Sales Funnel Bible — Chapter 3

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 3. Understand what is a sales funnel

The ultimate purpose of a business is to sell something at a profit. And one of the best ways that a business owner can grow a business that fulfills that purpose is by understanding the underlying framework of their business – the sales funnel. And once they’ve understood it, they need to strengthen and improve it to make their business grow.
So what is the sales funnel?

The sales funnel is a way to understand what a business does within the context of the ultimate purpose of a business. The sales funnel is the depiction or description of how a business sells something at a profit.
It starts at the point where prospective buyers are first starting to learn about the business and the product or service it offers, and it continues through the relationship that the business has with that prospective buyer… All the way to the point of transaction (and, in fact, well beyond).

It’s the steps that a prospective buyer takes, starting from the point that they’ve never heard from you before and proceeding all the way through the relationship to the point where they are a happy, loyal customer who eagerly talks about your business to their family and friends.

So you might say that a sales funnel is the “map” of the journey that someone takes in your business on their way toward becoming a customer.

It’s called “sales funnel” because of the shape: The top is wide because many prospective buyers enter. But not all of them buy from you (some don’t have enough money; some buy from your competitors; some don’t feel that they need your solution – there are many reasons). The bottom of the funnel is narrow because only a few every make it through. Over time, hundreds of prospective buyers enter your sales funnel but are slowly winnowed down to just a few people who actually hand over their cash so that they can walk out of your store with your product tucked under their arm.

Inside that funnel are a variety of activities and decisions and moments of contact that you may have with your prospective buyer. Those various elements will either drive some people out of your funnel or push them further down the funnel toward a purchase.

The basic structure is the same regardless of the business – all sales funnels are wide at the top, include various activities (and other factors) that narrow the pool of prospective buyers, and finally ends at a narrow point with only a few people actually purchasing from you.

The basic structure might be the same regardless of the business but the details will differ from one business to the next – one business might have a fast funnel where someone realizes they have a need and buys something right away, while another business might have a slow funnel that takes years to nurture the relationship. Some funnels will be really wide at the top, catching a big net of prospective buyers while other funnels will be slightly narrower at the top, catching a more targeted group of prospective buyers.

Since your business is about selling something at a profit, and since the structure that your business uses to do that is the sales funnel, then your sales funnel really is your business.

This book is designed to help business owners understand the basic structure of the sales funnel and figure out which details will work for them. The lessons in this book will work for a business that has a fast funnel, a slow funnel, a product, a service, an expensive offering, an inexpensive offering… it doesn’t matter. Because at their most basic level, all businesses have a sales funnel that looks similar.

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.

Published by 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 other books.

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