Learn sales funnels for coaches

Sales funnels are the lifeline for online coaches. So, it’s essential that you know what they are and how to create and optimize them.

But where do you begin?

With so much conflicting information from all these online “marketing gurus,” it can be hard to sort through content to determine what’s valuable and what’s not. This can lead to feeling lost and overwhelmed.

My business, Entrepreneurs HQ, has been operating for almost a decade. During that time, I’ve helped thousands of coaches grow their lists and, as a result, their income. So, I understand your frustration. In this post, I’ll share the sales funnels that all coaches need to know to land high-paying clients today.

What is a Sales Funnel?

Creating a coaching sales funnel is a marketing process that leads potential customers to your offer.

It’s the system that allows you to deliver valuable content so you can build trust, convert leads, and make sales. And the best part? Once you get everything set up, this process occurs on autopilot. Think of a sales funnel as your very own digital marketer, generating leads and making sales on your behalf 24/7.

It’s an incredible asset that your coaching business can’t afford to be without in the digital age.

Why Are Sales Funnels Important For Coaches?

Every coach needs a properly organized sales funnel.

It streamlines the customer acquisition process, taking leads through the customer journey while simultaneously saving you time, money, and energy. As a result, you can allocate your focus to other areas of your coaching business. Other benefits of a sales funnel include the following:

  • Analyze and improve your marketing efforts
  • Optimize your sales processes
  • Enhance your systems for customer acquisition
  • Gain valuable insights into your target market
  • Improve your conversion rates
  • Increase business growth and development

While most of the benefits of sales funnels for coaches are obvious, some of the bigger advantages are a little low profile. For example, an optimized sales funnel enables you to help more people with your coaching services.

Here’s the thing: You’re limited as a coach – you can’t be everywhere at once.

That all changes when you integrate a sales funnel into your business operations. You can develop relationships with thousands or even millions of people at the same time, depending on the size of your list. Your sales funnel gives you the power to “duplicate” yourself as a coach.

Therefore, you can help more people more easily and faster than ever before.

Low-Ticket vs. High-Ticket Sales Funnels: What’s The Difference?

Low ticket and high ticket are marketing terms that describe the value of your offer.

For example, a low-ticket item simply refers to an inexpensive product or service. Conversely, a high-ticket item is a high-priced product or service. Now, as a coach, you may wonder when it makes sense to choose a low-ticket over a high-ticket or vice versa.

The answer will depend largely on your market.

A market with an overflow of customers who have low purchasing power will force you to go low-ticket. However, a market with only a few customers who have high purchasing power gives you the opportunity to create a high-ticket sales funnel.

How To Map Out Your Sales Funnel

Like any journey you go on, you need a map – something to guide you along the way.

In the case of sales funnels for coaches, that “map” is the customer journey. The customer journey is the framework you’ll use to build your sales funnel and email campaigns. It is a series of touchpoints a customer has with your business, from initially learning about your services to making a purchase.

You need to know that there are three key stages within the customer’s journey.

Awareness stage

The first stage is awareness. This is when a prospect first learns about your coaching services. They become aware of you and what you have to offer. This stage can happen in different ways. Prospects could passively learn about you through social media ads, people sharing your content, or even word of mouth.

Prospects can also become aware of your coaching services proactively, such as a direct Google query.

Consideration stage

The consideration stage is where prospects consider their options, weighing their services against their competition. This is where they start comparing prices, scouring reviews and testimonials online, and even asking friends or associates about your services. In short, they’re seeking a definitive answer about which coaching services are the best option for them.

Decision stage

Once a prospect has all the information they need, they’ve reached the decision stage. They’ve covered all the bases: your brand and prices, their needs and budget, and now they’re ready to move forward (or not).

At this stage, the prospect goes from a lead to a client.

However, an important caveat is that not all prospects will reach this stage at the same rate. Some will take weeks, months, or even years, while others will be ready to do business the moment they learn about your services.

So be patient. This process is like a pressure cooker, not a microwave.

Generating Traffic to Your Funnel

So, you have your coaching sales funnel set up.

Now what? Just because you’ve built it doesn’t mean they’ll come. You need to attract visitors to your funnel and make it attractive for them to opt-in. This process requires a strategy. And luckily, there are numerous ways to generate traffic to your funnel.

Let’s look at what other coaches are doing and see what’s working for them.

Lead magnets & opt-in offers

A lead magnet is a freebie you give to visitors in exchange for their email addresses or phone numbers.

Provided your freebie is of genuine value and tailored to your audience, you could generate large volumes of traffic to your sales funnel. This is an excellent way to drive traffic. And the best part? Your lead magnet or opt-in offer could be almost anything.

It could be a guide, a cheat sheet, a virtual event, a mini course, or even an ebook.

