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.
You have outlined your sales funnel and then created and deployed the various activities that you need to do to get people moving through your sales funnel toward a sale. In some cases, you might already start seeing people moving into your funnel. In other cases, there might still need to be a switch you have to flip to get it moving.
This is a good time to start up your sales funnel if you haven’t already. Chances are, you’ll start to get people moving through – even if it’s just a few people, that’s okay. (And if it’s a flood of people, that’s even better).
There’s still one more thing I strongly recommend before I would consider your sales funnel to be completely and operational: You need some systems in place.
Don’t get scared off by the word “systems”. It’s not complicated or highly technical. Rather, the focus here is just on making your sales funnel as easy and “brainless” as possible to run. I’ll explain what I mean when says “systems”.
Very few sales funnels are truly “set it and forget it” sales funnels. Some require a lot of hands on activity on your part to move your target market through each step of the sales funnel toward a sale. And even the sales funnels that are really easy and relatively hands-off, should still earn your attention from time to time to ensure that things are running as smoothly as possible. Systems help to ensure the sales funnel is operating in the right way as much as possible, while requiring as little of your effort as possible. Systems allow you to make your hands-on sales funnel a little less hectic to operate and systems allow you to make sure your hands-off sales funnel doesn’t run your business off the rails.
All of this activity – whether your sales funnel requires a lot or a little – should be placed into a system so that it is either automated or you are automatically reminded to take a quick look at it.
When I was a freelancer early in my writing career, I had a sales funnel that required me to submit a certain number of proposals every day. But I didn’t have a good system I place so when things became really busy, I’d drop the proposal-writing part of my sales funnel so I would have more time to focus on the paid client work. But guess what happened: A few weeks down the road, the client work was finished and I didn’t have any work to replace it because I hadn’t been sending out proposals so I’d have to scramble to write new proposals and wait for some of those jobs to land.
Systems changed all that. I put together a simple system to ensure that I was always sending out proposals. My projects went from a “boom/bust” quality to a nice, steady flow.
A system is something that frees your mind from having to always be thinking about it, ideally getting each part of your sales funnel to operate with as little effort from you as possible. A system could be something as simple as an automatic reminder in your calendar to alert you every week, reminding you to check your AdWords account and compare the average click-through rate with the number you’re hoping to achieve. Or, a system could be something more complicated, like an automated delivery of an email newsletter that promotes a piece of software, which people can buy from you through a site like Clickbank.
Remember the example I gave in an earlier chapter about your sales funnel being like a car engine? That concept extends to this chapter as well: You aren’t actually putting fuel into the cylinders where it will combust, which eventually delivers power to the drive shaft and the differential and causes your wheels to turn. Rather, systems do most of that work for you. You simply press the accelerator or the brake and turn the steering wheel (so there is some effort) but automated systems do a lot of that work.
Here are a few examples of systems you might be able to deploy in your sales funnels. (Customize these for your business or use the list to inspire you to develop your own systems)…
- Checklists (i.e. checklists of things you need to do every day or every week)
- Templates (i.e. customizable templates for a type of marketing you do or an email you frequently send)
- Scripts (i.e. a script of a phone call you might make)
- Automatic notifications, reminders, and alerts in your calendar
- Autoresponder software
- Order processors and digital download management (i.e. Clickbank)
- Payment processers (i.e. Paypal)
- Delegation to others (i.e. staff or freelancers)
These are just a few – the list could go on and on. Ultimately what you want to do is set up your sales funnel and then figure out how to reduce the amount of work you need to do in your sales funnel. In some cases you can hand off your effort entirely to a piece of software or to someone you hire. In other cases, you’ll still need to do most of the work but you can reduce the amount of effort and attention with tools like scripts or templates or checklists.
Look at your sales funnel and see if you can create some type of system for each step. Some might not be easily systematized; others will have a lot of systemization potential. But the more systems you implement, the easier it is to run.
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.