How to Create a Sales Funnel in 3 Steps

A sales process is one of the greatest assets of any organization.  It can increase the lifetime value of a customer, help the customer make a decision, ensure you offer the sale every time, help you reach goals, and allow you to perfect the process.  The reasons to implement a systematized sales funnel are compelling.  But understanding what a sales process is and actually executing a sales strategy can be challenging. Therefore, I would like to share with you how to create a sales funnel in just three steps.

Step 1: Be Intentional

The first step in creating a formalized sales funnel is to be intentional.  A sales funnel won't happen by accident.  Or actually, it just may.  When we aren't intentional about things, we find that we often "default" to a pattern or practice that has worked in the past.  As a public speaker, I initially did not receive any formal training.  I just spoke out of passion and intuition and found that I did quite well.  But I wasn't intentional.  I started to pick up bad habits that have taken great amounts of discipline and dedication to break.  While they may seem trivial to some, these habits, such as "talking with my hands," were often detrimental to the overall reception of my speech.

The same is true in a sales funnel.  If we aren't intentional on pro-actively developing a sales funnel, we will most likely default into a process that is, at best, average.  Therefore, be intentional about developing your process.  Determine your end objective.  Decide which products you want to sell and eliminate those that you could offer but don't really help in your overall strategy.  Be intentional with every part of your sales funnel.

Step 2: Work Backwards

The second step in creating a sales funnel is to work backwards.  Start with the end in mind; what is your ultimate goal in selling to a customer?  To answer this question, we need to define what our "ideal customer" looks like.  This means that we will determine what products or services they will purchase.  We can also define an ideal customer by how much money they may spend.  The idea here is that we want to give every prospect a clear path (or opportunity) to become an ideal customer.  While many prospects will never achieve this status, providing a clear path will result in better results than just hoping for ideal customers.

Once the "ideal customer" has been defined, we need to determine how we are going to funnel them to this point; again, working backwards.  The final step in the process would be a "commitment-level" product.  A commitment-level product or service is one that is purchased by an ideal customer.  This large-ticket item won't be purchased by everyone, but is a vital part of the overall revenue of the business.

The step before the commitment-level product is an entry-level product.  This lower price-point product is often the most popular product or service and is utilized by the largest number of customers.  While this product doesn't bring in the highest volume of income per product, the larger amount of sales helps to drive the bottom line.

The next step to think about in creating a sales funnel is how to identify prospects and provide a trial or sample that will encourage a customer to purchase the entry level product.  By working backwards, we are actually designing our process around the end goal.  This ensures that all of our efforts are designed to strategically reach the end of the funnel.

Step 3: Test the Process

The final step in how to create a sales funnel is to test the sales process.   It is important to realize that creating a sales funnel is not a one-time event;  a sales funnel should evolve over time.  As you refine the process, it will become better and better so that a competitive advantage can be gained through the sales funnel.  One way to ensure that the process is effectively refined is to pro-actively schedule times to test and evaluate the sales funnel.

What ways have you used to create a sales funnel?