I’m going to show you how to sell a monthly retainer (i.e. monthly recurring income project) marketing funnel to your customers.
If you want to sell a marketing funnel, this is the blog post you need to read. Even if you’re starting from scratch, give this post a gander, because I’m going to outline the exact process we use to book client meetings and work out monthly retainers.
Here’s where you’re going wrong…
Websites by themselves aren’t profitable. They’re fantastic products to sell to customers, but as a rule, they’re not profitable.They’re a one off invoice and the lead time between payments is often longer than we’d like.
Sure, they pay a deposit upfront. But how long before the next payment? Or the final payment?
Our businesses need to make repeat, recurring income. Simple as that. Regular income is the key to growth and profit.
What I hear a LOT when talking about monthly funnel retainer project “people don’t want to pay every month for a service”.
Netflix. Canva. Photoshop. Spotify. Insurance. Accountants. Google Drive. LootCrate. OptinMonster. I could go on.
All examples of monthly subscription based products that companies use to successfully scale their business.
There’s a misconception that even as a one person business, you need to delvier the work for your customers. I can promise you that you’re never going to grow if you think like that.
However, even as one person, you CAN create recurring monthly revenue for your business. And I’m going to show you how to get that with marketing funnels.
The world’s a different place, Charles.
Businesses want ongoing support with their purchases. They want protection. And if you’re helping customers, truely helping them, wouldn’t it make sense to help them again and again?
The world running a business has changed drastically over the last 5 years. It’s no longer enough to just be a developer or designer. It’s not even enough to build funnels for customers.
You need a recurring revenue product that builds your businesses cashflow and profit. I’m going to show you how to find and get those projects in this post.
On top of creating a recurring revenue product. You need to SELL it. You need to find customers who are willing to buy from you. You need a systematised process for sales. Which is exactly what we’re bringing you here.
Mike Killen. That guy that sells marketing funnels.
I’m here to help web and digital businesses expand the number of products they sell and create. I’m going to help you sell marketing funnels to your customers.
My name is Mike Killen. At the age of 29 I sold my first business, which I grew by selling marketing funnels.
My advice would be to read through this whole blog post. Use the worksheets provided (no optins on most of the worksheets, so click and download) and work backward. We’ll cover pricing, delivery, making the sale and writing the proposal.
Book a meeting
We need to start by booking meetings, in order for you to start positioning funnels to your clients. If you’re not talking to people, you’re never going to make any sales. It’s as simple as that.
Please don’t use the excuse “I’m an introvert” or “I don’t like sales”. If you don’t like sales, talking to customers or making calls you have three options.
1. Either hire someone who is willing to make sales and work with you. 2. Get a job that doesn’t require you to make sales. 3. Continue not making any money.
Sounds a little harsh, but if we aren’t willing to have conversations with customers and meet them, we’ll never grow.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Or use our Meeting Booking Plan here (no optin) to plan your meeting booking outreach.
List of customers
All we need to do to start is make a list of customers. That’s all.
Write down every customer that you’ve currently got and note down their email address, phone number, name, email and the last time you spoke to them. If you can remember, write down the last product they bought from you too.
Use the outreach email in the worksheet to start sending outreach emails to those customers.
Don’t use a bulk send option or a CRM system. Write them out, copy that text and send it from your email address each time.
It might take a little longer but it’s worth it.
The outreach email (download here), is designed to let customers know you’re willing to do business and help them. That’s what we’re telling people. We can help.
It’s also going to get people to book a call or meeting with you.
Tell them in the email that you want to have a catch up. Some people are going to email you back and invite you over the next day. Others won’t reply at all.
That’s fine, that’s why we have this call script below.
Ask your customers what date, time and day you can swing by. Say it’ll only be 20 minutes or so. Make sure you’re only going in for a chat. Nothing heavy. Just to see how they are and how business is.
Make no mistake. This is NOT cold calling. But we need a script. Simple as that. This isn’t cold calling or a hard sell, this is a process that you’ll need to help you get meetings. These are current customers, they should be happy to talk to you. You should be able to talk to them.
Even if they haven’t spoken in a while and sometimes, we can feel scared to talk to them for whatever reason, we need to talk to them
Customers that haven’t replied to our email, deserve a call. Pick up the phone and use this script to book a meeting.
Remember, we’re only trying to book a chat. Not a sales pitch or a sales call. Just having a catch-up.
Don’t hover around small talk and get to the point.
