Creating Happy Customers Through Digital Funnel Systems With Tad Stephens 

June 3, 2020

LBL Stephen | Digital Funnel Systems


Making the best of what you already have can propel positive results to your website and business in general. Ben Baker shares this episode with Tad Stephens from Accelerated Funnels. They talk about digital funnel systems and how to bring the right people to your doorstep. Ted shows us how he does his business in a way that are different from other people. By using what you already have, which is an audience, and making them happy, you can generate the best marketing tool. Tad then shares his own definition of funnels and its two most important parts. Learn more about how you can make people go back to your site through trust building and creating sites worth going back to.


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Creating Happy Customers Through Digital Funnel Systems With Tad Stephens

I’ve got Tad Stephens coming to you from Accelerated Funnels. We are going to talk about digital funnel systems, how to bring the right people to your doorstep and how Tad does it in a way that's different from other people. Tad, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Ben. I appreciate it. It’s great to be here.

The funnel systems, getting people to understand who you are, what you do, why you do it and get to the point where they care is an interesting process because when I started out in marketing, branding and sales many years ago, you actually went up and you talk to people. You met them at trade shows, you followed up on phone calls and you actually wrote people letters. The world has changed dramatically. It's gotten so much more in hurry. There's so much more information being bombarded at you minute by minute. The question is, how do you differentiate yourself? How do you cut yourself away from all the other noise that is in the marketplace and be unique? Let's start there and find out, how do you differentiate both yourself and your customers as you try and get known, liked and trusted by their clients?

I totally agree that things have moved to a much more instant gratification faster, “I want it right now,” mentality and marketplace. In a way that forces you to look at things a little different. It forces you to approach things a little different, but the basic characteristics or the basic psychology hasn't changed in thousands of years. We're still people and still talking to people. Because of this rapid move to a much faster pace, to me, it's opened up an opportunity that I see very few people take advantage of, you being one person that is, is to talk to people. Treat them as another human being and not just a visit on a website.

Most people have gotten so far away from that these days, that actually doing that and actually caring about what somebody thinks wants, needs, is afraid of whatever will make you stick out because you're unique now. What you used to do or what we all used to have to do, getting somebody listen to us is now unique. A lot of people miss it. They all want to get this tool or that tool, “This is great funnel thing and I put up a landing page. I will build this and they will come.” No, they won't. That is the biggest shift that I've seen. The biggest potential and opportunity that I’ve seen is go back to relationships. Start with the relationship.

It's interesting because I had a conversation with somebody and we're talking about technology. You build better technology and people come in. We need to rely more on technology in terms of our human resources, banking and stuff like that. Our customer experience platform needs to be digital. I'm like, "Okay, but in the end, we're dealing with human beings.” In the end, every single person is a human being and the person on the other side of that funnel and platform, the people that are engaging with it are human beings. As soon as we start treating them like numbers, as soon as we start treating them like one of many, instead of one of one, we're going to lose 99% of them.

You do. That's pretty much an industry standard, “If you can convert it 1%, that's great.” No, that's horrible.

A website has to be about the people that are coming in and looking for value. Click To Tweet

Think about the amount of waste of time, effort, energy and expense. If you're only converting at 1%, 2% or 3%, that means that 99% to 97% of the people, you've either alienated, made angry at you, put them in a position where they feel awkward and unaffiliated or whatever. Those people are not only going to go away, but they're going to start talking about you in a negative fashion.

If they do it online, it makes it even worse. It goes back to what I was talking about earlier. It's relationships, even if it's a small relationship. Even if it's something that makes somebody feel good, when they go to your website. The colors on your website, the way things are arranged. If they have a positive experience from going there, then you've at least accomplished part of that. They need to take them farther down the funnel. I see websites all the time nowadays that scream at you when you get there. They're going for the sale as soon as you arrive. I understand the mentality and the reasons why they do that, but there are many people out there doing that right now that if you see that all the time, all day long, eventually you emotionally and mentally shut it off when you look at it. You're not going to stay there. You've already shut down on whatever it is they're presenting to you just by the loudness of their sites, not all the time, but sometimes. That's one way to look at.

