Podcast Interview - "Sales Funnels" with Jacob Aldridge, Nini Tolson & Daniel Tolson

Podcast Interview – “Sales Funnels” with Jacob Aldridge, Nini Tolson & Daniel Tolson

Jacob Aldridge is a Guinness World record holder, author, and an international business advisor who consults with more than 300 business owners across 10 countries. Over the years, his clients have enjoyed a 20% increase in their revenue streams after applying his methods.

Today, he is going to show you how to improve your sales funnel and reinvigorate your business.

Learn more about Jacob: www.jacobaldridge.com

Learn More about Daniel Tolson & Nini Tolson: https://www.winsalesnow.com/wsn

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Podcast Transcript


Daniel Tolson (00:01):

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. Our guest today is a Guinness World Record holder, author, and an international business advisor who consults with more than 300 business owners across 10 countries. Over the years, his clients have enjoyed a 20% increase in their revenue streams after applying his methods. And today, he’s going to show you how to improve your sales funnel and reinvigorate your business. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome to the Win Sales Now Podcast, our good friend, Jacob Aldridge. Welcome!

Jacob Aldridge (00:32):

It’s an honor just to be nominated. Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Daniel Tolson (00:43):

We’re talking about IVF and coming again and I’ll get to say your success already. You’re the sperm that got the egg. And so we, Oh, it wasn’t a Monty Python who said, you must remember how incredibly unlikely is your birth. We’ve already won at the battle of life. Everything else is just content. I love it. I love it. You’ve had a couple of big wins over the years, a lot of clients’ success, but also personal success without winning a Guinness world record. Let, let’s start there. Can you type it?

Jacob Aldridge (01:19):

Well, you know, you may be familiar with the Iliad keeps you guy who recently ran a marathon in under two hours, fastest marathon ever run. He also holds the official Guinness world record from Athens just over two hours. That’s not bad. My world record, I was the first person in the world to watch more than 60 hours of movies without falling asleep. Well, record movie marathon. Thank you. By my calculation, 60 hours is 30 lots of two hours, so I’m 30 times the athlete. That keeps you guy.

Daniel Tolson (01:57):

Now what about with, what about some of the stipulated rules around this? Because as I was writing your article, there’s rules and regulations and it had to be sanctioned.

Jacob Aldridge (02:07):

It’s, it’s incredibly how detailed thinking this book is. I mean it’s a, it’s obviously well-respected and it’s a great name. It’s a question that I did get asked even years later. So it’s something that means something in that they have to be the rules. As they came at about phone size, two very, very dense pages with lots and lots of detail around witnesses. We needed medical personnel on hand at all times because even though it was sitting in watching film, it was still considered a marathon. And the hottest rule, which they’ve actually changed since then. We were only allowed to leave the room and go to the bathroom after every third movie. So over the three days, we started on a Saturday, I finished on a Tuesday, I have a three days. You had to time all of the films, all of the breaks, all of the coffee drinking around those bathroom opportunities. And they, they’ve since scrap that rule made it a lot easier. So the current record holders really from on of basically cheated

Daniel Tolson (03:02):

Shape, shape bastards, they are incredible. Now you also had talk about a sales funnel and you talk about the statistics in business, you get 10 inquiries, you, you break it down, you get then three become highly qualified leads, one in three end up buying your products and services. And a business just can’t survive on those numbers. So you’ve changed this funneling process and you’re now talking about an hourglass aim case studies in your latest book, the startup business. God demonstrate that somebody can get 10 leads, non inquires and nine sales. So can you step us through this and how this is increasing the sales and the revenues of the companies that you’re working with?

Jacob Aldridge (03:48):

Absolutely. And it is, I think fundamentally it’s part of the belief process that if we think of business and sales as a funnel, something gets to the end of the funnel that drops out. Whereas especially in B to B businesses, professional services, which is a lot of my clients, it’s an ongoing relationship and that’s where we tend to funnel into an hourglass. How do we leverage that ongoing relationship? But that client that we talked about in my book that managed that dramatic shift, you went from just having his fish at 10 31 about one in three that were converting at each step. How we ramp that up. That was a three step process. The first thing we did was we changed where the leads were coming from. So he was spending money on marketing spray and pray. All of those things that a marketing consultant will tell you to do.

