What is a Sales Funnel and How Does it Work?

Funnel

Hun, You’re Speaking Greek To Me…

My wife has an extensive computer and I.T. background, and she’s fairly keen on web site design and HTML code. Before she took on the full time job of being mom, and heck, even now, she talks computer language that I simply don’t understand. It just never clicked with me.

I’d always tell her I had no clue to what she was talking about when she and another computer tech would get together.

Well, now, here I am as an internet marketer, and of course we have lingo that we use that most people have NO CLUE about. There are even some internet marketers that have no clue as to what certain lingo actually means.

I know I didn’t when first started down this internet entrepreneur path clickfunnels pricing plan. I remember reading Mike Dillards “Magnetic Sponsoring” almost two years ago and asking myself “What the hell is a funded proposal?” And “How do you make a sales funnel?” I had no clue at all what those terms meant.

Fast forward 2 years and here I sit now instructing others on what “Funded Proposal” and “Sales Funnel” actually mean.

In reality they are truly simple concepts.

Let’s tackle sales funnel first, because as we get into what a sales funnel is, it becomes apparent what a funded proposal is.

Sales Funnel – As I Was Taught

A sales funnel is typically seen with an attraction marketing system. (I’ve supplied a diagram here at the bottom of the article since some people are more visual learners). It all starts off with the marketing methods you’re using. That’s essentially the opening of the funnel.

You have your marketing resources catching people’s attention and drawing them into the funnel. They enter the funnel once they fill out the form on your PERSONAL lead capture page. I say “personal” because no one is going to opt in on your business lead capture page. They want to join a leader, not a business.

The lead capture page is the entrance into the funnel – when they click that “Sign Up Now” or “Enter Here” button, they enter a whole new concept in network marketing.

The best part is that they are qualifying themselves to do it. It is their decision. You’ve sold them nothing, other than yourself as a leader, a mentor, and as someone that can show them how to get more leads and more cash into their business.

At this point when you start marketing correctly, there should be a large number of leads pouring into the sale funnel from your social networking sites (Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, etc.), banner ads, forums, and blogs. The number of leads will be even larger if you’re using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising – but that’s a different topic for a different time.

All of these leads have clicked on an ad, seen your lead capture page, and filled out the form. What happens now?

Well, they immediately start receiving e-mail messages from your auto-responder like clockwork on auto-pilot.

Building Your List

You have probably heard over and over, the money is in your list – your list of contacts and prospects. Or maybe “monetize your list”? Does that sound familiar? If so, your list is simply the leads that have opted into your personal lead capture page. That’s it! The more leads that opt in, the larger your list grows.

I only wanted to clarify this because some people still seem confused as to what a “list” actually means.

The Auto-Responder

What’s in the messages?

Well there are different things you want to have in there. First off, a welcome message greeting your leads into your site and setting the tone of what to expect in the coming days, weeks, or months (depending on the number and scheduling of your messages).

There are several things you can be offering to people via the auto-responder. Things to help build your rapport with the lead – like links to valuable resources, information about you (your background or your story), who you are, and what you’re all about. Essentially ways for the lead to learn more about who you are.

Of course one other way to get to know your leads, and vice versa, is to actually call them. Crazy concept I know! If a lead includes their number on the form, give them a call! It is an immeasurable way to build that relationship with your lead and for them to get to know you. There are a METRIC TON of network marketers out there that NEVER do this. Imagine how you will stand out from the crowd just because you took 5-10 minutes to call a new lead. They’ll love you for it!

You can also include an initial boot-camp or training camp scenario via messages and video links that include the training information that you may have offered on your lead capture page. This is another great way to promote you as a leader because you’re giving away your valuable information for free.

Back to the auto-responders. Now, keep in mind, you’re not slamming them with your business right off the bat. You introduce them to that later on down the road. You use the auto-responders to simply tell them about you, help build your relationship, and put in your affiliate links to your affiliate sites that you use to market yourself. That way, when they click on the links that you offer them, and they purchase something from that site, you get a commission from that sale. This can happen many times or just once.

This is how you can get paid over and over even when your leads never join you in your primary business!

Remember the Funded Proposal I was telling you about? Well this is the best place to introduce it because it ties in with your affiliate links.

