“Have done six figures in revenues with a few sales funnels.”
“Leads cost me between $100 to $200 for extremely qualified leads.”
How many conversions do you drive to your clients’ websites? Are your clients’ sales funnels optimized? Are you taking on clients that are qualified enough for what you offer or are you wasting your time with the wrong clients?
Lessons on these questions and more in a freewheeling interview with Stephen Esketzis, an experienced sales funnel architect.
Watch and Listen to the full interview: (transcript and summary available as well)
If you wish to hear this interview on the go, here is the audio version.
Key snippets and take-aways:
- Ideal sales funnels have “just enough” information but not “too much” information: You want to have a little bit of information upfront, enough to entice a prospect to want to learn more. Then after you capture the lead, you can nurture the lead with more information.
- Estimate the lifetime value of a customer to avoid “unexpected losses”: If the lifetime value of a potential customer is only $500, you can’t afford to spend more than 10-15% of that to acquire such a customer. Doing so, can only lead to an unsustainable and unprofitable campaign.
- Setting up a funnel can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000: High ticket value programs can afford a lot more copywriting, lead nurturing, etc and require that much more effort in setting up as compared to low-ticket value programs.
- Qualifying clients is necessary: Started offering services at $297 an hour. Unfortunately, first client just insisted on quick ways of making money instead of focussing on the process.
- Be wary of the “hi and bye” customers: “you get clients who are eager to work and suddenly disappear that too after gathering all the information from you and leave without paying”. So qualification of clients is paramount, and also not giving out way more information than necessary. Marketing yourself is more important than necessarily providing the solution on the first call.
- Take 50% upfront: Take at least 50% upfront, there should be no reason for a qualified client to hesitate in paying this amount. If they do, there’s something that needs to be sorted first.
- Charge by project rather than by revenue-sharing/retainer model: This model has worked best for the kind of work involved.
About Stephen Esketzis:
Stephen is a digital marketer based in Melbourne, Australia. He started internet marketing business couple of years ago and his specialty is improving sales funnels and authority websites.
In short, he helps building a website which brings together communities and then supplying products and services through sales funnels. He does this by working on content marketing and paid traffic to drive through the sales funnel to make a purchase in the website.
[00:00:01] Bala – Welcome to the Agency 101 Series brought to you by Mondovo. Mondovo is your ultimate all-in-one toolset that saves you 100s of hours a month in managing your SEO & Social Media campaigns.
[00:00:15] This is Bala from Mondovo. Today I’m interviewing Stephen Esketzis
[00:00:19] Bala – Thank You Stephen for joining us with Mondovo today. So, tell us about yourself and what you do?
[00:00:25] Stephen – So little bit of me. I’m a digital marketer based in Melbourne, Australia. Started a internet marketing business probably couple of years ago now and my specialty is building sales funnels and authority websites.
That means, building a website which brings together communities and then supplying products and services through sales funnels. So, working on content marketing and then using paid traffic to drive through the sales funnel thereby making a purchase.
[00:00:55] Bala – Wonderful. Very good, so your forte is sales funnel, that’s what the whole website is talking about? So, why is it an important thing?
[00:01:27] Stephen – Basically, the sales funnel is an interesting process of any product whether you’re selling a software or a physical good/digital good. The whole follow up sequence is a sales funnel so that’s how you acquire a customer and you warm a customer, how you sell to your customer and how you send them to buy your products or services. Guide them to e-commerce for selling your digital goods or whatever it is.
[00:01:30] Kind of everything uses a sales funnel, it’s just that process. So I think it’s certainly important to get clear on how to acquire a customer and sell to them and build a system in place so that way when you do have a product to sell, your sales funnel is actually working for you. So, it’s very different than having a website and putting up a bunch of products and hoping someone buys them somehow from your website and you know, it’s just putting things on the wall and hoping they sell.
[00:01:56] Bala – Perfect, that’s wonderful. When you say you’re also creating the website for them, so you do both the technical part of building the website and also taking this whole process of what has to be coming inside the website and going through the customer’s journey altogether isn’t it?
[00:02:11] Stephen – Yeah, so it’s just the moment you build a funnel you use a combination of different tools. You can use it on a platform to build funnel which is build for sales funnel or if you want to get more technical, but whatever platform you use, you just need to make sure that you have got the ability to really setup pages. So if you have an opt-in page wherein you can get leads where you can get name and e-mail and then if you have a sales page and then there are real processes is that a strategy comes in as to which page goes where so when someone arrives at the first page, you only want to have a little bit of information, you want to add value first before they give you their information to acquire the lead and then after that happens, you can ask them more information because you have given the customer, the prospect, more value.
