3 Simple Reasons Why Sales Funnels Shouldn't Offend You
Recently, I read an email from a successful online business owner who shared a message about her most successful launch in her business. She discussed her strategies of walking her audience through her sales sequence to the purchase process. She received some email unsubscribes, which is normal (since everyone isn't your customer or won't buy from you), but she also received some feedback that went similar to this:
“How dare you invite me to [whatever she gave away for free] to sell to me”.
One of my business besties experienced this as well. She offered a cool challenge to her audience to build a connection with people who sign up to her email list. It's safe to assume that the people who signed up for the challenge would also be interested in related products and information. She received a similar response like the one above.
Now, I get it. Some of you may feel or think the same way, but I want to reveal a couple of truths about the technical term “sales funnel” because that's what she created for her audience.
Before I get to the “real”, I want to make two things clear:
Businesses stay in business because its ability to effectively monetize its knowledge, skill, talents. The reason why most business owners go into business is to make money and influence the world! No secret.
Secondly, sales funnels are strategies that several businesses use to teach and grow their audience, business, and financials. They are not made to misuse, abuse or mislead anyone, regardless of how some people use.
There are 3 reasons why sales funnels should not be offensive:
Everything is a sales funnel
Sorry to burst your bubble but almost every business has a sales funnel. The easiest example I can use is a retailer. Let's look at Walmart’s sales funnel. You may purchase items online that requires your personal information, including your email address. You receive your email confirmation and shipping information, etc. A couple of days later, you may receive recommended items that you may like, items that are now on sale that you've previously looked at, or maybe abandon cart notifications. Guess what? You're in a sales funnel!
I know most of us have given our email address for a discounted first purchase. When we do that, we’ve entered that business’s sales funnel. The same strategy goes for an online shoe store, a pharmacy discount program, ordering a pizza, etc. Most times you'll get an option to “opt in” or agree to receive exclusive information or promotions. This strategy is not sleazy or shady. It's a business practice.
They help you get to know the brand
The purpose of sales funnels is to walk you (the ideal buyer) through a process of understanding what products will help you accomplish your goals. A part of that process involves giving your audience useful information that they can use and apply in their everyday life. Most times this information is free and given at will. Information like tips, recipes, how to’s, ideas and tutorials are examples of what businesses send to the people on their email list.
At this time, it’s easier for you to get to know what this brand is about. You’ll have the opportunity to reply and ask questions, if possible. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in feedback, exclusive events or sales, or share with someone who needs or could use the content.
When you trust a business, you will buy from them. Giving a brand the opportunity to build that trust and connection is a part of the sales funnel process. There is nothing shady about this. As stated, businesses have goals to be financially successful. If you are a business owner, you understand this too. But, all businesses aren’t creating sales funnels to deceive or take from people. Which leads me to the next point.
It may be the brand not the strategy
Some people are, in fact, shady and sleazy with their sales strategies. I call this the “eat greedy” strategy. Their only purpose is to benefit their own financial bottom line. They dress their strategy up as one thing only to intentionally push sales down your throat without any official introduction, explanation of how [what their selling] will help you at the level you're on.
I want to assure you that sleazy and shady sales tactics are not what most of us are going for. While we are in business, we want to stay in business so sales are a part of our process. But, the most genuine business owners will teach, educate, inform and entice you to better your life, business, and financial bottom line.
The strategy used to help you achieve is not the culprit. A brand may be abusing the strategy or, their business is just not for you.
Many people dislike being sold to. Finding out they were invited to a stated destination for a specific thing “only to get sold to” pisses people off. I get that. The expectation of one thing has been destroyed once a sale email has been sent, but it’s almost, always a misunderstanding.
While it's unhealthy for some businesses to directly sell aggressively via email, the business model, and intention takes an outcome or perception to another level. Most of us are used to several sale emails from online stores and retailers during a month. But, somehow some of us become uneasy with business owners and smaller brands who sell their products via email. It’s the same business strategy.
Going forward, there are 2 things to remember when you feel uneasy about a sales funnel.
First, understand what sales funnels are. Remember, they aren't meant to deceive you.
If your know that your intentions as a consumer or business owner is to only get free stuff, just opt out of that email list. Maybe you never had intentions on doing business to begin with.
Determine if the brand is useful to you. Useful means that you may need the information the brand provides now no at a later date. If there is no connection with you and the business owner or the brand, opt-out of the email list.
Sales funnels are implemented to help the consumer and business. As a consumer, it saves time searching for products we need and want. It's easy to take a company up on an offer if we see value. As a business owner, it's easy to attract people who are direct leads. It's great to market directly to an audience who we can genuinely help. We get to be intentional and build a connection.