A sales funnel, although an imperfect model, is a visual depiction of the actual process your business uses to convert prospects into paying customers. It is the steps you take to move your target market from the point that they learn your business exists to the point that they become raving fans of your brand. Unlike a real funnel, your customers never actually fall out the bottom but instead filter back through the top over and over again, hopefully bringing along a few friends in the process.
Analyzing and understanding your sales funnel is a critical step toward maximizing your profit potential. The more you know about how your particular customers behave and make buying decisions, the easier and faster it will be to move them through your sales process; thereby, increasing sales revenue and bottom-line profitability.
The sales funnel has four stages: awareness, demonstration, conversion, and recruitment. Let’s take a closer look at each stage and what you can do to increase profitability as your target market gets pushed through each one of them.
The Sales Funnel
Awareness. In this stage, prospective customers first learn that your brand exists. They become aware of you, your company, and the products and services you offer. This stage is all about getting on your customer’s radar so you can begin a conversation. In order for the Awareness stage to be effective, you have to know exactly who your target market is and then go where they go and be where they be. Once your target market has been identified, narrowed, and found, you then must use various tools to attract them. These tools are often referred to as lead generators and may include one or more of the following customer attraction strategies:
networking and other live events
exhibitor booths (trade shows, expos, etc.)
direct mail (snail mail)
commercial ads (tv, radio, social media)
social media posts
Demonstration. In this stage, prospects start to realize your value. This stage is all about establishing trust and rapport. People buy from those whom they know, like, and trust. You will need to show potential customers the benefits of your product or service offerings. What makes you the expert in your field? What sets your brand apart from others providing similar products and services? Tools you will use in the Demonstration stage may overlap with those you may use in the Awareness stage as prospects can often be moved through both of these stages at the same time.
social media posts
Conversion. In this stage, prospects have seen the value of your products and services and are ready to make a buying decision. Your job here is to simply ask for the sale. This is the most important aspect of customer acquisition; however, too many entrepreneurs fail to do this to close the actual sale. Here you will utilize tools that shift prospects into paying customers.
buy now buttons
Recruitment. In this stage, existing customers are groomed, cultivated, and activated to become a voluntary marketing team for your business. This stage requires high levels of engagement to continue delivering value to paying customers time and time again. The idea here is that customers will be so satisfied with your business that they not only repeat purchases for themselves but also share their excitement with others who also become paying customers. Tools implemented in this stage help transition existing customers into evangelists who recruit new prospects into your sales funnel for you.
customer appreciation sales
birthday, holiday, and anniversary mailers
An effective sales funnel is vital to the financial health of your business. Your sales funnel should move prospects through the most efficient and fastest route to becoming a paying customer and raving fan of your brand. Take a moment to build, review, and/or revise this important business process now. Download our SALES FUNNEL WORKSHEET to fix your funnel today.
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We get this question a lot! There really is no right or wrong answer here. Whether or not to list your prices on your website simply depends on your personal choice and marketing strategy.
There are both pros and cons to publicly publishing your prices. What you choose has a lot to do with the relationships you have built or are seeking to build with your dream customers. When making this decision, it is important to consider who your customers are and what are their expectations. Not every target market will respond in the same way to your choice to list or not to list your prices. Here are a few reasons why or why not to list your prices on your website.
Reasons to List Your Prices on Your Website
Truth & Transparency. Many business owners want to make sure that there are no secrets between themselves and their customers. These companies place high value on honesty and disclose as much information as possible to prevent their customers from feeling like the wool has been pulled over their eyes with hidden costs.
Positioning. If your competitive advantage is based on pricing (low-cost leader, high-end provider, etc.), publishing your prices on your website will help solidify your place within the market.
Increase conversions. Prospective customers are more likely to buy on the spot or submit inquiries when they already know they can afford your prices.
Filter out lookie-loos. Listing your prices is a great way to avoid site visitors who are just window-shopping with no intent on buying. It also allows you a way to target only those who can actually afford your offerings.
