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What is a sales funnel?

what is a sales funnel

The phrase ‘sales funnel’ is enough to send most of us off into a quiet corner with a meditation app. But I’m going to stop you right there and make you sit still on your yoga mat.

Your business just isn’t going to get out there and transform lives if you don’t have your sales funnel written (or drawn) down.

Think of a sales funnel as the road map to solving your tribes’ problems. Are you winging it and hoping they end up in the right place at the end of the journey?

Or have you given them a map, compass, GPS system and packed lunch to make sure they reach your product or services page refreshed and eager to engage with you?

It’s time to be purposeful and aware of your tribe. Help them journey through your business to transform their lives. And the only way to do this is with a sales funnel (or two, or three).

A truly great, timeless and effective sales funnel begins with knowing what your clients’ problems are. 

What is a sales funnel?

A ‘sales funnel’ is the marketing-speak words used to describe the journey of your client through from first contact with your business to paying for your services or products. 

The reason it’s called a ‘funnel’ is that you attract many potential clients at the beginning of the journey but over time the number is whittled down to only a few. So you end up with a shape that looks like an upside down triangle, or funnel.

A basic sales funnel may be … Stranger sees my website. They sign up for a discount code. Client purchases using discount code. 

How can a sales funnel help my wellness business?

At its basic form, you need a sales funnel to help bring in clients to your wellness business. Whether it’s written down or still hovering around in your brain, your sales funnel is how you attract members to your tribe and then show them your products or services.

Writing down your sales funnel, and being purposefully aware of it can help you:

  • See where people may fall out of contact with your business, preventing missed sales opportunities
  • Grow your tribe with less time and effort
  • Feel confident that you’re providing value for your tribe
  • Provide timely and relevant value for your tribe
  • Automate more of your business or bring on a virtual assistant to help, allowing you to spend more time on the tasks you love to do.

Ok, you got me. Now tell me more about sales funnels.

There are four steps in a sales funnel:

Awareness, interest, decision and action. Knowing about each stage can help you develop the right sales funnels for your wellness business. And show you how easy they can be.

AWARENESS

Your clients’ journey with you (how they enter the sales funnel) starts with them being aware of you. It’s something we spend a lot of time thinking about.

Do we use Google ads? Facebook ads? Instagram collaborations? Posting in FB groups? Ads in the local paper? Pinning up a notice on the school board? Talking to people?

Many people can become aware of us. But what we’re really after is those that are interested in us. The more specific we are about who we’re talking to, the clearer our message. We’ll attract more people who are interested in the transformation we can help them achieve.

This is where your sales funnel begins. You may have one way that people gain attention of your, or you may have several. Different places they find out about you may need different funnels. The more specific and personal to the place they become aware of you, the more engagement you’ll get in the next section of the funnel.

INTEREST

To really make people sit up and take notice of you we often use ‘lead magnets’. Something we can trade for that all-important email address. Having the email address of your client is incredibly valuable. You don’t have to rely on social media or Google algorithms to deliver your message to your client. You have direct access to them.

Because you know the problem you’re helping them to solve you can choose a great lead magnet to demonstrate to them why they should be interested in you.

  • A quiz
  • A workbook
  • A checklist
  • An e-book
  • A video
  • A challenge

Peaking their interest through providing some value isn’t enough. Now is the time to really show them how good value becoming a member of your tribe can be.

This is where your email sequence comes in. What happens in their journey (funnel) after they stick their hand up and show interest in having your help to solve their problem?

You show them more value, more interesting things, more reason to trust your emails and your ability to problem solve their issues.

How do you do this? By getting really familiar with their problems, the transformation they’re seeking and the reasons why they’re not getting success anywhere else.

Remember, you’re leading them on a journey. Showing them how you can solve their wellness problems (because we don’t sell products or services … we sell solutions to problems).

Each step you take in increasing your tribes’ interest in how you solve their problems follows a story that brings them to your services and products.

Being really familiar with your clients’ problems and the successes that their transformation brings is at the heart of the StoryBrand framework. It’s why it’s so successful at helping businesses create sustainable, authentic connections.

You can read more about StoryBrand and start applying the 7-step framework to your sales funnels by reading my blog all about StoryBrand and your wellness business.

DECISION

Once you’ve got the interest in how you can help transform their lives, the next step is to help them make the decision to engage with you further.

One of the most successful ways to do this in the wellness space is to use testimonials or case studies that show similar people who have already achieved the transformation your tribe are after. Social proof that your services or products work are still one of the most powerful selling tools we have.

What can you do if you can’t use testimonials?

