The Product Sales Funnel and the Legacy of Ideas

One of the perks of my job is that I get out from behind my desk every so often to work with authors around the world. My work takes me across the country and off to far away continents.

These trips involve meeting world class speakers and best-selling authors who are seeking council on expanding their ideas to a worldwide stage. Last week it was a real estate expert who works with franchisees, this week it’s an Olympian who motivates corporate employees.

Communicating with high achieving authors often requires a variety of communication methods such as email, Skype calls, Messenger, text messaging, phone and LinkedIn messages. But think about your audience for a minute…what they want are a variety of ways of keeping in touch with your thinking as well.

The point is that I connect with clients through a variety of ways, not just one. Having multiple methods for connecting with them allows me to keep the energy fresh, keep them enthused, and move their ideas onto a larger stage. A wise speaker shared this perspective on a recent weekend retreat to a lake cabin…he spends 20 minutes a day building content and then spends five hours a day distributing this material. This is what keeps him relevant to a constantly shifting audience.

Stringing Together the Pearls of Success

This method is a lot like your business. The most successful of us have gotten that way by giving our customers ever-increasing opportunities to obtain value from us.

It’s never just one thing; one thing leads to another. One connection leads to another. One product leads to another. One keynote speech leads to another. One sale leads to another.

Chances are you’re already using a number of different methods in order to build your business. If you’re a keynote speaker doing over 50 speeches/year – or you’d like to be – your message is supported with a variety of tools. Stringing them together deftly in what marketers call a product funnel is the surest way to create success.

What is a product funnel?

A product funnel is a series of stepped commitments which lead your fans into increasingly more profitable services, which can be automated in the delivery. Here is an illustration of a product funnel:

The legendary names in the speaking industry understand that developing a product funnel for their brand is the key to their long term profitability. I developed this with several famous authors who were entering the “legacy stage” of their career, through which a product strategy is automated through a series of stepped commitments.

Leading customers through a funnel of products which work together will keep your brand top-of-mind for years to come. Combining the right product mix, delivery medium and pricing are all crucial to making this strategy effective.

Building your messaging platforms requires some finesse, because different people prefer different messages. Some people like magazines while other prefer YouTube videos. Some listen to podcasts regularly while others consume social media. One savvy author, Dr. Sheila Bethel, advised me years ago to build content with 3 end goals in mind with 3 simultaneous methods of delivery.

One key to successfully designing a lasting legacy is the ability to connect with your audience now and in the years to come. This is why it’s savvy to develop campaigns with one all-important element – a clear picture of the next ten years. In other words, plan for long term success.

You can serve the desires of your audience with a strategic system of publishing platforms to sell one idea multiple ways. This allows you to generate long-term sustainable revenues and extend these connections to a new generation.

Whether your Audience is comprised of readers, listeners, viewers, clients or an applauding audience, the objective is the same. Present the contents of your Brand in a way that’s compelling and designed to convert. All it takes is a bit of perspective and building a high-converting product funnel.

Planning Your Product Line

You have the right tools, and you have an abundance of information as a foundation for creating your product. Now how do you combine them to build your product line?

The first step is to understand the different types of product styles. Then you can identify your best choice and your approach to developing the product strategy.

Here is an overview of the top 12 product formats to consider adding to your product mix. While this is not an exhaustive list, these are popular types of product formats to consider.

  1. Book – Physical book, eBook, Enhanced eBook, audiobook
  2. Audio programs – Audio Series (30-50 minute segments), Keynote Speech
  3. Teleseminars & Webinars
  4. DVDs and Video (physical discs and/or online delivery)
  5. Subscription/Membership Program – Video, E book, DVD or content on your website
  6. Tools and Templates – Downloads which people can use daily. Day planner, PDF, spreadsheets and other similar documents
  7. Seminars – live events, retreats, adventure trips, conferences, workshops
  8. Speaking Engagements – Keynotes, training, workshops
  9. Coaching/consulting – Work with people individually as a coach, or fly into a company to implement a system. One-time fee, continuity or annual programs.
  10. Mastermind programs – Bring people together, and help them grow their businesses or improve their lives
  11. Licensed Merchandise – Promotional products such as mugs, shirts, pens, mouse pads, leather embossed folio. The more useful and ingenious they are, the better.
  12. Apps & Software – Create apps for iPhone/iPad and Android, or software to run on the web (software as a service, or SAAS)

These are the most common types of product derivatives that speakers use to serve their audiences with the flow of ideas. By mixing and matching them into product offerings, you too can create an effective product funnel to extend your brand and build a lasting legacy.

Bryan Heathman is the CEO of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of #1 Best Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented, a marketing book demonstrates principles for a best-selling book launch. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.