Simple Sales Funnel For Dummies – Part 1

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Karthik Vijayakumar
Published on: August 9, 2023

A simple sales funnel can save your business (even if you struggle to sell)

Selling courses online is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You’re excited for many reasons. But you’re anxiety and stress stem from just one thought, “What if no one buys my course?” All it takes is one doubt to ruin all your hard work. Is there a way you can implement a system that will work despite the doubting mind? A simple sales funnel.

This post is part one of a two-part series that I’ve decided to call “Simple Sales Funnel For Dummies” (here’s a link to part two). And it’s a two-part series because while my goal is to give you a system that works, I also want to tell you “why” it works.

In the next few minutes, you will learn everything you need to know about sales funnels, why they work, their underlying structure, and how they transport prospective buyers from “I don’t know who you are…” to “Here’s my credit card…”

Let’s dive into this. But first, the big question…

What is a Sales Funnel?

Well, a sales funnel is a phrase that’s been used to refer to the journey of prospective clients from the time they first experience your brand to the time they buy something from you.

This journey can be like a simple train ride from point A to point B. Or, it can be a more complex one. Oftentimes, this complexity keeps people away from using a funnel. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At least, not after you read this post.

Mythbusting #1: You Don’t Need Sales Funnels Experts

In this post, I hope to educate you and inspire you about implementing a simple sales funnel. You can do this yourself without having to use complex software. You don’t need to be a tech-savvy marketer, either. If you can use your email, you can do this.

Mythbusting #2: Sales Funnel Is Not About Selling

Selling has a bad rap because it’s been practiced incorrectly. But in reality, that’s not what selling is. You don’t actually sell when using the simple sales funnel I’m about to show you. Instead, you educate your prospective buyers. You wear the hat of a trusted advisor and a friend instead of that of a pesky car salesman.

Mythbusting #3: Every Business Needs A Sales Funnel

No matter how small or big a business is, they need a funnel. In fact, most good businesses unknowingly use a sales funnel. Even the mom-and-pop shop at the corner of your street uses a sales funnel. As I just said, these funnels don’t have to be complex.

Good Sales Funnels Are Like Doctors

You’ve perhaps been to visit a doctor at some point in your life. Maybe you took someone to a doctor. Maybe you had a bad cold. Perhaps your sinuses are acting up. Or it’s a cough. So you decide to visit the doctor. The doctor then checks you up, asks a few questions, and points out the root cause. And then the doctor does something magical–they write you a prescription.

You leave the doctor’s office without batting an eyelid and hop into the pharmacy next door. And you get everything the doctor prescribed to you. What just happened?

The doctor “sold” you a treatment (and some medicines). They didn’t just write a prescription. Instead, they took time to examine you, ask you a few questions, and answer your questions before prescribing you a treatment. And that’s what a sales funnel does too.

simple sales funnel

Simple Sales Funnel Structure

The goal of any sales funnel is simple–to maximize value exchange between the buyer and the seller. When you know that your course will transform the lives of your target buyers, it will be a shame if you don’t give it to them. And since this is a business and not charity, it’s appropriate if your buyers pay for them.

So how does a simple sales funnel help maximize this value exchange? It does that in five steps.

  1. Acknowledge the Problem
  2. Make a Promise
  3. Build Trust
  4. Educate and Advice
  5. Make a Strong Recommendation

Let’s look at each of these a little closely.

create opt in pages1. Acknowledge The Problem

Picture this. You’ve been out all day, and you’re hungry. And after a lot of walking with no food in sight, you finally see someone flipping burgers. There’s a big signboard above that reads, “Hungry?”

I’m not sure about you. But if I were in your place, I would’ve been eternally grateful to the person flipping the burgers. Because when you’re hungry, you want someone to acknowledge your hunger and offer you some food. And this is exactly what you do in the first stage of a simple sales funnel.

A sales funnel works best when you are addressing a specific buyer with a specific problem…

When you don’t do that, you end up sounding like the pesky car salesman. All they care about is their commission. And all they need you to do is open your wallet. They are thugs in two-piece suits. Not you. Because you choose to use a simple sales funnel, and you are addressing a specific buyer with a specific problem.

How do you do that in a simple sales funnel? Lead Magnets. In part two of this post, we’ll see what lead magnets are and how you use them in a simple sales funnel.

2. Make a Promise

In the second stage of building a simple sales funnel, you make a promise. But what does promise mean in this context?

Picture this again–the burger flipper. Imagine what would’ve happened if you saw a long burger queue. You can easily see more than thirty people are waiting for a burger. You likely will start feeling anxious, and your hunger will grow ten times more.

And then your eyes see another smaller signboard that reads, “Burgers in under two minutes…”

You are now smiling. After all, you don’t have to wait endlessly in a queue with a grumbling tummy. The promise made you smile. And that’s what you do in the second stage of a simple sales funnel.

In part two of this blog post, you’ll learn how to make a promise with opt-in pages.

3. Build Trust

In the third stage, it’s time to deliver the promise…and something more. This is when you turn a transaction into a relationship. You do that by building trust. It’s very hard to imagine this with a burger flipper example…

Well, I was too quick to speak. Picture this. What if the burger flipper was a happy guy with a big smile? He wishes you and takes time to do some small talk as he flips your burger. And then he asks you to come by the next day to try his newly launched flavor.

Instead of just taking your money and handing over a burger, he’s now opened a relationship. And that’s what you do in the third stage. In part two of this post, you’ll see how to do this with emails.

4. Educate and Advise

In stage four of building a simple sales funnel, it’s time to use the greatest sales tool of all time–education.

Contrary to popular belief, selling is not about convincing your buyer. It’s educating them. When your buyers feel like they know the problem better, they start to feel like they can do something about it too. Educating your buyers is about making them feel like they got back control. They start to feel stronger.

While education makes your buyers feel stronger, it puts you, the educator, in an even more stronger position. Suddenly, the buyer starts to see you as an advisor, just like what happens with the doctor. Your buyers will happily listen to you and listen to you.

This stage is the key to selling. In stage four of the simple sales funnel, you use the power of copy and persuasion. Again, we’ll look into this in greater detail in part two of this post.

5. Make a Strong Recommendation

Finally, it’s stage five. It’s the stage when you finally make the recommendation. Your buyers are now waiting for you to speak. They are waiting for you to recommend them a solution. And you need to write them a prescription. You tell them what medicines to take and when to take them. They will follow your cues.

But it’s not that simple. You need to stay focused. Else, you’ll lose your buyer’s attention. Stages four and five are where you rely more on words and the tools of persuasion to help your target buyers take action.

What Does Your Sales Funnel Look Like?

If you already have a sales funnel, what does it look like? Is your funnel taking buyers through the five stages? Drop your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll see you in part two.

While you’re still here, consider subscribing to the Paid Course Creator Newsletter and join 3000+ small business owners, course creators, and coaches in learning tiny, refreshing, and sometimes surprising ways to grow your business with copy and charm.

To your prosperity,


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About the author 

Karthik Vijayakumar

Hey, it's me, Karthik. I'm a ghostwriter and copywriter helping B2B founders and businesses. As a copywriter, I help founders validate and nail your messaging. As a ghostwriter, I write strategic blog posts to help you build authority or grow your inbound marketing. Click the tiny button below and connect with me on LinkedIn.

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