A sales funnel is a graphical depiction of the interaction you have with your prospective buyers over time. (For more information about this, see my previous Sales Funnel 101 blog posts).
In a way, a sales funnel sounds like just another in a long list of popular buzzwords and fad-like marketing techniques — yet another “sales trick” that entrepreneurs can choose to use in their business or choose to ignore.
But a sales funnel is not something you can choose to use or choose to ignore. Your business has a sales funnel whether you wanted it to have one or not.
Your business has a sales funnel because every business has a sales funnel: Every business interacts with prospective buyers over time and slowly builds trust with them through every interaction. Every buyer is slowly convinced to buy because of the relationship they have with the business. That IS a sales funnel. If your business tries to sell something to someone, your business has a sales funnel.
It doesn’t matter if your business is entirely offline, entirely online, or somewhere in between. It doesn’t matter if you’re a preeminent guru in your field or just starting out on the long road of entrepreneurship. Your business has a sales funnel because you are trying to prove to a cold, uncaring audience that you are worth paying attention to so you can ultimately sell to them.
Your business has a sales funnel. That’s a fact. It’s not a question of “if”.
So what are you going to do about?
Since your business has a sales funnel, you should take control of it. Most businesses focus in on specific channels (blogs, articles, etc.) and try to succeed with marketing that works in that channel. But if you were to pull back and look at all of their marketing from a 30,000 foot view, you’d see a crazy mish-mash of thoughts and channels that are mixed up. Some point here. Some point there. Some promote one thing. Some promote something else. Individually, the entrepreneur may think they are effectively marketing. But when viewed together, you’d quickly see another story: The marketing doesn’t speak in a loud, clear voice telling the buyer to buy. It’s a cacophony of voices that potentially confuse the buyer.
Smart businesses know that all channels need to work together — like moving parts in an engine — each part doing a specific, focused job to make the engine run. Rather than allowing each channel in your marketing do its own thing, why not apply some powerful sales funnel strategy and approach your marketing with the big picture in mind.
That’s why you use a sales funnel — because your business has one so you might as well make it work for you.