I’m willing to bet that you have heard of a funnel before. You know, that basic process that businesses use to capture leads and turn them into customers?

Did you know that even though funnels are all the rage these days, that they aren’t anything new? Businesses have been using funnels for as long as businesses have existed, just without calling them that.

A sales funnel is just a natural, organized progression from lead to customer to better customer.

Sales funnels have a few basic components.

  1. The Lead Magnet. This is called a magnet because it attracts someone who hasn’t yet given you the time of day! This is what gets them to stop and look, and hopefully walk through the door.
  2. The Trip Wire. This is a low-end offer that may or may not be present in your funnel, but many find it to be a very successful way to get people used to buying from a business and building trust in them. It’s usually something that is worth more than what it’s selling for, and it doesn’t involve much risk for the buyer. I.e., they don’t lose much if they later discover the business is a fraud in some way.
  3. The Main Offer. This is where a business is selling their primary product or service. The buyer has come to trust the business and feels like they can invest in the product or service without worry.
  4. The Upsell. This is an add-on offer that builds on the value of your main offer or compliments it in some way. This is “do you want fries with that?” to your burger.
  5. The Downsell. This is not always present in most funnels, but it is a way to continue to gain purchases from a customer by selling them something else if they say no to the previous upsell, and sometimes even if they say yes. It may be an item that compliments the main offer in a different way, or it may be something of lower value than or a portion of the upsell offer.
  6. The Nurture Sequence. No matter what stage of the funnel a person is in, the nurture sequence is a series of emails that have usually been pre-scheduled through an autoresponder to keep in touch, to continue to build trust, to occasionally throw out soft offers of additional services, to educate the customer, and to provide points of contact for various purposes. A nurture sequence typically refers to an email series, but if done right it can also include social media, course content, a video series, or even one-on-one interaction.
  7. Multiple future offers that are additions to previous offers and grow naturally out of the nurture sequence and other points of contact.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?

But it’s really not. They are going on all around you right now.

Your grocery store uses a funnel.

Your mechanic uses a funnel.

Amazon uses a funnel.

Even your place of worship has a funnel!

They are all different kinds of funnels and they operate differently than the kind that will probably work for your business, but they are still funnels and have many if not all of the same components. (These exist even if the people implementing them do not realize what they are doing.)

Think about it…

Your grocery store leads you in with the magnet of an attractive store front, ads delivered to every house in town, TV commercials, and the offer to accept coupons to give you the best deals on the products you require. Their sales and in-store coupons are trip wires that get you to buy something that you normally wouldn’t (or maybe would buy elsewhere) and build your trust. Their customer service, store cleanliness, organization, and overall general pleasantness of a shopping experience also serve to build your trust, much like a nurture sequence. These things play together to get you to come back time and time again. The main offer happens when you go into their store to buy things that are not on sale, that you do not have coupons for, and that may even cost less at the Walmart down the street. The upsells are all over the store, in the form of the easier-to-prepare-but-more-expensive meal kits, add-ons, and complimenting foods arranged strategically next to the one you normally buy. If your store has a floral department, a bakery, a deli, or a pharmacy, these are all upsells to higher end products. The downsells are the cheap little things you grab at the checkout…the gum package, the candy, the pack of 4 batteries that you forgot you needed. All of these things work together to not only increase what you spend at each trip, but to also continue building your trust and bringing you back again next time, similar to a nurture sequence that keeps repeating offers in the expected and desired way.

Every other business you frequent does something similar. Even the public library has a funnel with the primary purpose to get you to come in and check out books and use their free services. (And earning your trust to the point of donating money is a part of it too, although it is not the primary offer they have.)

The planning of a funnel can seem difficult, and the implementing of one for a virtual business can seem totally overwhelming.

But you aren’t going it alone. There are multiple tools that exist in the virtual business world to ease your funnel stresses, along with hours and hours of tutorials and some of the best customer service agents on the planet, but just choosing between them can be daunting. A basic combination of ConvertKit, OptimizePress, and PayPal might be all you need to turn your WordPress website into a highly converting sales engine. Or you might want to jump into the complex yet amazing system provided by ClickFunnels to design beautiful funnel steps, handle all of your autoresponder emails, set up an affiliate program, and help improve your online advertising efforts.

And of course, having someone to help you with all the techy stuff and strategic planning can help get you to success much faster than you ever could on your own.

What steps are you planning to take to build your sales funnels and get your business moving into the next level? I’d love to hear them! Drop a comment below. 🙂



Kim Scott is a virtual launch specialist that loves helping her clients build their businesses through all the techy steps of sales funnels, from WordPress web design to email marketing, and all the steps in between including sales pages, opt in pages and more. To learn more about Kim’s services, visit summitsandsystems.com.


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