Jacob Aldridge (04:35):

And it wasn’t working for him. He wasn’t getting the right clients. So we shifted that stop. The marketing spend, shifted his time to go out and build client referrals and strategic referral channels. So it’s building those. The second thing we did was getting him super clear on who his ideal client was, how they would engage with them, and then training those referral channels to actually go out and essentially be a sales force for him. And so with that shift, he’s still getting the same number of leads, but they’re much more qualified. And in some cases they’re almost pretty sold because that referral partner, that client has said, you need to go and talk with this person, they will help your business. And then the third thing we did was actually focused on the sales meeting. When you’re sitting in front of somebody, are you just having a, a chat, a gas bag, a chinwag, hoping that they’ll buy it at the end of it? Well, do you actually have a systematic process that you’re following? And in my case we talk about the gratitude sales model, which is a contextual flow that a person has in that sales meeting that gets that person to buy in a thinking space and the feelings by end in a spice so that they commit to the relationship. [inaudible] Took time. It took change to commitment on behalf of that client, but the result of that, nine times as many clients from the same number of leads who doesn’t want that,

Daniel Tolson (05:56):

It’s everybody wants it and I should and you know it was starting to trigger some thoughts here from our clients that we work with is you start to talk about nation or finding your ideal client and these fears of missing out start to pop up. But you know Daniel, what if I’m so Neisha over here, but you know there’s another 7 billion people on the planet. Well what Ryan Duffy’s do you say them guides for at this stage, and I don’t know about you, Daniel, if 7 billion people wanted to buy my advisory services, I’d be stuffed on bugging off the 10 hours.

Jacob Aldridge (06:34):

Sorry. Yeah, those, those fears do come up. What if I’m missing out? And that’s why with my clients, I talk about content versus context, generally people that bought me into that business or got me to talk to, to their clients or their staff around something in the content. We want to talk about [inaudible] culture, strategy, whatever. And I said, well first we need to go up to the context. Context gives meaning to the content and specifically when it comes to ideal clients, what’s the vision you have for your business today? What’s the strategy you’re implementing? And if you’re super clear on that, then that guides the client you want to work with and you don’t mind the ones that you miss out on. So last year as we’ve talked about in the past and, and my beautiful wife and I managed to have our first child, Kay vision for us was working on the road. We spend about five or six months of last year traveling around Europe with family. I was doing some work and some travel. And so I was earning less money. I was having to say no to client opportunities and I was losing client opportunities because they didn’t fit within what my business model was. But I had that strong anchor if this is what I want for my life, for my family and therefore for my business and that gets rid of all of that noise that a client might have around Oh and my tune nation

Daniel Tolson (07:49):

W we had the same experience in 2017 I’ve been traveling backwards and forwards from Europe a lot and we said we need to change our business model and we were getting inquiry after inquiry. We’re making huge amounts of low volume sales, so we’re busy making a little bit of money. So we took some good business advice, we changed the model, increased the prices, we changed the target and it was like as if all inquiry stopped and we started to freak out because we went that field. You go from 50 appointments a week down to one, but then you’ve got to re just because you realize that one person who comes through ends up spending three and four and five times the amount of the other people combined. And an example was we had a hundred people in a program now paying $100 each to being in there, but it took us six minutes to service that client every day between sessions. So it was 10 grand. Yeah. Wait, once we changed the model, there was 10 clients at $1,000 each and because that will high quality clients, they didn’t bother you between sessions and when it came to their session time, they showed up ready? So 10 clients, 10,000 a hundred clients.

Daniel Tolson (09:08):

I got my website to number one on Google for people searching business coach in Brisbane, which is where I’m based, which was fantastic. And the inquiries that that created w where, you know, it was actually the volume of work,

Jacob Aldridge (09:20):

But it was a lot of clients that weren’t right for me. And so what I then did was I added a page around how much this business card, awesome. I actually put my prices out there, which is unusual in a lot of service industries and the volume went down enormously, almost overnight and it’s fantastic. I’m not getting any fewer clients from it, but I’m not having to do nearly as many sales meetings with people that aren’t really a fit and not going to get value out of what I’m delivering at the price I deliver it at.

Daniel Tolson (09:47):

Yeah, he’s a guy. If we look at these sales trainings coming out of the seventies and eighties it was always like, hide your price. Don’t tell her, don’t tell them the process. You’re going to haul it up. Get them on the book. Yeah, I believe it’s one of the best qualifying approaches. You know, there’s some instance that that you honestly can’t give a price and you’ve got to go through the consultation, but if you can demonstrate your price, they can qualify themselves and they say, look, this is in my range. I’m going to talk to this person or it’s out of my range and I’m not going to bother them and I’m not going to embarrass myself. When they asked me for the order. I think it’s a great strategy. Yeah. Well the is

Jacob Aldridge (10:21):

Back in classified ad dyes and I started the world in the world of journalism, but the start of my career, you know, an advertisement with the price had eight times as much inquiries. One that didn’t, and that’s, and a lot of people, business owners would assume it’s the other way around. If I don’t have a price, I’ll get all these people and I’ll be able to upsell them or I’ll be able to, and that’s not actually the case. Prospects are uncertain. Their time is valuable. They don’t want to waste it. They want some kind of certainty. Knowing your price, knowing just like other things we give them confidence with when they see case studies, testimonials, credentials, they get a strong referral. The more confident they can be when they come to the sales meeting, the more of a fit they are, the easier the sales meeting actually goes for you.