So, you can only go through a certain part, that certain sequence, that process. Essentially that’s what a sales funnel is. Now, I used to do client work and now I just sort of opened my sales funnel company which makes sort of more sense when you can drive and acquire your own traffic. That’s kind of where I am right now. But essentially it’s important to be able to build that kind of funnel both technically and strategically and knowing who your target audience is, the kind of messaging to have to capture them. This makes sure you can get the page up quickly both strategically and technically to find the customers.
[00:03:31] Bala – Very good. So, right now you’re working on your website and apart from it you’re also working on other websites too for other customers?
[00:03:37] Stephen – So right now, I am using my website and I also have a health website that’s my focus right now. So, what we do is we’re building an authoritative website at the moment. People in the health industry, so that they can check about fitness and all this thing and then what we do is we’re building this community with sales at the back-end of it. So, it’s kind of like a digital web company when someone comes to you, they contact you and you sell them goods and services. That’s where my focus is on those 2 websites.
And I also advise a couple of websites as well as and help other people build their sales funnel.
[00:04:34] Bala – So, when you’re talking about setting up the whole funnel for a whole website so how do you actually measure a funnel, in terms of revenue being generated in the site or it’s just the process that you kind of think it because many times everything would be perfect like in terms of setting up the funnel for the website, the whole process is good. But, product is good or not is kind of subjective but how do measure a funnel’s success?
[00:05:01] Stephen – Good Question. The most important thing about a sales funnel is you need to know in and out of it. You need to know exactly how much it costs to acquire a lead or a new customer. How many days is it you break even, say you acquire a lead from Facebook ads and that lead might cost me a dollar for a name an email and acquiring a customer might cost me $5 and the product I’m selling is $3. I know in that transaction I’m losing $2 but if I found out my numbers well, I would know the lifetime value of that customer.
If he is going to buy 2-3 products from me, then obviously it’s positive so I have made a profit on it. I might not make it straightway in the initial transaction, but I will might make (profit) it in 7 or 14 or 30 days. So, you really got to understand your numbers well on sales funnel.
[00:05:50] So you know, things like unexpected click or paid traffic you need to know the lifetime value of your customer, the avg. order value, the immediate order value and what it is over the lifetime. There’s a whole different numbers that are involved in doing this when you’re trying to work out your sales funnel because if you don’t know those numbers, you don’t know how much you can afford to acquire a customer. That’s the thing, you can afford to acquire a customer for $10 but your competitors are doing that for $5, you can instantly acquire more traffic then they can because you can afford to pay more because your sales funnel converts that much better.
[00:06:25] Bala – In terms of revenue like for a particular website could you tell us how much on an avg., if the whole process is set correctly, how long does it take for the first revenue to start coming in? On an avg, how much a website is making right now with the help of your funnel?
[00:06:38] Stephen – It’s a tough question. It really depends on the type of funnel because you got different funnels. If I’m selling high ticket value programs, where a program costs $4000 or $25000, a lead might cost $20 or $100 and they can close 50% of those leads and they can go into that $4000 or $20000 program. But it’s very different if you’re selling a torch and you’re targeting the survival industry which might be a $100 product and the funnel is setup very differently and then a $20,000 product. It really depends upon the product and the industry you are targeting.
A funnel can cost anywhere between $1000 to $2000 to setup and goes all the way to $50,000 to $100,000 as well. It depends upon the complexity of the process from copy writing that is required to the email that needs to go out, there is a whole selection of things need to happen.
[00:07:43] Bala – You work in any specific industry Or you start working and then you figure it out?
[00:07:49] Stephen – I normally do a lot of market research. One thing which I really enjoy doing is comparative analysis. So you go into an industry and find out websites that uses similar sales funnel. Say we are looking at Golf Industry. Find which are the big golf clubs, find out which are the ones that are driving a lot of advertising revenues behind their websites.
Once done we have website no 1, 2 and 3. One is spending $5000/day in Google ads, analyze the landing page that they are sending them too. Alright, now I know that if these guys are running their ads 300 days in a row, obviously it is making money. So now we know the kind of content we want in our website. That’s the industry that I may not know a lot about but if someone is spending money that shows its proven and working and so I will start with that.
After I get a sales funnel that is converting the break even, that is putting a $ in and getting a $ out, then I can start testing things and making changes, adjusting few things, I can get more out of that sales funnel. If I can make more money that that $1 break even.
Yeah, you can get into any industry as long as you have the analysis right, it really works in any industry.
[00:09:01] Bala – This is interesting, normally when projects of this size is done, brands prefer agencies which works in a team to get results. So, do you have a team or you work individually?