“So I was wondering if you have 20 minutes for a catch up? I wanted to see how business is doing. How about next Tuesday, 3pm at the coffee place?”
Be cheeky, say you’re buying the coffee and you just want to get out of the house/office. Again, keep it light and remind yourself this ISN’T a sales call.
Ask the right questions
When they book a meeting with you, and they will, you’re going to have an agenda. Now I realise that most people don’t have agendas for casual chats, but you do.
I often find it’s useful to send an overview of what you want to talk about. They’re running a business too. Their time is valuable.
We’re just going to send a few questions that they can think about. Show them we know why we’re coming over.
Send them ahead of time. Use our Meeting Agenda Script here (no optin).
Do your research
I cannot stress this enough. Do your research.
Research your customer’s websites, analytics, traffic, social presence etc.
We’re building a picture of what they business looks like now and you must look like you know what you’re talking about.
Spend a little time investigating the answers to the questions you’re going to ask below.
It’s going to make you look like an Olympic level hero if you can answer questions about their business, which they can’t.
Use our Meeting Agenda Script here (no optin), to see the types of questions we’re going to ask.
How is business? What are you working on at the moment?
Are you still focused on [goal]?
Is there anything I can be helping with?
What we’re trying to do, is open up the conversation to see what problems a funnel can solve.
“Oh I don’t make enough sales online” or “I need more traffic and I want to grow my email list”.
Feel free to probe more specifically. Ask questions about traffic, lead lists, customer sales etc.
We’re not looking to position sales yet or a marketing funnel product yet. We’re just understanding what they need help with.
Make sure to mention your research too. Talk about how you noticed that “your traffic is pretty stagnant (no growth)” or “how you don’t have any optin forms on your site”. Show you’ve done your research and open up problems to them that they didn’t know they had.
Make notes and commit the next section to memory. Because you’re going to look like a genius.
We’re now going to repeat back the symptoms that our client is telling us. We’ll then prescribe a solution and they’ll ask to buy FROM you. You’re not going to sell to them.
If you listen to a doctor, personal trainer or coach, they’ll use the following formula to get people to buy into their method rather than try to just sell the solution.
It’s a simple question that we can repeat over and over. Use the below as a template.
You: OK, it sounds to me that you want to[goal] but you can’t because [roadblock], does that sound about right?
Client: Yep, that’s about it.
You: Would you like some help with this?
That’s how simple it is.
Nothing complex or clever sales tactics. Just asking if they want some help with it.
One of two things will happen.
Most of the time, your client will say “yes! I want help with this!”
If they do say this, ask them what they think the next step is. They’ll reply with something like “well I was hoping you could tell me that” or “I don’t know, what do you think?”
We can then offer them a solution. “Would it be helpful if I sent over our solution?” They’ll always say yes.
The second option is that they won’t agree that this is their biggest concern or problem If that happens, don’t fret.
All it means is we need to revisit the problems they’re facing.
“OK, so what is your biggest concern?”
When they tell you their other problems, we just repeat back the question above but change the roadblock to their new one.
Once they’ve agreed that you know their main problem, ask again if they’d like some help with that. Repeat the prescription question until they say “Yes, I want some help with that”.
Understand what you’re going to offer
Before we send over a proposal or pitch, we need to know what we’re going to offer.
Because of your call, you’ll have a firm understanding of the problems they’re facing. They’ll also tell you what they want.
Proposals aren’t any more complicated than sending over your understanding of what they want.
If you tell your car dealership “I want a car that seats 7 and has good mileage per gallon” and they turn to you and say “I’m going to help you find a car that seats 7, has a great MPG and costs this much” they’ve clearly got an understanding of your needs.
So we’re going to list out what we’re going to deliver. The cool part is that we only need to do this once. Because most of the time, people’s requirements are pretty standard. And the solution we propose is usually pretty standard too.
Our job is to make it seem like our solution is specific to their needs. Use our Offer Worksheet here (no optin) to print out and understand what you’re offering. Use it before we write the proposal.
How can you help?
First, lets write down all the goals our client has. Everything they mentioned to you. Try to order and rank them in importance.
Use our list below as an example (taken from a clothing manufacturer and retailer customer)
Increase revenue by 50% to $60 000 per month (from $40 000)
Hire 2 more members of staff for online sales
Attend and speak at 3 industry events
Automate sales to our customer list
Increase average customer sales to 4 times per year
Increase average sale per customer from $400 to $600
Grow our email subscriber list
Next, write down the problems they’ve got. Why aren’t they currently reaching that goal? What are the roadblocks to those goals?