Daniel Tolson (11:02):

Hmm. You might remember this. Around 1999 to 2000, there was a system of real estate called Digimon real estate system. I do it and that were involved in it and we went from having real estate offices with the pictures of the homes and the process and the instruction we got from the gym and group was rip at the signs and no pictures in the window, no prices. Everybody’s going to come in and you’ve got to talk to them once they come to the office. But the inquiry dropped because people are going, well if it’s not priced it must be way too much or it must be so far out of my budget. If I have to ask, I can’t afford it. So, so we just saw a inquiry drop off in our competitors across this right there and inquiry boosted. So I’m in a grunge with that. So if it’s in my budget, I’m going to ask questions if it’s not self qualification, but I love the figure eight times the inquiry and you’ve got a test.

Jacob Aldridge (11:54):

Every business is a little bit different. Every client target market is going to be a little bit different and that’s the key thing. I encourage all my clients, I was confident with that case study we talked about that he was going to get better quality clients, much better conversion, right and earn more money. As a result, we had to test it and it could have delivered a different result. The reason I know it was 10 31 and became ten nine nine was because we were measuring it and if we’d got a different result we would have tried something different.

Daniel Tolson (12:20):

You your numbers there and it’s like you’re reading my mind. When we had the old system, it was a, it was ten nine ten three one and then it went ten nine, three, five. So we’ve got 10 people inquiring. No one would buy our first product and service three would move onto the high ticket and then eventually two additional ones would come back after a period of time. And so it ended up being five

Jacob Aldridge (12:49):

And I love what I’m hearing. They are around you having these introductory products or these little purchases that people can make, which I, it’s a fundamental part of the sales training, the size of the hourglass that I talked to Quanta that because you know it gives the higher risk Ohio ticket price on of items. It gives that person that small little commitment that I can make which has big returns, but then they’ll get value out of that and for you because you’ve got someone who is much more committed and you can focus on,

Daniel Tolson (13:18):

Yeah, Brian Tracy, he says the second, the first sale is important, but the second one is the most important because it’s proved that you’ve delivered on the first and way structure and model around that. Let us show you what we can do and we’ll start small. Once we deliver on that promise and the client gets a result, then for them to buy the next product and service is a real no brainer for them. They go, well, if you can prove it, he then way confident and we get those second and thirds and I love what you’re talking about, resales and referrals because Australian businesses don’t tend to have a referral program in place. I think it was 97% of businesses don’t have a referral plan in place. I only 3% do.

Jacob Aldridge (13:59):

I believe that that’s an extraordinary number when you know that that’s going to give you high conviction, right? It’s high value clients and better clients and yet everyone jumps on to Google and says, how do I do Facebook ads? How do I spend more money on Matt sitting right in front of,

Nini Tolson (14:15):

Yeah, like for us, for our business we will say probably 80 85% is on a referral and a strategic partner like you say. So when you mentioned that, I’m just like that’s so spot on.

Daniel Tolson (14:26):

You think it has been so smart now.

Nini Tolson (14:28):

That’s right. [inaudible]

Daniel Tolson (14:32):

So you need to my beautiful wife.

Nini Tolson (14:36):

I also know that earlier in one of your, your your email, you mentioned about the sales, our Blas, so I’m very curious about that. You know, if you can share with our followers as a friends, your sales hourglass and how he can, you know, help them to improve their sales and the revenues.

Jacob Aldridge (14:53):

Yeah, absolutely. What that breaks down is it, it, it adds a little bit more rigor and definition to the various steps that a client is going to go through on their journey into and working with your business. And so you start at the top, you know the lead generation that comes in, you’ve got generally the context and in most businesses that’s going to be the vast majority of people who are on your mailing list or your database. Your first step you want to move them down into is called a brand promise. Now this is way intellectually they understand your business. They know why someone might want to work with you, they understand your brand promise, your positioning statement, your USP. They’re not yet emotionally engaged themselves. And that’s a useful distinction because a lot of times in sales we think we’ve communicated our brand. We think that person understands it and vehicle we, we think they’re ready to buy.

Jacob Aldridge (15:47):

We need to take that extra step so we go from contact to brand promise to engaged and engaged is that point where they do emotionally engage with our solution. They shift from why would someone work with Jacob to why would I work with Jacob? What do I want this person in my business? Now, some people move through very, very quickly. The beautiful thing about the internet is that people can do their own research and they might come to you engage, they might come to you ready to buy or you’ve got to nurture them through that sequence from engaged again, that’s where you might have a proposal and you might want to jump them to client. I do deliberately put that additional step, which is what I call the commitment product. It’s exactly what we’ve just been talking about. If your core product is a a big jump, having some kind of smaller commitment product that demonstrates your value it, it essentially turns marketing into a profit center.

