As a humane marketer, I firmly believe in the importance of building relationships of trust with potential clients, and empowering them to make their own buying decisions. This approach is very different from the traditional sales funnel template, which can feel pushy and forceful.
In this blog post, I’m sharing an alternative to the traditional sales funnel, which prioritizes building relationships of trust with potential clients and empowering them to make their own buying decisions. The Gentle Sales Path involves creating different signposts that help potential client’s learn more about the business and services and go from awareness to loyalty without any forcing. This approach considers the well-being of ourselves, our clients, and our planet. Rather than rushing our clients, we want to invest in them, empower them to make their own choices, and give them options and different paths they can take in our world.
By following these tips, you can build a sustainable, long-term relationship with your prospects that is based on trust, honesty, and authenticity.
And if you were looking for a Sales Funnel Template, I have something even better for you 😉
Replacing the five stages of the Sales Funnel Template with a Gentle Sales Path instead
The traditional sales funnel has been used for decades, but here at Humane Marketing we don’t like the idea of shoving our potential clients through a funnel. It feels inhumane.
Instead, we suggest the Gentle Sales Path, which prioritizes building relationships of trust with potential clients and empowering them to make their own buying decisions.
Rather than focusing on the specific stages from the Sales Funnel (awareness, interest, desire, action, loyalty) , the Gentle Sales Path involves creating different signposts, such as a free ebook or speaking event, that help prospects learn more about the business and services and go from awareness to loyalty without any shoving.
What is the Gentle Sales Path, and How is it Different from the Traditional Sales Funnel Template?
A gentle sales path is different for every client, and it’s not forceful like a funnel.
The Gentle Sales Path is a holistic approach that considers the well-being of ourselves, our clients, and our planet. We focus on creating a beautiful experience for the conscious client, where he is the one making the decisions.
It has not just one destination, and also presents exit paths as we’re not wanting to hold our potential clients hostage.
There are a few major differences between the funnel and the path:
Whereas in the funnel our main goal is to get that first sale from everyone, our objective in the path is to introduce our new visitor to our world. We can do that by sharing our story, our values, our worldview, and why we do the thing we do. Of course we still want our visitor to buy from us, but we have no specific agenda on how or when that happens.
Instead of rushing our clients and pushing all of them through the same funnel, we want to invest in them, empower them to make their own choices, and give them options and different paths they can take in our world.
I consider myself a smart and conscious human being (street smart, that is ;-)). And I want to work with people who are equally smart and conscious. I want them to understand that’s how I think of them. I want them to feel that I truly care and that they can trust me.
Building that trust takes time. And if we’re rushing someone, we can immediately lose their trust. They see right through it and walk away. If we think of it as a path instead of a funnel, we adapt a more long-term perspective which allows us to build value, trust, and ultimately a relationship with our visitor.
By changing the term “funnel” to “path,” we’re setting the example that words matter; language matters.
Brené Brown talked about the impact of dehumanizing language in politics on one of her podcast episodes (Brené on Words, Actions, Dehumanization and Accountability).
“Dehumanization is the most significant driver of insurrection and it always starts with language. We are all responsible for recognizing it, stopping it, and holding people accountable for dehumanizing language and actions.”
Shaming and lack of empathy are at the center of dehumanization. Sure, it’s quite extreme to compare dehumanization on a political level with marketing and selling, but hear me out.
When we use techniques and language that lack integrity and empathy and instead focus on shaming and making people feel less than, aren’t we dehumanizing our clients? Aren’t we treating them as numbers, or as sheep that we want to push through a funnel? In our gentle sales paths, we use language that shows that we understand, that we care, and that we’re here to help whenever they are ready.
Creating Signposts along the Gentle Sales Path
Along the Gentle Sales Path our clients find different signposts (not lead magnets).
Signposts are different rest stops that guide your potential client along the way to your Serene Garden. Their purpose is to educate your client about your area of expertise, get to know you, your values, and your worldview, and showcase your products and services and how they can help them.
Here are some other examples of signposts:
- A free download
- A course (free or paid)
- A newsletter
- A book
- A podcast
- An audio series
- YouTube content
- Other livestreaming content
All of these items above are different pieces of content that help your potential client get more familiar with you, your unique value proposition, and how you can help them. Ideally, they will rest at the signpost, absorb the content, and then continue on their path. But it could also be that while listening to you or reading your material, they determine that you’re actually not a great fit for them. So they’ll leave the path and move on to someone else’s path. And that’s okay. There was no pushing, no convincing, no frustration.
Non-linear Gentle Sales Conversation
All paths lead us to the grand finale, the sales call, which in our case takes place in our Serene Garden. Each client’s path to reach the Serene Garden is different, as some may opt to climb stone steps for a panoramic view before descending, while others may choose a shorter route along a paved road. There may also be those who take a different paved path that leads to another area of the garden, which may provide a clearer view of the secluded garden that interests them.
We completely ditch any kind of sales script and instead hold the space for a nonlinear sales conversation.
We give the client her power back: respecting instead of overcoming her objections, and focusing on how we make her feel.
Slow down the Sale
Finally, patience is essential in the Gentle Sales Path. Nobody wants to be sold to, yet so many people are still selling the pushy way. This new approach is based on creating a relationship of transparency and trust with your potential clients so that they feel comfortable buying from you. If you are being too pushy and rushing people to buy, you are not allowing them to make their own decision.
Here are two main tips for practicing patience in the Gentle Sales Path:
Listen and understand your ideal client’s needs: Take the time to listen to your clients and understand their struggles and goals. This helps you provide personalized solutions that fit their needs, rather than trying to sell them something that they don’t really want.
Follow up consistently, but without being pushy: Following up with prospects is important, but you don’t want to be pushy. Instead, focus on building a relationship of trust with them by providing value and keeping in touch. This can be through sending relevant content, checking in on their progress, or simply sending a friendly email to say hello.
Ditch the Sales Funnel Template and Use the Gentle Sales Path instead
In conclusion, the Gentle Sales Path is a customer-centric approach that empowers your ideal clients to make their own buying decisions while building a sustainable, long-term relationship of trust. By implementing consistency, transparency, and patience in your marketing and sales efforts, you can create a holistic approach that benefits everyone involved. So, dear heart-centered entrepreneur, let’s ditch the pushy Sales Funnel Template and embrace the Gentle Sales Path for the well-being of ourselves, our clients, and our planet. Click here or on the image below to have a look.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy:
- Blog Post: Unlocking the Power of Human Marketing: Strategies for Success
- Book: Selling Like We’re Human
- Podcast episode: Selling is Human
Other Resources You Might Enjoy
- Manifesto: The Humane Business Manifesto (no opt-in).
- Creed: The Humane Marketing Creed (no opt-in).
- The Humane Marketing Glossary: marketing words we love
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan (email opt-in with 7 email prompts to help you think about the 7Ps of Humane Marketing in your business).
- The Humane Marketing Circle, our community of Humane Marketers.