Reasons NOT to List Your Prices on Your Website
Build value. When you market products or services that require education and training as part of your customer acquisition strategy, it is best to not list your prices on your website. Many info products, coaching and consulting services, and live events follow this train of thought. Businesses in these fields educate consumers on the value of their offerings to justify their prices.
Specialized product. If your products or services include a high level of customization, it may be difficult to list prices as your prices will fluctuate from one customer to the next.
Strict competition. In highly competitive industries, you could literally find yourself caught up in the middle of a pricing war. By not disclosing your prices, you can avoid the possibility of someone using your prices to undercut your business.
Flexibility. It’s easier to increase prices over time when there is no published record of what prices were before. Those who do publish their prices usually do so with a disclaimer that prices are subject to change; however, it can be a headache to explain to existing customers why they are no longer receiving last year’s prices.
Test pricing. Many startups and aspiring entrepreneurs have no idea what to charge. You may be introducing an entirely new product or service into the marketplace, be targeting a new or unknown customer profile, or simply may not know your worth just yet.
Do you publish your prices on your website? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below and if you have found value in this post, please do share it with your networks. Get answers to more questions like this by joining us in our free online training and accountability group.
So many of my clients think that their number one problem in business is that they aren’t turning a profit. I totally get that. You need money to fund your operations, grow, hire good people, fire bad people, purchase inventory, and maintain equipment. Having good cash flow is necessary to your long-term success and sustainability but what if you’re not making any sales? What if you have no clue how to make any significant money to turn a profit?
You can absolutely make money and succeed in entrepreneurship as long as you have the 4 P’s of Profitin place. I discuss this topic in great detail in my training programs for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners; however, here is a brief overview to get you started.
Maximize Your Profit Potential with the 4 P’s of Profit
Passion – This is “what” you do. Missing the mark on this is the number one reason why small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs fail to turn a profit. You think you can startup a get-rich quick company because you see the glitz and the glam of a potentially wealthy lifestyle rather than actually being passionate about the products and services you offer. You have to have passion to start any business, even those that are considered multi-level marketing. The bottom line is entrepreneurship is difficult and especially in the very beginning while you’re building your business. There is no magic bullet that will make you rich quick but there are proven steps that you can implement to help you succeed in business faster. Make sure that whatever venture you are embarking on is driven by your passion for the products and services you offer or no amount of education, wishing nor hoping will help you succeed.
Purpose – You have to have a why, whether this is a personal mission or a business mission. Your passion is the “what” you do but your purpose is the “why” you do it. What do you hope to accomplish as a result of your hard work. What is the end game? What is your vision? What impact do you want to have? Starting a business without a clear purpose in mind, even an already set-up business such as multi-level marketing, will leave you drowning in mindless activity. It’s like getting in a car without knowing where you want to go. If you don’t have a clue where you’re going, how can you plan for gas, driving time, budget needed, rest stops, etc.? You will succeed in turning a profit if you have a purpose (end goal) to focus you.
People – These are your customers who not only buy your products and services but also clue you in on their needs and interests so you can serve them better. You cannot succeed in entrepreneurship without a solid team around you. This also includes those who will support you and your business. This is everyone including your partners, vendors, immediate family and best friends (who by the way are not always your customers), business consultants and coaches like myself, accountants, attorneys and other service providers.
Processes – These are the tried and true, proven best practices, automated tools and duplicable activities that you strategically and intentionally implement to build and sustain your business. The more efficient your operations, the easier and faster you will generate a profit. I also sometimes refer to this P as “Productivity” because with adequate processes in place, you will be more productive.
Incorporate the 4 P’s of Profit into your marketing plan and you absolutely will be successful in turning a profit. For additional support on how to succeed in maximizing your profit potential, request a free Business Breakthrough Strategy Session. During the session, you will gain more clarity, identify goals, uncover hidden challenges, and leave feeling confident in your next steps.
Have you found success in network marketing? If so, tell us how you did it in the comments below and, if you found this post helpful, please share it to your networks.
