How Customers Make a Decision to Buy Something

So, the other day Patrick was searching to buy these two big throne chairs because he wanted to put them in the office so people can take pictures and have some fun with them. As he’s searching for them and he forgot about it and walked away. Then Patrick went on to ESPN on his phone and the same link came up. He said, “Wait a minute, that’s the chair I just looked at earlier.” Then in the afternoon, he went on Facebook and it popped up again. “Are these guys spying on me? Are their drones flying all over the place and watching what I’m doing? Are there cameras here?” He thought.

No, they’re not. These companies have figured out exactly his buying process, and they know exactly which one of the five steps to plug into, so he makes the next step which is buying a product. What are those five steps and how can you position yourself so they do business with you? Let’s take a look:

5 Steps Customers Go Through Before Buying a Product

  1. Identifying Needs & Wants

    1. A customer decides to make a purchase because of either a need (internal) or a want (external). An internal need is when a customer is hungry and they want to grab a sandwich for lunch. An external want is to check out the new sandwich place everybody at work has been raving about.
  2. Information Search

    1. The consumer seeks out what could fill that need or want. Think about where your target consumer researches. Do you know what the top ten searches are for what they are looking for and where do you fall in that list? Search also can come in the form of referrals, word of mouth, advertising. You need to take into account all the avenues that consumers get their information from.
  3. Finding Options

    1. This is where they narrow their search down to what they could possibly purchase. This is where positioning matters. When the consumer is down to three options, your positioning can make you stand out from your competitors and help you survive the next step.  
  4. Process of Eliminating Choices

    1. Consumers are looking to eliminate choices for a variety of reasons based on their wants, needs, and research. You need to do what you can at this stage to make sure your product isn’t eliminated and chosen for purchase. You may need to have a face to face meeting, offer a discount, bring up the other options and say why they fall short or provide back-end support. The customer is trying to pull the trigger, so you need to be ready to show what you can do for them.
  5. Post-Purchase Experience

    1. Most salespeople screw this up. This is when you proactively reach out to the customer in order to take away any regret the customer might have from purchasing your product. Doing this the day after shows you have a process in place to ensure that not only did they make the right choice buying from you, it also says to them if they have a problem you can fix it. It cuts down on complaints and cancellations. This step is going to drive repeat sales and convert every one of your customers into true believers.

Next Steps: Download the PDF and experience your own sales process in your company and how a customer would apply to these steps.

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