Con Air and the Importance of a Sales Funnel for Your Business

Con Air, the film about convicts who hijack a prison transport plane, brought us many things I wish we could give back. Nick Cage’s atrocious southern accent is at the top of the list. Also, in true 90s action film style, the end is never the end. The film can’t end with a plane crash. Oh no, a motorcycle chase must commence and Cage must “save the day” (said with your stupidest Alabama accent) once again.

Yes, someone thought that was a good line.

There is one action sequence in an otherwise ridiculous plot that has significant value for small business owners. I’m referring to the “Battle in the Boneyard” scene, which takes place after the cons land the plane in deserted Lerner airfield awaiting transport from Colombian drug lords. Of course, the Colombian drug lords do not serve as reliable transportation (as Colombian drug lords are one to do) and the cons find the police bearing down on them.

The cons decide to do battle with the police. Cyrus the Virus, played with attitude by John Malkovich, prepares the strategy for the cons. His plan is to lure the police into a narrow passageway between the carcasses of old planes. The cons will be hidden in the fuselages. Once the police have fully entered the passageway, the cons will destroy the lead and tail vehicles, thereby trapping the police inside of a deadly ambush.

The plan works exceedingly well. If not for some quick thinking by John Cusack, the police would have been slaughtered. As it were, they still suffered heavy losses and allowed the cons to escape on the plane once again.

Cyrus new that the police had numerical, expertise, and weaponry advantages. Choosing to engage the police in the open would be folly. By setting the ambush inside of a narrow passageway, the cons could shoot from an elevated, covered position thereby neutralizing the advantages of the police.

As a business owner, you can try to target customers everywhere, but that is only possible for a massive company. If you are small, you want to herd your customers towards a series of value propositions that give you the best chance of success. Your value propositions, just like the cons small arms fire, need to be well aimed.

The best way to do that is to create a funnel. Just as Cyrus was able to lure the police into the boneyard, you need to lure customers into your funnel. While the format may very, you will likely need to offer something of strong value for free, e.g., ebook, video course, how to guide, etc, that will incentivize your potential customers to come to your website.

Once arrived at your site, it will be much easier to sell to them. Like the cons, you will be firing at close range in an area you can control. You can offer small, tactical products that will be akin to small arms fire, and you can offer large, expensive products or services (like 1 on 1 coaching) that would be akin to the explosives used to blow up the police vehicles.

Cyrus could have opened fire on the police as they arrived, shooting from distance against multiple spread-out targets. He could have fired his explosives from distance as well. It is unlikely he or his men would have inflicted much damage.

Follow Cyrus’s example. Focus first on driving customer’s to your funnel and then opening fire with everything you’ve got. If you’re trying to sell from FB and Twitter and Youtube you might get lucky here and there, but you won’t have the mass slaughter you desire.

Instead, focus your marketing efforts on driving traffic to your site. Use your social media efforts to provide free value that get customers to click on the link. Entice your customers to walk into your boneyard. Don’t open fire to early or they will escape. Ensure that they have reached your page and then unload with everything you have.

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