Sales Funnel Phases

Written by Ralph Chua
Last Updated On

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I was first introduced to “Sales Funnel Phases” in Russell Brunson’s best book, DotCom Secrets.

I found it very interesting to include in my Sales Funnel Guide as it provided a precise and step-by-step explanation of the different stages people go through when buying something online.

He explained that every customer journey in your sales funnels will go thru these seven phases:

  1. Traffic Temperature
  2. Pre-Frame Bridge
  3. Qualify Subscribers 
  4. Qualify Buyers
  5. Identify Hyperactive Buyers
  6. Age and Ascend the Relationship
  7. Change the Selling Environment  

In this article, let’s review each of the 7 phases and what it takes to optimize each one.

What is a Sales Funnel Phase

Customer Journey = Sales Funnel Stages = Sales Funnel Phases

Sales Funnel Phases are very much like stages of a customer journey.

It’s the process that customers go through when considering and taking action to purchase something from you.

It’s kinda like dating.

You first meet a girl or guy, start to date, get to know each other, and eventually you decide if you want to take it further or not.

The same thing happens in the sales funnel, but instead of meeting someone new, it’s your prospect that moves through different stages as they learn more about you and your product.

If they like what you’ve got, they may decide to take action and buy your product or service.

This is what we call the “Sales Process”.

Sales Process

The sales process is the series of steps a company takes to convert prospects into customers.

It typically includes activities such as lead generation, qualification, presentation, handling objections, closing the sale, and post-sale follow-up.

By mapping out each step of this process and tracking key metrics like conversion rate and close rate, businesses can optimize their performance and increase sales.

In another word, the sales process is like your activities or the steps you took to ask the girl out, dress up for a date, pick up the bill, and so on, until you finally decided to continue the relationship or not.

These same activities apply in the sales funnel as well. By understanding each phase of your customer journey and optimizing accordingly, you can increase your conversion rate and make more sales.

Let’s look at the basics of the sales funnel stages again.

Sales Funnel Stages

Sales funnel stages are the steps or phases that a customer goes through as they move from being aware of a product or service to make a purchase.

Typically, these stages include awareness, interest, decision, and action.

Each stage has its own set of activities and strategies designed to nurture leads and increase conversions.

By understanding how customers progress through each stage in the sales funnel, businesses can create more effective content to guide prospects toward making a purchase.

Just like when you go out dating, you wouldn’t go down on your knee nor would you say “YES” to a person you just met.

You would first learn more about them and make sure they are the right one for you.

The same goes for your customers.

It takes time, effort and patience to move through each stage of the customer journey before they make a purchase decision.

A traditional way of illustrating the sales funnel is this:

Awareness → Interest → Decision → Action.

To make the customer journey more efficient, let’s break down each stage and review what it takes to optimize them.

Awareness Stage

This is the first step of the sales funnel where prospects become aware of your product or service.

The goal of the awareness stage is to get your prospects’ attention and pique their interest.

This can be done with content marketing, such as blog posts, videos, emails, or ads that are designed to draw in potential customers.

To optimize this stage, focus on creating compelling and informative content that builds trust and credibility.

Interest Stage

The interest stage is when prospects have a basic understanding of your product or service but are still in the research phase.

At this stage, you can use content to educate customers and increase their interest level by providing helpful information such as case studies and testimonials.

You can also use webinars, emails, and social media posts to nurture leads and keep them engaged.

Decision Stage

The decision stage is when prospects are ready to choose a product and make a purchase.

At this point, it’s important to provide helpful resources that help customers make informed decisions.

You can use emails, whitepapers, or other types of content that discuss the benefits of your product or service in detail.

You can also use special offers and discounts to entice prospects to make a purchase.

Action Stage

The action stage is when customers take the final step and purchase your product or service.

At this stage, it’s important to provide an excellent customer experience in order to build loyalty and trust.

You can use thank-you emails, follow-up surveys, and other forms of post-purchase communication to ensure customers are satisfied with their purchases.

By understanding each stage of the sales funnel and optimizing accordingly, businesses can increase conversions and maximize ROI.

Ultimately, this will help them build long-term relationships with customers and keep them coming back for more!

You can check my full breakdown on this in my Sales Funnel Stages guide. I’ve also included some extra resources there.