That's important because a website, relationship, conversation or whatever it is, it can't be about you. It's got to be about the people that are coming to you and where they see value? If your website, as soon as you get there, is all about, “Here I am, come buy from me,” and that's all it is, maybe they'll try you once, if you're cheap. Maybe they might do that. If they need what you have to offer and that's what it is, they'll take a look at it and they'll go, “It's $29.95. I'll buy it.” There's a little opportunity for me to go wrong at $29.95. Worse comes to worst, I’ve lost $30. If all of a sudden that same product doesn't fulfill the needs, do what they needed to and doesn't help them out, they feel that they've wasted $29.95, they're going to start talking about you online. Until you can sit there and say, “Do you need my product? Will my product actually help you solve your problem? How do I make things better for you?” Now, you've hooked somebody. Now, you've made people interested in you because you're making it about them and not about you.

The other piece to that which a lot of people see is that, you may get $30 from them on a low-end tripwire type product, but your chance of maintaining them as a customer, continuing to offer things of value to them that they see benefit in, and they keep purchasing, you've lost that. I hear marketers say all the time that, “If you can, build trust with someone through a $29 product or webinar, and you can get them to exchange their cash, their hard-earned money, for whatever value it is that you provide and they do see value. They will want more from you, whether you do that thing that they want or not because you've built trust.”

That is another piece that a lot of people don't include in their funnel and their marketing these days, is the old know, like, trust chain. If you can build trust, you can sell them just about anything, as long as you maintain that trust. People are more like, or at least the ones I talked to, a lot of them are more like, what you were going over is, they look to get, “Give me the quick sale. That's all I care about. I’ve got to get this because I’ve got to pay for my ad spend. I’ve got to get a conversion. I’ve got to get my money back.” They don't think longer term than that and it's to their detriment. In the end, they're going to be wasting a lot of potential sales there.

Let's talk about what a funnel is and let's talk about what a funnel isn't, because that's where the crux of the matter is. The crux of the matter is what is a funnel and why would somebody use it?

I believe the way I approach it is very different from other people because I don't define a funnel with a technology stack or a landing page that leads to a shopping cart that leads to a membership area. That's not a funnel. That's a part of a funnel or can be a part of a funnel. To back up a little bit, when I start talking to people about funnels, they say, “Ted, what's a funnel? How do I go about building the funnel?” I tell them they need two things. First, before they look at anything else, they need a complete and clear understanding or a complete and clear offer. They have to have an offer. It has to be well-defined. It has to provide value. It has to be something that your target audience really needs, wants and desires. The second thing you look at is your traffic. Your traffic has to be well-defined as well. Your traffic is not everybody. You don't serve everybody. You serve a certain segment of a certain niche. That has certain wants, needs and desires. That has pains, fears and frustrations.

LBL Stephen | Digital Funnel Systems

Digital Funnel Systems: When you start treating people like one of many instead of one of one, you are going to lose 99% of them.


If you don't define all those, you don't know who your target audience is. You can waste a lot of ad spend that way. You can waste a ton of time. You can still drive traffic, but if it's not in your target audience, if it's not your perfect prospect, then they may get to your offer and say, “That doesn't fit my wants, needs and desires. It’s not what I want then. It doesn’t solve my pain.” You need to have those two things first. Once you get those two, then you start looking at, “These two things are in sync, they're congruent. My target audience wants, needs and desires my offer or my offer solves some pain, frustration problem that they have.” You get those two things in sync, now you can start talking about what I call your funnel.

Your funnel is basically everything that surrounds that. It can be landing page, it may not be a landing page, it may be a phone call, it may be a meeting at a local Chamber of Commerce, that you lead them down a path. It is whatever leads your target audience to your offer and closes. That doesn't necessarily have to be online but for all intents and purposes, that's what we're talking about. For what we're talking about, your funnel would consist of your ads, your ad copy, your landing pages, your landing page copy, your shopping cart, your shopping cart copy, because that is important. If you have an obnoxious ugly shopping cart, your sales are going to go down.

Unless your Amazon, of course.

They’ve got a pretty good shopping cart. It's slow and I've got problems with it, but it still works. After that, you go to your membership area. What you also have to include and I stress this in my approach, is you also have to include the feedback loop. You don't sell them once. People get buyer's remorse from buying candy bars. If you're if you have a high-ticket training program or coaching program or whatever, you have to continually sell them for lack of a better word, on what a great decision they made. Continually put that out there, continually put that value out there, that is all part of your funnel. You have an ongoing feedback loop all the time. You continually stay in front of them and provide value. If you can build that trust, they will buy anything from you, they will stick with you. They will ask you for things that you don't offer. When you say, “I'm sorry, I don't offer that,” they will say, “Come on, Tad, come up with something. I want to get it from you.” That's where you want to end up with your funnel. That doesn’t necessarily have to be the tools.

