When a Sales Funnel Goes Completely Wrong

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 12/12/16 •  5 min read
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Last month, I extended a hand out to help someone up with a sales funnel who had been knocked down and taken advantage of by a “proven, reputable funnel expert” who was referred by another well-known marketer.

(Not personally referred, but through a video as it turns out.)

The person went on to spend in the neighborhood of $15k to this “funnel expert”.

What they wanted and believed they were getting was a professional sales funnel, so they could run traffic to it and get their business going. After all, they told me the financial analysis they had obtained from someone said “they will be a $500M company by end of 2017” so they wanted to hit the ground running!

Unfortunately, the final “ready to promote” version of what they got was a crappy landing page, a basic order form and probably one of the worst thank you pages I have ever seen.

Here’s how the “Sales Funnel” went down…

So you’ll understand, I will elaborate a bit more… and,
I want to re-state this was their ready-to-go final version.

The landing page had no discernible sales copy on it.


Instead, the person who built it just copied and pasted answers to questions provided by the victim in the intake form. Typos and all. Also, when a visitor clicked “buy product” (a physical product) they had to opt-in first with the message of “subscribe for discounts” and had to subscribe before they could buy anything.

If they did subscribe (few people would have) the order form was bare bones basic.

Oh, and the order button said “Instant access” for a physical product. Seriously?


The thank you page was horrid.

It also had a 30-day guarantee where the order page has 60-day guarantee. There was no shipping info, no estimation of when to expect receipt of product and no contact or support info. Oh and for the return policy it says “Just send us an email and we will process your refund right away without any hassle” but there is no email provided and no phone number.

There were no contact details anywhere. Also, there were no standard legal disclaimers or terms. Everything about this “professional sales funnel” experience was bad.

I could go on.

I provided him with two full pages of notes of everything that was done wrong and needed to be fixed.

In addition to fixing the funnel, they need a website because they don’t have one yet.

Lastly, I did actually place an order so I could see the entire customer’s experience.

I have not yet received my order a month later. And the email they sent my receipt from bounces, so no way to contact them.

Everything was ghastly. It needs a complete re-work from scratch to even be usable.

So, for what is easily minimum $25k worth of work I gave them a sweetheart, once-in-a-lifetime kind of deal:

  • Build out a complete sales funnel
  • Build out a proper funnel, with actual professionally written sales copy
  • Research, design, create and manage ads for 30 days
  • Help test/tune everything over the next 30 days

For all that, I agreed to have my team do everything for $10k, plus a max $1k ad spend.

Look, I know that’s not peanuts especially after being screwed over for $15k for something that’s not even usable.

But, I also know their previous bad experience is not my responsibility to bear.

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Here’s the thing you need to understand…

With our systems at work for me, I can sit on my ass and play PlayStation games for a month and earn more than $10k, so for me it’s not a huge payday after everyone gets paid, I might be able to take Natalie out to dinner, plus it cuts into my cigar-box-guitar-building time.

Even after already spending over $15k to get basically nothing, the guy bawked at the price as though we were trying to rip him off and thought we should give him an even better deal.

Um, no. You’re already getting a deal.

I opened my door for him to act immediately because I knew we would have a 1-2 week period when we could help him before we got busy again with a new batch of clients.

And I offered our services at a generous discount.

It wasn’t good enough.

That was almost a month ago and nothing has changed for them.

They continue to languish.

Unable to sell anything.

No website.

Same horridly unusable funnel.

And they are still sitting on the abundantly hopeful financial analysis from someone saying they will be a $500M company by end of 2017.

Based on what I have seen, I highly doubt that is based in any kind of reality.

Last I heard these folks were trying to get someone to help them for 50% revenue split, or they would be ready for my team to help them “soon”.

Meanwhile, we have built 6 funnels for other clients that have brought in thousands for them almost from Day 1.

Sorry pumpkin but at this point the opportunity for me to help you – especially at that ridiculously low price – is gone like the wind.

My hope is that whomever they finally hire to do the work treats them right.

They are good people, with a solid mission and I wish them the very best.

Update (19 Sept 2022): I checked back on this recently and 6 years later they are still struggling to get a sales funnel up and running. How much lost opportunity has this cost? Don’t be like these good people throwing good money after bad… work with me and my team to get your sales funnel done right the first time. 

Lee Collins

Lee Collins is a former Air Force Network Systems Engineer and Fortune 500 Corporate VP - who is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. He has over 24+ years experience running operations for multiple multi-million dollar marketing, software, SEO, financial, and business coaching companies. When Lee isn't helping his private clients solve big (and small) marketing and operations problems, Lee is most likely heading up into the mountains in his fully-equipped Jeep Gladiator. Or just gone fishing.