What to Include in a Sales Funnel for Your Service-Based Business

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One of the first questions I ask in my Content Into Cash Flow calls is, “Where will your new product fit into your sales funnel?” If the person I am working with takes more than 10 words to give me an answer, I immediately know that they don’t have a sales funnel. And more than likely haven’t thought through what their audience really needs and even more importantly what they are willing to invest in. The are not ready to sell information products.

There are lots of “gurus” and “experts” who promise to guide people through creating six-figure products. They tell them how to create a high-ticket offer, like an e-course with videos, expert interviews, and worksheets and price it for $1500 or more. That might be a good product. But if you struggle getting people to opt-in to your list, don’t have an entry level product that establishes trust, and you have no cross promotion partners to help you sell your product – you will be disappointed and out of money.

Can you create an information product that will help you earn six-figures? Absolutely! If you have the right things in place. One of those things is a well-designed sales funnel.

sales funnelA well-structured sales funnel is key to building a profitable service-based business. With a solid sales funnel, you’ll be able to nurture powerful relationships with your VIPs. Think of your outstanding opt-in offer as a first date that can lead to a long term relationship through the products and services you have to offer. By the time you get to the top of your funnel, you’ll have a loyal customer base who you can sell to over and over again – if you spend time nurturing those relationships.

There are several types of sales funnel models out there. The ones I create with my clients do four things:

  • Identifies offerings for your top three audiences from your opt-in to your top-priced offerings.
  • Clarifies pricing for each offering.
  • Sets your marketing goals for each offer.
  • Forecast your monthly + quarterly income goals.

All of this based on the work we’ve done creating your Ideal Client Profiles.

What types of offers should your sales funnel include?

Your Opt-In Offer(s)

This is the entry point to your sales funnel. This is a freebie (like my ebook) usually offered in exchange for someone signing up to your email list. Your VIP (very interested prospect) wants the solution your free offer provides, so they ‘opt-in’ by giving you their name and email address. You can then continue to build a relationship with them through email.

Entry Level Offers

Your entry level offers are the lowest-priced products or services in your funnel. They extend the credibility you established with your opt-in offer. The price, even though it is small, helps sift out the folks who just want freebies and aren’t interested in genuinely making an investment. Their willingness to spend even $7 on a small product, indicates the potential for them to make future investments.

Self-Paced Products

This is where many service-based solopreneurs leave money on the virtual table. Self-based products like e-courses, video courses, home study kits courses, and DIY toolkits are all examples of items you can create once and profit from repeatedly. These products can range in price from $97 to $2997. With the right content and the right marketing strategy, you can generate solid passive income every month.

Membership and Continuity Programs

Membership products are usually low-priced, ranging from $19.99 to $47, with some even charging $97. They can be especially profitable because your subscribers are charged a monthly fee. It can be challenging to get people to make long-term investments in subscriptions though, unless the value and the results of your program are brilliant. On the positive side of things, clients willing to invest in a monthly or quarterly subscription, will be much more likely to purchase your top-priced items.

Classes, Workshops, and Webinars

You can add these offerings to your sales funnel as bridge products from your entry-level products to your higher priced offerings. These are great for creating a win-win-win:

  • You get to demonstrate your expertise to your VIPs.
  • These offerings are affordable to your VIPs that are not yet ready for your higher-priced offerings.
  • The content you create can be repurposed into self-paced products you can sell from the stage or online.

Top-Priced Offerings

This is where the sifting really begins. When these offerings are priced right and targeted to your true VIPs, you’ll find that you don’t need to have many clients investing at this level. These offerings are usually high-touch relationships that offer lots of private calls, retreats, live and virtual VIP days, and premium access to you and the people in your network.

So where do you start to create a profitable sales funnel?

Remember the shape of your funnel is wide at the entry-point and gradually narrows in the direction of your top-priced offerings. (Click here to see a sales funnel example).

Start by:

  1. Knowing your audience: what they want, what they’ll invest and what triggers them to buy.
  2. Creating an outstanding opt-in offer that showcases your expertise and provides high value.
  3. Defining offers that gradually increase in value, price and quality of experience.
  4. Choosing how to nurture your relationship with the VIPs that opt-in to your list and invest in your offerings.
  5. Use your offers and messages to distinguish between serious investors and freebie grabbers.

Shameless Plug: Here’s what Shannon Hernandez, The Writing Whisperer had to say about the work we did on her Sales Funnel:

[quote cite=”Shannon Hernandez” url=”www.thewritingwhisperer.com”]I had mini-session with Tai Goodwin-Kastens a couple of weeks ago helped me to get a firm grasp on my sales funnel. First, I didn’t have enough offerings between my “free” things and my high-level coaching. I did have some products in the $29 dollar range, but I wasn’t promoting them, nor using them to help move people up my sales funnel. Tai swoopped in via phone and Google Docs to help me build a sales funnel that now offers products/services for 3 clearly defined target markets. She helped me match opt-in offers to those three audiences, as well as have a clear roadmap for what to offer (at various price points) as I spoke with clients who were not ready for private coaching. If you have seen the Brand Camp: Blogging offering at $149 advertised on FB or Twitter from my feed- this is the help of Tai’s genius! I already have 12 people registered and spots for a few more! The best thing about my sales funnel is I keep it out when I do a consultation, and it provides me a great visual and effective way to talk to others about what they may need most! [/quote]

Click here to learn how I can help you fix your sales funnel or create one from scratch!

 

Tai Goodwin

Tai Goodwin is a Business Growth Strategist and creator of the Brilliant Zone Assessment. She is on a mission to help service-based entrepreneurs tap into their brilliance and create profitable business models and revenue streams. Author of Girlfriend, It's Your Time, her articles can be found on Forbes.com, Careerealsim, and the Huffington Post.

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Vatsala Shukla

I’ve just had an ‘Aha’ moment, Tai. Following from your recent post on List building, I’ve just found another idea to figure out whether I can really provide service to my list in easier steps. Thanks!

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