No time to produce content
No social presense
No strategy for online growth
Too much time to talk to customers
No launch strategy
Again, try to order the roadblocks in a manner than shows importance and related to the top goals.
Now we want to list the ways that you can help every month. For example, low traffic is not something that’s solved once. It requires constant work.
Just list out the ways you can help your client. List whether it’s every month, every week or day or a one off.
For example. With our customer above. We could provide the following work every month-
Traffic and sales report
Schedule social posts and content
Monthly catch up and strategy insight
Monthly PPC campaign
Product launch campaign
Then every week/day-
New blog content
Email optin form and list growth
Subscriber data cleaning
Email marketing automation
Sales email automation
Upsell and cross sell automation on sales pages
Finally, our one off work-
Industry speaking events research
Content marketing strategy
As you can see, we produce quite a list of ideas for products. All of these are going in our proposal and we’re going to charge for every single one of these.
Benefits and results
But before we can sell this to people. Customers will want to see the benefits and results that each product gets them.
We can say “we’ll do your email marketing automation every month”, but what does that actually get them.
Imagine a brand new product called Scoojuu. “We can generate scoojuu every month”
What in the hell is scoojuu? You’d be right to ask and the reality is that we take for granted the work we can do. The words we use every day are NOT always clear and obvious to our customers. We need to show the results and benefits we are going to get them.
Use our Offer Worksheet here (no optin) to write down the benefits and results that we create when we sell a product.
Next to each product or service, write down the benefit of someone using it. Why would they benefit from it? What is the reason they should buy it?
This step is so often ignored by other agencies yet they wonder why they don’t make sales.
For example, with our monthly activity “monthly PPC campaign”, what does that actually get us?
Steady traffic to the website every day.
Measurable increase in traffic to blog content
Manageable and controllable budget to reduce excess spending
Measurable return on traffic investment per sale/optin
Increased audience reach
Targeted and specific visitors
We’re slowly building a list of the benefits that working with us can produce. Now, we’re looking at what people get when they work with us, not just what they’re buying.
The value gulf is the difference between a before picture and an after picture.
For example, when we see fitness and health products, they’ll show two pictures. Before, is an overweight unhappy person. After is a healthier, thinner, happier person.
People are buying the after picture and we need to do the same for their business. We need a before picture of their business and an after picture.
Grab a piece of paper or use our Offer Worksheet here (no optin) to write down and describe our before and after images.
On one side, describe the before the situation of the business. What they have or don’t have. How they feel. What’s their average day like. What is the status of the business?
Use language that your client has used. Use words and phrases that they say to you. Include their problems, roadblocks and where they are now.
Now, for their after image, use the same categories of feel, have, average day and status. But use their goals and problems as ways to show how their lives and business are better.
For example, with our clothing manufacturer, their before image looks a little like this.
Don’t have regular traffic to the website
Low website sales
Relying on new sales rather than repeat sales
A clothing business that has more potential than its realising
However, after working with us, they look like this-
Regular targeted traffic to the website
Increased sales from blog content
Confident that their business is growing
A growing business with regular sales
Customers are buying that after image and it’s up to us to help them realise it.
Price your service
Now that we know what we’re going to deliver, we need to think about what to charge.
This is the most common question I’m asked. Use our Pricing Worksheet (no optin) to understand what you need to be charging for your solutions.
The truth about pricing is that we often fall into the trap of thinking there is a middle ground. We’ll look at our cheapest competitor and say “well, they’re only charging $500, so I’ll do higher than that”.
But at the same time, we’ll look at the higher cost services and say “they charge $10 000, I can’t possibly charge that, so I’ll undercut them” and we end up somewhere in the middle.
The middle of the road is the most dangerous place you can be for your pricing. The middle of the road doesn’t exist with pricing, at least it’s certainly not successful.
Instead, you should be working out your pricing with a very simple formula.
30% project expenses
Project expenses are the costs associated with doing the work. Whatever it costs you to deliver the work to the customer, should be around a 3rd of the total price. Hours, hiring designers or developers, plugins, travel etc. Whatever you’d have to pay for just for this project.
Profit is where we draw profit, tax and our salary from. It’s where we find growth in our business and our sales, and we pay this FIRST.
Overheads are the operating costs of the business. Your rent, bills, staff, apps etc. Things you’d have to pay for even if you didn’t have work come in.
