In February 2021, Durban entrepreneur Scott Langley was sitting in a safe and comfortable government-funded corporate position with a promising future ahead, but, as Jonathan Erasmus writes, Langley had a vision.
As the marketing and sales director at a major South African convention centre where he had been employed for just short of a decade, it would have been easy for Langley, 44, a family man and avid surfer, to ride the proverbial wave and then follow the natural progression of growth from within the global conference and convention centre network.
But he had one problem. He could no longer “unsee” a vision he had – one to help more people excel in their businesses with the skills and insights he had learnt in automated online sales funnels, a technique that is still in the early stage of adoption in South Africa.
In everyday use, a funnel is generally a tube or pipe that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom and is often used for guiding liquid or powder into a small opening.
The automated digital sales funnel follows the same logic and allows businesses to target a broad audience at first, and then lead them through the process and understand their needs, via whittling down. Through this process, potential customers either qualify or disqualify themselves, resulting in the only customers left being those who are seriously interested in your service offering.
“It was something I could no longer ‘unsee’. And once you have that idea in your mind, you can only ignore it for so long before you have to decide. Either you are never going to do it and must stop thinking about all the different ways you could help people, or you need to act on it now,” said Langley.
He felt he had no choice but to leave his corporate gig at the Durban International Convention Centre. Langley served his last day on February 28, 2021 and, in the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic, launched Kaizen Alpha Marketing.
A self-styled business coach and “custom funnel builder”, Langley now strives to help current and potential entrepreneurs turn their services and products into profit-making enterprises. He enables them to connect with their “dream” customers 24/7, using a combination of bespoke digital marketing strategies that essentially put prospective customers through a “funnel” and helps the customer “self-qualify” to transact with the client.
A key goal is to help his clients make money while they sleep.
“That feeling never gets old. I always ask clients to ask themselves what is important to them and what they really want from life. It could be wealth, fame or something else. We may have to face some hard truths but that’s OK. That’s where change happens. And once we have the answer to that question, we then ask: ‘What is the main problem you want to solve?’ Then we go from there.”
It was following his own advice that led him down this path, combined with a chance meeting in 2020 with motivational speaker, Sanele Gamede.
Langley had been experimenting after hours with building online sales funnels and, not having a product of his own to sell and needing a proof of concept, he entered into a deeper conversation with Gamede.
“He was producing wonderful content, he had written books, he was selflessly and altruistically giving of his time to lift other people up, but he was battling to make ends meet.”
Gamede agreed to allow Langley to build a personalised digital sales funnel for him and only get paid a percentage if he helped him turn a profit.
“Since then, we have completed 13 projects together and he has gone from strength to strength, and has built a successful expert-authority brand in his field.”
The core of Langley’s business is about finding the most innovative ways to engage with the client’s audience.
“It’s not so much about the vehicle or reaching the audience – be it a funnel website, webinar or e-commerce store – but to remain true to the marketing principles of understanding who the people that you serve are.”
He said that with access to vast amounts of data online, it has become easier to target the “dream customer” and help him or her “self-qualify themselves” to be interested in what is being offered.
“Most people love buying, but they hate being sold. The idea is that there’s a process, moving people from where they are now, understanding them and helping them self-qualify themselves through an automated process, so that they come out on the other end, in a mindset ready to buy and feel like it’s their decision that they’re wanting to transact with you.”
If you have a product or service that can solve another person’s problem any time of the day, according to Langley, and you are able to automate and lead them through this process online, it empowers your business to operate 24/7.
“When you wake up and see that 10 new sales have come in, and the money is in your bank account, that’s always a great feeling. You’ve solved someone else’s problem automatically. That’s just awesome.”