When developing sales strategies for your products and services, it is important to understand the five stages of the buying process. When you understand these five stages, it allows you to ask potential customers questions and then qualify the prospects based on where they are in the buying cycle.
Also, by understanding where your prospect is within the buying cycle, it allows you to fine-tune your sales presentation to your potential client. Moreover, it allows you to advance them step by step through the sales process until they purchase from you. This is important because it will prevent you from presenting information to your prospect prior to them being ready. Presenting information to quickly can hinder the sales process and scare the prospect away, so they do not purchase from you.
Remember, every person goes through these five stages of the buying process with every purchase. Sometimes they go through several or all stages very quickly, and other times, it takes longer to gather information and make an informed decision. Normally, familiarity with the product and the price of the product are two characteristics that can influence how fast customers move through these five stages.
Another factor that determines how fast people move through the five stages is the type of product. If it is a homogenous product purchased regularly for a small price, such as toothpaste, then the five stages are rationalized quickly. If it is a higher-priced specialty product, such as a home purchase, then it may take a lot longer to advance through the five stages.
Here are the five stages of the buying process.
1) Realizes There is a Want or Need
This stage is when a person realizes that they have a want or need that needs to be fulfilled. There are all kinds of wants and needs people have, but for this example, we will use a person purchasing an automobile.
2) Looks for a Solution
After the person realizes they need an automobile, they start thinking about what type of automobile do they want. Plus, what kind of features the car needs. The person starts looking at a wide variety of cars to see what is available and what may fit their wants, needs, and desires.
3) Looks For Alternative Solutions
At this stage, the person finds a potential vehicle that may satisfy them, but they are still not sure if this is the automobile that they want to purchase. This is where the prospect may visit local dealerships and test drive several different cars, to help determine which car they like the most. Also, they may return to the Internet to do even more research on the cars to determine which one they may want.
4) Makes a Decision and Purchases a Solution
This is where the customer decides to buy the product or service that they believe will fulfill the need.
5) Post Purchase Confirmation
This is when the customer, makes a purchase and then looks at alternatives solutions to reconfirm to themselves that they made a good decision. Plus, they are looking to verify what they purchased is the best choice. So for the automobile example, after purchasing the car, people will still watch commercials, look at specific cars online, etc. to see if they can find a better deal on a similar automobile. In this situation, they may compare price, features, and other aspects of the overall value of the car to reconfirm that they got the best deal and the best product.
So, as you are developing your sales strategies, remember these five stages of the buying process. Then design strategies for each step of the buying process. So when you are engaging prospects about your product or service, you can ask questions to determine where they are along the buying process. Once you determine where the prospect is, then you can engage and help them move through the five stages to purchase from you. Once they have purchased from you, then you can start working on making your new customer a lifelong loyal customer.
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