The 6 Stages of the Sales Funnel Explained

While having a sales funnel can arguably be one of the most important things that you could implement into business and your sales process.

The number of stages in one could be open for interpretation.

However, knowing exactly how many stages there are and what stage your prospects are in is crucial to making sales.

The Sales Funnel is a metaphor for the buying process or the journey of taking a prospect to paying customer and it consists of 6 stages.

The 6 Stages Of The Sales Funnel

  1. Research 
  2. Awareness
  3. Interest 
  4. Desire
  5. Action
  6. Maintenance 

The Sales Funnel Stages

Throughout each stage of the funnel, You’ll offer different types of interactions with your prospects to help move them towards making a purchase.

Being able to create these different stages and identify which stage your prospects are in will help streamline your sales process and give you the ability to be the most appealing to your customers as possible.

In this blog post, I’ll be breaking down all of the sales funnel stages.

1. Research

While technically this isn’t a stage in a sales funnel I wanted to make it a point to mention it.

As if this portion is done incorrectly it could change the entire outcome of how your sales funnel performs.

Before you even start editing your sales funnels and creating your offer you need to be able to identify who your ideal customer is.

The deeper and more targeted you can get, the closer that you’ll be able to identify with your dream clients. 

This is going to make the possibility of creating long-lasting relationships with customers as you’ll really be able to put yourself in their shoes and resonate with them.

This is sometimes referred to as creating a persona or an attractive character that is appealing to others and that your potential clients can identify with.

Alex Lawless has an amazing article on how to use data-backed information to find your dream clients. Check it out here!

2. Awareness 

The top of the sales funnel and the process of your potential clients beginning the journey of becoming a paying customer starts here.

This section is all about building brand awareness and getting your message out there.

In other words, you want to cause some noise.

While in this stage the audience can be broader than usual, you still do want to have a target audience.

What works the best in this stage is provide a serious amount of value to your potential clients in exchange of some type of contact information/the ability to get them into your ecosystem.

Things That Perform Extremely Well:

  • Free E-Book
  • Webinars
  • PDF Or Cheat Sheets
  • Free Audits
  • Very Discounted Services

Throughout this stage, you want to convey your content and your messages across as a solution to a problem.

The key is to get this message and offer out to where your dream customers are already congregating and where they are already spending their time.

That way you’re able to attract the right people into your sales process, and if done correctly they’ll actually seek out your offers vs you pitching a sale.

Don’t waste time in areas that your dream customers aren’t active, and if your conversions are low you might need to revisit stage 1 and create a different offer that is more appealing.

Related Post: These Are The Reasons You Need A Sales Funnel Today

3. Interest

Now that your leads have converted from the awareness phase, they move into the interest stage.

At this point, you’ve gotten their attention, invoked some type of emotion to cause the to have additional questions, concerns,  and overall are seeking more information from you, as they aren’t quite ready to buy or actually commit to making any type of purchase.

The main goal of this stage is to continue to build rapport with your leads.

You can utilize the following methods:

  • Personalize Email Marketing Campaigns 
  • Messenger Marketing 
  • Social Media 
  • Re-Targeting Advertising

This phase will require some testing from your end, while there isn’t any cookie-cutter method that works best.

I would highly recommend using this phase to create a very personalized experience for your leads.

Follow-up with them, ask them what they’re looking for, what types of questions they have, or any additional information they’ve been seeking.

This process becomes easier as you test and builds a relationship because not only are your leads telling you what they need from you, they are also helping you become aware of what your future leads will need as well.

Gary Vaynerchuk has a beautiful article on How To Sell Without Selling

Now the shift between the next stage and this one isn’t as smooth as before.

It is going to require some finesse and you’ll be left up to your best judgment as to when you feel like your prospects are primed to move onto the next stage.

4. Desire

Now that your prospects have become aware of your brand, built up interest in what services you’re offering it’s time to really create the desire to purchase.

The biggest mistake that you could make in this stage is to hammer the sale and push the product.

People are naturally emotional creatures and they make purchase decisions based on how a product will make them feel, or what service could do for them.

The main goal of this stage is to glamorize what it would be like to be a customer.

Which can be done by:

  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials 
  • Reviews 
  • Demo/Webinar
  • Discounted Offers 
  • Time Sensitive Offers

This stage is all about really priming your prospect to buy.

Utilizing time-sensitive offers, or discounted promotions can work wonders in this stage.

As it can give that extra push that people need to buy because it will ease the fear of making the commitment of purchasing at full price.

Related Post: A Guide To Indexing Landing Pages

5. Action

This is where the magic happens, this is where you’ll actually convert your prospect into pay customer.

However, don’t let the tone of this phase be all about making a sale.

Instead, ensure that your customers are enjoying or are having success with whatever it is you just sold them. 

Depending on the way that you’ve interacted with your prospects up until this point will determine whether you’ll be able to introduce them back into another sales funnel or promote additional products to them down the road.

You really want to emphasize the relationship in this phase and nurture the needs of the paying customer without continuing to try to make another sale.

Upon giving them space and allowing the customer to enjoy the product/service they bought from you.

You can then reintroduce them into a separate funnel, or even the same on if the scenario called for it.

Read The Secret To Getting Repeat Customers By Entrepreneur Magazine

6. Maintenance 

The final stage could change names depending on what book you’ve read, the article you land on, or video you’ve seen.

But ultimately it is the stage of maintaining relationships with your customers so you can continue to monetize on them for months or even years to come.

Creating loyal customers in how most businesses generate the majority of their revenue. 

A 5% increase in retention rate could result in as high as a 95% increase in profit.

Essentially, you can re-create similar campaigns, promotions, or product launches and introduce them to people who’ve already purchased and had a good experience with your company and your brand.


While there isn’t any, one size fits all method of implementing sales funnels across every business throughout every industry.

The stages however are fluid and applicable in whatever industry you’re in.

The 6 Sales Funnel Stages 

  • Research 
  • Awareness
  • Interest 
  • Desire
  • Action
  • Maintenance 


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