The Funded Proposal

The funded proposal is a vital part to your sales funnel. A funded proposal is the process of the selling of an inexpensive but very useful product to cover the costs of your business, then introducing your actual business later on after your leads have gotten to know you.

What it does is fund your business long enough with immediate profits so you can advertise more which brings you more leads, meaning you can sponsor more leads into your primary business.

If done correctly, your expenses should equal $0, or you can actually be making a profit.

Examples could be commissions from the affiliate links you provide in your auto-responder messages. The resources for affiliate commissions are endless. To name a few there is Mike Dillard’s Magnetic Sponsoring course and all of those products, Ann Sieg’s Renegade Marketer course, Perry Marshall’s Definitive Guide to Google Adwords, list builders, auto-responders, social networks, e-books, etc. The list can really be endless.

The primary reason for a funded proposal is what I’ve just gone over – the sales of your inexpensive products to fund your business. But there are other reasons as well.

1. When you have someone that purchases products from your affiliate links or buys your e-books, you have an existing customer as well as their contact information. They are a lead! It is much easier to introduce them to your affiliate links and products later on rather than a “cold” prospect you’ve not built a relationship with.

This is how the REAL money is made in network marketing!

2. Because of the help you’ve already provided through your valuable information in the e-books, you’ve positioned yourself as a leader, not a salesman. You’ve offered them a solution, your advice, your help, and a system.

3. The information they’ve already bought from you via your affiliate links or your written material is educating & training them. If they choose to become a part of your business and downline, they’re already trained. Your work is darn near complete.

4. The biggest problem with anyone joining a network marketing business is that it can take FOREVER before they feel any sort of positive cash flow. The funded proposal eliminates this problem. Your leads and downline get into positive cashflow quickly and this eliminates burnout or dropout, instead, it builds confidence and momentum.

If you use a funded proposal system, it means positive cash flow for you, endless leads for you, and a monetary source for more advertising, and even more leads.

This is the system that the top income earners are using. They aren’t selling their biz opportunity upfront. They sell and promote everything BUT their primary business.

The funded proposal drops money into their business and attracts more network marketers to them. Attraction Marketing!

Back to the Sales Funnel

Up to this point your leads are getting the e-mails from your auto-responder. They are learning valuable information, techniques, strategies, and what it takes to become successful in this industry.

They’re also learning some information about you and the leader that you are.

But, I one thing I always do is provide more of who I am. More of me so that my leads and prospects get a better idea of who I am. I simply compose one message and add it into my auto-responder to send out to my leads. That message contains all of the links to my social networking sites – my blog, Face Book, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Better Networker.com, etc. All of those sites contain videos, photos, ideas, thoughts, tips, and strategies that I give away for free.

This way, whatever I post in those sites, my leads can get updates about me instantly. Plus they get to look at what I’m up to at any given point and realize that I’m just a regular Joe. I’m not doing anything special. I just figured out the method to get this to work for me, so I teach others how to do it as well. Pay it forward!

The leads that have made it this far into the sales funnel are highly qualified leads. They’ve gone to my lead capture page, they’ve received my messages via the auto responder, and I’ve talked with them personally over the phone. They’re attending the training calls or webinars. Some leads I even get to meet locally or at conferences.

They’ve visited my blog, seen my profiles on Twitter or Face Book, and subscribed to my newsletters. I’ve been building a relationship with them all.

When a lead has made it this far, they are very qualified!

The next step is the end of the sales funnel – the introduction of my primary business.

This is where you hope to drive ALL of your leads to. It never happens because some leads fall out of the funnel along the way. And that’s o.k.! Fall out will happen no matter what sales funnel system you’re using. But the ones that make it this far are introduced to my primary business.

They are introduced through several different avenues. First is through my auto-responder messages. A message containing the links to my primary business lead capture page is sent out and introduces the lead to what I do.

Another route is through my blog site or Facebook. I simply send them a message when the timing is right, or they click on my banner ads, or they are directed there by a message I leave, or they attend a training webinar and are introduced that way.

When I’ve done a good enough job with providing training for my leads and built that relationship with them, they will join my business because they see what I and my business can bring them.

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