The 3 Major Mistakes of a Low-Converting, Unprofitable Sales Funnel

You often learn more from your failures than your successes.

Being in the business of creating sales funnels and automated marketing sequences, we’ve had our fair share of both.

But having analysed our own successes and failures as well as those of client’s who have turned to us for advice, we’ve found that all unsuccessful sales funnels tend to make one or more of the following mistakes.

Recalling our previous post on the The 4 Life-Phases of The Customer Relationship, you will recall this diagram:

Keep this in mind as we go through each of the 3 main mistakes below:


Major Mistake #1: Attraction But No Comfort.

This is typically where your prospect likes what you have to say (stage 1, check) – but then you jump straight to trying to seduce them without building comfort first.

That is, you try to sell them your core, premium products before they trust you.

Sure, you’ll make some sales.  But the most you can hope for here is a one-night stand.

Your customers may feel duped and won’t come back or tell others about you.

A variation of this mistake is failure to deliver a Lead Magnet (a free gift) of real value.

Your prospects will not give away their email address for something they perceive to be worthless.  So even though you’re not getting any money directly for it, your Lead Magnet must still be something of value.  If not, you’re failing to deliver on your first promise, so what reason do your leads have to trust you in future?

Your Lead Magnet may not be your direct source of revenue.  But trust us – it’s worth investing time to get it RIGHT, because it impacts all subsequent stages in your funnel.

This is the most common mistake made, especially by small businesses.

SOLUTION: Provide a Lead Magnet that immediately delivers what you say + an unexpected bonus of value to trigger reciprocity.  Then follow this up with the comfort building techniques, leading to a “Trip Wire” offer (we’ll explain this in more detail later).


Major Mistake #2: Getting Stuck In The “Friendship Zone”

This is where you skip straight to building comfort without FIRST creating attraction.

Sure, you’ll win some fans – your list might get bigger.  But you end up stuck in the friendship zone, with a bunch of leads but no buyers.

The biggest cause of this mistake is failing to attract people on the basis of a promise relevant to your core offer – e.g., getting leads using an ipad contest as your lead magnet – resulting in a list of FREEBIE SEEKERS.  This type of “lead” is not a real lead.  They’re not really attracted to your business, because they do not intend to become a buyer.

SOLUTION: To avoid this, prequalify your leads with a lead magnet relevant to your core offer.  You can further qualify your leads with a qualification question.  

Leads must be converted, slowly but surely, to buyers.

This should begin with your lead magnet, and continue with the email follow up, which should lead naturally on to your next offer, which applies further solution to their pain points.


Major Mistake #3: “Hit and Run”

This is where you end your funnel at the seduction stage, thereby failing to create a return path for your customers.

It’s tempting to consider the job to be done once you get someone to buy one of your core products; to start chasing after the next lead.

But to put the size of this mistake into context, consider the fact that many successful businesses talk about the “80:20 Rule” – whereby 80% of their revenue comes from just 20% of their customers.  That means that the top 20% of their customer base spend 16x more money with them than the rest of their customer base!

Each one of these top customers is worth 16x more to you than your average customer.  So if you’re NOT creating funnels that nurture repeat purchasers, you’re throwing away 80% of your profits!

SOLUTION: Create an “inner circle” of high value customers.  Maximise your communication channels and return paths – via email, retargeting and social media.


These 3 Major Mistakes are the most common reasons for a sales funnel that fails to convert prospects to buyers, and fails to convert buyers to long-term customers.

But if you guide your prospects through the correct sequence – create attraction, build comfort, seduce, then commit long term – you’ll have a funnel optimized to increase the “3 Magic Growth Variables” and maximize your profits…

So now that you know the journey you need to guide your customers through, it’s time to zoom-in on these phases – to take a look “inside” the funnel and identify the specific levels of customer value… to understand what is happening to you customers as they go through these stages?

So to make our funnel more actionable, we find it useful to break the 4 Life-Phases down into 2 levels each – resulting in the: 8 Levels of Customer Value…

Have you made one of these mistakes before or seen examples of these?

Feel free to message us with any questions in the comments below or share if you think this could help someone struggling to get their business rocking.

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