Your total price to the customer needs to be a combination of all three of these things. Profit, expenses and overheads.
DO NOT lie to yourself when it comes to overheads and project expenses. If you’re not willing to start charging for your time, overheads, expenses and costs now, you’ll never be able to do it in the future.
You do have costs, you do have expenses. DO NOT undercut people just because you live at home. You’ll never grow unless you’re willing to start charging and acting like a larger business.
Use our funnel pricing guide
Use our Funnel Pricing Guide here (no optin) to work out exactly how much you should be charging for a funnel. It’s a simple exercise that let’s you see exactly what you need to charge for your funnels.
Give the proposal
When we finally send a proposal to customers, I’m often asked two things.
Price and time. Well we’ve covered off the pricing aspect in the section above. So let’s look at time.
“Ugh! Proposals take so much time to write! I hate writing them.” Why? Why are your proposals taking so long?
Troy Dean at WP Elevation probably has the best website proposal template on Earth at the moment. He taught me a mind-blowing secret to proposals that has stuck with me ever since. Use a template and don’t over design.
If you want a proposal to sell a marketing funnel. Use our Proposal Template (sorry – there’s an optin on this one) or sign up below to plan out the proposal that WILL take less time to write than you’re used to.
Also, don’t over design a proposal. You’re better off writing a long sales letter, with all the required components. Rather than designing a beautiful proposal that takes days to write and design, misses key sections and is sent to a customer after their initial excitement dies down.
Where are they now?
A proposal has 7 core components. They’re barely a page long each. In fact, some are a few paragraphs. But we’ve sold $150 000 projects based on this proposal format.
In many respects, this proposal format is a sales letter. Don’t let that put you off. It’s a way of telling a customer you understand their situation and you can help them.
We start with where they are now. Use our Proposal Template (sorry – there’s an optin on this one) to map out your proposal introduction.
Start with what they’ve told you about who they are. What they do and what they sell. Give a sentence overview of their business.
Say why they’ve approached you and why they need to make a change. What’s the current situation they’re facing?
Write a few bullet points, 5 – 7 should be fine, about their current business status. The traffic they attract. Revenue numbers, customers, subscribers, list etc. We want a picture of the business that they’d recognise.
Write a little about their customers. Only 3-5 bullet points should be enough. Who are their customers? What do they like? What are their characteristics?
Finish with a quote which wraps up where they are and the potential they could face if they took a certain action.
For example, “Jim’s Florist has 1000 a month to their website, but with our traffic attraction program, they could be looking at 1000 hits per day”.
All in all, our first page needs to resonate with our potential customers. They need to recognise themselves and see that we were listening.
Where do they want to be?
Next, we’re going to write a little about their goals. From our Meeting Agenda script, you’ll have all their goals written down.
Use the Proposal Template to write up a paragraph about what they want the future to look like.
Sum up the key points in a few bullet points under the paragraph and use the same language they do. Start with their biggest goal and work down the other main objectives.
This is where you’ll make the sale. If you repeat back where people want to be, you’ll be more likely to connect with them. If you can connect with them, they’ll want to work with you.
“Jim’s Florist wants to increase the amount of traffic the website attracts. With that, they’ll increase customer activity and generate more sales. Jim’s Florist also want to grow their email subscriber list and make more sales online, via email marketing and automation”
- Increase traffic to 1000 hits per day
- Generate a 20% subscriber optin rate
- Attract revenue from email marketing
So now we present the solution to the customer. They’re likely to skip ahead to this part, which is fine. It’s also why we need to make sure the solution is presented as a benefit and solution, rather than a series of jargon and development/marketing speak.
Use our Proposal Template (sorry – there’s an optin on this one) to craft the perfect solution page for your proposal.
Introduce the solution by telling the reader what you recommend. Think of a Doctor prescribing medication.
“In our professional experience, in order for Jim’s Florist to expand and grow, we recommend a complete Marketing Funnel Redesign starting with traffic acquisition and conversion program.”
Then we’ll continue with solution bullet points that tell your customer what they’re going to get. Start with their business goals above. Take the first one and write down the benefit of achieving that goal. Just the benefit.
For example, “Increase traffic to 1000 hits per day” has a benefit (or if it helps, think of the result that someone would experience in 12 months if they achieved this goal).
In this particular case, the benefit is that more people are exposed and made aware of Jim’s Florist. Increasing his visibility online and the number of people who know he does flowers.