Many of my clients get their first taste of business ownership in multi-level marketing companies. Unfortunately, this type of business model often gets a bad rap because so many aspiring entrepreneurs have absolutely no idea how to succeed in multi-level marketing and fail miserably. You can absolutely succeed in a multi-level marketing (MLM) business and do so pretty quickly as long as you have the 4 P’s of Profitin place, which I often discuss in my training programs for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Succeed in Multi-Level Marketing with the 4 P’s of Profit
Passion – This is the number one reason why multi-level marketers fail. You sign up because you see the glitz and the glam of the promised wealthy lifestyle rather than actually being passionate about the products and services you offer. You have to have passion to start any business, multi-level marketing included. The bottom line is entrepreneurship is difficult and especially in the very beginning while you’re building your business. There is no magic bullet that will make you rich quick but there are proven steps that you can implement to help you succeed in multi-level marketing faster. Make sure that whatever venture you are embarking on is driven by your passion for the products and services you offer or no amount of education nor processes will help you succeed.
Purpose – You have to have a why, whether this is a personal mission or a business mission. Your passion is the what you do but your purpose is the why you do it. What do you hope to accomplish as a result of your hard work. What is the end game? What is your vision? What impact do you want to have? Starting a business without a clear purpose in mind, even an already set-up business such as multi-level marketing, will leave you drowning in mindless activity. It’s like getting in a car without knowing where you want to go. If you don’t have a clue where you’re going, how can you plan for gas, driving time, budget needed, rest stops, etc.? You will succeed in multi-level marketing if you have a purpose to focus you.
Partners – These are the people who will support you and your business. This is everyone including your upline, downline, immediate family and best friends (who by the way are not always your customers), business consultants and coaches like myself, accountants, attorneys and other service providers. This also includes your customers who not only buy your products and services but also clue you in on their needs and interests so you can serve them better. You cannot succeed in multi-level marketing without a solid team around you.
Processes – These are the tried and true, proven best practices, automated tools and duplicable activities that you strategically and intentionally implement to build and sustain your business. The more efficient your operations, the easier and faster you will earn money. I also sometimes refer to this P as “Productivity” because with adequate processes in place, you will be more productive.
Incorporate the 4 P’s of Profit into your marketing plan and you absolutely will be successful in multi-level marketing. For more information about how to succeed in multi-level marketing businesses, check out my book, Why YOU SUCK at Network Marketing. You will find out how to avoid many of the pitfalls most multi-level marketers make that keep them broke and broken.
Have you found success in network marketing? If so, tell us how you did it in the comments below and, if you found this post helpful, please share it to your networks.
Creating a successful business requires that you first build your tribe. A tribe is a group of like-minded individuals who come together for a common cause. In terms of business, your tribe is made up of your dream customers – the prospects with whom your vision, message and mission resonates and who are both willing and able to pay your prices.
In our popular JumpStart Virtual Business Boot Camp, we hone in on the importance of using your tribe to trigger an increase in sales. The program walks aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners step-by-step on how to easily build your tribe. This is a brief overview of the steps covered in-depth throughout the training.
How to Build Your Tribe in 7 Simple Steps
Identify your dream customers. Before you can even begin to build a tribe, you first have to decide who they are. Your business success primarily hinges upon this important step. Your dream customers are often a reflection of who you are and what experiences you have come through in life. Determine who you most want to work with. What do they look like? What is important to them? Where can you find them?
Create your Signature Solution. What products or services will you offer your dream customers? What is the best solution to either increase pleasure or decrease the pain associated with a particular need or desire affecting your dream customers? What knowledge, skills and expertise do you possess that can help your dream customers fulfill their needs? Build a value-packed solution to serve your dream customers.
Differentiate yourself from alternatives. What are your dream customers already doing to fulfill their needs? What other products or services are being offered in the marketplace? Determine how you can develop a competitive advantage so that your dream customers will choose you over the other available options.
Build an online community. In this day and age, everybody is online. This means the number one place you will find your dream customers is also online. Create a Facebook group, or even a LinkedIn group, that will serve as a community for your dream customers. This is where you will really build your tribe. Give it a benefits-focused name that easily explains to your dream customer what the group is for and why they should join. Check out the Design Your Dream Biz Training & Accountability group we created for the JumpStart program.