[00:09:16] Stephen – Yeah exactly, I usually have a team, I work on the strategy level of the things and if I have need to work on the technical side of things, like a graphical designer or a copywriter I call them up to work on it. If you are selling something that you want to sell well, you got to have the right words and messaging on the page. I’m better off speaking to the copywriter and having him write the copy and I will setup the pages, knowing the write ups to be shown when that will come in sequence in funnel respectively. Another good thing is go through competitors’ pages and products so in that way you can see what order of products do they sell.
Because they have already worked out and spend money on advertisement and so if they have product A and up sell product B and product C, then it may be a good idea for us to start there as well as we are building up the funnel myself cause I will know that will work. So, if you do the marketing research really well, you can start off with the funnel that is working quite well but if you start to put the funnel blindly, you can waste a lot of money real quickly. It is like you have to see the ones that’s working well first.
[00:10:26] Bala – Very well said. It nice to understand how you put your thoughts together in building a funnel.
You have a website in which you have created a funnel and you also work with many clients in building theirs. How do you get leads? Is it word of mouth or any other lead magnets you use to get new customers for you.
[00:10:48] Stephen – If I want to define someone else’s funnel and have them as a client then what I do is, you build a sales funnel so that you can build a sales funnel for them. I know it may sound crazy but you got to do that. You can also do content marketing. I’m a big fan of content marketing as well because the more content you put out the leads come to you, attracted to you and say them what you are doing and say the results you are getting. Yeah, content marketing is great, it comes up search engines, on social, word of mouth as well.
Guys like Neil Patel, Brain from Backlinko and many other big websites in SEO and others in this industry just put content and content and content and now they have become an authority because the own so much of content.
But if you want to put a sales funnel together create a funnel and drop some Facebook traffic and Google traffic or whatever and drive traffic to you so they come and fill that form and start working with you. Then get on a phone and see if they are good fit and go on. So yes, that the method I have built on.
[00:12:04] Bala – Looks like that is a complete inbound way you have set for yourself and the leads come to you automatically.
[00:12:15] Stephen – Yes, it is fairly an automated process. I mean you do the work once and it does it all for you. Some of the things you may want to fix up and check to make it better because you always want it to be sure that the traffic is working well cause there is a lot of moving part in the whole process and it is automated. Like if you are doing content marketing you always have to put the content out and make content relevant and so it is an ongoing process to be directly responsible to drive the traffic.
[00:12:50] Bala – But there is always a cost to create that content too. So on an avg, what is the cost of a lead to you?
[00:13:03] Stephen – It again depends on the funnel that they purchase. A lead could be anywhere between from couple of $100 sometimes much less. It’s actually fine, because my funnels that I have to get clients for was different. Back then when I was building the funnel for myself was the worst funnel. It is the same with everything, Because the Customer support company has the worst customer support for itself. It’s funny how it works.
The main thing, as long as it is working. So for me it was $100 to $200 for an extremely qualified lead. So, you got to make sure that you are getting an extremely qualified lead coming through the door. My avg. order is couple of $1000 and so it’s completely worth it.
[00:13:59] Bala – Is that a retainer mode or you just charge for a project.
[00:14:06] Stephen – Yes, I always work on one time project. I had the opportunity to work on retainers too. And couple of projects we did on revenue split as well. It was a big project where I had to set the sales funnel and take a percentage of the revenue as well which see the results of the funnel. So you have to make sure that you got your clients interested in mine and you are also interested in it, so that you can provide the value without getting ripped of and the client can also receive a lot of value in sales without they getting ripped off either.
[00:14:40] Bala – Perfect. Makes sense. Let’s talk about customers, do you have good customers, bad customers? Do you have any favorites?
[00:14:50] Stephen – There is always good customers and bad customers. I was just saying my friend yesterday, this is before I started doing funnels and during consultation. They very first person who came through my door, it was just through my content marketing. I was doing consultation at $297 per hour and some guy filled it up whom I didn’t even know and when I went to do the call, I was nerves as well and started the call and explained him about the funnels. He was just sitting under a bed sheet and couldn’t speak English and trying to ask me how to fix his funnel and make money quickly and kept asking me about how to make money and I was like, Man, this is not a good fit and I don’t want to start with this.
But you get a good mix of this. But since then, it’s got lot better. The more qualification you do with the customers, the more qualified come through the door. Its good now, I don’t have any “get me money” customers and everyone am working with good it’s enjoyable every day, we help each other out. I’m just pretty lucky.
[00:16:01] Bala – What is one remarkable achievement that you have ever done with your customer?
