Beginner’s Guide to Understanding The Sales Funnel

Beginner’s Guide to Understanding The Sales Funnel

What is the number one goal of any business? With some exceptions, the ultimate goal of every business out there is to sell their products or their services. I suppose that your company is no different, otherwise you wouldn’t be here, trying to learn about the sales funnel.

Okay, okay, you might want to learn this just because you like learning things, but that’s definitely a long shot. I’m far more inclined to think that you are here in order to understand this whole concept so that you can increase your sales.

If you thought that selling things is easy and that it consists of only that one point of exchange between you and your consumers, then you were definitely extremely wrong. Every experienced sales expert will tell you that things are much more complicated than that and that the sale process actually begins long before you reach that point of exchange that I have mentioned. Go here to get some basic info about the whole process.

Can you guess what the one thing you can never separate from sales is? If you have been running a business for a while, then I suppose you know the answer to that question – it’s marketing. You can definitely make no sales at all without successful and efficient marketing. That’s the one thing that you should never, ever take for granted. That is, if you want your business to succeed.

No matter what you are selling, getting people to buy your products and services won’t happen at an instant. You can have the highest quality products or the best services in your particular industry, but the truth is that your friends will keep being your only customers if you don’t do something to attract more people. Even your friends might turn somewhere else after a while, because marketing is what sells.

Getting your target group warmed up for your products and services and eventually  make them exchange their money for what you are trying to sell is a rather difficult task, especially since competition is so fierce. You can spend hours, days and months thinking up a marketing strategy and it can still be unsuccessful. Few things are worse than that, but you have to face the fact that it happens from time to time.

There is a way, however, to prevent that from happening, but it requires you to become extremely informed and knowledgeable on the whole sales process. The key towards making a sale is actually understanding how sales work. It goes without saying that you cannot be as successful as you would want to be if you don’t know how things precisely work on the market.

The Psychology of Consumers

You are also bound to be unsuccessful if you don’t know how the consumers’ minds work. That is probably the most important factor in developing the right marketing strategy. Everybody knows that psychology plays a huge role in marketing and that it cannot be neglected in the process of creating a strategy and eventually driving customers to your products or services and making them buy what you are selling. Don’t ever underestimate the power of psychology.

Here’s more on that topic:

5 Reasons You Need To Understand the Psychology of Marketing

That’s one of the factors which directly influence the success of your sales. The fact that consumer psychology has been important since, well, the first time someone decided to make a trade, tells us that it is definitely not something to be taken for granted. People have certainly been aware of this importance for a long time, which means that they have worked hard to develop precise strategies in order to influence the psychology of consumers and lead them towards buying particular products and services.

This means that there is no need for you to roam in the dark and do your best to try and figure out how you can attract customers with the help of psychology and marketing. A lot of things have already been figured out and the stages of the whole sales process have become rather precisely set out, meaning that things are much easier today. All you have to do is stick to the precisely set out model of the sales funnel and you will definitely be able to improve your sales and increase the number of customers that are not only aware of your existence, but also loyal to you. Let’s check out that particular model.

The Sales Funnel

If you are looking for a short and precise answer on the question of what a sales funnel is, you can definitely find a definition or two online and get an idea about the whole concept. Yet, if you really want to understand how this whole model works and how you can use it as a strategy for your very own business, then you will need to do much more than simply read a definition or two. It takes a lot more reading to understand the sales funnel and I’m going to dive right into the depths of it in this article.

In case you are still, however, looking for the short answer and the question “what is a sales funnel and what is its purpose” is constantly swirling around your mind, let me offer a quick definition of my own and help you get closer to the entire concept. Simply put, a sales funnel is a marketing strategy the purpose of which is to turn cold prospects into customers and the idea behind it is that you have to take those prospects through five stages in order to be successful in your intentions. All prospects start at the very top of the funnel and then they slowly slide down until they become highly valued customers.

This means that the whole purpose of this strategy is not to simply make a sale and be done with it. Everybody wants long-term or even life-long customers and the sales funnel strategy exists to make it happen. Instead of focusing on simply selling one product or service to a particular person, the focus is on turning that person into a returning customer. This way, you get to create a huge database of loyal consumers and that’s definitely the ultimate goal of every single business out there.