Engage followers with quality content. Use your online community to share relevant resources, blog posts, free eBooks or webinars, tips and advice your dream customers can use to address their needs. Give authentically to position yourself as an expert in your field. You will build your tribe really fast if members of your community get to know, like and trust your opinions.
Promote a powerful call-to-action. Seek always to motivate your community members to deepen their connection with you by instructing them to take specific, strategic actions. Regularly promote your Signature Solution among your tribe to move them quickly through your sales funnel. Use your group to convert prospects into paying customers. Ask for sales!
Focus on growing your group. Continue to invite new prospects into your online community to build your tribe. Create ads and send out requests to your dream customers to also invite other like-minded individuals. The more value you provide to your current members, the more likely they will invite others to join. Offer referral incentives whenever possible.
Once your tribe is in place, everything you do should be promoted within your online community. You can build your tribe in as little as thirty days. The most important thing to remember is to provide consistent, relevant value so you can attract and retain your dream customers.
How did you build your tribe? Did you find this post useful? Please let us know in the comments below and if you found value in this post, please do share it with your networks.
Blogging is a great way to create a passive income. Blogging allows you to share your thoughts, ideas, and expertise on a particular subject. Aspiring entrepreneurs seeking an easy entry into their industry may have great success writing to earn cash blogging.
There are blogs for almost every interest area imaginable. There are many bloggers earning a viable income from their online musings. Some of the most popular blogs are pulling in annual revenue of several million dollars. In fact, some of these blogs, like Mashable and Huffington Post, have established themselves as viable media sources and earn greater than $10,000 every day!
You can earn cash blogging for your business too. It’s not that difficult. You just need to figure out what you want to blog about (your niche) and then get to writing. As you build content, think about ways you can monetize it so you can earn cash blogging. To get you started, here are five ways you can earn cash blogging. Some of these methods will provide an instant return but other take a while to really create a significant income. As we always say, the hardest part is to start.
5 Way to Earn Cash Blogging for Your Business
Google Adsense: This is a free, simple way for website publishers of all sizes to earn money by displaying targeted Google ads on their websites. As a blogger, you can join Google Adsense to share in the advertising revenue generated from ads displayed on your blog. You will place a snippet of code into your blog, usually in a sidebar or footer area, that automatically displays text, images, video, or other interactive media ads that are targeted to your specific content or audience. This is an easy, no-brainer win for you to earn cash blogging for your business.
Affiliate partnerships: This is slightly different from Google Adsense in that links and ads are to specific merchants, products, or services rather than displayed purely based on content or audience. You will earn cash blogging by signing up for affiliate programs through merchants that offer relevant products and services to your blog content. For instance, if your blog is about your travels, you can join an affiliate program like Paycation and use your affiliate link to promote hotels you recommend or to help your readers find the best flights. When your readers buy from your affiliate sites, you will earn commissions from the purchase.
Display ads: This is a little harder as it requires you to do some upfront selling directly to the merchant. You can sell sections of your blog, again usually the sidebars or footers, to advertisers who have products or services of interest to your audience. These display ads can be text, images, video, or whatever medium you’d like. Typically, you would set constraints on the size and length of time the ad can be displayed on your website. A standard agreement is a $25 – $100 monthly payment for a 200×200 pixel ad space. You can charge more depending on the number of site visitors or impressions you can guarantee the advertiser.
Product reviews and referrals: This strategy is a goldmine to earn cash blogging. There are a lot of perks in addition to cash when you blog product reviews. Based on your niche, you may be contacted by companies seeking brand exposure or new product testing. These companies will actually ship you free merchandise to try out in hopes that you will write a favorable review that will then be seen by your loyal readers. Bloggers have received everything from free household cleaning products to brand new cars to try out and review on their websites. Take your product reviews a step further by including your Amazon affiliate link directly to the product reviewed so readers can buy on demand.
