Focus on the Sales Funnel: The Differences Between Traffic, Leads, Prospects and Customers

June 18, 2015 Monika Jansen

sales funnel

Want to grow your business? It all starts with an understanding of the fundamentals. Here is an overview of how sales works, from filling the funnel to keeping your clients.

Sales funnel

What it is: The process by which people find your company and eventually become your customer. It’s called a funnel rather than a road or tube, because people drop out along the way for various reasons.

How to fill your sales funnel: A comprehensive marketing strategy that includes:

  • Content – blog posts, ebooks, white papers
  • Digital marketing – email, social media, webinars, videos, search engine optimization (SEO)
  • In-person events – seminars, conferences, old-fashioned networking


What it is: People who visit your website.

How to attract traffic: Generally, speaking it’s a combination of search engine optimization and content marketing. But people will also visit your website after meeting you in person or attending a webinar you co-hosted.


What it is: People who are interested in the products or services you are selling.

How to find leads: Content that specifically targets your ideal client(s). This content will:

  • Address their needs/challenges
  • Explain how you solve their challenges
  • Articulate the value you bring to the table
  • Speak to them in language they understand


What it is: People who are seriously considering buying from you/working with you.

How to convert leads into prospects: Case studies and customer success stories. They will see themselves in those stories and more clearly see why working with you is such a smart choice. In fact, they should think you are the ONLY choice.


How to close the deal: That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Here’s my formula:

Answer all questions and concerns honestly but with warmth and humor.

Detail next steps.

Tell them – don’t ask them – how and when you will get started.

How to keep them? Wow them:

  • Go above and beyond with each project.
  • Deliver what you say you will when you say you will.
  • Only deliver a project that would make mom proud.
  • Be responsive.
  • Keep your sense of humor.

Any questions about sales or the sales funnel? Leave them in comments below!

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Author information

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen is a freelance copywriter and editor who helps with companies of all shapes on sizes kick their content up to the next level. You can find her online at

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