All of these can make great opt-in offers, provided they genuinely help solve a pressing problem your audience is struggling with. Coach Corey Wayne does this well.

As a self-help life coach, Corey Wayne specializes in peak performance.

In the image above, you see an email sign-up form on his website, encouraging visitors to sign up for copies of his two best-selling ebooks. Use Corey’s example and add an opt-in offer on your website. Take some time to ensure your offer is valuable.

It won’t be easy getting emails from people if your offer is subpar or not geared toward your market.

Landing pages & opt-in forms

Think of a landing page as an independent web page for your target client to “land” on.

It helps potential coaching clients sign up for your email newsletter so you can continue developing trust and rapport. If you want more leads in your sales funnel, your content strategy should incorporate landing pages. A landing page can be integrated into your flagship site or have a dedicated landing page on its own. Tony Robbins does this particularly well.

The landing page for his Results Coaching services covers every base we’ve been discussing.

This is one of those simple steps that can help you build a high-quality email list. Here are a few essential components your landing page and opt-form must have to create an effective sales funnel:

  • Trust signals: These can be client testimonials, reviews, logos of established companies you’ve worked for, or even a brief “About” section explaining who you are and a couple of your accomplishments to add to your credibility.
  • Compelling headline: A short, benefit-driven headline is essential. It must be concise but powerful to draw potential clients into your offer. You may want to hire a copywriter who specializes in copy for coaches, as writing compelling headlines takes skill.
  • Concise copy: Similar to the headline, the body copy of your landing page should be short and concise. It should explain your offer and how it can benefit your ideal clients.
  • Remove elements: Remove everything on the page except maybe some graphics and the opt-in form that displays your offer. The landing page design should be simple. If you have a “Home” tab, a “Contact” tab, or anything else that can direct qualified leads away from your offer, your conversion rate will take a hit. Why? Too many elements will distract your ideal customer from taking the action you want them to take – which is to sign up for your freebie and get into your high-ticket coaching funnel.
  • An irresistible offer: Your landing page is useless unless you have something of genuine value to offer. People won’t give up their email address unless they’re getting offered something valuable in return. Again, this is why it’s crucial to understand your target audience. What one person desperately wants, another may find no value in at all. So, get clear on who you serve, what they want, and how you can help them. Once you have those variables in place, creating an irresistible offer will take care of itself.

Nurturing leads with email sequences

Email nurturing (or lead nurturing) is a critical part of your sales funnel strategy to attract your dream clients.

Here’s the deal: people buy from those they know, like, and trust. When people opt-in to your list, they may know you but not quite trust you. Or they might like you, but because they aren’t very familiar with your brand yet, they are not quite ready to trust you. The idea is to have all three variables working together.

And the best way to do that is through an email nurture sequence.

This process can occur over a few weeks or months. The principle behind email nurture campaigns is to keep people engaged, provide value, and gently direct them to become clients. Abe Brown, a coach from Calgary, Canada, does an exceptional job with this.

He shares two weekly newsletters with his list, sharing informative articles that help his audience (aspiring coaches) in their businesses.

At the bottom of each email, he encourages people to book a free, no-obligation Discovery Call with one of his coaches. He consistently provides value, and when his market is ready, they book a call. Abe’s entire system is on autopilot.

As a result, he has control over his coaching business instead of the other way around.

Nurturing leads with SMS campaigns

It’s easy for your email to get lost in a prospect’s inbox. But a text message receiving that same outcome? Highly unlikely.

For this reason, an SMS campaign is a powerful way to nurture leads. Since everyone has their phone on them almost every second of the day, the SMS campaign is a very promising lead nurturing strategy. But for this method to be effective, you have to follow a few guidelines.

A coach who has executed this well is Robin Waite, a business coach from England.

Robin has used SMS campaigns to increase his open rates and establish a direct and immediate connection with his leads. He also has a few simple tips for making this lead nurturing campaign work.

  • Speak your audience’s language. A successful sales funnel speaks the same language as its ideal clients. For example, if your audience is more formal or academic, speaking in a professional tone using proper grammar is essential. However, if they are more casual or informal, using everyday jargon will be more appropriate. It all depends on who you’re selling your coaching programs to.
  • Set specific goals. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. So, set specific goals for your SMS campaign. It could be a certain amount of booked calls, closed deals, or some other performance metric. But be sure you have some aim in mind for this campaign.
  • Keep it short. Unless it’s an interesting book, no one wants to read giant walls of text. It’s boring and even intimidating. So, be sure to keep your SMS copy short and to the point. Respect your reader’s time by keeping your messages short and easy to read.
  • End with a strong CTA. Any marketing campaign requires a firm Call to Action. People need to be directed. Even if you believe the action you want them to take is obvious, assume it’s not. Always end with a single, simple, clear CTA.