Donation buttons: This is an interesting strategy that can lead to small trickles of passive income over time. If your blog helps people to gain access to valuable resources or transform their lives in some way, this can be a great method to earn cash blogging. You can grab a donate button code from an online merchant account provider like PayPal to suggest small donation amounts, usually $5 or so, with some catchy language like, “if you got value, buy me a beer”. Another strategy to get people to donate is to explain what the donations are going toward, like hosting fees, etc. You will see this model a lot for app developers and gaming sites. This is also a great strategy for cause-related, educational blogs.
There are many other ways to earn cash blogging. The most important thing to remember is that whatever methods you use to monetize your blog should be relevant to the content you publish. Your readers will only click on your links if they find the ads add value to their experience.
We’d love to hear how you earn cash blogging? Please comment below and if you found this post helpful, please share with your networks.
People start businesses for any number of reasons. Some of these include to get morefreedom, to build a legacy, to give back to their community, to fix a looming social concern, or simply for the love of what they do. Another reason is often to achieve financial security but, surprisingly, this is often the least of their motivations.
While most aspiring entrepreneurs do relate success with monetary gain, making money is rarely on the top of the list of reasons why businesses get started. In fact, money is often an afterthought. This is evident in the manner in which the average aspiring entrepreneur develops his or her business model. Think about your own start-up journey. If you are like most entrepreneurs, in the beginning you probably undervalued yourself, your products, or your services. You most likely charged too little and underestimated the true cost of doing business. Not thinking about the money from the start is a big mistake that often leaves struggling entrepreneurs to join the four out of five businesses that fail within the first 5 years of operation.
How do you avoid becoming a statistic? The answer is to focus on increasing your sales. The bottom line is that you need money to survive. Businesses get money by making sales. There are two primary ways to make more money using sales. The first is to increase your margin. Margin is the amount of profit left over after costs per each sale you make. You can do this by either cutting costs or raising prices. An effective strategy combines both of these methods to arrive at a cost-effective, competitive sales prices that reflects your true value.
The second way to make more money using sales is to increase the volume of sales. To increase sales, small business owners must reconsider your marketing conversations that you are having with your customers. This will be the focus of the three activities you must do to increase sales.
3 Must-Do Activities to Increase Sales
Tap into your passion. Your sales conversion rate is heavily reliant on the amount of passion you have when speaking about your product or service offering. Passion lets prospective customers know that you believe in your offer and helps fuel the emotional connection you make during sales conversations. Think about why you love your products and services. Why are they important to you? How have they changed your life for the better? Connect with your “why” so you can speak authentically about your offer. People don’t buy products and services. They buy you. Passion helps them to see who you are.
Create stories. Storytelling is so important to increase sales. Stories demonstrate value to prospects by showing them exactly how your offers will help them. Prospective customers can actually “see” themselves in your stories as you tell them. To develop stories, you must actually use your products or services, or collect user stories from your existing customer base. The stories you tell should be true, relevant, and specifically showcase how your offerings have helped solve a problem by either decreasing pain or increasing pleasure. Coupled with passion, stories are a powerful method to increase sales because stories reach and resonate with every type of learner, be they audio, visual, or kinesthetic. Stories clearly tell prospects “what” they will be getting.
Develop relationships. We have covered your “why” and the “what” so far. This activity covers the “who” to increase sales. People buy from those that they know and trust. You can only establish knowledge and build trust through relationships. You must become a network marketer. Network marketing is the art of communicating value through relationships. When most people think about network marketing, they think about multilevel marketing companies like Mary Kay or Paycation. In fact, every business owner is a network marketer. In my book, Why YOU SUCK at Network Marketing, I explain the importance of establishing relationships with your dream customer. Real relationships involve two-way communication in which you and the customer authentically exchange value. People don’t like to be sold to but they do love to buy. Establishing authentic relationships transforms your sales conversations into valuable shared resources. From this perspective, prospective customers will be thankful for the useful information you provide whenever you share your offers.
Your business will only survive if it makes money. To make more money, you will need to increase sales. You can increase your sales by tapping into your passion, creating relevant user stories, and developing authentic relationships with your dream customers. If you’re still not sure exactly how to do do this, feel free torequest a free strategy session.
How do you increase sales? I would love to hear your thoughts so please comment below. If you found value in this article, make sure to share it with your network.