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.
When I was in college and WAY too poor to afford a plane ticket home for the Christmas break, I carpooled with some others who lived nearby and could drop me off at my house on the way. The trip was a brutal 24-hours-straight marathon that was fueled by soda and junk food. We never slept, we drove in the worst snowstorm imaginable, but I’m here to tell the story. (The longer version of this story includes: Almost hitting a train, getting very lost in some pretty ugly parts of Chicago, and accidentally driving through a poorly marked US/Canada border without stopping… only to be stopped shortly thereafter and questioned intensely).
When we first started the trip, it was pretty good. There were three of us in the car and we were all in good spirits – happy to be done exams and eager to see family and friends. But things changed through the trip. But by the end of the trip, we barely spoke to each other, we all felt horrible (presumably from a perfect storm of indigestion plus a multiple sugar crashes plus fatigue). Indeed, I never spoke to one of those traveling companions again, except for the occasional cold nod when we passed in the hall the following semester. The very end, within just a few miles of home, every mile felt like it crawled along at a snail’s pace. I wanted to get out of that car and into my home as quickly as possible and the end of that trip was the worst.
Time is relative. A distance traveled at the beginning of my college road trip seemed fast and enjoyable, while an equivalent distance at the end of that trip seemed to take three and a half eternities.
Time is relative in your sales funnel, too: In many cases (although there are exceptions to the rule!) your target market will take a while to realize that they have a problem or need. And then they will take a while to realize that it is “costing” them time or effort or inconvenience. Once they realize the severity of the cost on their life, they will start to pick up speed to resolve it. As the severity increases, so will their speed to resolve it. The more urgent the problem, the faster they want it resolved.
So you might find that you have many small steps at the beginning of your funnel – steps that slowly shift the mindset of your target market to educate them to their problem and then to educate them that you are solution. Then, as you reveal to them the extent and severity of their problem, the steps in your sales funnel will be larger – they can cover broader shifts in mindset, can ask for more commitments and higher levels of commitment from your target market, and can be completed faster than the earlier steps in your sales funnel.
Your marketing needs to highlight the problem, and not just the problem itself but the cost of the problem and the severity of impact that the cost is having on your target market’s life. The more effectively you can make your marketing activities do that, the faster your target market will want to act to resolve their problem or need. (Note: Highlighting the problem and its severity and cost are important but be sure to position yourself as the solution because, if you fail to do that, your target market will seek some other business for the solution).
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.