Tripwire offers

Your ideal client avatar is more likely to buy from you if they’ve already bought from you before.

For this reason, you want to facilitate that initial purchase as quickly and easily as possible. A proven way online coaches can do this is with tripwire offers. A tripwire is a simple sales funnel hack that offers an intentionally low-priced product that gets your target audience to make a financial “commitment” in the form of a low purchase.

This process builds trust with coaching leads.

Once that first purchase is made, potential coaching clients feel safe doing business with you in the future because of that initial positive exchange. This is one of the most basic business models for online coaches, and it works in any coaching niche.

The caveat, though, is that your tripwire should align with your more high-priced coaching program. Continuity is essential here.

An excellent example of this is life coach and entrepreneur Andrea Bolder.

Her tripwire funnel starts with a $27 digital planner that helps female entrepreneurs get organized in their businesses.

There are three boxes Andrea checks with her tripwire offer that make it effective: It’s simple, affordable, and helpful. Once you have these criteria in place, you’ll have a great tripwire offer to deliver to potential clients.

Virtual summits

I’ve launched over 15 virtual summits, hosting more than 400 speakers since starting Entrepreneurs HQ.

As a result, I’ve generated 5,000 to 25,000 new leads each time, making six figures annually from the back end of these summits. So, I can speak with confidence when discussing how virtual summit sales funnels can skyrocket your coaching business.

Virtual summits are excellent for producing traffic to your sales funnel. Why? Because they build a sense of intrigue and anticipation. Depending on who you’re hosting or the content you’re covering, you can generate a tremendous amount of traffic to your list.

But this, again, comes down to how well you know your audience and what they want.

Virtual workshops

Virtual workshops can be another effective traffic driver to your email list.

Now, you may wonder what the difference between a virtual summit and a workshop is. A virtual summit is essentially an online conference where you host thought leaders and industry experts within your space. They deliver value in the form of insights and information to your audience on a particular subject matter.

Conversely, a virtual workshop is an educational online event.

Think of it as a digital classroom led by a single instructor sharing information that contributes to the group’s professional development. I’ve launched dozens of virtual workshops and sold over 1,000 workshop recordings for between $27 and $97.

This method is another effective way to generate interest from leads to opt-in to your sales funnel.

How To Present Your Core Offer

All of these sales funnel-building methods have a single purpose: to get leads to your core offer.

The sales funnels are simply a means to an end. The ultimate goal is for your leads to come to your core offer and make that purchase. For this reason, it’s essential that your core offer is presented the correct way. Otherwise, all the hard work you put in on the front of this whole process will have been for nothing.

So, how do you properly present your core offer? Here are a few simple guidelines you can follow:

Writing effective sales copy

Sales copy for coaches is a necessity to sell your core offer effectively.

The sole purpose of sales copy is to influence and persuade others to take a particular action. Whether that action is to book a discovery session, try one-on-one coaching, or purchase a high-ticket coaching program, sales copy must persuade your ideal customer. While it’s not unheard of to have prospects who are ready to do business immediately, this is the exception rather than the rule.

Most of the time, people won’t be “sold” right away, meaning they require more information to make a purchasing decision. As a result, effective sales copy is needed to bridge that gap.

Highlighting benefits

Your sales copy needs to answer the main question all prospects have: What’s in it for me?

And you can answer that question by highlighting the benefits of your coaching services. How do you help clients improve their lives? What will they experience as a result of choosing you over your competition? You need to highlight these benefits.

Showcasing the benefits of working with you is what creates desire in your leads.

It compels them to take action by booking that discovery call or buying that coaching package. However, before most people take that step, they first need to see evidence that you know what you’re doing and are safe to work with.

Sharing social proof and results

Showing social proof and results is crucial for creating a sense of safety.

These are the trust signals that inspire confidence in people and influence their buying decisions. Sharing customer reviews and successful results can be the make-or-break difference in your coaching business. So, ensure that you post these trust signals on your site or in your emails that promote your core offer.

How To Implement Upsells and Cross-Sells

Another way to supplement your core offer is through upsells and cross-sells.

An upsell is a sales tactic in which you invite your prospect to buy an upgrade or an add-on to your original offer to generate additional revenue. Conversely, a cross-sell is a sales tactic in which you sell additional products or services to an existing client or customer.

Here are a few tips for implementing ups and cross-sells in your coaching business:

  • Be an expert. You must become an expert in your coaching services. Luckily, this step shouldn’t be too difficult. The idea is to become so familiar with what you offer and how it benefits your target market that you have this information at the tip of your tongue. Whether you’re upselling or cross-selling, knowing how to combat objections and use emotional triggers to persuade is essential. And the best way to do that is to be an expert at what you’re selling.
  • Know your audience. When you know your audience, you fully understand their wants, needs, desires, and, perhaps most important, pains. With this knowledge, you can comfortably and confidently suggest certain products or services that help them get what they want. But this requires an intimate understanding of who you’re selling to.
  • Drop high-pressure sales tactics. Pressurized sales tactics are shady and immoral. While they can work sparingly for impulse buys, they will compromise the possibility of repeat business. Therefore, it’s important to avoid high-pressure sales tactics for upsells, cross-sells, or selling in general.