So that benefit is what we write as our first bullet point.
- Online audience and visibility exposure, increasing the number of people who know Jim’s Florists exists.
That’s it, that’s the bullet point. Those are the bullet points which MAKE the solution.
Customers will want to read benefits and results. You’ll want to write how you’re going to do that, and the components which make up a funnel. But don’t worry about that just yet. Get the benefits to each solution written down first.
Once you’ve got a benefit for each business goal. We can use another section underneath to talk about “features included as standard”.
This is where you list 5 – 7 feature bullets for landing pages, optin forms, high-speed page loading etc. List the features of the solution that you’ll physically build/create/do. This is so customers can now see what you’re actually going to deliver.
Remember our Pricing Worksheet above? This is where it comes into play.
List each part of your feature bullets above and use the Pricing Worksheet to display the cost per feature.
Under each feature, list as many of the benefit bullet points as that feature accomplishes.
Don’t list everything that you’re going to do, but list everything you’re going to charge for.
Paid traffic acquisition and driving.
-Online audience and visibility exposure, increasing the number of people who know Jim’s Florists exists.
-Research and insight into Jim’s Florist’s audience and audience size
$1000 per month
On the next page, take the same items for your pricing section and instead of price, list the time-scales it’ll take to deliver each section.
This time however, instead of benefit bullets under each feature point, write a short sentence on how it’s done.
Paid traffic acquisition and driving.
-Facebook and LinkedIn adverts via PPC to get people to click on content for the website.
4 weeks research
Weekly traffic and weekly reports
Finally, we end with a list of your requirements.
Use our Requirements Questionnaire to understand exactly what YOUR requirements are for the project.
Your requirements are very important to list, as otherwise customers will expect results that aren’t realistic for what they’re giving you.
Your requirements might seem like you’re asking too much when you’re reading them back. As if it’s already cheeky enough to ask for money, yet alone a list of terms and conditions!
You have to set a level playing field. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.
What kind of hosting do you require? Do they need a CRM system? What about customer and email lists? What are your payment terms? Is there an expiry date on the price?
We have to give a list of our requirements in order to manage reasonable expectations. If your customer asks you to build a website and be supported, but they tell you they’re not willing to create content, you’re going to be SOL.
You’re requirements need to be things that enable you to do your job. That’s all. You can absolutely write it in a way that’s friendly a soft, but firm enough to not be misinterpreted.
We love to give you updates and feel its important to communicate while we complete your project. Therefore we require a call at least every two weeks to make sure we can manage the project.
Hosting will be provided by a website host of our choice or your current hosting provider. If you use a provider that we can’t recommend, we’ll be unable to provide support for hosting related queries.
Write out your requirements and most importantly, made sure you make amendments as you go on. Every project will teach you something new.
Discovery and delivery
Once they sign up it’s time to run a discovery session and start to deliver the work.
I was going to write about that in this post, but it’s way too much to deliver and you’d be bored by the time you read it.
So think about your delivery model and how to run discovery and consultation sessions.
Sell Your Service Coaching provides a complete delivery, consultation and reporting course. In fact we have tons of stuff designed to help you build and sell marketing funnels to your customers. Check out our coaching here.
Selling monthly marketing funnels and retainers to customers is all about communication.
We want to book a meeting first and ask the right questions. Discover what our customers need and how they’ve moved on in their business.
This is critical because we want to repeat back to them exactly what they’ve told us. It helps us connect to them and show we understand their needs.
In order to move a customer to a monthly retainer. You have to understand yourself what you’re going to offer. What you offer and what the customer’s needs have to match up.
That’s when we can focus on our pricing. Making sure it’s profitable for our business. Once we have our offer and pricing all worked out, it’s time to send a proposal.
Then, it’s up to you to deliver what your customer wants.
Our favourite part of this process is the outreach. Booking calls with customers. There’s something really satisfying about having conversations with customers.
“But what if they don’t want to talk to me? Or they get pissed off with me pitching to them?” I totally hear you. But here’s what I’ve found.
If you’ve REALLY helped customers in the past, they’ll want to hear from you again. I guarantee you that your competition and other services providers aren’t doing this.
You might even feel that you’re being really cheeky asking for more work. But we’re not pitching or selling anything here. We’re asking how we can help their business and if anything has changed. Before you know it, they’re asking you for help.
What’s your favourite part of this process? The proposal? The meeting script? Let me know in the comments below what your favourite was, or if there’s anything I should add.