This article was previously published on LinkedIn.
Few things are more nerve-wracking than running a project-based business.
Sure, the rush of new clients (and payments!) is exciting at first. But it quickly wears off when you realize your next paycheck might be your last for a while.
Even if your business is bustling, when your income is inconsistent you never have the sense of ease and flow you need to be able to relax a bit. Instead, you find yourself in constant hustle-mode, bouncing from one gig to the next, and hanging on by a thread.
Today, I want to let you in on the secret weapon savvy business owners use to turn those one-hit wonders into ongoing work:
Say hello to the sales funnel
You’ve no doubt heard this term before. You may have learned about it in a marketing course (or just read about it on Wikipedia). But if you're like most folks, it didn't seem like something that would benefit your bottom line, so you wrote it off as yet another useless business term.
Here's the cliffs notes version:
In other words, when your workload is as turbulent as rush hour traffic, having a sales funnel helps you create the balance and consistency you need.
Using the sales funnel to create longer-term income
Let’s say, for instance, that you offer back office management support for small businesses. By the time most of your clients approach you for help, they’re in a panic and need urgent help with cleaning up their records and preparing their annual reports.
What they ultimately want is to stay in good standing and avoid the costly hassle of being audited. But while a cleanup will get them through this year’s frenzy, it doesn’t address their core problem—which is that they don’t have a sustainable system for maintaining their compliance year-round.
In order to even qualify for your cleanup support, you might require them to go through a few steps first. For example:
For each of these steps, there's a solution you can offer that gives them an immediate win and makes them ready to purchase your cleanup service. It also sets them up for success in the long run, because they’re nipping an underlying problem in the bud.
But that's not all.
Once they have a better system in place and their records are all tidied up, there's still a few steps they need to take to maintain their compliance and avoid an audit:
There's a solution you can offer to address each of these steps, as well. And at this point, your clients will be primed and ready to take those next steps with you.
Choosing the right offers for your sales funnel
How you package your solutions will depend on who your clients are, what their desired outcome is, and what core problem needs to be addressed.
I’ve whipped up an easy-to-use guide to help you figure out who the ideal client is for you, so you can design no-brainer offers that set you up for ongoing income and finally ditch the constant hustle-mode for good. Grab your copy now, free.
Over to you
How do plan to you use the sales funnel to create longer-term income? Tell me about it in the comments.
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