In my training. I say, “Tools don't matter.” You can use Kajabi, ClickFunnels, Kartra or Thinkific. You can use whatever tools you want. It's the psychology, the marketing, the know, like, trust chain that makes the funnel successful, not whether you use ClickFunnels’ landing pages or not. They have good landing pages, but that's not what converts people. What converts people is what's on the landing.

I want to unpack that know, like, trust and combine that with understanding who your customer truly is. It's important for you to understand what your offer is, what you offer, why you offer it and the value that it has to people. That's important, without saying anything more, but you also have to know who your customer is and who your customer is not. If you don't understand who your customer is not, you can spend tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, marketing to people that will never buy your product. They will never find interest in you because they either don't have the money to buy your product. They don't have the desire to buy your product. They don't have the need to buy your product or whatever. If you don't understand, these are the people that actually have a need and will crawl over hot coals to buy what you have because it will solve their problem. Those are the people that you need. Those are the people that will become your raving fans because if you can solve a problem that they truly and absolutely have, they'll keep coming back to you.

I heard a story from a marketer awhile back. I don't know if you've ever heard of Gary Halbert. He was a top-tier copywriter for years and years. He passed away. One of the most important part of any funnel that he would work on would be who's your target audience? How well do you know them? This gentleman told the story about where he was in a contest with ten of the top copywriters in the world. He beat them all and one of the students asked him, they say, “You're the best copywriter.” He goes, “No, I’m not. All those guys are better than I am.” The student looked at him and thought, “I don't understand.” He goes, “The reason I won is because I knew my customer or I knew my client’s customer better than those other ten guys. Their copy was better but I knew my customer better.”

You can sell to people just about anything as long as you maintain that trust. Click To Tweet

The copy might have been more interesting, but if it didn't resonate specifically with the right color, customer, it's bad copy. It doesn't matter how creative, wonderful or splashy it is. If it doesn't resonate with the audience that you're trying to go after, it's bad copy or it's a bad ad or it's a bad commercial. That's my big beef with the Super Bowl commercials. They’re a lot of fun and their big production matters. Weeks later, do you remember who did the ad and what it was for? I certainly don't and I'm an ad junkie.

I would take it a step farther and I would say are you influenced to purchase anything that anybody advertised in any of those ads? If not, then that's a lot of money they wasted.

I love the Budweiser beer commercials. I do not like Budweiser beer. Their commercials are a lot of fun. They've done some fun and cool things. What they particularly are, I can't remember. All I remember is that, at the time, I thought that they were creative ads. I can't tell you the last time I had a Budweiser in my hand. I bet you it's been 20 or 25 years since I drank a Budweiser knowingly. I might have drunk one if I went to a ballpark or if I went to a football game or something like that. If I asked for a beer and it happened to be Budweiser that they had on tap, I never went up to a bartender and said, “Pour me a Bud.”

“I like that ad I saw through Bud. I want one.”

On the flip side, you're talking about know, like and trust. If you sell somebody one thing, you can sell them a lot of other things. Apple is probably the best poster child for that. We started with iPods, years ago and now you're buying Apple TV. You're streaming music. You're buying different technology for a company that started off selling Apple computers in 1984. We're going back to the Superbowl commercial. That's where it all started. The Apple Superbowl commercial of 1984. That's where it all started, but it's the fact that you know, like and trust them as a client and you feel an affinity to them. If they come up with something new and exciting and different, it's not Apple computers anymore, it’s Apple.

You're buying them as an innovation company and as somebody that gets that the fact that you want something that works. It’s something that's easy for you to understand. Easy for you to integrate with whatever else you have of theirs. That's why you buy Apple because you're one of the new cool kids, if you've got the latest, greatest Apple stuff. With all that in mind, when you're starting with a new client and you're sitting there, you've got this product, you understand who your market is, where do we go from there?

If they're to that point and almost everybody that I talked to is not, that is something that I have to build first. I have to build know, like, trust with my clients before I can explain to them know, like, trust with their clients. I have to walk them through defining your offer, understand your offer, who's your target audience? What are their needs, wants, values? What are their pains and frustrations? All those things. We have to get to that point first before we can talk about almost anything else. Once we get there, we can do that.

LBL Stephen | Digital Funnel Systems

Digital Funnel Systems: A funnel is whatever that leads your target audience to your offer and closes them.


