– Hi, this is Karl. Welcome to another Cheeky Sales Coach video and podcast. Today, we’re gonna talk about one of the most useful analogies in sales, the funnel. There are many different kinds of funnels, AI Traffic Agents OTO as you can see. There are (ringing loudly) sales funnels and marketing funnels. Funnels are useful as a concept but they’re also frequently misunderstood. So, we’re obviously gonna have to revisit funnels several times, but today, let’s give an introduction. What are funnels? What are some of the most useless funnels out there, funnels that you should use, funnels that you should not use and how to start thinking about funnels so you can build AI Traffic Agents OTO a good one for your sales process. Let’s get going. (orchestral music) The word of the day is obviously funnel. So, a funnel is simply some structure that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. And, we use it as a great analogy for our sales process. Now, some people also use funnels when they discuss their sales channel. We’re not gonna do that.
We’ll talk about channels another time. Today we’re gonna talk about funnels. Now, there are two obvious kinds of funnels. And so, obviously the
word of the day is funnel but the two bonus phrases of the day are marketing funnel and sales funnel. And, you need to be clear. Those are two different things. Remember, we’re only
gonna talk about marketing to the extent that it touches sales. Well, it turns out marketing funnels become or feed into sales funnels. So let’s say this is your funnel for marketing, okay? And this, is your funnel for sales. So, you’re going to collect people from around the universe and get them into your marketing funnel. Remember, marketing is an expense and its return on investment is rarely measured in dollars. So, you might have an ROI of new contacts being dripped into your
sales funnel, right? That’s the metric you would use for that marketing funnel.
Sales funnels must have a return on investment in dollars. Every dollar you spend on sales needs to bring a return. Before we get into the extended analogy, let’s zoom out and take a look at the classic description of the sales funnel. So, here we see your basic funnel. So, in this case, it’s a sales funnel. So, leads come to us from marketing and with luck clients’ dollars are what come out the end. So, what goes on in the middle? This is where we refer to a funnel as something that winnows down from leads to actual sales. And, here’s roughly what that can look like. Remember that there are many kinds of sales funnels. So this is just one example, but it’s kind of, it’s close to the the classic sales funnel. So you start with your leads and then you need to warm ’em up. And that might mean doing a webinar or having some kind of thing where you say, well, let me let me give you an assessment and let’s talk about your stuff and get to know the client.
With luck, you’ll eventually, make a bunch of calls and try to get meetings. That’s actually the hardest piece for most small businesses. They don’t wanna make calls. They wanna skip the one piece that gets them past that little layer of the funnel. There are ways to do that. You gotta be really good at what you do. You have to be very intentional and you have to have a process that you nail down. But, for most of you if you wanna make sales, you have to make calls. Eventually, you get a
certain number of meetings. Some of those meetings will result in people saying, well, can you get me a proposal? So then you get proposals and then you have some kind of negotiation that happens. Eventually, some of those will sign contracts. And the reason we call this a sales funnel many people like to play the math game and say, well if I have a 1,000 leads that’s gonna get me, obviously with luck a 1,000 calls, but let’s say 900 calls. And then, probably 900 calls I’m gonna get, let’s say a 100 meetings and for every a 100 meetings I’ll be able to produce 50 proposals for and for every 50 proposals, I’ll be able to sign 10 or 20 or whatever your close rate is of those deals.
And so the mathematically, they want to turn this into a numbers game where if you had just put enough leads in and you just make enough calls and you just have enough meetings, you will close sales. There is a great deal of truth to that. And so, it’s really hard to short circuit this and say, well I’ve got a different way than I’m gonna do sales. And we’re gonna go outside the funnel and do our own thing. At some level, these are the stages that people need to go through. Now, you’ve heard about the stages of grief. This is very similar, right? You can go through ’em in a in a slightly different order or at a different speed but you gotta go through the stages of the funnel. (orchestral music) So the classic description of a sales funnel is useful to us conceptually because it helps us understand that we start with a lot of leads and no matter what you
call the various stages it eventually winnows down to a sale which is obviously the whole point of this. But you have to remember that, your process is going to be different.
Now, every sales coach you talk to will have different number of layers. They will have different names for them. Some of them will turn into cute words like success or progress or sales, shockingly enough. But whether you call it ibuprofen or whatever else those layers have to be relevant to your business. Now, lots of people look at this as a numbers game. And that is probably the reason most people who don’t like sales, don’t like sales.
If you are overwhelmed with the numbers game, it’s because you look at that top and you say for example, for every 1,000 leads that comes in it winnows down and I’ll make one sale. Oh, no wonder, that’s overwhelming. The thing is, bad sales managers push the numbers game. They tell you things like, every no gets you closer to a yes because once you hear 999 no’s, you’re going to hear a yes. Well, turns out, that’s stupid. So, in the real world there’s a normal distribution, but there’s also randomness. If you have, let’s say 10,000 leads and you know somewhere in that, you’re going to get 10 sales.
You might, call 999 people and then make a sale. And you might do that 10 times, but chances are very good. You will have stretches where you will call three, four, 5,000 people before you make a sale. So, that numbers game can be quite depressing if all you can see in front of you is, the next 1,000 phone calls. So, I encourage you to not think about sales in that way. I will note, however, that big places that have a 1,000 phones and a 1,000 people making a 1,000 phone calls each, they are in fact playing the numbers game. They will make sales. That’s a brute force attack. That’s the sort of thing that phone companies do.