In order to be able to successfully reach that goal, you will first have to learn about a rather significant model that the whole sales funnel is structured around. I’m going to explain it now, but keep in mind that these are not the stages I have mentioned above. We will get to the actual stages as soon as you have understood something known as the AIDA model. Here we go.

The AIDA Model

This model has been developed in the late 19th century and it has definitely stood the test of time. The fact that it is still used and still effective in the 21st century only shows that it is an important invention that every single sales person needs to understand. The best part is the model doesn’t discriminate among products, services, or industries. In other words, no matter which line of business you are in, you will have to get acquainted with the AIDA model and use it to make successful sales.

AIDA is an acronym, standing for: awareness, interest, desire and action. Those four stages are actually the stages through which new, prospective consumers have to go in order to finally make a purchase. The model is successful because it targets the emotions of customers. We could say that it serves to take them on an emotional journey towards making a purchase. It’s clear that all purchases are driven by emotions, which is why this model will continue to be successful in the future as well.

Let us now take a look at the four stages respectively.

1. Awareness

The first stage is known both as awareness and attention and the principle behind it is pretty simple. This is the stage in which a particular brand draws the attention of prospective consumers by raising their awareness of the brand’s very existence. This attention is drawn by valuable baseline offers or by valuable marketing content.

2. Interest

After awareness has been raised, sparking people’s interest is the next step. And, how is that done exactly? Well, if you know anything about marketing at all, then you will know that the idea is to pinpoint people’s problems and issues and offer them effective solutions. During this stage, businesses tend to offer quick fixes and fast solutions to consumers, thus helping them achieve some of their goals.

3. Desire

The above problems I have mentioned are usually smaller issues, which is why you offered those “quick fixes” in the above stage. Usually, all those smaller issues are actually a part of a bigger one and in this particular stage, the consumers will become aware of that fact. That’s when they will get the desire to solve the bigger issue and you will work towards offering your premium solution which, of course, comes at a certain price.

4. Action

Finally, this is the stage in which your prospects decide whether they will purchase your products or services, or not. This decision, of course, depends on the success of the previous three stages, but also on the quality of the services and products you are offering. If everything is up to standards, this is when the prospects will take action and make their purchase. In case this isn’t enough, you can visit, where the AIDA model is explained in more details.

The Five Stages 

Now, I have mentioned above that this strategy consists of taking the prospects through five important stages. Let us take a look at all of those stages respectively, so that you know exactly what to do and how to use the funnel model to your advantage. There’s no point in learning what it is if you aren’t going to use it in order to guide your business towards success. Let me, then, guide you through these stages and teach you how to take your prospects through them as well.

1. Driving Traffic

Unsurprisingly, the first step is to drive the right traffic to your funnel. Take note of the word “right”. It suggests that there is also the wrong traffic and I suppose that you are finding it difficult to believe that. Yet, it’s definitely true. There are right and wrong prospects and you need to make sure that you are actually attracting your target audience, i.e. the people that will turn into high-quality customers.

You do this by researching where your high-quality prospects can actually be found and then targeting your ads, affiliate sources and all the content towards them. This will definitely help you attract the right customers. As you can see, this is similar to the “awareness” stage in AIDA. In fact, these two models are definitely rather similar and they do, after all, serve the same purpose.

2. Offering Bait

While “bait” might not sound like a very nice word, it is definitely the right one to be used here. This is the stage in which you offer the solution to a small problem that your prospects have. Notice the similarity to AIDA once again? You can do this by offering a lead magnet on your site which will either be free or sold at an extremely low cost.

3. Front End Offer

In this stage, you are still focused on the smaller issues of your customers. Of course, solutions for small issues are offered at minimum costs. That way, the prospects won’t have to make a huge investment, but they will definitely value your offer and remember it.

4. Middle Offer

As the name says it, this is a more expensive and more valuable offer. It serves two important purposes. For starters, it solves a deeper issue that your prospects have. Then, it also prepares them for the big thing, i.e. your highest price service or product.

5. Backend Offer

This is where you finally offer the highest price product or service. After having successfully taken the prospects through all of these stages, they will be more inclined to make this purchase. This offer should be the one that solves a huge issue on a continual basis.

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