I keep going back to that because so people that people I talked to, “Tad, I want you to run a Facebook ad campaign. Drive me some traffic, so I can make some money.” “What are you selling?” “I've got this great idea for a training program.” “What's it going to be over?” “I think it's going to be on how to make money.” They're going to go spend money on Facebook ads, and they don't even have their offer defined. They're not sure who their target audience is, because they don't have their offer defined. That's usually the step I go. I define the offer and then define the target audience or get that avatar down. I give him or her a name, put the picture up on there, the document that I have, all that information on and let’s say I name them Tad, even before I do anything.

Tad, Mary and Jane, those are your three avatars. These are the people you're going after.

I asked, “What would Jane do? Did Jane like this? If Jane wouldn't like it, I don't need to be doing it.”

Where you're going is important. You’ve got to know your brand and your brand story before you can market. You’ve got to know who you are and how you differentiate yourself. What makes you valuable and to whom before you can even go out there. The first thing you have to do with these people is they have to know who you are because when you first go out to the marketplace, I don't care who you are, nobody knows you. You may think you have the greatest thing since sliced bread. You've got the new widget that's going to solve all the problems in the world but until other people see that and they get it and they sit there and say, “I've looked at this. I've looked at again. I've looked at a third time, maybe a fourth and maybe a fifth time. Maybe now I need to pay some attention to this.”

“Now I've paid attention, let's look at this. Do I trust this person? Why should I trust this person? Let's dig a little deeper. Now, I'm ready to buy.” I don't think that most companies understand that people need to trust you and trust is the third step. It's know, like, trust. Until people trust you, they're not willing to do business with you. They'll do business with you once because you're cheap. If they're given two different options and you're the cheap one on the market, a lot of people sit there and say, “I'll try somebody once because they're cheap. Why not? We'll put it out there.” As you said, they probably will never come back to you, if you don't live up to the promise. That's part of the know, like process. Being the cheap person is part of the know and like but it's certainly not part of the trust.

One of the things that I heard and this was from another marketer, is that his position or his belief was that a lot of people do what we're talking about. They take the approach that you've mentioned. They throw a $29.95 product out there, they run ads to it and that's it. That's all they think about. His position was that we've all been conditioned by advertising pre-internet to do it that way. The vast majority of us have never gotten out of it. We are still running ads for manufactured products that have already been made that we've been told to go out and sell. That's the mindset that we had because that's what we see.

Nowadays, it's gone both ways. It's not a one-way street so that know, like, trust comes into play much more. When websites first started going up, you could throw up a web page and sell rocks. All kinds of giant people would buy it just because they had never seen it before. Now, they've seen everything twenty times, you can't do that anymore. That comes full circle to what I was talking about earlier. If you build a relationship, if you build that know, like, trust chain, you will stand out as being unique because nobody's doing it anymore.

Most companies forget that they're selling to human beings. Click To Tweet

Being able to have that kick out where people are going, “I’ve looked through their website, done this and this, I want to talk to a real person.” Have that ability for people to talk to a real person. Many people think that they can do the entire process digitally. You build it, you throw it up there, you put people through the six steps, they're going to buy and they're not going to have any questions and they're not going to want to talk to a human being or if there's a problem. There's not a phone number or an email that's never answered you put up and say, “Email me here, and I'll get back to you,” and you never do. That's the biggest problem with most companies is they forget that they're selling to human beings and human beings are not perfect. They're going to have questions and they're going to have concerns. You need to have within your process, the ability for people to get in touch with you to answer the problems that they have.

One of my online sites was facing super increased competition. Our sales had plummeted. We had an onslaught of similar products. We had to do something or it was time to unplug. One of the things I came up with back then was to put a phone number out there, to put an email. I built in a nice, instant chat system that you could follow up with. From implementing all this, our sales went up 20% to 30% in a matter of 30 days. What I learned from that was that and this is cynical in a way but it goes directly to what you're saying, is that if you can't talk to people, you can upsell them. You may have your funnel, but if they stop and they don't go to the next step, you're never going to have the opportunity to upsell. If they call in, they email you, they open a chat, you can find out what their struggle is, what their problem is, what they want, all those things we've been talking about and you can offer a solution. Literally, our sales jumped 30% in 30 days.