How To Retain Customers

It’s easier (and cheaper) to acquire repeat business from current clients than to acquire new ones.

For this reason, you should consider some customer retention strategies for garnering repeat business. This doesn’t need to be a difficult process. In fact, with a few proven tactics, you can easily boost your LifeTime Value ratios. Here are some simple strategies that can help facilitate that outcome as a coach:

  • Build trust and rapport. Clients want to know you genuinely care about them. If all you see is dollar signs when your clients reach out to you, the “human” element gets removed from the business relationship. And people can feel that. The solution is to build trust and rapport with your clients by taking a genuine interest in their lives and who they are. Of course, it’s important to remain professional and not get caught up in the personal details of each other’s lives. However, the principle stands. You have to add that human component to the business relationship to retain your coaching clients long-term.
  • Deliver excellent customer experience. Every touchpoint with your business – from the onboarding to the coaching sessions – should be focused on customer support. Your clients should feel heard, valued, and understood. This means responding to emails within a reasonable timeframe, addressing their concerns when they’re brought to your attention, and consistently providing high-quality service in every coaching session.

How To Analyze and Optimize Your Sales Funnels

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. As a result, your sales funnel needs continual assessments if you want to optimize its performance. While this may seem like an intimidating task, it’s quite simple when you pinpoint your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Tracking key metrics

Your key metrics will reveal whether or not your sales funnel is performing at its optimum. So, it’s important to monitor these metrics. They are the key to improving your sales funnel and maximizing its performance. Here are a few key metrics to track and how you can measure them.

  • Conversion rate: This metric simply measures how well your sales funnel converts leads into paying clients. You can measure your conversion rate by monitoring the percentage of your leads that convert.
  • Customer acquisition costs (CAC): This metric reflects the cost of acquiring new customers. You can calculate your CAC by dividing the sales and marketing costs by the number of new clients you acquire within a certain timeframe.
  • Customer lifetime value: This metric reflects the amount of revenue you produce from a single customer over the period they do business with you. You can use a simple formula to track your customer’s lifetime value. Take the customer lifetime value (the average a customer spends per purchase and the frequency at which they purchase) and times it by the average customer lifespan (the average number of years of an active customer divided by your total number of customers) to receive your CLV.
  • Average profit margin: Your average profit margin refers to your profitability ratio. It’s used to track how your business makes money. It represents the sales percentages that turn into profits. You can track your average profit margin using the following example. Let’s assume you had a net profit of $20,000 with your revenue at $200,000. To calculate your average profit margin, divide $20,000 by $200,000. You would get 0.1. You then multiply your 0.1 by 100 to receive 10%, which would be your average profit margin.
  • Sales cycle length: Your sales cycle length is the average amount of time required for an unqualified prospect to become a customer. You can track this metric by adding the number of days required for each sale to close. Then, you divide that figure by your overall sales.

Best practices for analyzing data

You can’t make informed decisions without accurate data.

For this reason, it’s essential to ensure you’re deriving factual information from your sales funnel’s performance. This will give you confidence when making changes to your marketing process. And luckily, there are a few best practices you can implement to ensure you’re analyzing data correctly.

  • Keep it simple. It’s easy to get lost in statistics, spreadsheets, sum totals, and other figures connected with your data. That’s why you need to keep things simple by determining from the outset what you’re looking to track. What specific figures, percentages, or information are you looking for? This will help you to hone in on that important data so you don’t get lost in the overwhelming amount of information.
  • Use a different medium. It can feel overwhelming when you have all your data plastered in front of you in seemingly unending walls of text. To make it less intimidating (and more digestible), it can help to translate that information into graphs, charts, or other visual aids to make things clearer and easier to understand.
  • Get an experienced second opinion. It can be invaluable to get a second opinion from someone who is immersed in this type of work. They can find blindspots in your analysis, helping you overcome unknown biases and gain a more accurate picture of your data.

Key Takeaways

The key takeaway regarding sales funnels for coaches is to recognize the importance of this asset. Moreover, you must nurture your leads to convert them into customers and pay close attention to your performance metrics to improve them over time. These are the best practices for coaches to have success with their sales funnels in 2024.

At Entrepreneurs HQ, our mission is to help coaches like you grow their income and impact with proven marketing tactics. So, if you’re ready to expand your coaching business, watch our free training on how to get coaching clients.