Traffic & Conversion

Rethinking “Funnels” with James Schramko

by Ezra Firestone

If you had asked me 10 years ago — when I was just an up-and-coming entrepreneur and barely knee-high to a duck — who I wanted to be when I grew up…

I would have said James Schramko.

What impressed me about James back then was his ability to create a community.

He knew how to connect with a group of people, how to keep them engaged and provide them with value, and how to monetize that attention without cheapening the relationship.

Years later, James is still my friend and mentor…

And I see more clearly than ever that this skill set — the ability to create a community — is the difference between running a temporary cash-flow business and creating a brand with real longevity.

Recently, I sat down with James to talk shop, and he shared a few nuggets of wisdom that I thought you would find helpful:

  • The importance of face-to-face time with your customers
  • What people often get wrong about their sales funnels

Here it is from the man himself…


James Says, “Talk to Your Customers!”

When running an online business, it’s important to remember the personal element.

Don’t turn your customers into data. Don’t categorize them all into avatars, or try to run your business (entirely) remotely.

You’re still dealing with human beings, and face-to-face interaction gives you a big advantage.

Go to live events, answer support tickets, and whenever possible, speak with your customers face to face.

You get to hear about their problems and the solutions they’ve found.

Also, a quick win to get more sales if you’re in any kind of business — and this will probably apply to any period of time, as well — is to contact existing customers and make them an offer.

They already know, like, and trust you (or they don’t hate your guts, at the very least)…

And making them an offer is a fast way to bring in some extra revenue without acquiring new customers.

Rethinking Your Sales Funnels

When you talk to your customers, one thing becomes absolutely clear: They’re different!

They buy different products, do business with you for different reasons, and perceive your brand differently…

So it makes sense that they don’t want to go through the same sales process, either.

That’s why, when thinking about your sales funnel, it’s important to realize that it’s not as linear as people tell you.

Instead of thinking about your funnel as a straight line, it’s better to think of it as a circle — with your customer in the middle, and different product options around them.

And the goal isn’t to get them through each step, forcing them from small products to bigger ones (commonly called The Ascension Model).

The goal is to get them exactly what they want as quickly as possible.

If I’m truly dedicated to helping my customers win, and I give them what they need to succeed…

Then they will keep engaging with my brand and I won’t have to spend all my time chasing new customers.

0:15 Face to face interactions with customers gives you the biggest advantage
0:20 A quick win to bring in sales is to reach out to existing customers
0:41 Sales funnels aren’t as linear as people tell you in their marketing
1:00 Let people get access to the right product or service as quickly as possible

Click Here For Video Transcript

When we have an online business, it’s important to remember to still turn up that face-to-face element. Go to live events, speak with your customers face-to-face, and don’t try and run this thing via remote because you’re still dealing with a human being and face-to-face gives you the biggest advantage.

A quick win to get more sales if you’re in any kind of business, and this will probably apply at any period in time, is to recontact the existing customers you have and to make them an offer because they already know, like, or trust you. They don’t hate your guts. They’re easily accessible and they have context and relevance for the products or service you offer. So, making them an offer is a really fast way to bring in income.

When you think about sales funnels, it’s important to realize that it’s not as linear as people will tell you in their marketing. And, by that, I mean it’s better to think of your products as, the customer’s in the middle and you have different products. So, the short answer, when it comes to thinking about funnels, is to let people get access to the right product or service as quickly as possible, and don’t force them through small products to bigger products to bigger products again, which is commonly called the ascension model. Instead, just get people to where they need to be faster, so you can use a chooser or something like that to help them get to the right page.

If I’m truly dedicated into helping my customer win, then I’ll automatically float up beside them. So, that’s my only metric, is how well can my customer go. If that’s the case and I’m on a recurring subscription business, they don’t leave and I don’t have to chase new customers all the time.