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WARNING — This is a long old rant so get a cuppa and get comfy.

I’m not the world’s leading expert on sales funnels, far from it. I can build one, I know what works and to be honest, they feel horrible if you get them wrong.

You know how dogs can smell fear? Well, I’m getting rather good at smelling out sales pitches from a mile off.

We all are.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’re all in business to make money but the ask is coming before the value.

The right hook is too soon.

Let me explain.

People want to believe in you. They want to get on your bus. They want you to lead them.

They don’t want to be sold to at the first opportunity.

Captive audiences are the lifeblood of most businesses. Your list, your FB group, your followers have voted you to be their leader. They have joined you to be lead.

They see you as a person of influence. The information, service or product is something they’re already thinking about buying.

Don’t strong arm them into rushing that decision!

You see, sales funnels (and all sales) is around comfort and timing. Get it right and it’s…

“This came along at the right time and it feels like it’s just for me.”

Get it wrong and it’s…

“I have to pay a quid to use the bathroom on a long haul flight.”

Your audience is already there. Some have even paid for the privilege.

Stop selling to me.

It makes me feel like I’ve been made a fool of.

It makes me feel like there’s no choice than to walk away.

It makes me feel that you’re lying to me after getting me all hyped up and into state that only has one outcome.

To buy.

Ok, I get it. These are all tactics that work. I’ve used them.

BUT, it’s about timing and comfort.

Isn’t it that people have to see you seven times before they are comfortable buying from you?

If you’re going in with the sell before they’re comfortable, they’re gonna feel robbed. They trusted you and you’ve just broken that trust.

I’ve been to two massively contrasting events lately.

One was an event you paid £100 to be there and you had the time of your life. After the event, you could join a group and get more value from it.

One was a seminar that cost £30 and I was sold to by lunch time. If I didn’t sign up, I’d be “missing out.”

Now, who am I gonna trust?

Who do I pay every month to follow like a raving loonie because they were honest and had the attitude of “take it or leave it”?

The exact words were “try it and if you don’t like it, you can cancel”.

Who have I unfollowed and feel almost embarrassed for because they’re doing it all wrong?

Now, I’m gonna hold my hands up. I currently have a couple of funnels in action at the moment. They’re not bad but I am definitely going to review them because I feel that they’re too pushy. In fact, I’m thinking about cancelling my email platform because it’s too funnel based.

Why am I doing this? Because I’m tired of being sold to. I’m utterly sick of opt-in emails, sign up for my “this, that and the other”, I’m done it by “purchase now or your head will explode” bollocks.

When I sell something, I’m asking for your permission by letting you know “I’m selling something to you”. Other times, it’s just me giving you value. Once in a blue moon, I’ll send out a message to say “hey, here’s extra value, it’s worth £££, and I think you’d benefit from using it”.

I’ve started to price my products higher because if you buy one, you’ll feel like you’ve invested and have to follow through.

I pitch them when I know the value is gonna change your business/life if you follow through.

But people get it the wrong way round. They use fear instead of value.

Take the two events.

One gave value and you could choose to have even more value.

The other give some info and you had to buy the rest to get all the value.

Fuck off!

We can all smell a sales pitch a mile off these days. We’re becoming immune to the ads and drip emails we get bombarded with every day.

Adblocker? Have about pitchy, pushy email blocker?

The world has changed. We’re not dumb. We’re becoming more adept at seeing (and feeling) the scams. We don’t want to be rushed into decisions.

It could be that your style of selling works for your audience. Fast paced emails, opt-ins, get the first chapter free. Good for you. If your audience understands your style from the start and it’s working then crack on.

But, if your audience doesn’t know you, they’re just popped into your Ecosystem and you’re already selling to them then you’ve not given it time for the trust to build up.

By welding a sales funnel or any sales tactic for that matter, you’re in charge of a missile. You can’t just point and press, you have a responsibility to ask for the sale not push for the sale. In the wrong hands, there’s gonna be carnage!!

I’ve seen opt-in emails turn into sales pitches in two touches. Join my group so I can spam you. Jump on this call so I can emotionally blackmail you into paying for a £2,000 course in the next 24 hrs.

Are you fucking kidding me?

How about no!?

Sales funnels aren’t bad. They’re just really, really misunderstood.

In the right hands, they’re a licence to print money. In the wrong hands, they’re gonna leave your audience looking for the unsubscribe button.

If you’re having to sell an idea then it’s probably not a great idea to start off with.

People pay you if you have something they want and they trust you enough to deliver it.

People don’t pay you if you have something they want but feel pressured to buy and they don’t trust you enough to hand over their credit cards details just in case you jump too far up your own arse next time you’re selling something and change them before they decide to buy from you!!

(I lost my ability to use punctuation there, I’m rambling and I’m f’ing knackered!)

Ok, let’s take it down a notch.

The rule of thumb is that if it feels pushy, it probably is. If you’re trying to get one over on your audience then you’re doing them a disservice. If you’re setting them up, getting them into state and then revealing a magic pill then you’re a dickhead.

Be up front about selling and by all means ask for the sale. Make it feel organic, grow with your audience, go in and be a little naive about what they want. Ask them what they want.

Just don’t wrap your “ask” in “value” to get their email address then spend the next seven days spamming them with loosely veiled sales messages.

Sales — It’s a fucking art not a blunt instrument.

*Goes off to cancel ConvertKit*