The Accomplished Solopreneur

Issue 22.41

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Your sales funnel is leaking. Here’s why (and what you can do about it)

Sales funnels “leak” a lot. If you can identify the “leaks”, and make some of the “holes” smaller, you can make a lot more sales.

There’s a lot of quotes in those two sentences, so let me explain.

Where sales funnels leak

The typical customer journey looks something like this:

  • Your marketing drives people to your website.
  • They visit your website. Some decide that this is not relevant to them, so you lose some leads.
  • The remaining download a lead magnet. Only some of them really like what they see, so you lose some more.
  • You nurture your leads. Only some stay on your list, and you lose some more.
  • Finally, you make the offer to buy something. Only a small percentage of them actually buy.

So in a typical customer journey, your sale funnels “leaks” at the following points:

A tale of two examples

Now let’s look at what this means in practice. Let’s assume that you retain only 10% of your leads after each stage of your customer journey. If we start with, say, 10,000 people going to your website, here’s how the numbers pan out:

Now let’s say you can retain 20% of your leads after each stage. The numbers now look like this:

In this case, getting just 1/10th better in each stage gets you 16 times more sales.

Marketing is important, but…

We already know that marketing is important, but:

It’s what happens after marketing that determines whether they buy.

Your numbers will differ, but the principle remains the same: you lose leads every step along the customer journey. Therefore every stage of your customer journey is important (not just marketing).

How to leak less

There are a small number of principles we can apply at each stage of the customer journey to make those leaky sales funnels leak less. Here they are.


There are two fundamental principles that make your marketing work:

  • Your messages have to attract the right people.
  • You have to show up on their radar frequently and consistently.

In short, if they see you talk about something that is interesting to them, and they see it often, they are more likely to check you out (visit your website).

Your website

Your website is often the first place where people go to check you out. At this stage they’re not yet a lead, so your website has to get them to read more about how you can help them.

To do that, your website has to be attractive, fast, work well on mobile and offer them something they will feel is valuable to them. There’s a lot to consider here, so in the interest of keeping this article short, I will leave it at that for now.

Your lead magnet

A lead magnet is something you give away for free in exchange for an email address or contact information. If they download a lead magnet, you can start nurturing and qualifying them.

Unfortunately, there’s a widespread tendency to regard lead magnets as something you can whip up quickly and easily. Here’s the problem:

If your lead magnet doesn’t impress them with your knowledge and expertise, they’re not going to listen to what you have to say afterwards.

So your lead magnet has to:

  • be valuable to them
  • demonstrate your expertise and insights.

So don’t think you can throw together a lead magnet in an hour. It’s like a first date—dress up for the occasion.

Your lead nurturing

In many cases, your lead nurturing is best done via email, and you can automate most (if not all) of that.

If people don’t like what they see in your emails, they will either start ignoring them, or unsubscribe from your list. So here are the principles of lead nurturing:

  • You have to show up consistently.
  • You have to provide value.

One of the most important things I’ve learnt about lead nurturing is that:

They’re not ready to buy when we’re ready to sell.

So in addition to showing up consistently and always providing value, we have to show up over a long period of time. Do this, and more people will pay attention when you reach out to them.

Your sales offer

This is where things get a little more complicated. Depending on what business you’re in, you may never make an offer (and wait for them to come to you when they’re ready).

But if (or when) you make the offer, you have to follow these principles:

  • Don’t just make the offer out of the blue.
  • Give them a lot of detail.
  • Always offer a choice.

That last one is really important. If you offer only one option, they can only say yes or no. But if you offer two options, they can say yes to the first, yes to the second or no to both. In effect, you’ve just doubled your chances of making the sale.

The moral of this story

You will only every sell to a small percentage of the people that first see your marketing and visit your website:

  • Not everyone is your client,
  • not everyone is aware of just how much pain your solution can help them with, and
  • not everyone is ready to buy when they first start looking at what you have to offer.

So for those who are you ideal clients, want to make the pain go away and are ready to buy, make sure your sales funnel doesn’t let them fall through big holes.

It’s what happens after marketing that determines whether they buy.