Sales Funnel Bible — Chapter 5

Sales funnels are the most important part of your business. Get an early glimpse into how they can help your business by reading this early draft excerpted from my Sales Funnel Bible book.

Early draft of Aaron Hoos' book Sales Funnel Bible

Chapter 5. The sales funnel model (stages and other models)

The sales funnel is your business. Sales funnel theorists in the past have understood this and they have tried to depict the full sales funnel in different ways. With the understanding that there are different efforts that make up the sales funnel (i.e. marketing, sales, transaction and delivery), they have divided up the sales funnel in different ways to help people understand it better.

In this chapter, I’m going to go through several of the most popular sales funnel models. As you’ll see in a moment, even though they might express the concepts differently, there are similarities that they all share (specifically, they can all be understood as having a wide funnel top and a narrow funnel bottom, and they all map the journey of someone who goes from prospective buyer to actual buyer).

2-stage sales funnel
1. Attracting a prospective market
2. Presenting your offering to that prospective market

This is the simplest of all the funnels. I like it because it is so simple. Yet, I feel that it over-simplifies the idea of the sales funnel a little too much, especially in shortchanging the bottom-of-the-funnel activities like transaction, delivery, and follow-up.

3-stage sales funnel
1. Lead generation
2. Prospecting
3. Sale/Delivery

This is probably the most famous of all of the sales funnel models because it is based around an effective selling structure made famous by sales experts like Tom Hopkins. I like this funnel a lot because it nicely balances simplicity with a fuller understanding of the process.

4-stage sales funnel
I’ve seen the 4-stage sales funnel depicted in a couple of ways. Here’s one way…
1. Target market
2. Lead generation
3. Prospecting
4. Sale/Delivery

And here’s the other way…
1. Lead generation
2. Prospecting
3. Sale/Delivery
4. Follow-up

The first one puts some of the emphasis at the widest part of the funnel, noting the importance of a target market. The second one puts some emphasis at the narrowest part of the funnel, noting the importance of follow-up and making additional sales. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that my favorite sales funnel model is theā€¦

5-stage sales funnel
1. Target market
2. Lead generation
3. Prospecting
4. Sale/Delivery
5. Follow-up

This 5-stage model combines the best of both of the 4-stage models, while still preserving the simplicity of the sales funnel concept.

There are other sales funnel models. I’ve seen sales funnels with 6 stages, 10 stages, and more.

So which one is correct?

Although thinking of your sales funnel in terms of stages can sometimes be helpful when approaching it at a very high level, I’m going to suggest to you that at a practical level, it doesn’t matter that much. If you like the 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 10 or 50-stage sales funnel, use it. (I prefer a nice balance between comprehensiveness and simplicity, which is why I usually end up talking about the 5-stage sales funnel on the occasions that I do talk about stages).

But keep reading because I’m going to show you a way to understand your sales funnel more deeply than at these simplified, high-level stages.

 
 
This chapter is excerpted from an early draft of my book. Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome. Please be aware that the chapter content and chapter order may change by publication.
 
 

Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and he's a real estate investor and a copywriter for real estate investors.

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