[00:16:10] Stephen – It is a good question. With some of the funnels, we have done a six figures in revenue with couple of funnels. I can’t share the customer details as I have non-disclosure agreements but yes, funnels with good revenues and did great with paid traffic and all and there is a lot of good news in there. We worked on webinar funnels, sales funnels for some physical products too and yes, I am hopeful of some more results in next couple of years.
It’s been quite successful.
[00:17:01] Bala – Any bad experience?
[00:17:04] Stephen – Well, bad experiences that happened on and off was, you get clients who are eager to work and suddenly disappear that too after gathering all the information from you and leave without paying. At the end of the day it is more of the reputation. I don’t want my reputation to be ruined in that way. I much rather be happy to have good conversation and pay them for the time at least and decide if they are not a good fit. So, it’s funny to deal with people like them.
[00:17:55] Bala – What is an ideal billing model? Many consultants do have this issue of payments, How do you address them?
[00:18:02] Stephen – It is pretty much on the product or the service that you got. I think, if you are building a funnel or doing a consultation or something like that, what I normally do is jump on a 10 or 15 minute call to qualify the person to understand if they are good fit to me and am a good fit for them and if not I can point out them on a right direction. In that way, I can get on the phone we discuss what your goal is, what is my goal, what is my budget and are we a good fit and then, if they are then do the call for another half an hour or one hour and make sure that you can qualify them.
On the billing side of things, I think it depends on the projects, like I said, I have done some revenue shares, I have been paid up upfront. I will be very hesitant to take anything that is less than 50% upfront. This is like kind of the standard. You want to work with someone who has proven results and track records, 50% shouldn’t be any issue. Especially if you qualify the best leads then you shouldn’t have any issues.
[00:19:05] Bala – Is it for the whole project and then I guess you don’t work on hourly basis model?
[00:19:11] Stephen – I normally charge for the whole project, If am driving a sales funnel, then we decide on, this is what the results going to be and this is what you can expect in this project and this is how much going to be and it has to be 50% upfront and 50% when it is done. Otherwise usually what I will do is, I might give a discount if they pay in full as well. When you are going to qualify the people it’s generally not an issue the only time I had issue is when I didn’t qualify the prospect well enough.
[00:20:04] Bala – Any tip on keeping them happy?
[00:20:12] Stephen – Yeah, 100%, definitely keeping the clients happy is no 1 thing you have to do.
No.1 thing is results, if you don’t get results, they are not going to be happy. Keep the communication open as well. One thing that I do in the beginning was I wasn’t communication enough. Like, I will be doing the work and they expect a whole other work to come through. You just keep your communication open weather you are talking in Facebook or you are using a support desk or email or whatever it is, keep the communication open. People have to be informed along the way and it is something that keeps a lot of them happy.
So those two things are my take on keeping them happy.
[00:21:04] Bala – Talking about communication, how does your reporting works.
[00:21:07] Stephen – I usually get on the phone and walk them though analytics. Show them the life time value before I started working with you and here is what after. The cost of leads in Facebook ads. Go through all the important metrics and understand if we are making good money or less money. What are the issue and drop offs and where are the things we need to focus on. I do this session once in a week and depending upon how long we have been working on. It also goes by project to project. It’s either an excel sheet, or a skype call or a phone call.
[00:21:58] Bala – Any tool that inspires you for this purpose.
[00:22:02] Stephen – Am pretty old school with Excel. I keep all in one place. It depends also, if we are running Facebook ads, I take them through the important metrics and show the sales funnels metrics with starting with this date to this date and comparing with the older dates. I prefer sharing the screens to show them cause in that way people could ask questions or otherwise I send a report or an email and say that this is what happened his week and check it out and shoot me an email if you have any doubts.
[00:22:45] Bala – So you have international clients or clients from Australia only.
[00:22:51] Stephen – Yeah, Sales funnel is actually is very small in Australia. Not many people know what they are. It is quite a new concept too. In America it is much much bigger. Overseas is the big market is where as Melbourne and Australia in general, only handful of people are familiar with the term. It is growing and it is getting bigger.
[00:23:14] Bala – It is a good Opportunity then if it is growing.
[00:23:17] Stephen – That’s it that it. It is good opportunity.
[00:23:16] 4 quick Favorites
Bala – Which is favorite book?
Stephen – Rich dad, poor dad.
Bala – Which is your favorite tool?
Stephen – Quick Funnels
Bala – Which companies marketing campaign impresses you always?
Stephen – Hubspot
Bala – Who are the must follow people in social media?
Thank you Stephen. It was wonderful talking to you.