That’s the sort of thing that said banks do. They have lots of money. They have unlimited number of prospects and they will sell whatever they’re told to sell. I hope you are not in
such a business. (laughs) I am sad for you if that’s what your life is like. So meanwhile, in the real world of small business, what should you think about when you think about sales? Well, let’s talk about filters. Oddly enough, a lot of people don’t realize that most funnels if they’re truly useful, need filters. So for example, this funnel includes a removable filter. So you can take the filter out. And of course the filter has certain hole sizes to filter out a certain level of material. This filter may not be able to see it. There’s a filter at the end of this funnel.
This one has a different size filter way down there in the middle. And, some funnels are actually designed simply to be filters. That’s all they do. So, why do you need a filter? Well, the most important part of making sales is getting the right prospect in front of you. So for example, don’t talk to people who can’t afford your services. I know that seems very simple, but you would be amazed at how many resources are wasted with people talking to prospects who are not
really prospects at all. So the, the big number that you have at the top let’s say it’s a 1,000 prospects.
They need to be qualified. So, one of the layers that has to take place in a sales process is making sure that you are talking to qualified people. I love what I call the velvet rope marketing which is basically that, you think about a velvet rope in front of a club where they don’t let people like me in. They only let beautiful people in. Well, that velvet rope is intended to say, hey, if you don’t meet certain criteria, you don’t get in.
Well, you should do that. You must do that in your sales process. So, velvet rope consists of something like this. If you, have 10 or more computers I can save you money on tech support. Well, if somebody has three computers, if somebody has six computers they’re not gonna come talk to me because they haven’t met my varied minimal requirements. Or I will say something like, if you wanna get rid of your server and move to the cloud, give us a call. So, that filter gets rid of all the people who don’t have a server are not interested in the cloud, right? And you can convince
people to do certain things but your life is much easier if you can attract to you people who are already fit for the solution that you’re selling. A lot of times when you pick up the phone and it’s a sales person they will say something like, are you the homeowner? And if you say, well no, I’m renting. Okay well thank you, bye click. They’re not gonna waste one second, trying to sell you whatever they’re trying
to sell to homeowners.
And so it’s very important that you figure out what is that filter? How can you as quickly as possible make sure that you don’t have people in your funnel who can’t or won’t buy your solution. Now, can’t and won’t that’s (laughs) believe me, a topic for another video. But, you really have to do that filtering and you have to not be worried or insulted that some people don’t wanna or can’t do business with you. That’s okay. Keep walking. Remember, 7 billion people in the world. Somebody’s gonna buy your stuff, right? You just have to have the right process. So, think about funnels as a process. How do we get people to move through the funnel as quickly as possible? And it starts by making sure that the only people
who get into the funnel are people who can actually buy what you’re selling.
I love teeny tiny funnels. Teeny tiny funnels are something that you should consider for your sales process. What is a teeny tiny funnel? Well, think about what you need to do to get one client. It’s what Loral Langemeier calls, your fastest path to cash. If you absolutely had to sign one person today, what would you sell? And how would you sell it? Just one person, just one person needs to buy whatever it is you’re trying to sell.
How do you get that person’s attention? An exercise like that will help you understand exactly what it takes, how much energy you can put into a concerted effort and outcomes a dollar, plop. So, you have different size funnels. What does that mean in your business? Well, some funnels are going to be a major sales campaign. Those are bigger funnels. They have different filters. They take a longer time. They have a longer payback. The biggest funnels should be something that you consistently repeat again and again and again, essentially forever. The smaller funnels are really small campaigns, where you’re trying to get one goal. A lot of times what people do is they focus on big funnels, kind of in the day-to-day business.
And then they focus on smaller funnels at the end of the month, end of the 1/4, end of the year, because they have to reach certain goals. So, all they need is one sale of this, one sale of that. And that concerted effort can really make a huge difference. And you have to look at that and say, all right how much of that is sustainable over time? The bigger funnels are
more sustainable over time because basically there is a section where you just call and call and call and call. And there’s an area where you’re just putting
together lots of proposals. And there’s a section where you are having meetings and having meetings.
So, you’ve gotta have a process that continues forever but you might have smaller sales processes to reach specific goals. Finally, I love the fact that a good sales funnel actually looks like a martini glass. That’s important. Don’t forget that. You need to reward yourself when you make those sales. The final note that I would give you with regard to funnels, is you have to think of it as a process. And that process changes over time. So, the sales funnel that you needed when you had no clients is different from the
sales funnel you need, 10 years later, 15 years later. The sales funnel that worked in 2015 may or may not work, in 2020. It may or may not work in 2025.
So, you have to remember that your sales funnel is a living active piece of your processes. It changes over time. You need to constantly work on it like, constantly fine tune it and choose sales funnels sales processes, that are most effective for your company. It’s time for homework. Here’s what I want you to do. Document your current sales process. And if you just write down a big blank piece of paper that means you have no process, but in a perfect world you will talk about how you get leads, how you, how you get marketing to dump leads into the top of your sales funnel. What’s the first thing you do in your sales process? What’s the second thing, the third thing? What does it look like? Remember, you can’t fix it if you don’t have something
documented, right? You can’t fix something that you don’t even know how to define. So define your sales process.
And I wish you the absolute best of luck. Hey, if you like this video and podcast go ahead and give it a thumbs up, share it with your friends, subscribe to our channel to make sure you get notified of the next video and do all the good things that make you successful. I will see you next week on The Cheeky Sales Coach and anytime at cheekysalescoach.com..