Growing up on the tiny island of Trinidad, struggling for years to find work after high school, Tarek Mohammed would have been the last person to vote himself as “Most likely to start launch a successful and highly profitable business”. He wasn’t so much frustrated by the lack of money, but more so by his persistent battle in self doubt, feeling like he didn’t have the experience, network, or confidence to run a business. He didn’t realize it then, but in 2008, Tarek discovered a book called “ The Answer” by highly successful entrepreneur, John Assaraf, that would change his life dramatically.
The author of the book held a 6 month online immersion training that would pair with a trip to San Diego, CA. The catch? It would end up costing Tarek his entire life savings at that moment, in exchange for the foundational knowledge he was seeking to launch and grow a business. Tarek sat on the edge of his bed and asked outloud to the ethos, “Why should I take my living savings and invest in this?”
When he looked down in that moment, he noticed his T-Shirt (a shirt he had worn for years) with sailboats, dolphins, and most importantly the words “San Diego, California”. That was the sign he needed, and the next 5 years would take him to becoming a full-time student of John Assaraf, spending time with millionaires, moving from his tiny island to sunny San Diego. Tarek spent as much time as he could learning how to think, act, behave and execute when it came to business and life decisions, and learned a foundational skill that would lead to one of his greatest business successes.
“Practice in private what people will eventually praise you for in public.”
From mindset to business skill sets, Tarek learned to be constantly working on shifting the mindset that had once hindered his success, which eventually led to the development of his highly lucrative sales funnel. One of the defining characteristics about Tarek is that he wants others like him, who feel like unlikely success stories to find and experience the success and growth he has. What also separates Tarek from the thousands of entrepreneurs I’ve met throughout my own experience in business, particularly startup, is his willingness to share what he’s learned, truly living up to the trendy core value of “transparency”.
So for those of you dying to know what the sales funnel was that Tarek created, here it is.
Tarek was invited to work on a product called “Brain-A-Thon”, an 8 hour online virtual events similar to a prime talk show. At that time, the Brain-A-Thon was still in its infancy stage, with a barebones structure.
He began to redesign it with a team for the next few years, turning the product’s sales funnel into a robust engine. Every week the system would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales, all automated. In 2015, Tarek spent 30 days with John Assaraf crafting the show scripts and sequences. The result at the end was that in 7 hours, sales surpassed $1 million.
Tarek realized there was a hidden formula that governed any business. A formula that moved someone from not knowing anything about you to eventually trusting you so much that they’ll pull their wallets out and buy what you offer. If you do it right, you will create massive value to customers while generating leads and sales. If you do it wrong, your business struggles and nobody wins.
Most people in the sales and marketing world term this formula as a “sales funnel” - which is simply a system that converts leads into sales. However, Tarek discovered that very few people really know that it’s more than just email sequences and web pages put together to offer products and services..
“A funnel in my opinion, existed long before the online world and can exist in any business, whether it’s a car rental service or a coffee shop or to launch a book”, says Tarek. Having developed and reviewed hundreds of successful funnels, he realized that for any business, regardless of what product or service they offer they must have a few core components to create a working formula of converting leads into sales.
The magic formula is:
Lead Generation + Lead Capture + Lead Nurture + Lead Conversion = $
Here is how it looked for Brain-A-Thon.
Let’s dive a little more into each core component.
The process starts with lead generation. This doesn’t mean just putting out ads, and a few social media posts. Tarek found the most effective lead generation tools for Brain-A-Thon by answering the question: “How do you find people who have this problem you can help them solve?” He suggests to first develop a simple ideal client profile to understand their pains, frustrations, fears, and desires, and then using this profile to research when, where and how to target this audience.
For the Brain-A-thon Facebook Ads were used primarily along with other social media channels to target people who wanted to improve their life and achieve their dreams by overcoming inner obstacles.
Here is just a short list of some lead generation avenues you can consider:
- Social Bookmarking
- Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc
- Content Marketing: Blogs, Articles, eBooks
- Press Release Networks
- Word Of Mouth
- Public Speaking
- Networking Events & Tradeshows
- Newspapers, Magazines, E-zines
- Cold Calling
The key is to choose just one or two for now and dive into learning the strategies and tactics for those respective channels.
Next in the process comes lead capture, where you consider how you can capture a person’s contact information to communicate to them based on their wants, needs, desires. Often, leads are not quite ready to buy right away or may not be exposed to your full message (example: an ad on a billboard). Lead capture allows you to follow up, educate and nurture prospective customers so they can make an informed buying decision.
The Brain-A-thon used opt-in forms for lead capture with free training and free ebooks being incentives.The Brain-A-Thon incentive advertised was, for your name and email address, you would get a free guide on “How To Get Mentally And Emotionally Unblocked So You Increase Your Income, Eliminate Your Debt and Retire Rich”.
Some other methods to capture leads include quizzes, landing pages and squeeze pages, surveys, business cards, subscribe boxes. Other ideas for incentives include early bird specials, contests, newsletters, eBooks, demos, and free gifts.
The next step is to nurture your leads, which should actually occur at any and every point. Note that nurturing leads doesn’t equal spamming them. This is where most businesses make a fatal mistake. Nurturing means building trust through likeability, credibility and authority, regardless if they didn’t take your offer.
For Brain-A-Thon, Tarek used email nurture sequences. These nurture sequences were small “How-To” videos teaching tidbits of the upcoming training. They were useful, helpful, actionable and relevant. You can also nurture leads by using, creating, and giving. You can do this through email drips. free eBooks, free videos, articles, podcasts, phone calls, newsletters, social media, and more.
Finally, you come to the last step which is lead conversion. They lead is at a point where they know you now, and they like you or perceive you as a credible authority to help them get from where they are to where they want to be.This is the path where the lead is converted into a sale.
In the Brain-A-Thon, Tarek used a webinar as the main lead conversion component. The webinar brought a leading experts to talk about a very real and specific problem people can relate to and how to go about solving it. In between the experts, an offer was made to buy the flagship product.
Ways you can convert leads into buyers include sales calls, podcasts, video conferences, sales pages, in person, and more. You can also increase conversions using “Urgency and Scarcity” incentives. Note: Just be mindful not to abuse these.
These include things like:
- Limited $1 Trial
- Coupons with Expiry Dates
- X Day Free Usage
- 50% off Until..
- Buy 1 Get One Free
- Limited Time Offer
- X Days Money Back Guarantee
Oh you thought we were done? Tarek added an extra step realizing that the sale doesn’t end after purchase. The famous Mcdonald’s line, “Do you want fries with that?” is what is called an upsell.
The Brain-A-Thon offered another companion program as soon as your purchased the first program. You can offer this after purchase upsells, downsells and cross sells by offering things like a higher or lower priced product/service, an extension, an accessory, bundles, and more.
Business is a learned skill. Tarek wants people to know that it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, and that what’s important is to seek to upgrade your mindset, skills, and knowledge. If you’re pursuing business, it’s important to understand this basic formula first, and then go deeper. Tarek encourages current and future entrepreneurs to ponder upon and find out what moves people from the beginning to the end, from lead generation all the way to a sale. Remember that these are humans, like all of us, and that first and foremost, providing value while caring and respecting your potential clients is the fuel that makes this entire formula work.