Jacob Aldridge (16:41):

If you’ve got something you can sell as part of your marketing journey, you can make money out of marketing at why. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? And so that’s the, you know, the point to the middle contact, brand, promise, engaged commitment client. And then this is where so many businesses just stopped the journey. That’s what a sales funnel is so nefarious. What you’ve got the opportunity then is to scale it back up. So after they’ve become a client product extension, what are the other services or products that you could be offering this client? They might already be buying them from somebody else. You can offer that, it may be as simple as the, would you like fries with that kind of conversation? Or it may be that you start to identify a need in your client base that nobody else is solving. And there’s a great sign from one of my early mentors, a guy called Darren Sherlock used to say, your second product is always more profitable.

Jacob Aldridge (17:34):

And that’s because you know your clients and you’re probably solving a problem that’s incredibly valuable to them and that nobody else is saying. So from client, we start to fan out the hourglass product extension from there into community. So those clients that you have, what communities the aim and I able to share in that can be as simple as you putting an article or a video in their newsletter that they send out to their client by sharing something on their LinkedIn or Facebook page. And then the final one, the eighth level of the hourglass is strategic referral channels. And these are those individuals that are essentially an unpaid sales force. The summary isn’t, it benefits them to go out and sell your business. It makes them look good. It builds loyalty with their clients, it helps them understand the client base. And, and I have a glass doesn’t wash out like a funnel the sand runs through and when you, you know, if you only make you money in the middle of it, you can flip the hourglass and that sands there, it comes back through. It’s much more profitable and so much easier as a business when you’ve got all of those aspects working

Daniel Tolson (18:37):

100% [inaudible]

Jacob Aldridge (18:44):

The right businesses. And you know, listening to some of your other interviews and conversations that you guys have, you’re doing lots of these things. It, you know, there, there’ll be elements there that may be a little bit different or it’s described a little bit differently at what I love to bring to my clients is sometimes it is revolutionary to them and sometimes they’ve got a great business, they’re doing a lot of things, but I’ve never thought about putting the other reframework and they struggled to explain to that time why we do it a certain way or how it works or how things fit together and being able to bring some of those simple concepts, chunk them out of the content up into the context so they know why they’re doing sales, why they’re doing marketing, gets the whole team on board. And a guy in that just rubs it. W

Daniel Tolson (19:26):

It’s a beautiful metaphorical description of the hourglass boost. We all know what it looks like. It’s the shape of some lovely ladies bodies as well. So gentlemen plays, remembers that that shape as well. If I could do a [inaudible] style, then I’d fit right in. But for people who don’t know about Ray, Sal’s and referrals, a race out takes one 10th the time of a cold sale. And so once they’ve bought from you the trust and the rapport is there, you just making another recommendation. Yup. They’re also one 15th easier. Then you know when you get a referral, it’s one 15 easier because they come across with 90% rapport. And what we teach our clients is that today, if we exclude Facebook and social media, the average person knows 300 people by first name and 10% of those, based on the statistics, could be your ideal client. So if you’ve got a hundred happy customers, they’ve got networks of you know, 30,000 people. And like you said before, it’s your unpaid sales force. They’re happy, they’re talking about you and they’re doing the leg work for you. Yeah. So I have people who want to learn more about what you’re doing, Jacob and the work with the hourglass model here. Where can they go to now to learn more about what you’re doing?

Jacob Aldridge (20:44):

A number of different ways. I mean, once you stopped me, it’s a rabbit Warren of joy, which every now and then is a Guinness world records

Daniel Tolson (20:52):

Story and [inaudible]

Jacob Aldridge (20:53):

Support. My website is Jacob aldridge.com. My most recent book is the startup business guide and that’s [email protected] and of course on Amazon, et cetera. And on YouTube, if you Google me, look me up on YouTube, there’s a lot of videos around the sales hourglass and a number of the other business concepts that I take out and Che. And I’m sure you’d be happy to share some of those links as well below this here on YouTube and that other platforms so that people who want to know more can look into that. And my joy in life is helping business owners in whatever small way that I can. So I’m always responding to emails, having fun conversations at, because the more I can help businesses, the more we help out a broader economy and what goes around comes around.

Daniel Tolson (21:44):

Incredible. Well, thank you for sharing your knowledge, your wisdom in your advice state. It’s greatly appreciated. Thank you, Jacob. Thank you for having me. Thanks Mike. Have a wonderful day.