Next, let’s look at the seven phases of the sales funnel as per Russell Brunson the KING of sales funnel.

Seven Sales Funnel Phases

The customer journey is very much the same across different industries and businesses.

However, Russell Brunson has identified seven distinct phases of the sales funnel that is unique to his approach:

Phase #1: Traffic Temperature

Not all traffic is created equal.

Very much the same when you meet someone new.

Some may heard of you before some may not know you entirely.

As such to bring in the right kind of audience, you need to know their temperature.

Russell categories traffic temperature into 3 categories.

  • Cold
  • Warm
  • Hot

Each categories represent how well they know you or your offers.

…or how well they know their problems.

Each temperature are categories based on their awareness towards their problem.

Unaware → Problem Aware → Solution Aware → Product Aware → Most Aware

Let me explain each one of them in detailed.

Cold Traffic

Cold traffic is those who are “UNAWARE” of their problems yet.

Usually this types of traffic is the hardest to convert.

Simply because they are still at the top of the sales process.

Where you need to educate them about their problems and why they need a solution.

For example, let’s say a person who are not aware of what a funnel is.

Then you’ll need to educate them on:

  • What is a sales funnel?
  • Why is sales funnel better than traditional website?
  • What benefits they can get from having a sales funnel?

The best way to attract this type of traffic is to use disruptive marketing strategy to capture their attention.

For example, Facebook Ads or Solo ads.

Warm Traffic

Warm traffic is those who are “PROBLEM AWARE” and “SOLUTION AWARE”.

This means that they are aware of their problems and they know that there is a solution available to solve their problem.

For example, this person knows what is a sales funnel and the benefits of having one.

But they don’t know how to build it yet.

At this stage, the best way to attract them is to offer a solution.

For example, offering a free training on how to build their sales funnel or inviting them to join your webinar or challenge.

The goal here is to educate them on the solution that you have and show them why your solution is the best.

Hot Traffic

Hot traffic is those who are “PRODUCT AWARE” and “MOST AWARE”.

This means that they already know what you have to offer and they are just deciding if it’s the right one for them or not.

At this point, they need more convincing in order to make the purchase.

The best way to attract this type of traffic is to offer incentives or discounts.

For example, offering a 30-day money back guarantee or a discount for their first purchase.

This will show them that you are confident with your product and they will be more likely to buy from you.

Offering discount maybe the last thing you should consider as it does not increase the perceived value of your product.

Instead, you should focus on the benefits of getting your product and how it can solve their problems.

This will make them more likely to buy from you as they will see the value in what you are offering.

Once you have identify which types of traffic you will be focusing then let’s ascend them to the next phase.

Phase #2: Pre-Frame Bridge

Have you notice before you watch any movie you usually get a trailer first?

This is the same concept with Russell’s Pre-Frame Bridge.

It’s basically like a “trailer” that you need to show your audience before they can access the main content.

This is an important element in sales process as it will help your audience understand what they are about to get and why should they care.

To create an effective Pre-Frame, you need to understand which type of traffic you are targeting.

For example, if you are targeting cold traffic then you need to explain the problem and why they need a solution.

If you are targeting warm traffic then you should focus more on the benefits of having your product or services.

And for hot traffic, your pre-frame should be showcasing your product or services and how it can solve their problems.

Different types of traffic require different types of pre-frame and it is important to get this right.

Let’s look at this example:

Let’s say you are selling an online course on digital marketing.

For cold traffic, your pre-frame should focus more on the problem and how it can be solved.

You can start with something like:

  • Are you struggling to get your business noticed online? Do you want to learn digital marketing but don’t know where to start?

For warm traffic, your pre-frame should focus more on the solution and the benefits they will get from taking your course.

You can start with something like:

  • Want to take your business to the next level? Learn digital marketing with our online course and unlock powerful strategies that will help you grow your business.

And for hot traffic, your pre-frame should focus more on the product itself and how it can help them solve their problem.

You can start with something like:

  • Our online course is the perfect way to learn digital marketing. Get access to powerful strategies that will help you get noticed online and grow your business. What are you waiting for?

Now that we know how to create an effective pre-frame bridge, let’s move on to the next phase: Qualify Subscribers.

Phase #3: Qualify Subscribers

With all the teasers and trailers, it’s time to test which of them are “READY” to make a purchase.

