I never understood sales funnels until I understood The Value Ladder.

This post will make a whole lot more sense to you if you read this post first: 

What’s the Value Ladder? A Brilliant Way to WOW Your Customers

You’re back? Great! Now let’s discuss Sales Funnels.

So… What’s a Sales Funnel?

It’s a step-by-step process to lead your prospects down the garden path.  

Haha, no… scratch that. Although… some unscrupulous salespeople… no, let’s not go there.

It’s a step-by-step process to lead your prospects up the value ladder.

Successful sales funnels turn leads into prospects,

prospects into buyers, and

buyers into raving fans, advocates and buyers for life

Sound good to you? Fab!  Let’s jump in.   Here’s an example of a Basic Sales Funnel.

What's a Sales Funnel? A step-by-step process to lead your prospects to make a purchasing decision. Watch the video over at LaurenKinghorn.com #WhatsaSalesFunnel #DigitalMarketing #OnlineMarketing #ValueLadder

Image Credit: Free on Canva Pro

Here’s an example of a simple Sales Funnel that we all understand. If you have children, you’ve probably been to McDonald’s at some point, right?

How does McDonald’s generate leads?

My guess is they get most of their leads from word-of-mouth (referrals), by children seeing their big M, which brings me to their positioning (location, location, location), billboards and Advertising.

Their best form of lead gen in my opinion?

The free toy that comes with the Happy Meal. I often wonder whether my son is begging me for McDonald’s because he wants the Happy Meal or the free toy. Sometimes we go in just to buy the toy because it costs next to nothing (which I think would make it a loss leader for McDonald’s. Don’t worry McD, all is not lost. We usually buy ice cream as well).

What happens once you’ve placed your order?

The clerk upsells you on other products (remember the movie Supersize Me?).

Perfectly working sales funnel right there.

Online Sales Funnels

But you’re building an online business.  So let’s apply this knowledge to digital marketing.  Remember this diagram?

The Value Ladder

Image Credit: Template on Canva Pro

Let’s work through these steps, one by one.

Step 1: Lead Generation

So the first function of any Sales Funnel is to generate leads. In the illustration above, you’ll see a bunch of lead generation ideas.

If you’re building an online sales funnel, you’ll do that by creating a lead magnet or freebie. You then promote that lead magnet on your website, in your posts, on social media and possibly through paid advertising.

Step 2: Turning Leads into Prospects

The lead magnet’s goal is to turn a lead into a prospect. You’re giving out a free sample or taste of your product or service to create awareness and pique someone’s interest.

In an online sales funnel, you can safely assume you’ve converted a lead into a prospect or qualified lead once they’ve joined your email list.

Step 3: Turning Prospects into Buyers

Now you want to expose your prospect as many times as possible to your offers until they buy.

If you’re smart, you’ll do it subtly. So you won’t sell, sell, sell but entice, entice, entice.

The best way to do this in an online business is by offering valuable information that you know your prospect is looking is for, by solving their problems, by delivering information and inspiration and building a relationship with your prospect. We’re back to the Value Ladder.

The more value you give and the more freely you give it, the more your prospects will want to buy from you.

Monthly membership sites are wonderful because it gives your customers a chance to interact with you and each other and fosters goodwill.

Step 4: Turning Buyers into Buyers for Life

Don’t try selling everything at once. Build a solid relationship with your customer over time.

Once in a while, drop in a link to your Premium Offers or Exclusive Offers — not in every article you publish or every email you send out.

As you build trust, you can offer your customers your best products — those products you’ve been working on for years. The products that will give them their best results.

These also happen to be the products with the highest price tag. Your highest value offers will, naturally, be your most expensive — your high ticket items.

The trick is to ensure your buyers feel those high ticket products are worth every cent.

If you’ve built a number of sales funnels that gently take your prospect through the buying process (over time), giving them a positive, transformational experience every step of the way, your high-end offers will feel like an investment.

So always, always, keep the Value Ladder in mind and offer more than something is worth, every step of the way. That’s what will keep your buyers clamouring for more.

How to Create a Sales Funnel

I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of creating a Sales Funnel here as I’m no expert.

Suffice to say, I’m using Click Funnels for my initial Sales Funnel, which is designed to capture emails and promote an entry-level product, the 15-Day Online Business Challenge for $7.

Want an easy way to build your first funnel?

I received my first shared funnel from Legendary Marketer as I joined Click Funnels. You can too.  

Join the 15-Day Online Business Challenge via my Sales Funnel to find out how. Click here.

Next Up: Should I Join Legendary Marketer? (My Legendary Marketer Review)

Find all the content I created for the entire 30-Day Challenge here.

*If you purchase anything through a link in this article, you should assume that I have an affiliate relationship with the company providing the product or service that you purchase, and that I’ll be compensated in some small way at no extra cost to you.