Then you create a desire to engage with you by using other means. Here are some ideas

  • Give them a quick-fix, value-laden freebie without them asking. Ideally delivered through your email sequence. Giving something of high value means they’re more likely to reciprocate the gift and take action when you ask them to
  • Get them on-side. Engaging with you through agreement is a great way to build trust. By taking an action like sharing something on social media, commenting or replying to an email, signing up for a free item but paying for shipping is a great way for your client to make a small, but meaningful action that creates a desire to engage with you further
  • Show your authority. No, I don’t mean give a list of your qualifications. Show your tribe how you’re the best person to lead the tribe. How you can empathise with their cause. How you’ve got what it takes to lead their transformation. Been in a magazine or TV show? Use this.
  • Create scarcity. We’ve all seen the limited-time offers. They do work. Whether it’s limiting time or suggesting what your tribe might be missing out on in their lives whilst suffering symptoms.

Email sequences are a great way to drive the decision to connect with you. To drive the journey your tribe is on. 

ACTION

After making the decision to engage with you further it’s really important to make the action they need to take clear and simple.

Recently I investigated joining a women’s networking group. I saw a post on our local community FB page. Went along to a group and had a good time. Then crickets. No contact from them. So I went to their website. (See, I had a real interest and desire to engage with their tribe). And for the life of me I couldn’t find out how to sign up. So I talked myself out of it and walked away. Boom. Sales lost.

As the Queen of Clear, it’s my duty to tell you that you need to be clear AND simple when it comes to telling your tribe what action you want them to take.

Simple instructions. A simple call to action. Obvious wording. Buy now. Book a call. Let’s talk.

We shy-away from sales talk because it doesn’t sit well with our ‘I must help everyone’, health and wellness professions. But our tribe are looking for a transformation. Make it easy for them to engage with you. Through product pages, landing pages, subscription pages. Make it clear what they do.

How do I start my sales funnel? Do this now.

Get to know your tribe really (really) well. The StoryBrand 7-step framework can help you do this. The more you know your tribe the better. Learning about both demographic data (where they live, how old they are, income sources etc.) and psychographic data (who influences them, what their problems are, why they’re not getting success with the transformation they seek). The more you know the more you can personalise their experience with you. And this is what keeps people interested. 

Be clear about the products/services you’re offering and how they solve the problems of your tribe. I totally write this down. I have a book where I’ve written my services and how they solve problems. Too often my clients have this information stored in their head. That’s fine. But have it written down somewhere too. It makes it easier to pin-point those amazing value-add tips, tricks, services and products that you can promote or offer that really engage your tribe.

Write down where you’re touch-points are with people who might be interested in your services/products (awareness). Think out of the box here. Not just social media but where people are going to be hanging out in real life. Cafés, Doctors rooms, crèche facilities. You’ll find that different members of your tribe may become aware of your through different avenues. Tailoring your sales funnel to the avenue can provide an extra level of personalisation to your tribes experience with you that makes it easier to engage. You may decide to pay for ads: Google Ads, social media ads or print ads.

Create a value-laden freebie or low-cost item.  One that addresses a quick-fix problem that relates to your services/products, and is appropriate for the touch-points where they find out about you. And trade it for email addresses. (Interest). Think hard about your tribe and how they can best use this lead magnet. A short video may be the best way to connect with your group, but subtitles would make it work even better. A list may be great for another group, but making it into a printable you can stick on the fridge would make it work even better.

Create an email sequence that increases interest and develops desire. That leads them along their journey to take action in your business.

And after they’ve taken an action (or not) what else might they desire from you to help transform their lives? How can you communicate this to them?

Make your funnel work harder

How are you going to address those people who don’t open emails? Don’t take the action you’ve prepared them for? Don’t sign up for your lead magnet? 

Your sales funnel can work even harder for you if you think of all the barriers that might come between you and your tribe. Writing solutions into your sales funnel means that you’re less likely to lose people who might benefit from your products and services. 

I’ve got my funnel, now what?

Now it’s time to set up some way to analyse whether it’s working or not. After all. If you’re spending time and money setting this funnel up, you want to make sure it’s working. If you’re paying $10 but getting back $100 then it’s worth it. But if you don’t analyse your information, you’ll never know.

Here are some simple parts of your sales funnel to track

  • Lead magnet click through rate compared to subscriber rates
  • Email list growth
  • Email open rates
  • Sales generated from email
  • Amount spent on ads per month
  • Amount of sales generated from sales funnel

And here are some things to look for

  • Whether people are looking at your lead magnet but not signing up for it (your lead magnet landing page may need a re-write)
  • Whether your email list is growing (if it’s not, is your lead magnet addressing the right problem?)
  • What emails are not being opened (why? They may need editing)
  • Whether sales are being generated from email sequences (if not, why not?)

Final word

A sales funnel is the written journey your tribe goes through from first contact to making a purchase. It’s about being purposeful in how our tribe engages with us after first contact. The more we can guide the journey, the more likely our tribe are to engage with us and book an appointment or buy a product.

Because a ‘sales funnel’ sounds too salesy, avoiding it means we’re at risk of avoiding this critical piece of our marketing puzzle.

Paying attention to the journey your tribe takes (sales funnel) means your marketing dollars and time are being well spent on a system that you can review time after time and edit to make sure it’s bringing a reliable, consistent flow of clients to your business.

Time to get your sales funnel sorted out?