The first thing to do to qualify them is to get them to “SUBSCRIBE” to your list.

When a person willing to give you their email.

It’s the first sign of an interested buyer and you should take it very seriously.

The next step is to offer them something of value in return for subscribing.

This could be something we call Lead Magnet.

Lead magnet is something we give away for free in exchange for their email address.

It could be an eBook, a webinar, or anything else that can provide value to your subscribers.

Once you have the lead magnet ready, it’s time to send them valuable content related to your product and services.

This is a great way to build a relationship with your audience.

By providing valuable content, you are building trust and credibility in their eyes.

This will make them more likely to take action on what you have to offer.

Once they have been through the Lead Magnet and consumed your content, it’s time to test their interest level by offering them a special offer.

This is when your prospective customers will go thru the next phase of the funnel.

Phase #4: Qualify Buyers

Immediately after they opt-in to your list, you should test their interest level by offering them something special.

By doing so you can immediately identify which customers are ready to buy.

Which customers is red hot and need what you going to offer so you can serve them on a higher level.

At this stage, Russell will offer them something he calls Tripwire Offer.

It’s an offer which gives them something of immediate value at a low cost.

By doing this, you can easily identify the customers who are hot and ready to buy.

Once they buy your tripwire offer, you can now focus on selling them higher ticket items.

And SEGMENT your list into “BUYERS” and “NON-BUYERS”.

By segmenting your list into buyers and non-buyers, you can serve each of them differently.

Those who bought something should be offered more relevant products or services while those who didn’t buy should be nurtured with useful content and offers related to your products.

By segmenting your list, you can easily identify who are the customers who are ready to buy and who needs more nurturing.

With this simple yet effective strategy, you can take your digital marketing efforts to the next level and start getting results in no time!

Phase #5: Identify Hyperactive Buyers

A Buyer Is A Buyer.

Often times we are so suck into thinking we need to nurture them first so they would get our high ticket items.

But that’s not always the case.

Sometimes a customer might be so hot they will go straight to buy your high ticket item without the need of nurturing them with content first.

That is why it’s important to identify these customers and focus on giving them the best experience possible.

These customers, we call them Hyperactive Buyers or “Power Users”, should be treated differently.

It’s the people that really need your product and they are ready to take action right away.

These are what Russell call your “Dream Customer”.

They need your help, they are ready to invest in your product or services, and you should be doing everything possible to serve them in the best way possible.

By identifying these people, you can put all of your effort into serving them.

And you should segment this customer into VIP list.

If you could choose to target a customer would you rather choose a person who pay $10 or $1,000?

Most often the latter right?

That is why it’s important to identify these customers and serve them differently.

Phase #6: Age and Ascend the Relationship

Once you have identified the hyperactive buyers, it’s important to age and ascend the relationship with them.

This involves nurturing your current customers and building a deeper connection with them by providing more value.

By doing this, it will make them buy even more products or services from you as they get to know you better.

You can do this by providing updates, giving exclusive offers or discounts, and sending them personalized content to make them feel valued.

The key here is to provide more value than what they paid for.

By doing this, you will earn their loyalty and trust which will make them even more likely to keep spending money with you.

You can also use this opportunity to introduce them to your other products or services that complement their current purchase.

By aging and ascending the relationship with your customers, you will be able to maximize customer lifetime value which is an important part of any successful digital marketing strategy.

What better way of marketing then “Word of Mouth”?

It’s the most trusted form of marketing and will always remain so!

By aging and ascending the relationship with your customers, you can leverage word of mouth to grow your business.

Happy customers will naturally spread the word about how great your product or services are which is invaluable for any digital marketer.

Phase #7: Change the Selling Environment

How to serve them better?

As much we love doing everything online.

Sometimes the only way to serve our “Dream Customer” is offering them an offline experience.

Having an in-person event or even a physical store will give them a chance to touch and see the product first hand which is much more impactful than seeing it online.

It also allows you to connect with them on a deeper level, make sure they are properly trained on how to use the products, and even cross-sell other products they might like.

Having an offline experience also allows you to create a unique environment where customers will feel welcomed, valued, and appreciated while shopping.

It creates a memorable experience that is likely to turn them into loyal customers.

So if you have the resources available and you’re looking to maximize the lifetime value of your “Dream Customer”, consider taking them offline.

It will be worth it!

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