. So is your high-ticket coaching program. And everything in between is an offer.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you’re creating offers ALL. THE. TIME. But you probably put way more effort into promoting your high-ticket offer than you do your lead magnet, right?
But you shouldn’t. Because they both need the same treatment.
An offer is more than just your product or service, it’s price, or whatever bonuses you throw in on a whim.
An “Offer” is actually comprised of 7 components:
The “Deliverables” of the product or service
The Benefits - What makes people CARE about your product
The Pricing and Terms - What they have to give and how in order to get your thing
The Premiums and Bonuses - What you use to make your offer more valuable
Your Risk Reversal Strategy - How well you mitigate both the financial and non-financial risks (yup, there’re MANY non-financial risks associated with every offer, even something as basic as coffee creamer)
The Reason to Respond - Why should they buy this NOW? (Also, screw your fake scarcity)
The Call To Action - It takes more than a “Buy Now”
When you give equal attention to each of these components when designing your offer, two things are going to happen:
- Your offer is going to convert better, and
- You’ll get fewer objections (because your offer itself will answer them before they’re ever asked)
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t like dealing with objections. At all. So I WANT to make sure that I can clear them up before they even reach me personally.
An offer isn’t what you’ve been taught it is. It’s more than your product, it’s price, discounts, or value adds. It’s all of that and more.
These are 7 essential components an offer needs to be compelling:
The BIGGEST mistake people make when designing their offers is confusing features for benefits, and then wondering why people aren’t interested in their offer.
It’s because nobody really cares about features. They care about the BENEFITS that the features bring them.
A Feature is a FACT about your product. A benefit is why they should CARE about the fact.
Here are a few examples that I see all the time:
- Pre-recorded 15-minute lessons.
- Warm, spacious gym.
- Hundreds of designs to choose from.
NONE of these are benefits. They’re all facts about the offer. Why should someone CARE that the lessons are only 15 minutes? You might think it’s obvious, but it’s not. Some people are going to look at that and think “what could you possibly cover in 15 minutes? It’s not enough time.” Where others are going to think it’s too long.
If you can’t tell people why they should care about the features you’re mentioning, they don’t need to be mentioned because they detract value from your offer.
"For the price of a cup of coffee a day..."
There's a REASON we see this so often. It's price trivialization and it's freaking EFFECTIVE.
You can't just drop your price on your offer and expect people to buy it. It doesn't matter if you're asking $7.99 or $70K, you need to employ a bit of pricing psychology.
Trivialization is one way to do that, but it's not the only way. There are many ways to present your pricing in a way that makes it more appealing to your audience, like using smaller fonts for larger price tags, remove commas and currency signs, or use alliteration. Just so long as you're doing something other than dropping a price tag.
Another mistake people make when pricing their offer is not justifying valuation or discounts, especially when there's a significant difference.
WHY is your value so high and the sell price so low? Without a justification, people will assume one of two things:
- Your offer isn't REALLY valued that high and you're just using a high number to make it seem like a better deal, and
- You don't value your own product.
Either way, they're not going to see your offer as something worth buying without a realistic and believable justification.
I go over these tactics, and the other 6 essential offer elements, in my Guided Workbook on offer design.
The Designing an Offer that Truly STANDS OUT Guided Workbook is available now as a stand-alone tool. Get it here.
Premiums & Bonuses.
This is a really popular way to make your offer seem more valuable, BUT…
You don’t just want your offer to seem more valuable, you want it to BE more valuable, so the premiums and bonuses you choose need to be well-thought-out.
Poorly thought-out premiums and bonuses can actually make your offer seem LESS valuable; they need to be just as enticing and useful as your core product, and they need to be related to it. It makes zero sense for you to toss in something that cannot be tied to the success of your core product.
Two things to try the next time you need some bonuses for your offer:
- Are there any gaps in your core product that you can fill with an extra little something? How about tangential problems? Not all “solutions” are problem-free; some can create NEW problems. Can you solve them with a bonus?
- How about the risks associated with your offer? Can you solve any of them with a premium or bonus?
Reason to Respond.
A reason to respond, something that encourages people to buy it sooner rather than later, needs to be built into your offer.
But I’ll continue to say this: Screw your fake scarcity.
This “tactic”, while common, is just plain slimy. It’s a predatory strategy that relies on fear tactics and the prospect not knowing any better.
Scarcity only makes sense if you can legitimately justify it, AND… it can’t be disproven.
- Limiting people who can buy into a live program makes sense. (Sometimes, there are caveats.)
- Limiting people who can buy into a pre-recorded program? Makes ZERO sense.
Yet, these examples happen ALL. THE. TIME.
Using scarcity as your reason to respond can be tricky. When done right, it can be really effective at selling your thing.
But done incorrectly, it can quickly break down trust and take you from a respected authority to slimy salesman faster than you can blink.
A far better (and safer) way to add a reason to respond is URGENCY. A great example of urgency is time-based offers. (Think: Holiday or flash sales.) But it STILL needs to be legitimate.
Your audience can see right through forced or fake reasons to respond, and you owe it to them to be genuine.
Somewhere along the road in building your business, you figured out that you need some sort of return/refund policy for your products or services. Maybe you figured it out the hard way, when someone tried to take advantage of you, or maybe someone told you.
But what they probably didn’t tell you was that your refund policy isn’t for YOU. Yes, it makes things easier for you when you have written policies, but your risk reversal statement is actually for your clients.
ALL products or services come with risks to the purchaser. (I mean, who hasn’t gotten a shitty hair cut, or bought a lemon of an item?) It’s your job as the business owner to eliminate or minimize the risks as much as possible.
And there’s more than just financial risk, especially when we’re talking about coaching or digital products.
There’s the risk of embarrassment, or loss of face, that usually comes alongside loss of money - because you invested in something that didn’t work for you.
The risk of loss of the time invested in your product.
The risk of inconvenience. Are you going to push them out of their comfort zone?
The risk of hassle or intimidation. Just how many upsells or hoops are they going to have to jump through before or after they buy?
The risk of unsatisfactory results. What if your claims are really just hype?
And finally, the risk of disappointment and frustration. They invested, they didn’t get results, and now they’re out their money AND didn’t reach the goal they set out to when they bought.
How well you minimize or eliminate these risks within your offer is a big determining factor in how well it converts.
Now, you don’t have to have a giant risk reversal statement or policy that covers everything. It’s actually better if you don’t. Instead, you need to weave it into your content strategically. Addressing each with simple statements, answers, or additional content.
Call to Action (CTA).
We typically think of CTAs specifically relating to digital environments or ads, but every single product you buy, regardless of where, has a CTA built into it (or it should) - even if you never see it.
The CTA is one of the most important elements of an offer, yet it’s the one that’s most overlooked when putting it all together.
Not only does it need to include the “instructions” on how to buy your thing, but it also needs to give people a reason TO buy it.
The CTA is a statement that ties in the other elements of your offer; it should:
- Remind them WHAT they’re buying (your deliverables)
- Remind them of the benefits
- Trivialize and justify the price
- Mitigate the risks
- And remind them why they need to buy right now
If you’re the type who can take information and make it work for you, everything I’ve posted will help you design an offer that’s going to convert better.
But if you just need a little bit of help, you might want to check out my Guided Workbook. It goes a little deeper into the concepts I’ve covered this week, and will guide you step-by-step through designing your offer.