If you look at my website,, and you look in the top right-hand corner, my email address is right there and my phone number’s right there. The top right-hand corner on every single page. I want to make it so simple for people if they want to call me that they can. I want to make it so because you are right, through an electronic process, you can't feel people's frustration. You can't hear their concern. You can't understand what's wrong and why they don't get it. It could be something so simple that you're three seconds on a phone call, you can fix it, but if you don't have that opportunity, you've lost them forever.

A lot of times it is that simple. I can't tell you how many times I've picked up the phone and they just wanted to talk to somebody because they wanted to know a human being that they could talk to was on the other side. “Okay, I'll go buy.” That's a sale I wouldn't have had.

It's one more sale. That's what people sit there and say, “That's one more person who's out there happy, who feels that they've been taken care of that they've been listened to understood and valued.” That's one more person who's going to say, “I went and talked to Tad. I went to go to Accelerated Funnel, I didn't get it. I called their phone number and an actual human being answered my question. I got it. You should give these people a call.” It is amazing how great advocates for your brand happy customers are. Happy customers are incredible advocates and great marketing tools for your company and they will outsell any ad, any click, any funnel anything 10 times out of 10. A happy customer will tell everybody that they know that they sit there and say, “They took care of me. You should go see them.” That is the most powerful marketing you will ever get.

I heard a great quote from a guy. To paraphrase it a little bit because it didn't fit exactly, but it's close enough. We were talking about how to fill an event. We needed 100 people in the room. I asked him, “Do you populate events? Do you fill events?” He goes, “No, I don't know how to put 100 people in a room. I know how to put one person in a room. I know how to do it over and over again.” I thought, “Whoa.” He taught me. That was a great way to put it though. It resonated and stuck with me.

Because that's what you're doing, you're putting people in the room one at a time. Everybody's got this need to hack the system and be able to have this accelerator. This massive acceleration and this massive growth and these huge numbers. In the end, it's one client at a time. In the end, it's one person at a time, either liking what you do or not liking what you do, trusting you or not trusting you. Being an advocate for your brand or being an advocate against your brand, you need to be able to differentiate yourself so you're dealing with the right people in the right way, and communicating with them where they become champions of what you're trying to sell.

I tell people that don't want to listen to the know, like, trust, defining your offer, your avatar, that kind of stuff. I said, “You can go to Staples and buy an easy button, but I want you to know that's the only place they are. There is no easy button anywhere else.”

LBL Stephen | Digital Funnel Systems

Digital Funnel Systems: Happy customers are incredible advocates and great marketing tools for your company.


They're not connected to anything. They just buzz. You hit the easy button, it buzzes and it might light up, but that's about the extent of the success of an easy button. What is the best way to get people to get in touch with you so they can find out more about if you can help them? You can build something that's going to be customized to them and help them solve their problems. What's the best way people can get in touch with you?

I've got two, and one of my favorites is LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. When used respectfully and properly, it is a great way to communicate, stay in touch with people. Search for Tad Stephens. I'm one of the three total people on the planet that has that name on LinkedIn. You can find me. The other way is you can go to There's a support icon down the lower right. You can open up a ticket, call us on the phone like we were talking about. If somebody didn't pick up, we'll get back to you right away. Either way, whatever works easier.

Here's the question I ask everybody as they leave the show, and it's important. When you leave a meeting or you hang up with a customer, whatever you do and you get in your car or you drive away or move away from the conversation, what's the one thing you want people to think about you when you're not in the room?

It’s what we’ve been talking about, trust.

It’s that simple.

It really is and not just for business. Think about it. If you wanted a relationship with a significant other, if you wanted your kid’s school teachers to maybe give them that little extra help, do they trust you? If people will trust you, they will bend over backwards for you. For me, it's trust.

I'm with you 100%. The more we can realize, these are the people we trust and this is why we trust them, amazing things happen. Tad, thank you for being such a wonderful guest.

You're very welcome. I enjoyed it. It’s a great conversation.


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About Tad Stephens

LBL Stephen | Digital Funnel SystemsTad Stephens is the SCORE Denver Marketing Chapter Chair and Certified SCORE Volunteer Mentor helping small businesses in the Denver Colorado area navigate online and local marketing issues to grow their business.

Tad’s non-volunteer work focuses on direct response Internet Marketing for his and others online businesses including Executive, Business and Life Coaches, as well as Speakers, Entrepreneurs and those with a message to turn into an automated Intellectual Property offer. For more please visit

When not volunteering or earning a living hanging with family, alpine skiing, travel, local theatre are usually on the calendar.

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